Dec 10, 2013
Hi there I've been reading these forums for months but need some serious advice here and I'm wondering if you can please help this lurker out :) I'm very lucky to have gotten into a couple of schools and I have narrowed it down to two: USC and NOVA. I'm OOS for both, interested in OMFS or ortho.

Total cost of attendance including all fees and living expenses: $365,114 for NOVA, $426,523 for USC. Difference of $61,409 which I guess will be $120,000 after interest.

NOVA pros: less expensive, a little closer to home, nicer facilities, somewhat friendlier atmosphere, can get better apartment closer to school, the area near the school is fairly nice and suburban.
NOVA cons: not as much name recognition which I suppose is important in specializing (I want to do OMFS). It's been a long time since I've interviewed there but I don't recall anything "special" to the curriculum, ie, no PBL, block scheduling. Also you have to do some community service project which I'm not really excited about. I heard about some problems getting patients in years past but it seems to have been resolved.

USC pros: more prestigious name, probably easier to get into OMFS coming out of USC. I like PBL and frankly I learn better and more efficiently teaching myself. More research opportunities. More free time (1 free day per week). Los Angeles is awesome but expensive. And no, USC is NOT in the ghetto ! The area is fine, and this is coming from a guy who lives in a good suburb.
USC cons: more expensive, more cutthroat and competitive atmosphere because the grading system is GPA based, facilities are old, tough to get good housing close to school for a decent price. Also I was not really impressed during the interview, no faculty came to talk to us and we got really cheap cardboard portfolios.

Can anyone think of any more pros and cons I overlooked ? Honestly if they were the same price I would go to USC mostly for the name and living in LA but is it really worth the extra 60K (120K with interest) ??? I don't plan on doing military and I already have 40K in undergrad debt.



5+ Year Member
May 17, 2013
USC is way too expensive... I'd pick NOVA if I were you. Plus you already have 40k in undergrad debt...
Feb 25, 2013
I interviewed at NOVA and loved it! The social atmosphere is great and many ppl do not know this but NOVA is very hard to get into (3.7/21). I'm from Oregon So I would pick USC since it's closer but if NOVA is closer go with NOVA!!!


. smile .
Jan 6, 2013
attend Nova! (why does everyone capitalize Nova? the acronym is NSU) It's cheaper, the atmosphere I felt is very conducive to a healthy learning experience, and Nova offers a large variety of specializations as well. :)
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5+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2013
I would pick Nova if it were closer to me, I interviewed there and I really liked it. I did not receive an interview from USC but I have been on the campus many times. The campus is really cool and its rare to see a campus with that much school pride. The three things that I would consider when thinking about USC and LA are mainly PBL, cost and traffic. Also a large number who go to USC live in downtown LA and when I went to NOVA most of the people who I spoke with live really close to the school and it seemed like a pretty nice area.