Madeline Clara Cheng (she/her)

Major(s): Composition

Minor(s): Business Law

Class of 2026

Hometown: Los Altos, CA

USC Organizations: Undergraduate Student Government Performing Arts Committee, Escape SC, USC OWN IT Leadership Summit, The FAM Music, Thornton Community Engagement Program, Thornton Composers Ensemble

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

I love studying at a table in front of Dulce with an iced matcha latte, surrounded by the sounds of the village fountain and the lively thrum of passing students.

What is your go-to place for a delicious snack/meal on or around campus?

You can’t go wrong with a salmon bowl from Seeds!

What is your favorite thing about Los Angeles?

The arts scene here is unbeatable. I can always get a student discount to see my favorite performers playing my favorite shows, be it with the LA Phil, LA Opera, Center Theatre Group, touring musicals at the Pantages, and even comedians performing improv and sketch comedy.

What advice would you share with students applying to music schools right now?

Know yourself as an artist and creative. Get in touch with your personal hopes, goals, and dreams for music school—it will help you figure out what you want to get out of your college experience. Plus, doing so will also allow you to present yourself confidently and unapologetically.

Why did you choose USC Thornton?

As an innovative school of music in the heart of Los Angeles’ thriving arts industry, USC Thornton offered me the best balance of a conservatory-style school, a hub of collaboration, and a pre-professional curriculum to prepare students for the real world. I loved that I could also pursue academic and extracurricular interests within the rest of USC as well—I’ve gotten to learn more about and develop skills in music directing and theatre, leadership, operations/logistics, business, finance, and law. I even joined a club that builds and designs escape rooms on and around campus!