The Freshmen Academy is a fall semester class for first-year Viterbi students to introduce them to the field of engineering.

The class is taught by experienced, enthusiastic professors, along with upperclassmen engineering student mentors, known as Academy Coaches. In addition to building community within the Academy classes, upperclassmen coaches are there to answer any questions about the course, the Viterbi School of Engineering, USC and any other issues or challenges that students face during their first year. Coaches are to be friendly, proactive, responsible and organized, with the expectation to to act as role models and reach out to freshmen students during their college transition. Other Academy coach responsibilities include:

  • Play an active role in the Viterbi New Student Luau in August
  • Plan and execute both in-class and outside-of-class activities throughout the semester
  • Work with and support Academy faculty with class lectures and projects
  • Assist with implementation of All-Academy Lectures
  • Attend team meetings twice a month

Apply to be a Coach

The Fall 2018 Freshmen Academy Coach application is now open! Applications are due by 11:59 pm on March 5th, 2018.

There are two steps in the application process:

  • You must submit the online application
  • When you submit your online application, a recommendation request will be generated and sent to the recommender you list in your application. It is your responsibility to follow up with your recommender to be sure he/she submits the recommendation by the deadline. The earlier you submit your coach application, the more time your recommender will have to complete his/her portion.

If selected for an interview, you will be asked to participate in the a group interview that will take place in March. Coach selections will be announced in mid April.

Please read the FAQs below before applying.

Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

  •  I just submitted my application. How do I sign up for an interview?
    • We will review your application and notify you via email whether you have been selected to proceed to the interview phase. At that time, we will tell you how to sign up for an interview.
  • What is the interview format?
    • The interview will last about 30 minutes, and will consist of a group of 3-4 Coach candidates and 2-3 interviewers.
  • When will I know if I have been selected as a coach?
    • We hope to notify students of our selections by the beginning of April, though sometimes coach hires occur through the summer due to changing needs. You will be notified via email if you have been selected.
  • If I’m selected as a Coach, when do I find out my co-coach and faculty member?
    • Co-coach, faculty, and Academy session assignments will not be determined until the summer.
  • What is the time commitment of being a Coach?
    • During the school year, the Coach position is a 2-5 hour/week commitment. This time includes Academy class sessions, the All-Academy Lecture series, and the planning and execution of in-class and outside-of-class activities. The week before classes begin in August, there will also be several hours of Coach training and activities, including the Viterbi Freshmen Luau. Employment is only for the fall semester.
  • Coach training takes place the week before classes begin. What if I’m not available during that time?
    • Coach training and orientation is mandatory. If you are selected as a Coach, please contact Sheryl Koutsis ( to discuss your individual situation.
  • If I’m a Coach, do I need to register for the Academy class?
    • No, you do not need to register for the Academy class; it will not count toward your semester units.
  • What if my class schedule overlaps with Academy classes?
    • Although we cannot change the Academy class schedule, we try to accommodate the schedules of all selected Coaches. Scheduling conflicts will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • I want to be a Coach, but I never took the Freshmen Academy class because I transferred into USC/Viterbi. Can I still apply?
    • Yes, you may still apply to be a Coach. Being a transfer student or spring admit student will not preclude you from being selected as a Coach; transfer and spring admit students have served as Coaches in the past.
  • I am studying abroad in the fall. Can I still participate in the Freshmen Academy program?
    • Freshmen Academy classes are only offered in the fall semester; therefore, you would be unable to be a Coach in the Freshmen Academy program.

Still have questions? Contact Sheryl Koutsis (