Middlebury vs. USC: A Comprehensive Look 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Dreamy attractive female student thinking about coursework strategy

Middlebury vs. USC: A Comprehensive Look

When it comes to selecting a top university to attend, the decision can feel overwhelming. Middlebury and the University of Southern California (USC) are two prestigious institutions that attract high-achieving students. Both schools offer a world-class education, but there are also notable differences between them. This article will take an in-depth look at both Middlebury vs. USC to help you make an informed choice about where to study.

Location and Campus

One of the major differences between Middlebury and USC is location. Middlebury is a small, private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont. The campus sits on 350 acres and is surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains. On the other hand, USC is located in the heart of bustling Los Angeles, California.

The campus is spread over 226 acres and is surrounded by the city’s museums, entertainment venues, and art galleries. If you prefer a quieter, rural environment, Middlebury may be a better fit for you. But if you love the excitement and energy of a big city, USC is the clear winner.

USC campus in the morning

Additionally, Middlebury’s location provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and camping. The college also has its own organic farm, providing fresh produce for the dining halls and local community.

USC, on the other hand, offers students access to a diverse range of internships and job opportunities in various industries, thanks to its location in the entertainment capital of the world. The university also has strong connections with major companies and organizations in the area, providing students with valuable networking opportunities.

Admissions and Acceptance Rates between Middlebury vs. USC

Both Middlebury and USC are highly selective institutions, but their acceptance rates differ. Middlebury’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2023 was 15.6%, making it one of the most selective colleges in the country. In comparison, USC’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2023 was 16.5%.

Both schools require competitive SAT or ACT scores and a rigorous academic transcript. If you’re aiming for a top-tier education, prepare to submit an impressive application.

It’s important to note that while acceptance rates are a significant factor in the admissions process, they are not the only factor. Both Middlebury and USC consider a variety of factors when evaluating applicants, including extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation, and demonstrated interest in the school.

It’s also worth noting that both schools offer need-blind admissions, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into account during the admissions process.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered

Both Middlebury and USC offer a wide range of academic programs and majors. At Middlebury, students can choose from 45 majors across a variety of disciplines, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. USC offers over 150 undergraduate majors and minors, including business, engineering, journalism, and performing arts. USC’s strong emphasis on professional programs gives it an edge over Middlebury.

Additionally, Middlebury offers several unique interdisciplinary programs, such as Environmental Studies, International and Global Studies, and Neuroscience. These programs allow students to explore complex issues from multiple perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of different fields.

USC also offers interdisciplinary programs, such as the World Bachelor in Business program, which allows students to study at three different universities around the world and earn degrees in business from all three.

Faculty and Student Ratio between Middlebury vs. USC

Class size and faculty-student ratio are important factors to consider when choosing a university. Middlebury has a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, which means you’ll have many opportunities to work closely with your professors. USC’s student-faculty ratio is 9:1, which is also impressive. Both schools have highly qualified and experienced faculty members who are passionate about teaching and research.

Young man smiling while on a hallway.

In addition to the student-faculty ratio, Middlebury and USC also offer a variety of resources to support student learning. Middlebury has a Writing Center, a Quantitative Skills Center, and a Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research, all of which provide students with individualized support and guidance.

USC has a similar range of resources, including a Writing Center, a Math Center, and a Center for Excellence in Teaching, which offers workshops and training for faculty members.

Furthermore, both Middlebury and USC have strong research programs that provide students with opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research projects. Middlebury’s Undergraduate Research Office offers funding and support for student research projects, while USC’s Office of Undergraduate Research provides students with access to research opportunities across a wide range of disciplines.

Research Opportunities Available

If you’re interested in pursuing research while in college, both Middlebury and USC have many opportunities to offer. Middlebury has a program called the Summer Research Program, which offers funding and mentorship for students to conduct research in a variety of disciplines.

USC encourages research through its Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which offers research grants and funding for students. Additionally, USC’s proximity to Los Angeles gives students opportunities to work on research projects with local organizations and businesses.

Furthermore, Middlebury has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, allowing students to collaborate with faculty and peers from different fields of study. This approach fosters a diverse and innovative research environment, where students can explore new ideas and approaches to complex problems.

Similarly, USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering offers a unique research program called the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, which focuses on solving global challenges such as sustainability, health, and security. This program provides students with the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects and collaborate with experts in their field.

