The Ultimate Guide to USC Move-In Day

Cedric Thomas

USC move in day is one of the most exciting times of your life. Whether you are an eager freshman, an upperclassman, or a seasoned grad student, there is nothing quite like the fresh start of move-in day. If you are looking for all things USC, you’ve come to the right place. Here is everything you need to know about living near USC. 

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What is USC Move-In Day?

USC Move-In Day is an annual event that marks the beginning of the academic year for students at the University of Southern California (USC). It is the day when new and returning students move into their dorm rooms or apartments on or near the USC campus. Move-In Day typically takes place a few days before classes start, allowing students to settle in and get comfortable in their new living spaces.

For many students, Move-In Day can be both exciting and overwhelming. It's a time to meet new people, explore the campus, and start a new chapter in their lives. However, it can also be a stressful experience, especially for those who are moving away from home for the first time.

To make the most of Move-In Day, it's important to be prepared. This includes registering for Move-In Day, understanding USC housing requirements, and packing appropriately. USC provides a comprehensive Move-In Guide to help students navigate the logistics of the day, including parking and transportation, checking in with USC Housing, and obtaining room keys and ID cards.

Once you arrive on campus, you'll have the opportunity to meet your roommates and start getting settled in. This may involve unpacking your belongings, setting up your room, and familiarizing yourself with the campus and the surrounding community. USC also offers a range of resources and support services to help students make the most of their college experience, including academic advising, counseling, and career services.

Overall, USC Move-In Day is an important milestone for students as they begin their college journey. With the right preparation and mindset, it can be a fun and rewarding experience that sets the stage for a successful academic year.

Why is it important to be prepared?

Being prepared for USC Move-In Day is crucial for a smooth and stress-free experience. One of the most important aspects of preparation is registering for Move-In Day through the USC Housing portal. This ensures that you are assigned a move-in time slot and that USC Housing can properly prepare for your arrival.

Another important consideration is understanding USC housing requirements. This includes familiarizing yourself with the USC Housing Contract, which outlines the rules and regulations for living on campus. You'll also need to prepare a packing checklist to ensure that you have everything you need for your new living space, while also avoiding bringing items that are prohibited or unnecessary.

Shipping items to campus can also be a helpful strategy for streamlining the move-in process. USC partners with several companies that specialize in shipping and storage for college students, allowing you to send your belongings directly to your dorm room or apartment.

Finally, taking the time to decorate your dorm room can help make it feel like a home away from home. From bedding and wall art to rugs and throw pillows, there are countless ways to make your living space feel cozy and personalized.

What can you expect on the day of move-in?

On the day of USC Move-In Day, you can expect a bustling atmosphere as new and returning students arrive on campus to begin the new academic year. The USC Housing staff and volunteers will be on hand to help guide you through the move-in process, which typically involves the following steps:

  1. Parking and transportation: Depending on where you're coming from, you may need to park in a designated lot and take a shuttle bus to your dorm or apartment building.

  2. Checking in with USC Housing: Once you arrive at your designated move-in location, you'll need to check in with USC Housing staff to obtain your room key and ID card.

  3. Navigating campus: As you make your way to your new living space, you'll have the opportunity to explore the campus and get a sense of the layout.

  4. Moving your belongings into your room: This is often the most time-consuming aspect of Move-In Day, as you'll need to transport your belongings from your vehicle to your dorm or apartment. USC provides rolling carts and other equipment to help make the process easier.

  5. Settling in: Once you're in your room, you'll have the opportunity to start unpacking and organizing your belongings, setting up your room, and getting to know your roommates.

Overall, Move-In Day can be an exciting and hectic experience, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can make the most of this important milestone in your college journey.

When Can I Move in USC? 


Your move-in date will depend on a few things. Most on-campus housing move-in dates will start around the middle of August. Residents of McCarthy Honors College may have an opportunity to move in a few days early. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that approximately 65% of USC students live off campus. Off-campus housing move-in dates will vary based on the housing community, your lease, and more. Some off campus housing will offer earlier or later move-in dates depending on your needs and what they have available. 

Don’t forget to check out when your meal plan kicks in if you plan to use one. Some on campus dining options may not open until the school year officially begins. 

Can You Live off Campus Freshman Year at USC?


Yes! USC Freshman students are not required to live on campus. Many students prefer the flexibility and independence of living off campus. Forget awkward roommate matchups or someone eyeing your every move. With off campus housing, you will find yourself with more freedom and more privacy. If you are having a hard time deciding if on-campus living is the right fit, check out this article for a list of pros and cons. 

Preparing for Move-In Day

Where Do Most USC Students Live Off Campus?

Many USC students who prefer to live off campus still want to be close enough to experience all the perks USC offers. From football games to social events and Greek life, being a USC student is an experience unlike any other. 

Students often flock to residences on 28th and 29th street. Not only does the area offer easy access to campus, it’s also nearby USC Village. USC Village offers shopping, dining, and retail. In this area, you can easily stroll through Target sipping on your favorite Starbucks and load up on all the back to school necessities. It’s no wonder the USC Village is a Trojan favorite. 


