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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

School Spotlight: University of San Diego

Updated: May 8, 2023

University of San Diego (USD), located just 30 minutes from the Mexican border and two hours from Los Angeles, offers a sense of community to its 5,000 undergraduate students, despite the 180-acre campus. Between the California weather and the excellent academics, this medium-sized private university is an appealing option for many students. Princeton Review offered USD the number one spot among Most Beautiful Campuses and number nine for Best Quality of Life.

Here are five fun facts about the University of San Diego:

1) Majors in finance, marketing, and accountancy in the Knauss Business School are among the strongest at USD. The business school offers a dual degree program, giving students the opportunity to receive a degree from an international partner university in conjunction with their degree from USD. Current partners are universities in Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy. Students complete part of their undergraduate education on USD's campus and part abroad. Outside the business school, more than 70% of students choose to study abroad in one of 44 countries during their time in college. Other strong majors at USD include engineering, communication studies, and psychology.

2) USD offers seven “Living and Learning Communities” to help create bonds between students with similar interests, such as highlighting social justice issues in Illuminate or encouraging sustainability in Cultivate. At USD, 100% of first-year students participate in the LLCs, including commuter students. They liken the concept of these communities to the four houses in Hogwarts for you Harry Potter fans. Research has shown that students who participate in living and learning communities demonstrate greater academic achievement and are more engaged in their overall campus community.

3) Students at USD join in on many traditions over the course of the year, including the “Midnight Scream,” where students let out their stress before final exams begin. Another cool tradition is “Blue Friday,” where students, faculty, and staff show school pride and support the athletics happening over the upcoming weekend.

4) Faith and service are a huge component of campus life at USD, but all religions are welcome. Typically recognized as a top-ten best Catholic university in America, USD hosts 11 yearly retreats and more than 415,000 hours of community service per year. USD was ranked as the number four university committed to public service in the Washington Monthly.

5) Athletics are strong at USD, so much so that the Toreros have won the Pioneer Football League title six of the past seven years. USD is a proud home to 17 Division I teams. The athletic department also hosts six athletic trainers, a nutritionist, a sports psychiatrist, and a four-person performance staff.

Notable USD grads include The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons, multiple Major League Baseball players and many international politicians. They offer many alumni events throughout the year for former Toreros to reconnect.

Applications for the fall term are due December 1 and decisions will be released in the month of March. The university is “test-free” to increase access to academics and to ensure an equitable admissions process for all students.

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