Colby vs USC

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student smiling at the camera.

Colby vs USC

When it comes to choosing the right college or university, there are many factors that students consider. Two popular options that tend to be on many prospective students’ lists of choices are Colby College and the University of Southern California (USC). While both of these institutions have a lot to offer, there are some key differences that could make one a better fit for certain students over the other. In this article, we’ll delve into various aspects of Colby vs USC and compare them to help you make a more informed decision.

Colby vs. USC: Location and Campus Size

One of the most noticeable differences between Colby College vs USC is their location. Colby College is situated in Waterville, Maine, a small, rural town. Meanwhile, USC is located in the heart of Los Angeles, California, one of the largest cities in the world. The difference in setting not only impacts the overall feel of the campuses but also factors into the types of extracurricular activities available. Colby’s campus spans over 714 acres while USC covers 226 acres, making Colby much larger.

Another significant difference between the two campuses is the climate. Colby College experiences cold and snowy winters, while USC enjoys a warm and sunny climate year-round. This difference in weather affects not only the types of outdoor activities available but also the clothing and gear needed by students. Additionally, the location of USC in a major city provides students with access to a wide range of cultural events and opportunities that may not be available in a rural setting like Colby.

Colby vs. USC: Admission Requirements and Selectivity

Another major difference between these two universities is their admission requirements and selectivity. Colby College accepts around 8% of its applicants, making it highly selective, while USC is also a selective school with a higher acceptance rate of around 11-12%. The admissions process for both colleges includes a review of the student’s academic record, test scores, extracurricular activities, and essays.

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However, it is important to note that both universities also consider other factors beyond academic achievements during the admissions process. Colby College, for example, places a strong emphasis on community involvement and leadership potential, while USC values diversity and cultural experiences. Therefore, applicants should not only focus on their academic achievements but also highlight their unique qualities and experiences that align with the values of the university they are applying to.

Colby vs. USC: Academic Programs and Majors Offered

When it comes to academic programs and majors offered, both Colby College and USC offer a diverse range. Colby College has over 50 majors and minors, with a focus on the liberal arts. Meanwhile, USC offers around 150 majors, including business, engineering, film, and more, with a strong emphasis on professional and pre-professional programs. Colby College’s liberal arts focus provides a comprehensive education in a variety of subjects, while USC’s programs prepare students for specific careers.

In addition to the majors and minors offered, both Colby College and USC provide opportunities for students to pursue interdisciplinary studies. Colby College’s “Jan Plan” program allows students to take a month-long course in a subject outside of their major, while USC’s “Thematic Option” program offers a multidisciplinary approach to general education requirements.

Furthermore, both institutions offer study abroad programs, allowing students to gain international experience and broaden their perspectives. Colby College has partnerships with over 200 programs in 60 countries, while USC has its own international campuses in locations such as London, Hong Kong, and Madrid.

Colby vs. USC: Faculty and Student Ratio

The student-to-faculty ratio is another crucial factor for many prospective students. Colby College boasts a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, which means individual attention from professors is possible. USC, on the other hand, has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 as well. Both colleges seem to be committed to providing personal attention to their students, which can be exceptionally beneficial for students who require extra help understanding the course material.

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However, it is important to note that a low student-to-faculty ratio does not necessarily guarantee a better education. Other factors, such as the quality of the faculty, the curriculum, and the resources available to students, also play a significant role in determining the quality of education. Therefore, it is essential to consider all these factors before making a decision.

Additionally, a low student-to-faculty ratio can also mean limited course offerings and fewer opportunities for interdisciplinary studies. Students who are interested in exploring multiple fields of study may find that a larger university with a higher student-to-faculty ratio offers more options and flexibility in terms of course selection and research opportunities.

Colby vs. USC: Class Sizes and Teaching Styles

Not only does the student-to-faculty ratio matter, but also the class sizes and teaching styles. Colby College’s classes are relatively small, with about 65% of classes having fewer than 30 students. USC’s classes tend to be larger, with more than half of their classes having over 30 students. Both institutions use a mix of lecture and seminar-style teaching. Colby emphasizes discussion-based learning, with students expected to participate actively in class. USC, in contrast, emphasizes a combination of both theory and practical training, preparing students for real-world situations.

Additionally, Colby College offers a unique approach to teaching through its Jan Plan program. During the month of January, students have the opportunity to take a single course intensively, allowing for a deep dive into a specific subject. This program encourages experiential learning and allows for more personalized attention from professors. USC, on the other hand, offers a variety of online courses and degree programs, providing flexibility for students who may not be able to attend classes on campus.

