Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Size: 23,363 Undergraduate; 7,925 Graduate
Percent Women: 54%
Tuition (one year): $10,816 In-State; $28,528 Out-Of-State
Most Popular Majors: Research and Experimental Psychology; Biology, General; Business Administration, Management and Operations; Physiology, Pathology and Related Sciences; and Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 60.6%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit The University of South Carolina's website at https://www.sc.edu/admissions/
Why Choose South Carolina?
"One of the main things that drew me to South Carolina was the location of the school. It's situated in the middle of Columbia, which, even though it is South Carolina's capital city, is a great college town. It's big enough to have great restaurants, shopping, and other businesses, but not so big that I can feel lost or distracted from my studies."
"I chose The University of South Carolina because it has the #1 International Business program in the country. It's extremely competitive, but I know that graduating from this program will make me stand out among applicants for my first job out of college."
"Honestly, South Carolina is in my blood. Both of my parents attended the university, my sister graduated in 2009, and my brother just graduated in 2012. The university offers such an amazing experience year after year, that none of us can imagine being a student at any other establishment."
"I'm from Maryland, but I've always known that I wanted to go to the South for college. I toured South Carolina during my high school's fall break with some friends, and I fell in love! It's hard to explain, but I just felt like I belonged."
"The sports! I was raised in a family that loves college athletics, so naturally I wanted to choose a school with a winning team and solid fan base. During the fall, the weekends revolve around football games, and the spring is filled with baseball games. Gamecock spirit is everywhere on campus."
"Coming from a middle class family, I was looking for a good deal on my college tuition. I wanted a top-grade education, but I couldn't afford to pay the sky-high prices of private colleges. Luckily, South Carolina offers tons of scholarship opportunities. The Honors Program and the Capstone Scholars Program are the two largest ones, but many smaller scholarships are offered as well. I would definitely tell anyone applying to USC to look into those."
"I love working out at Strom (Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center). It is the nicest gym that I have ever seen at a university—the rock climbing wall, group exercise classes, indoor and outdoor pools, and fitness equipment all inspire me to live a healthier lifestyle while at college."
"The Intramural Sports Program at South Carolina is so much fun! I played on my sorority's intramural indoor soccer team, and we won the championship my first semester at the university! The games actually get very competitive, and it feels like I'm back on my high school soccer team again."
"South Carolina has the prettiest campus. Whether I want to read on the Horseshoe, relax by the Strom pool, wander through the historic buildings, or sit by the fountain in front of the library, there is always somewhere to go. Plus, they are all great for Instagram photos!"
"The climate of USC is absolutely beautiful. I'm from New Jersey, so I'm used to the bitter cold throughout the winter months. Now, at South Carolina, I feel like I'm in heaven! My 'winter' outfits are leggings and a sweatshirt, and my summer wardrobe is never put away for long."
"I love going to downtown Columbia on the weekends to relax and have fun with friends. Now that I'm 21, I can go to the bars with my friends; but before this year, I spent a lot of time at the 18+ dance clubs, which are just as fun!"
"The local restaurants in the Vista and Five Points are so delicious, and definitely priced with a college budget in mind! And of course, we have the necessities: Chipotle, Panera, and Cookout!"
"There are definitely nice dorms on campus, like Patterson, the Quads, and Honors. They are all new and completely gorgeous inside! But some other ones, like mine, Bates, definitely need renovation ASAP. I loved the dorm experience as a whole, but community bathrooms are awful."
"Parking at USC is awful! The few garages that are on campus are always full, and the university never promises to change anything about the situation. They over-sell spots, so even if you pay for a designated spot, you might not be able to park!"
"I wish that South Carolina had a more efficient bus system for students. There are a few shuttles that run, but they are few and far between, and only stay on campus. If they could go to local spots like Target or Walmart, that would be really helpful for those of us here without cars."
"I'm not a huge fan of the meal plan. The hours for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are hard to keep up with, and trying to keep track of what fits or doesn't fit on a swipe is annoying. A lot of the a la carte items, like sushi, don't even fit on a swipe. In my opinion, the university should just establish unlimited swipes."
"The academic buildings are all dated—we really don't have access to any new ways of research or high-tech classrooms. The new business building will open soon, and I hope that more like it will be planned as well."
New Collegiette on Campus
"I am so happy that I moved into my dorm early to participate in Fall Sorority Recruitment. It was nice to have a limited number of students on campus for my first couple of days, so I could get used to the feel of the school with girls similar to myself."
"I would tell any girl coming to South Carolina to rush a sorority. I met my very first friends at USC through my sorority recruitment groups, and I'm still friends with them even though we ended up joining different sororities."
