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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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January 28, 2019

Housing and Transportation Living in LA

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You got accepted into the program.
You committed. 
But now you need to start putting this dream into action.

I was overwhelmed when I first began this process. I was late to the OT house registration deadline and scrambled for housing in the first 2 months of the program. Picture this, 22 year old female moving from NYC to LA with 2 suitcases and no housing. Atrocious mess? You betcha. Luckily I had a few friends out here who let me crash on their couch for a couple of weeks. I moved 5 times before settling on a place for my first year of grad school and moved again for my second year of grad school.

So I get it. Housing is important and if your housing situation is stressful, honestly, it’s impossible to study effectively. So here are some of the tips that I gained from my experience and would like to share with you all:

  1. OT House — this is the most commonly discussed housing option. There are a few blog posts about it already so I won’t cover it but check out Caroline’s Post if you’re interested.
  2. Currie Hall — also another highly popular living space that is a 5 minute walk from classes. There are few blog posts about it here so I won’t waste your time on these.

Now that we covered those, here are some housing options that are not as widely discussed. Note — I personally chose to live near the main campus (UPC) as I found it more accessible to stores like Trader Joe’s and Target. So most of the following information will be for housing near the main campus. I broke it down by budget:

ICON PLAZA, 3584 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Most commonly rented by undergraduate students, I did find a community of graduate students here. If you’re all about the amenities then this place might be the place for you. There is an indoor gym, game room, and multiple study rooms to utilize. Most commonly, students will have their own bedroom while sharing the living space, bathroom, and kitchen area with others. There are various floorplans available so you can browse if this is a place of interest!

~$900/month for a SINGLE BED SPACE or ~$1810/month for a PRIVATE 1 bed/1 bath
UNIVERSITY GATEWAY, 3335 S Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90007

This is another popular housing choice for students who want to be near campus. The pricing will really depend on your preference of having a private single bedroom apartment or if you’re open to sharing a room with another student (2 beds in 1 room) which will cut down costs. This complex also has a variety of amenities including a fitness center, study rooms, rooftop terraces, and a sun & soak deck. Underneath the apartment buildings you’ll find places to eat like Subways, Blaze Pizza, Cream, and a CVS. I lived here for about a month throughout the summer program. But their leasing comes to an end at the end of July and I didn’t feel like living here with other undergraduate students during my grad school year. But I will admit that the amenities and location was great.

Starting $899/month
The Lorenzo, 325 W Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

Similar to the University Gateway, The Lorenzo is another popular student housing option mainly for undergraduate students though I have had met many graduate students who opt to live here. The pricing depends on whether you want a bed space vs. a private bedroom, the latter being more pricey. The Lorenzo also comes with a variety of amenities including a fitness center, study rooms, rooftop sundeck, and swimming pools.

The three apartment complexes above all come furnished.

The following information is now other leasing companies that many USC students use, both undergrad and grad students alike. Some may be furnished while others aren’t.

STUHO manages many different buildings with a variety of floorplans. This is also the leasing company that I am currently leasing from! With this company I found a private bedroom with a small kitchenette. I share bathrooms with other students on the floor but avoid roommate drama about cleaning because the company has a cleaning team that comes in once a week to tidy up all shared spaces. This company has a variety of options that you can explore to find a space that you’re comfortable with. All properties are located close to main campus. In my house alone, I found undergraduate, graduate, and even PhD students.

First Choice Housing 
Though I have never leased from this company, I have met with many students who do rent from them. Similar to the STUHO there are a variety of properties to look into. If you can recruit other graduate students you can land a property to share together!

If you’re not interested in living near any of the campuses, getting to school can still be doable especially if you are without a car (like me!). Just make sure to live near a metro line (preferable the Red or Purple) that will take you to Union Station. Because from Union Station, you can take the USC shuttle bus directly to campus (both main and HSC campus). A few popular areas are Silverlake/EchoPark, Koreatown, and Downtown LA. If you do have a car and don’t mind the commute, many students elect to live in Pasadena/Alhambra. To find these housing spots, I have found that apartments.com and zillow.com have some great listings to explore. Of course these are spots that you would most likely want to check out before signing a lease. If you can create some free time in your schedule before you start the program and you’re in the LA area, I would highly suggest blocking out a day just to explore housing options. It’s could be chaotic in a sense where you’ll probably be driving/walking a lot but you can have many viewings in one day (many which last 5-10 min).

Housing can be a stressful thing to deal with. If you have any specific questions/concerns, I am more than happy to discuss details with you! Feel free to email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Don’t be afraid to reach out as I definitely wished I did when I started the program . . . would have been in the same situation but less stressed with more information. Good luck!