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Two students studying in Russell House

Vibe Check: USC's Best Study Spots

A roundup of our favorite study spots across campus.

The stress of finals is building and those semester-ending exams the only thing standing between you and a much-deserved summer vacation. Your planner looks like a bowl of Lucky Charms, a rainbow consisting of every study plan and final meticulously laid out and scheduled in preparation. You can practically taste the success. But where’s the best place for you to focus and go through a thousand Quizlet flashcard decks? Where can you spread out your textbooks and fav pens? Is it quiet? Does it have comfy chairs?

Every person is a little bit different when it comes to their study environment. Some like to study in big groups, huddled around white boards while verbally processing the material. Some like warm, cozy and dim spaces that are filled with the quiet ambient noises of pages turning, pens scratching feverishly against paper and coffee cups clinking. Others enjoy a silent, clean and bright environment with minimal distractions to enter a level of hyperfocus that can’t be broken. Then there are students who find that the best study spots aren’t in a building at all.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite study locations across campus that should set you up for success in acing your upcoming exams. No matter where you fall on the study spot spectrum, USC has the environment you need to focus and get it done.

  • Gibbes Green

    Tucked away in the trees, Gibbes Green provides a small, island-like oasis for those looking to be outdoors on campus, but not have to be directly in the South Carolina sun. In this space, you’ll feel like the main character of your favorite romcom as you devour your notes, the intertwining oak branches casting shadows across your notebooks and study blanket. Gibbes Green is also centrally located, making it a great spot for those who enjoy the chatter of passersby as ambient noise. We suggest bringing an acai bowl from Colloquium for extra brain power and the perfect study picnic.

  • Sunlight coming through the trees of Gibbes Green

  • Patio at Barnwell College

    The patio at Barnwell is a gem hiding in plain sight. This shady outdoor study spot is perfect for those who want the vibes of Gibbes Green but prefer a table to layout their study materials. Plus, the tables at this location have enough room for the whole gang.

  • Girl studying outside on the patio of Barnwell College
  • Academic Advising Center

    Located on the third floor of Close-Hipp, the Academic Advising Center is the perfect study spot for those looking for a bright and modern space to absorb notes and information. Natural light and plenty of outlets make this spot a great choice if you’re wanting to hunker down for the long haul with few distractions. This location is convenient for Columbia Hall and Capstone residents, and it even has a microwave for your favorite study snacks.

  • Study space at the USC Academic Advising Center
  • Third Floor Russell House

    Russell House is no surprise to this list, but the third floor is uncharted territory for many. As you weave through the chairs, booths and around corners, you’ll discover several nooks and crannies to tuck yourself away. This space has cozy chairs and couches that are more removed from the hustle and bustle of Russell, while still giving you proximity to your favorite dining options.

  • Girl studying in a green booth on the third floor of Russell House Student Union
  • Thomas Cooper Library

    It's an icon. It is the moment. T-Coop is the obvious go-to study spot for most and can get packed quickly during exams. Regardless, this location is the best for group studying or a quiet place for hyperfocus. Want to lock yourself away in a guaranteed room where time becomes a blur? You can book your study space ahead of time. If you're an avid ASMR listener, T-Coop is the study spot for you. The turning of book pages, the soft hum of AirPods playing music, highlighters gliding across notebooks, the gentle tap of keyboards typing, it's all there. If the library isn't your vibe but the sounds are, we’ve got the perfect ASMR video for you.

  • A group of women studying at a wooden table in Thomas Cooper Library
  • The Horseshoe

    Picture this: A soft breeze rustling the oaks and palmettos. The soft murmur of chatter and wireless speakers coming from a dozen or so clusters of study groups dotting the grass on brightly colored blankets. It’s warm, tranquil and there’s probably a dog to pet when the going gets tough. This is the Horseshoe study experience, quintessentially South Carolina and sure to inspire finals success. We suggest grabbing your favorite Beezer's sandwich to push you through that last PowerPoint.

  • Two women on a blanket in front of Maxcy Monument
  • South Caroliniana Library

    After years of painstaking renovations, the South Caroliniana Library reopened this past fall. Inside, you’ll feel at one with history as you tap a nervous toe on the original floors and study at the same desks that the university’s Board of Trustees used back in 1844. The library is airy, quiet, studious and will make you feel like you’re studying in the Library of Congress rather than on a college campus. Even though you’re not allowed to have food or drinks in the library, its proximity to a Cool Beans latte or a Carolina Café bagel makes it an elite spot for focus and vibes.

  • A circle of historic desks in the South Caroliniana Library
  • Moore School Dominion Energy Study Commons & Patio

    Just down the hill from central campus lies the Darla Moore School of Business patio and Dominion Energy study commons. If you’re a student who likes to switch up scenery without having to go somewhere entirely new, this location is perfect for you. Inside is filled with different kinds of seating, depending on your preference, and floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light and Columbia views that will keep you alert through every flashcard. Outside on the patio, the sounds of the city will become the soundtrack to your study session as you stretch out across one the large patio tables. 

  • The study space of the Dominion Energy Study Commons at the Darla Moore School of Business