I recently visited The University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where I toured the campus and spoke with the admissions office about the latest trends in admissions. Here are some takeaways from my visit:

· USC is the second-largest private undergraduate college in the US, after NYU. Over 21,000 students study on its large, self-contained campus in South Central LA. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other.

· Once known as a campus for the super wealthy, the university has diversified in recent years.

· USC’s film school, funded by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, is perhaps the most famous school on the campus. Six of the university colleges focus on visual and performing arts.

· The strong USC marching band competes internationally and any student can audition to join.

· 85% of undergrads live on campus or within walking distance – USC is not a commuter school. On-campus is guaranteed the first two years, but difficult to secure thereafter.

· Two new programs include AI in Business (a joint business-engineering program) and a new legal studies major offered by the law school.

· USC has satellite campuses on the Catalina Island (for marine biology), DC (where students can spend a semester) and Sacramento.

· The business school is known for its global focus.

· Admitted students can apply to the “thematic option” honors program, which boasts smaller-than-usual general education courses of 30 students or less.

A Trojan – the USC mascot – stands guard over the center of campus.