I need help answering this USC short-response: Describe your academic interests and how you plan on pursuing them at USC. I like English and history and I plan on majoring in real estate...

I need help answering this USC short-response: Describe your academic interests and how you plan on pursuing them at USC.

I like English and history and I plan on majoring in real estate development. I tried writing something but I'm stuck. 

Expert Answers
kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a graduate of the University of Southern California, I hope what follows helps you achieve your academic goals at that fine institution of higher learning.

The first thing to remember when preparing your application to any college or university is that those reviewing your application have already seen thousands of others and have a good sense of when an applicant is being honest and sincere and when one is attempting to manipulate the process or present fraudulent credentials or sentiments. Many admissions officers have seen it all, and will quickly filter out applications that fail to meet their -- and the institution's -- standards. 

The request specifies that you, the student applicant, are very interested in studying English and History, but that you intend to major in real estate development. That diversity of interest is admirable, but confusing. It is not at all unusual for students to have a passion for subjects that fall outside the parameters of their major. The degree being pursued, however, will demand a level of commitment that should be emphasized. Certainly, you can take elective courses in History and/ or English, and maybe even minor in one or both. An admissions officer will expect a certain diversity of interests, but a commitment to the primary academic course needs to be displayed.

Any student seeking to major in Real Estate Development at USC will find a very good structure for learning that particular area of business. In applying for admission to USC with the intention of studying Real Estate Development, you will want to express an interest in studying in the Sol Price School of Public Policy, Real Estate Development Track within the Lusk Center for Real Estate. Presumably, you already know that. The admissions officer, though, needs to know you have researched your options and determined the program at USC to be the best fit for you. Beyond displaying your knowledge of what USC has to offer for a student with your particular academic and professional interests, any practical experience you have acquired, such as working a summer job with a real estate firm or having a parent who works in that field should be noted. The pursuit of wealth or material gain is not a criteria for admission; an interest in improving the community through application of lessons learned in school is. 

Another area to emphasize is the extracurricular activities in which you have participated. An eclectic background is always attractive, when presented properly, and this is the time in which to present it. Has the student participated in activities intended to benefit under-served segments of the population? Did the applicant participate in athletics, or as a member of the chess or Spanish language club? All of this is important to include in a college application. It is here where an expression of interest in subjects other than business or real estate development is beneficial. An interest in history is a case in point, especially if the applicant has identified a specific category within the vast field of "history" in which he or she is particularly interested. Specifying an interest in modern European, Ancient Chinese, or American history, for example, will strike a more favorable chord with admissions officers than simply writing, "I have an interest in history."

These are the basic guidelines for filling out an admissions application for college. As noted above, admissions officers can almost always spot an application that reeks of insincerity. Sound authentic and genuinely committed to a field of study for altruistic reasons.

Further Reading:
mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, do you think that your interests in history or English would lead you to join an academic club on campus or even take on a minor?  If so, then that would be an excellent response to discuss in more detail.  This would show your plans to pursue your academic interests as a USC student.  If you do want to focus on history/English, then you would also want to include some background information.  Do you study history in your spare time?  Volunteer at a history museum?  Do you write for the school newspaper?  These types of things would establish evidence that you are pursuing your academic interests currently.


You also mentioned real estate as your major.  If you consider real estate to be something that you are currently interested in (maybe you keep up with the real estate market, have studied how appraisals work, etc.), then you would also want to mention this as an academic interest.  Your plan on pursuing this interest at USC would be obvious in that you will be studying it in school.