High Pressure Group Caution

Be careful of groups displaying some or all of the following methods and characteristics:

Pressure and Deception

They use high pressure recruitment tactics, or are not up-front about their motives or affiliations when they first approach you.  They give you gifts or assistance seemingly out of kindness, but then strongly expect you to commit to their group in exchange.

Totalitarian Worldview

They do not encourage critical, independent thinking. In contrast, higher education aims to enable students to think for themselves. Be aware of groups or leaders who try to control your life or who claim to possess the truth exclusively.


They want to choose your friends for you. While all religions have moral standards, watch out for groups that encourage you to sever ties with close friends and family who do not belong to their group. Such groups employ unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control, and can be dangerous.


They make unrealistic demands regarding your time and/or money. If participation in a group takes away significantly from your study time, beware. A group or leader who cares about you understands that your studies represent your future and are thus your first priority as a USC student.

If you feel that you are being pursued aggressively or manipulated by a group or leader, or you have any other concerns about a group with which you’re involved, please contact Senior Associate Dean Jim Burklo or Associate Dean Vanessa Gomez-Brake.