This is Not My Second-Choice School: Why I Chose Cal State Fullerton Instead of USC

First things first, I have no complaints about USC: I know some amazing professors who obtained degrees from the university as well as family and friends. I think that USC is an outstanding school and I was (and am) honored to have been accepted during the Fall 2013 admissions period. With that being said, I will continue!


I am a mom in college. As such I had never planned on transferring to a four year university — I thought it was WAY above me. However, I grew into an ambitious person by the time I received my AA and decided to apply to transfer — you don’t know if you don’t try, right? So I tried. I applied at four Cal States: Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino. While all of these schools are great, my #1 was and is Fullerton. However, I had fallen into this “trap” that had me thinking I was “only good enough” for a state school (not knowing the value of such at the time), so I decided to apply at USC, just to see what would happen. To my surprise, I was accepted. And I contemplated going to USC because they had provided me with a decent financial aid package. But in the end, I knew that despite the prestige, CSUF was still my #1.

But why am I convinced that CSUF was the right choice? Well, it’s simple: It is home. I was welcomed within the first month (give or take) of applying. I was then accepted into the Honors Program shortly after that. When I went to apply for child care, the administration was quick to welcome me in. When I attended my first set of classes (and all those following) I was challenged with rigorous course work. Finally, when I discovered the Adult Re-Entry and Women’s Center, I felt like I truly belonged. I could go on with this list. Basically, I just knew that CSUF was my home — it was my first choice. And even though USC might be appealing as a private university, the truth is that I never heard from anyone outside of two letters I received, also they would only accept 40 of my 70 units (I don’t know about you, but my time is precious), and their English program (while amazing) wasn’t what I was looking for. Could I have excelled and found a spot at USC? Yes, but I am incredibly thankful for the choice I made.

Despite the fact that people appear shocked when I tell them I got in, I am happy with my choice. I think you should be too, wherever you may be — especially if you are at a state school — you are smart, you have the ability to succeed, and no matter what school you choose you can make it great! State universities are just as rigorous, allow just as much autonomy, and have just as strong of a community than any other school out there. But please, choose the school that YOU think is best, and not what the masses think — it’s your education: make the best of it!

4 thoughts on “This is Not My Second-Choice School: Why I Chose Cal State Fullerton Instead of USC

      • Justin (@CSUFJustin) says:

        This is a really nice post. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

        The artist is CSUF alumna Julie Kirk-Purcell (who got her MFA from Cal State Fullerton while raising 5 children). She is coming back for Homecoming again this year and there will be two other alumni artists joining her. We hope to see you there.

        I hope finals went smoothly for you. Keep up the great work!

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