Extracurricular Activities and Organizations between Middlebury vs. USC

Both Middlebury and USC offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and organizations. Middlebury has over 150 student clubs and organizations, covering areas such as arts and culture, community service, politics, social justice, and sports. USC has over 1,000 student organizations, including clubs for sports, arts, cultures, and academics. Both schools have active Greek life communities, too. Whatever your interests may be, you’re sure to find a community of like-minded individuals at either school.

In addition to the numerous clubs and organizations offered at Middlebury and USC, both schools also provide opportunities for students to participate in research and internships. Middlebury’s Center for Community Engagement connects students with local organizations and businesses for internships and community service projects. USC’s Career Center offers resources and support for students seeking internships and research opportunities, as well as career guidance and job search assistance.

Furthermore, both Middlebury and USC have strong traditions of student activism and advocacy. Middlebury’s Student Government Association and various advocacy groups work to promote social justice and environmental sustainability on campus and in the wider community.

USC’s Undergraduate Student Government and various advocacy groups work to promote diversity and inclusion, as well as address issues such as sexual assault and mental health.

Student Life Experience

As mentioned earlier, Middlebury offers a more rural experience, while USC offers a vibrant city setting. Both environments lend themselves to very different student experiences. At Middlebury, students enjoy a close-knit community with a strong emphasis on collaboration and community involvement. USC, on the other hand, offers a more diverse and cosmopolitan environment with plenty of cultural and social experiences at your fingertips.

Young woman smiling in the school halls.

Additionally, Middlebury has a strong focus on outdoor activities and sustainability. The campus is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, providing ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor adventures. The college also has a strong commitment to sustainability, with initiatives such as a student-run organic farm and a LEED-certified dining hall.

USC, on the other hand, offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including over 1,000 student organizations and a thriving Greek life scene. Students can also take advantage of the city’s many museums, theaters, and restaurants.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Options between Middlebury vs. USC

College can be expensive, and it’s important to consider the cost of attendance as part of your decision-making process. Middlebury’s tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 academic year are $59,474. In comparison, USC’s tuition and fees for the same year are $59,260. Both schools offer generous financial aid packages for eligible students, so don’t let the sticker price scare you away.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition and fees. You’ll also need to consider the cost of housing, meals, textbooks, and other expenses. Middlebury estimates that the total cost of attendance for the 2020-2021 academic year is $76,050, while USC estimates a total cost of $77,459.

However, both schools offer various financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans, to help offset these costs. It’s important to research and apply for financial aid early in the college application process to ensure you have the best chance of receiving assistance.

Career Services and Alumni Network

Having access to career services and a strong alumni network can significantly impact your post-college success. Middlebury offers a robust career services program, which includes resume writing workshops, job fairs, and alumni networking events. USC’s career services program is equally strong, with career fairs, job shadowing opportunities, and a mentorship program available to students. Both institutions also have large and active alumni networks that can offer valuable connections and resources.

Additionally, Middlebury’s career services program offers one-on-one career counseling sessions with experienced professionals, as well as access to online job search resources and interview preparation tools. USC’s career services program also provides students with access to industry-specific career advisors and hosts workshops on topics such as salary negotiation and networking strategies.

Furthermore, Middlebury’s alumni network includes successful professionals in a wide range of fields, including business, law, and the arts. USC’s alumni network is similarly diverse, with graduates working in fields such as entertainment, technology, and healthcare. Both institutions offer opportunities for students to connect with alumni through events, mentorship programs, and online networking platforms.

Graduation Rates and Job Placement Statistics between Middlebury vs. USC

Ultimately, the goal of any college education is to land a great job. Middlebury boasts an impressive 99% graduation rate, with 85% of graduates employed within one year of graduation. USC also has a high graduation rate of 92%, with 94% of graduates employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. Both schools have successful alumni who have gone on to achieve significant accomplishments.

However, it is important to note that graduation rates and job placement statistics can vary depending on the field of study. For example, Middlebury’s computer science program has a 100% job placement rate within six months of graduation, while USC’s film program has a 70% job placement rate within the same time frame. It is important for students to research the job prospects in their desired field before choosing a college.

In addition to job placement, both Middlebury and USC offer extensive career services to their students and alumni. Middlebury’s Center for Careers and Internships provides students with career counseling, job and internship search assistance, and networking opportunities. USC’s Career Center offers similar services, as well as career fairs, employer information sessions, and alumni mentoring programs. These resources can be invaluable in helping students and graduates navigate the job market and achieve their career goals.

