International student graduates with 4 bachelor’s degrees from USC Dornsife

Carl Zhoug

Sibo “Carl” Zhou insists he never set out to be an overachiever.

Rather, Zhou, a native of Haikou on China’s southern island of Hainan, calls his academic life a blend of strategic planning and unexpected developments. Serendipity mixed with earnest practicality.

“Life is a challenge, a test, but I love putting effort into things and seeing what I can accomplish,” he says.

On May 10, Zhou graduates from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences with four bachelor’s degrees, a rare achievement that speaks to Zhou’s enterprising spirit and desire to succeed.

Planned and unplanned

As early as middle school, Zhou set his sights on attending a college in the United States, following the path of an older cousin who turned his U.S. education into a thriving career at Amazon.

Zhou successfully lobbied his parents to attend high school in the states, a move he said would improve his candidacy with college admissions officers. After graduating from a Catholic school in suburban Chicago, Zhou ventured to USC, pulled to the university’s sterling academic reputation and L.A.’s vitality, from its beaches and Hollywood to its prominent Asian communities.

“I knew this was the place for me,” he says of USC.

Read more of Sibo’s story