"Pretty much all of the dorms on campus are strictly freshman. Because you are living only with people around the same age as you, everyone becomes very close. I absolutely loved living in my dorm, Columbia Hall, during my freshman year. You meet friends for life."
"One of the first activities that is offered to freshmen living on campus is the Student Organization Fair. As a new student, I would definitely suggest going to it. Not only do you get tons of free gifts, but you really can find a group that is perfect for you. I chose to become involved with Dance Marathon, a university-wide event to raise money for cancer research, after approaching their stand at the fair, and I'm still doing it, three years later!"
"It's so easy to meet people down here. Southern hospitality is a very real thing. I'm from Minnesota, so I was nervous that I would be out of place and awkward, but I have amazing friends here that I can't imagine living without. As long as you're willing to put yourself out there, great friends are easy to find."
All About Academics
"What drew me to USC was the Darla Moore School of Business – specifically the International Business major. South Carolina has the top undergraduate international business degree in the country, and the program is super competitive. Graduating from here with a major in IB will definitely set me apart when I start to look for jobs in the real world, so it's worth the effort of applying for entrance during sophomore year."
"I came to South Carolina because I was offered a really great scholarship. As a member of the Capstone Scholars Program, I pay in-state tuition as long as I maintain a 3.0 GPA here, which is pretty easy for me. I also have a friend who is here on a full academic scholarship, and she says that the application process wasn't nearly as difficult as you would think. USC wants smart people to come to their university – it's great that they offer rewards for all of our hard work in high school."
"The classes here are rigorous but not too difficult. You learn a lot, but it doesn't feel like you're drowning in homework every night. I don't struggle at all balancing schoolwork, my campus job, and my social life."
"Go to SI sessions! They are free, they're taught by students who actually took the class you're in, and they'll help you pass. I was totally lost in my Intro to Logic class, my professor was cold and unapproachable, and I had basically accepted failure ... then I attended my first session. I ended up making an A in the class, and now I'm an SI for the same course. "
"Nursing is a huge major here. I love that as a freshman, I can already start doing clinical observations at the local medical center, and I'm excited to apply for Upper Division after this semester."
Learn from the Best
"My freshman year, I had Professor Justin Weinberg for Philosophy and the Future, and I would definitely suggest him. He was really cool and laid back, and the topics that we discussed were super interesting. It covers your Ethics requirement for the Carolina Core."
"If you have to take a lab science as a non-major, make sure to get Professor Dan Freeman for Chemistry and Modern Society. He understands that 99% of the students in the class aren't science majors, and really just wants us all to pass. You won't be bored in his class – he is seriously so funny!"
"Before you sign up for any class, make sure to go onto www.ratemyprofessors.com/. They are pretty accurate and can save you from taking an unnecessarily hard professor."
"My favorite classes so far have been my Spanish 300-level classes. I'm only a freshman, but I came in with strong AP scores and a good grade on the language placement test, so I got placed in higher level courses. I'll almost be finished with my Spanish minor after my freshman year, and the classes aren't even that hard! They're super interesting, and both of my professors have been native speakers."
"Every professor is required to offer office hours, but not a lot of students know to take advantage of them. Professors are literally sitting on their computers waiting for students to come in for help, and that's exactly what I do. The one-on-one interaction that comes from a personal session with your professor not only helps with your understanding, but also lets the professor know how hard you are trying in his or her class."
Interests & Involvement
“Greek life is huge here at South Carolina. A common misconception is that all sororities care about is partying and appearances; but it is so much more than that. Joining a sorority is a great way to meet lifelong friends and start building a network; plus, it offers many outlets to gain both leadership and volunteer experience.”
“I chose not to rush one of the Panhellenic sororities, but I did join a business fraternity during the second semester of my freshman year. I’ve met so many great people through it, and I'm learning really important skills for my future career.”
“There are so many student organizations here that it’s almost overwhelming! From service groups, to pre-professional organizations, to club sports, there is literally something for any interest you could have. It's also not hard to find them! There are always different groups in front of the student union offering information about what they do; all you have to do is approach the people working the table.”
“For Freshman, all of the dorms have their own hall governments and events. I live in Capstone, and I really like going the Service Saturdays they have. All you have to do is sign up online, and we will go as a group to volunteer at different service sites around Columbia. It’s so much fun, especially if you go with friends!”
“I think it’s really great they have a student organization fair at the beginning of every semester year right at Russell House. It’s an easy way for students to see all the clubs here, and find out ways they can get involved in college.”