Colby vs. USC: Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Opportunities

The cost of tuition is a significant consideration that can often be a deciding factor for many students. Colby College’s annual tuition fee is around $66,600, while USC’s is around $68,237. However, both schools offer financial aid and scholarships to those who qualify. Colby guarantees to meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, while USC offers a range of financial aid and scholarship options depending on the student’s individual needs and academic merit.

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It is important to note that the cost of tuition is not the only expense that students need to consider when attending college. Other expenses such as room and board, textbooks, and transportation can add up quickly. Colby College estimates that the total cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, room and board, and other expenses, is around $83,700 per year. USC estimates that the total cost of attendance is around $87,400 per year. However, both schools offer resources and support to help students manage these costs.

Additionally, students should also consider the potential return on investment when choosing a college. According to a recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, college graduates earn on average $1 million more over their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma. Both Colby College and USC have strong career services departments that offer resources and support to help students prepare for their future careers and maximize their earning potential.

Colby vs. USC: Campus Culture and Student Life

The campus culture and student life is an essential aspect of college life that students often consider. Colby College has a close-knit and community-oriented student body, with around 2,300 undergraduates. The school also offers a variety of clubs and organizations, including athletics, art, and diversity groups. USC, in comparison, is a larger university with around 47,000 students, making it more challenging to connect with fellow students. However, the school offers many extracurricular activities, such as athletics, Greek life, and volunteering opportunities.

Additionally, both Colby College and USC have a vibrant social scene. Colby College has a lively party scene, with many students attending parties on weekends. USC, on the other hand, has a more diverse social scene, with students attending parties, concerts, and other events on and off campus. Both schools also have dining halls and cafes where students can socialize and grab a bite to eat between classes.

Colby vs. USC: Athletics Programs and Facilities Available

Athletics programs and facilities are also essential considerations for many students. Colby College is a Division III school that offers 32 NCAA varsity sports, as well as intramurals and club sports. The college has excellent athletics facilities, including an ice rink, a fitness center, and multiple athletic fields. USC is a Division I school, with a strong athletics program, including notable football and basketball teams. USC also has excellent sports facilities, including an Olympic-sized pool, multiple gyms, and competition fields.

Aside from the traditional sports offered at Colby College and USC, both schools also provide unique athletics programs. Colby College has a popular outdoor education program that offers activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking. USC has a renowned equestrian team that competes in national competitions.

Rowing team

Furthermore, both schools prioritize the health and wellness of their students by offering various fitness classes and wellness programs. Colby College has a Mindfulness and Meditation program, while USC has a Wellness Pavilion that provides services such as acupuncture and massage therapy.

Colby vs. USC: Research Opportunities for Students

Both Colby College and USC offer research opportunities for their students. Colby College prides itself on its emphasis on undergraduate research, with over 75% of students participating in research projects. The college also offers a variety of research grants to help support these projects. USC also places a strong emphasis on research with numerous research centers and institutes available for students to work on. USC also offers many opportunities for students to present their research at national conferences and events.

In addition to Colby College and USC, many other universities and colleges across the United States offer research opportunities for their students. These opportunities can range from working with faculty members on ongoing research projects to conducting independent research projects with the support of research grants and fellowships.

Participating in research as an undergraduate student can provide numerous benefits, including the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the opportunity to work closely with faculty members and other researchers, and the chance to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in a particular field. Research experience can also be a valuable asset when applying to graduate programs or seeking employment in a related field.

Career Services and Post-Graduation Success

Career services and post-graduation success are crucial aspects that many students consider when deciding on a college. Colby College provides robust career services, including internships, job fairs, and networking events. Colby’s students achieve excellent post-graduation success, with around 90% of students securing internships or job offers within six months of graduation. USC also has a strong career center, offering an array of career services, including access to job and internship databases, workshops, and employer networking events.

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In addition to career services, Colby College also offers a variety of resources to help students succeed after graduation. The college has a strong alumni network, with graduates working in a wide range of industries and fields. Colby’s Career Center also provides personalized career counseling and guidance to help students identify their strengths and interests and explore potential career paths.

Similarly, USC offers a range of post-graduation resources to help students succeed in their chosen fields. The university has a large and active alumni network, with graduates working in a variety of industries and sectors. USC’s Career Center also offers career counseling, resume and cover letter reviews, and interview preparation to help students prepare for the job market.