Another common area for off campus living is Figueroa Street. Figueroa Street offers a convenient location for students with majors on the east side of campus. It’s also close to McCarthy Quad, USC Hotel, the Galen Center, the Coliseum, Exposition Park, and more. 

Science and Engineering students often live near the west side of campus off Vermont Street. The west side of campus houses the Viterbi School of Engineering, Olin Hall of Engineering, the Science & Engineering Library, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Computer Science Center, and more. This makes trips to campus quick and convenient. The west side of campus is also near numerous eateries and retail options. 


Can Off Campus USC Students Have a Meal Plan?

Yes! Living off campus doesn’t mean you are on the hook to fend for yourself or live at USC Village for CAVA and City Tacos. Many off campus students have an on campus meal plan and take advantage of all that campus dining has to offer. 

USC Hospitality has two campus cafes and three dining halls. In the UPC area there are four full service restaurants like The Lab Gastropub and Moreton Fig. UPC also has 17 quick service locations including Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Filone’s Pasta Kitchen, and The Slice Shop for delicious Detroit style pizza. The HSC features one full service restaurant and three quick service hotspots like Panda Express and Taco-Taco. The buffet-style dining halls are also popular food options and offer something for everyone. The USC Village Dining Hall features a Flexitarian station, Vegan-friendly area, and dessert station, so you won’t go hungry regardless of your diet. 

With so many housing options close to campus, students can easily utilize on campus meal plans living off campus. USC Hospitality and USC Village are a great resource for hangry students looking for good eats. 

USC Hospitality Quick Facts


USC Hospitality offers seven different meal plans. The cost, availability, and price per semester ranges depending on what plan you get. Plans range from approximately $3,465 to $790 each semester. Be sure to consider how often you plan to eat on campus, your food budget, and any other factors important to your diet.

Move-In Day Logistics 

Top Tips for USC Off Campus Living


Research which areas of campus you want to be closest to. Whether you enjoy long trips to the library, prefer close access to classes, or want to be near USC Village or USC Hospitality, a little research can go a long way. 

Find a community environment that meets your needs. Consider how you function best. Do you like to live in an active environment or prefer something a little more private? Either way, living off campus doesn’t mean you have to be secluded unless you want it that way. 

What is your meal plan preference? If you are a self proclaimed chef and love to whip up your own breakfast, make sure your living quarters offer a kitchen. If your cooking 

experience is likened to pouring cereal in a bowl, you will want to make sure you purchase a meal plan and take advantage of all that USC Hospitality and campus dining has to offer. 

Enjoy! College is meant to be one of the best times of your life. You will experience a journey filled with learning- both academically and socially. Your living community will play a large role in your day to day life so be sure it’s a place you want to be. 

Settling In

Getting to Know Your Roommates

One of the most important aspects of college life is building connections with other students, and Move-In Day is the perfect opportunity to start building those relationships. When you arrive at your new living space, take the time to introduce yourself to your roommates and get to know them. 

This may involve sharing your interests, hobbies, and backgrounds, as well as discussing your living preferences and boundaries.

Unpacking and Organizing Your Belongings

Unpacking and organizing your belongings can be a time-consuming process, but it's also an opportunity to start fresh in your new living space. To make the process easier, it's helpful to have a plan in place for how you want to organize your belongings. 

This may involve using storage containers, shelves, or other organizational tools to keep your space tidy and efficient.

Setting Up Your Room

Setting up your room is an important part of making it feel like a home away from home. This may involve adding personal touches such as photos, posters, and other decorations, as well as arranging your furniture in a way that maximizes your space and creates a comfortable atmosphere. 

Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with different layouts and design elements to make your room uniquely your own.

Exploring the Campus

One of the most exciting parts of Move-In Day is the opportunity to explore the USC campus and get a sense of the surrounding community. This may involve taking a walk around campus, checking out the local shops and restaurants, or attending orientation events and activities. 

USC also offers a range of resources and support services for students, including academic advising, counseling, and career services, which can help you make the most of your college experience.

Finding Resources and Support

Moving away from home and starting college can be a challenging transition, but USC offers a range of resources and support services to help students navigate this process. This may include academic advising, which can help you choose your courses and plan your academic path, counseling services, which can provide emotional support and guidance, and career services, which can help you plan for your future and explore career opportunities. 

Don't be afraid to reach out for help and take advantage of the many resources that USC has to offer.

Final Thoughts 

Preparing for a new school year brings a lot of anxious excitement. Figuring out where to live, finding friends, community, navigating campus, and discovering all things USC Hospitality and dining is all part of the adventure. If you are considering living off campus, you can push many of these fears aside. USC off campus housing can be your ticket to freedom and fun. Each community offers something different. Some housing options such as Tripalink offer upscale amenities, fast response maintenance teams, residence events and more. With their convenient app you can find rentals, pay rent, manage your smart lock, access community perks, request maintenance, and more. 

A solid living community allows you less stress, worry, and more time to spend enjoying the full college experience. Whether you are planning to spend hours at the library or hanging at USC Village, the glory of being a USC Trojan is yours for the taking. 


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