“I love the club sports here. I joined the club soccer team and it’s been so much fun so far. I still get to play at a competitive level, travel to different universities, and bond with my teammates, without the stress and responsibility of being a college athlete.”
“Go! Fight! Win! Kick A**! (That's our kick-off cheer.) Gameday is unreal in Columbia. Everyone drops what they’re doing to come to the stadium and cheer on the Gamecocks. It’s not just a sport around here, it’s a season-long holiday.”
“You won't find any more loyal fans in the country than those who follow the South Carolina Gamecocks. Or more people that hate Clemson.”
“You haven’t experienced Gameday until you’ve been to a home game at Williams-Brice Stadium. The huge crowd, the cheers, dancing to Sandstorm...it's an amazing event that cannot be described until you go to one yourself.”
“I first started participating in intramural sports at USC during my freshman year because it was a great way to meet new people outside of my dorm. Now that I'm a senior, I'm still involved because it's a fun way to stay in shape and continue the sports I love!”
“I couldn’t think of anything more fun on a Saturday than putting on my garnet and black dress and cowboy boots and watching the Gamecocks play!”
“During the fall, football is the thing that gets us through the school week. Knowing that there’s a game every weekend where we get to watch a team that’s competing to be at the top of the SEC is the best part of going to USC.”
“I feel like the gender ratio on campus is relatively even. Even being in a sorority and living in Patterson (all-girls dorm), I still have a lot of guy friends. The guys are nice here, making them very approachable. It’s up to you to find the people you want to be around.”
“I saw a lot of Lilly Pulitzer and monograms during sorority rush, so I assumed my wardrobe was out of place, but I come to realize that everyone is an individual and you just have to like what you’re wearing. Nobody will say anything; there's lots of different styles all over campus.”
“I feel very confident about being a woman on campus. There are a lot of organizations and clubs that are all-girls, and it gives us a sense of sisterhood. South Carolina has sororities, club sports teams, mentoring services, and volunteer groups that bring us all together. It’s a great campus to embrace being a woman; there is a really strong support network throughout the university.”
"The style for girls down here is very casual. You see lots of Nike shorts, leggings, big t-shirts, Patagonias, and tennis shoes in classes, with the occasional girl who actually looks like she stepped out of Vogue. I have no problem jumping out of bed and throwing on comfortable clothes, because that's what pretty much everyone else has on as well."
"I never feel pressured to look my best when I'm going from class to class. The campus is so large and spread out that I often don't have time to put an outfit together before leaving for my 8 AM—and I never could have imagined that I would be comfortable going outside without makeup—but it's fine here! All of the girls on campus are on the same boat; we all share a love for baseball hats to hide our messy hair and cozy fleeces to make us feel like we're still in bed."
Food & Drink
“In general, the food is pretty good here. I like that we have some recognizeable chains in Russell House (the student union), but my favorite spot to eat is definitely The Colloquium Cafe. It is right near a bunch of the academic buildings like Gambrell and the BA, so it's a perfect place to grab a quick lunch between classes!"
“Our University Union has great on-the-go foods like Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Einstein Bros Bagels, which I really appreciate when I'm running late between meetings or classes. Campus also has a bunch of kiosks that are owned by the food company of the university, Sodexo. There's a Greek place called Santorinis, a burger stand called Fresh Burger, homemade bread and sandwiches at Woodstock Cafe, an Italian place called Pandini's, and a coffee place called Jazzman's."
“Most people stop going to the dining halls once they live off campus, but all of the dining options take Carolina Cash, as well as normal money, so you can always eat on campus. I live in University Oaks, but I have classes on campus from 5:00pm-8:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Instead of paying for a full meal plan, I put some money on my Carolina Card and grab a quick meal at Russell between classes.”
“If you live in on-campus housing, there is a kitchen in most apartment-style dorms and the conventional dorms have a kitchen every few floors.”
“On-campus dining offers a lot of variety; but you can also get great food in Five Points and The Vista, which are both within walking distance of campus. In the Vista, you have Chipotle, Moe's, Longhorn Steakhouse, and a bunch of local restaurants that are really good. Meanwhile, in Five Points, there are more chains like Qdoba and Pita Pit, in addition to a bunch of local spots like The Village Idiot, which has amazing pizza, and Yesterdays, which serves classic Southern food.”
"Sometimes, if my friends and I aren't in the mood for on-campus food, we will order take-out from one of the local restaurants. Places like Domino's, Jimmy John's, Tea Pot Chinese Food, and Insomnia Cookies will deliver to pretty much any place on campus.”
