“I knew from the start I wanted a school with a tight community and lots of school spirit, so USC ended up being perfect.”

Drew Cooper. (Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Drew Cooper. (Photo/Gus Ruelas)


James Cooper, who goes by “Drew,” is fascinated by the intersections of psychology, entertainment, and technology. The spring admit is majoring in psychology and minoring in music, and his admission essay explored how music – including his own raps – gave him perspective on early challenges and helped him define himself.

What did you do when you first found out you got into USC?

I was out with my brother and dad when my mom got the letter at home. She called me up right away excited, telling me I got in. She then mentioned the small caveat that I would have to start in January, and I went from extremely excited to not knowing what to think all in just a few seconds. Eventually, after talking it over and learning more about it, I decided to enroll anyway and looking back, I’m glad I did.

What did you do fall semester?

I took classes at Santa Monica College and lived right off campus. I think this worked out well because I was able to complete some of the required courses for my major, while at the same time being close to USC and being able to meet a lot of new friends.

Why did you want to be a Trojan? What does USC mean to you?

I knew from the start I wanted a school with a tight community and lots of school spirit, so USC ended up being perfect. Most importantly though, as an electronic music producer who’s also interested in how the brain works, USC allows me to not only be taught by some of the best professors in the world in entertainment and psychology but also be able to study them both and how they intersect. Also, coming from Philadelphia, the Southern California weather can’t really be beat.

What are you most excited to learn/do/experience/etc. while at USC?

I’m excited to have the opportunity to take classes in areas that I’m truly interested in, taught by some of the best professors in the country. Additionally, I’m looking forward to getting involved on campus and joining clubs, so I can get to know the people around me.

What piece of advice were you given about starting college that you’ll follow?

Try to make the most of the time you have here and take advantage of all of the resources the school has to offer.

What experience in your life most shaped who you are now?

Probably playing competitive tennis for seven years. Although I no longer play now, it taught me many lessons about who I am, how to work hard, and how to stay positive even when the going gets tough.

What advice would you give to those hoping to get into USC one day?

Work hard in high school but take time to enjoy yourself too. Follow what you’re passionate about as much as possible because ultimately that will lead to not only your biggest accomplishments but more importantly your overall happiness too. Oh, and do your best to write a good application essay to really showcase who you are.