Alumni Network and Support

Finally, the alumni network and support available are another consideration for students. Colby College has a strong alumni network, with graduates spread throughout the world. The college fosters connections between current students and alumni through networking events and mentoring programs. USC also has an extensive alumni network, with many graduates achieving success in their chosen fields. USC’s alumni network provides mentorship, career guidance, and opportunities to give back to the university.

Additionally, both Colby College and USC offer various forms of support to their alumni. Colby College provides career services to alumni, including resume reviews, job search assistance, and access to job postings. USC offers similar services, as well as opportunities for alumni to continue their education through discounted courses and degree programs. Both colleges also have alumni associations that provide social and professional networking opportunities, as well as opportunities to give back to the college through volunteering and fundraising.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Throughout the years, colleges and universities have made efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. Both Colby College and USC have implemented initiatives to ensure that all students feel accepted and supported. Colby College has a diversity, equity, and inclusion program that has garnered national recognition. It offers a range of resources and programs for students, including counseling, training programs, and support networks. USC also has a comprehensive Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX program that aims to promote an inclusive community for all students.

One of the initiatives that Colby College has implemented is the creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. This task force is made up of students, faculty, and staff who work together to identify areas where the college can improve its diversity and inclusion efforts. The task force also develops and implements strategies to address these areas of improvement.

Similarly, USC has a program called the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. This council is made up of representatives from various departments and student organizations who work together to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. The council hosts events and workshops to educate the campus community on issues related to diversity and inclusion and also provides resources and support for students who may be facing discrimination or bias.

Study Abroad Programs Offered

Finally, both Colby College and USC offer study abroad programs for students who want to gain international experience. Colby College has an extensive study abroad program with over 200 approved programs in over 50 countries. USC also has numerous study abroad programs and global centers, offering students opportunities to study in various parts of the world.

In addition to Colby College and USC, many other universities across the United States offer study-abroad programs. For example, Harvard University has a program called “Harvard Summer School Study Abroad” which allows students to study in various countries for a summer term.

Foreign Language Requirement

Furthermore, study abroad programs are not limited to traditional academic institutions. Many organizations and companies also offer study abroad programs for students and young professionals. For instance, the Peace Corps offers a program called “Peace Corps Response” which allows volunteers to work on short-term, high-impact projects in various countries around the world. Additionally, companies like EF Education First offer study abroad programs for students of all ages, including language immersion programs and cultural exchange programs.

Campus Safety and Security Measures

Finally, campus safety and security measures are essential factors that students consider when choosing a college. Both Colby College and USC have put measures in place to ensure the safety of their students. Colby College has an excellent campus security force, including 24/7 patrols and emergency alert systems. USC also has a dedicated Department of Public Safety that monitors the campus 24/7 and provides various safety services such as safety escorts, self-defense classes, and crime prevention programs.

In addition to these measures, Colby College has implemented a comprehensive sexual assault prevention program that includes education and awareness campaigns, bystander intervention training, and support services for survivors. USC has also taken steps to address sexual assault on campus, including the establishment of a confidential reporting system and the implementation of a mandatory sexual assault prevention course for all incoming students.

Furthermore, both colleges have implemented measures to promote mental health and well-being among their students. Colby College offers a range of counseling and support services, including individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and wellness programs. USC has a dedicated Student Counseling Center that provides a wide range of mental health services, including individual and group therapy, psychiatric evaluations, and crisis intervention.


Overall, both Colby College and the University of Southern California have a lot to offer. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Colby College’s focus on liberal arts and small classes can be ideal for students who want a comprehensive education with personal attention from professors. Meanwhile, USC’s emphasis on professional and pre-professional programs, as well as its location in Los Angeles, can appeal to those who want a career-oriented education in a vibrant urban setting. By considering the differences and similarities between these two institutions, you can make a more informed decision for your future.

It is important to note that both Colby College and USC have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and opportunities after graduation. Colby College’s alumni network is particularly strong in the Northeastern United States, while USC’s network extends globally and includes many prominent figures in various industries.

Additionally, both institutions offer a range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for students to get involved on campus. Colby College has a strong focus on outdoor activities and sustainability, with many students participating in hiking, skiing, and environmental clubs. USC, on the other hand, has a thriving arts and culture scene, with many students involved in theater, music, and film organizations.


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