University of Southern California

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#23, overall score 69.83/100

Fun Fact:

USC holds the world university records for most alumni to win Academy Awards and Olympic gold medals.

Why should Jewish students attend USC? Chabad at USC offers a vibrant, home-like Jewish community. Twelve Jewish classes and learning options every week, holiday activities reaching hundreds of students, Shabbat 700 and frequent guest lectures are just some of the ways students are engaged and supported. Student leaders help to create a very special, welcoming atmosphere for students of all backgrounds and levels of affiliation, while the Wagner family — Rabbi Dov, Runya and their children — make everyone feel like family. Working with the Office of Religious Life and Jewish partners on campus, Chabad provides support for Jewish students’ needs regarding holiday absences, Shabbat and holiday observance, kosher food, Israel activities and trips and so much more. — Rabbi Dov Wagner, Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at USC


  • Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Region: West
  • Campus type: Big city
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 18,794
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 2,000
  • Jewish population share: 11%
  • Student origin: 65% in-state / 35% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: Daily Trojan
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Trojans
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Lockdown / Hellions of Troy

What Students Say:

“I love the atmosphere. USC has so many amazing resources and options that allow students to reach their maximum potential in both academic and social settings which just creates a feeling of ubiquitous happiness”…“I think our university’s crackdown on Greek life and social life in general is unfair. In years past, the row used to be much more fun — and, honestly, safer — for underage students. Now, students are constantly afraid of getting trouble”…”It is amazing that we are located in Los Angeles because the opportunities here are endless.”

COST & AID Score: 4.17/15

  • Score: 4.17/15
  • Tuition: $54,259
  • Room & board costs: $14,885
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $32,287
  • Average loan debt: $29,080
  • Starting median salary: $59,400
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: Jewish Leadership Scholarship

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 16%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Median SAT range: 1300-1500
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: No

What Students Say:

“We have so many different majors and minors to choose from, and it is possible to combine a bunch together”…“I get so much help from advisors and faculty who help me navigate the job market and my future career goals”…“There are always networking and learning events on campus and at this school, and students are motivated to take advantage of them.”

ISRAEL Score: 16/20

SAFETY Score: 6/11

  • Score: 6/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 1
  • Campus crime rate: 3.19/1,000 students (medium low)
  • City crime rate: 31.93/1,000 people (medium low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 23.67/34

  • Score: 23.67/34
  • Hillel: USC Hillel
  • Chabad: Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at USC
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Jewish dorm: SChalom Housing at Parkside Apartments
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? No
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 20
  • Hillel Friday night services: 1
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 150
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 150
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 32 (19 Orthodox, 5 Conservative, 8 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Judd Apatow
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: USC Hillel proudly promotes Health and Wellness through its umbrella program called HEAL. HEAL offers ShalOM Yoga, Hiking with Hillel, fitness classes, and art programs focused on stress relief and self care (ex. Self Care Seder Plate), and students can seek mental health, drug and alcohol abuse related support from our executive director, who has an MSW, and our rabbi. Hillel is most excited to be adding a new member to the Health and Wellness team this year: a support dog who will be at Hillel most days of the week!
  • Where do Jewish students come from? Students from USC come from all over the world. It is a very diverse campus.
  • Kosher food details: The kosher food situation is improving. Fresh kosher dinners are now available three nights a week through USC Dining. Grab-and-go kosher sandwiches and salads are for sale on campus. There are two on-campus — and one just off-campus — Coffee Beans serving kosher sandwiches and pastries. And there are kosher meals available several times a week at the Chabad House, in addition to full Shabbat and holiday meals.

What Students Say:

“There are so many student leaders who put on their own events and fundraisers. We are a diverse group of students from various ethnic backgrounds and religious observance levels. We all feel like we have a home away from home and have made life-long friends that are just like us”…”Life can be improved for Orthodox Jews. Kosher food is finally making headway, but that’s where I would start”…”I would hope to bridge the divide between our Hillel and our Chabad. There is sometimes some rivalry and there really shouldn’t be”…”USC has an amazing rabbi and great community feeling on Shabbat and holidays.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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