"Since we have so many fraternities here at South Carolina, I figured that I would be going to house parties all the time. After my first semester, I've learned that it's a lot more popular to go to a house party for a bit, then go downtown to the bars in Five Points for the rest of the night. Obviously, the two are very different, but they are both fun all the same."
"We are definitely a 'bar school.' Five Points is the place to be, pretty much any day of the week. It's super crowded on the weekends, but it's actually pretty popular throughout the week as well! It's impossible to go downtown and not see a person you know. I've seen my friends, my TAs, and even my friends' parents while I've been out, and it's always fun to meet up with others at your favorite spot."
"I'm not much of a partier, but I'm never bored on the weekends. Russell House Student Union has popular movies like The Hunger Games and We're the Millers every Friday and Saturday night, free of charge, so my friends and I will go there often. Also, there is a program on campus called Carolina After Dark. It's a great source for fun, free events throughout the semester. I've attended comedy shows, Shag nights, bowling parties, and more. Don't feel pressured to drink just because you're at a big party school; there are plenty of ways to have non-alcoholic fun!"
"There are multiple fraternity parties every weekend. They'll have house parties, rent out bars, host themed parties...the list goes on. Being in a sorority, I love going to these parties because I'm always looking for my next function date. But they aren't reserved for girls only in Greek Life! I bring my roommate, who never rushed, to all of the parties that I go to, and she always has a good time."
"The bars down here realize that they are catering to a population with limited means (broke college students), so they offer lots of great specials throughout the week. Cover 3 has $2 Sangrias on Thursday nights, Pavlov's Bar has $1 shots on Mondays, and Kildares has Power Hour and $5 Everclear Fishbowls on Tuesday nights, just to name a few. Your practically nonexistent funds will go far on a night in Five Points."
"Living in West Quad, you have the best of both worlds. Because it is apartment-style, you have the privacy of your own bedroom, but the fact that it is still a dorm gives the community of a neighborhood. After living here for my freshman year, I definitely feel prepared to live on my own next year."
"I loved living in Capstone for my freshman year. It's a dorm designated only for Capstone Scholars, a group of roughly 800 first-year students. It is within walking distance to all academic buildings, so I never had to wake up early for classes. Also, it's right by Five Points, so my friends and I could easily walk downtown without worrying about paying for a taxi or finding a shuttle."
"The Resident Advisor, or RA, program at South Carolina is really great. Each floor in a dorm has an RA, but they're not your typical supervisors. They're all really sweet, and genuinely want to be your friend. Yes, they have to take disciplinary action at times, but they really only do so when they absolutely have to."
"It's super convenient that all of the dorms are within walking distance to any building on campus. It usually only takes about 20 minutes to walk to T. Coop (the library), Strom (the gym), Russell (the student union), the Horseshoe, or any of the academic buildings."
"Bates has a bad reputation—and it is anything but glamorous and conveniently located—but I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything. It's in my dorm where I found my closest friends, and the girls whom I live with currently. We really were our own little community; I actually miss it from time to time."
"Living in the Honors Dorm has its upsides and its downsides. I love that it is new and clean all the time, and having a Starbucks and cafe right downstairs is a huge plus. On the other hand, the people living in this dorm tend to stay to themselves, and study pretty much all of the time. I feel like I'm the only one who goes out on the weekends."
“I love going to school in Columbia. Even though it’s the capital city, it feels more like a college town, but there’s still plenty to do off campus.”
“Five points is definitely my favorite spot to hang out in. During the day, it’s great for eating whether you want a sit-down restaurant or fast food or to grab a coffee. At night it’s a total bar scene with plenty of options and drink specials to choose from. They also have 18+ bars which is nice because anyone can go enjoy the scene.”
“The only thing that’s kind of hard about going to school here is you feel kind of lost without a car. Most of the off-campus living options are at least a ten-minute drive from campus and even off-campus eateries can be a bit of a walk depending which dorm you live in. After my freshman year I had to convince my parents to let me bring my car to school because not having it seriously limited my options. A lot of students get mopeds too.”
“I love going to USC because the entire city is obsessed with the Gamecocks. You could be at a restaurant 20 minutes away from Williams Brice stadium and it will still be decked out in garnet and black. It makes me feel proud to be a Gamecock when everyone is so spirited.”
“I love shopping in Five Points! Even though the boutiques can be a little pricey, they have everything girls need for game day outfits. You just got to make sure you go during Parent’s Weekend.”
"If you're looking to go out and party, go to Five Points. If you're looking for a nice dinner and a classier bar scene, go to The Vista."
HC's Complete College Guide: University of South Carolina
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