Reputation and Rankings

Reputation and rankings are significant factors to consider when deciding on a college. Both Middlebury and USC have excellent reputations and are consistently ranked highly by national publications. Middlebury is ranked #7 among National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, while USC is ranked #22 among National Universities. USC also has several top-ranked graduate programs, including its School of Cinematic Arts and Marshall School of Business, which have been ranked #1 and #8, respectively.

Students talking in the stairs.

Another important factor to consider when evaluating a college’s reputation and rankings is the level of research activity and funding. Middlebury is primarily an undergraduate institution and does not have extensive research facilities or funding.

In contrast, USC is a major research university with over $900 million in annual research expenditures and is classified as a “very high research activity” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This level of research activity and funding not only enhances USC’s reputation but also provides unique opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research projects and gain valuable experience.

Campus Diversity and Inclusion Efforts between Middlebury vs. USC

Last but not least, it’s important to consider diversity and inclusion efforts when choosing a university. Middlebury is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community and has several initiatives in place to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. USC also has a robust diversity and inclusion program, including scholarships for underrepresented students and a program called “Race and Equity Center” to promote greater awareness and understanding of diversity issues.

Additionally, Middlebury has a student-led organization called “Alliance for Inclusion and Respect” that works to promote diversity and inclusion on campus through events, workshops, and advocacy. USC also has a similar student-led organization called “USC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Student Assembly” that advocates for marginalized communities and hosts events to promote diversity and inclusion.

Athletics Program Comparison

Sports can be an important part of the college experience. Middlebury is a member of the NCAA Division III and has a strong athletic program, particularly in sports like skiing, soccer, and lacrosse. USC is a member of the NCAA Division I and has a well-respected athletic program, with football being a particular point of pride. Both schools offer numerous sports opportunities for students who want to participate in athletics.

However, there are some differences between the two schools’ athletics programs. Middlebury places a strong emphasis on the balance between academics and athletics, with many student-athletes achieving academic honors while also excelling in their sport. USC, on the other hand, is known for its highly competitive athletics program, with many of its teams consistently ranking among the top in the nation.

Additionally, Middlebury offers a unique opportunity for students to participate in the “Feb” program, which allows students to start their college experience in February instead of September. This program includes a winter term where students can participate in intensive athletics training and competitions, giving them a head start in their sport. USC does not offer a similar program, but does have a strong focus on providing state-of-the-art facilities and resources for its student-athletes.

Study Abroad Opportunities Offered between Middlebury vs. USC

Studying abroad can be a transformative experience for students. Both Middlebury and USC offer extensive study abroad programs, with opportunities to study in dozens of countries around the world. Middlebury even has its own study abroad program, called the Middlebury Schools Abroad Program, which has campuses in countries like Italy, Spain, China, and Brazil. USC also has a strong study abroad program, including partnerships with universities in Australia, China, Japan, and more.

Additionally, both Middlebury and USC offer financial aid and scholarships for students who wish to study abroad. These programs can help make studying abroad more accessible and affordable for students who may not have considered it otherwise. It’s important to research and apply for these opportunities early, as they can be competitive and have specific deadlines.

Campus Safety and Security Measures between Middlebury vs. USC

Campus safety is a top priority for both Middlebury and USC. Middlebury has a well-trained campus security force, as well as a comprehensive safety plan that includes regular safety drills and emergency response teams. USC also has a robust security program, including 24-hour patrols, a comprehensive emergency notification system, and partnerships with local law enforcement agencies to ensure student safety.

Female student holding her book while in the school grounds.

In addition to these measures, both Middlebury and USC offer resources and support for students to promote a safe campus environment. Middlebury has a confidential reporting system for incidents of sexual misconduct, as well as a campus-wide bystander intervention program. USC provides a variety of safety resources, including a campus escort service, self-defense classes, and mental health support services for students who have experienced trauma or violence.

Community Engagement Opportunities Available for Students

Both Middlebury and USC encourage students to get involved in their local communities and make a positive impact. Middlebury has a partnership with the town of Middlebury, creating opportunities for students to get involved at local nonprofits and community events. USC has numerous community engagement programs, including a service-learning program and partnerships with local organizations to address social and environmental issues.

In conclusion, choosing between Middlebury and USC is a difficult decision. Both offer an exceptional education, with unique strengths and features that will appeal to different students. Consider your academic goals, personal preferences, and career aspirations when making your decision, and remember that both schools have a lot to offer.


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