The University of South Carolina welcomes students from diverse backgrounds—freshmen from around the United States, transfer students from state technical colleges, international students from more than 100 countries, graduate students from other prestigious institutions, and students transitioning from one of the University's regional campuses to Columbia.
What they all find is a tradition-rich and growing institution with a host of opportunities—from challenging academics, to 300 clubs and organizations, to volunteer and service projects. The Horseshoe is the University's picturesque and historic campus, a gathering place for studying, sunbathing, Ultimate Frisbee—you name it. (Take a virtual tour of campus.)
Other new or future facilities include:
- the $22 million Arnold School of Public Health Research Center
- West (Green) Quad, the world's largest "green" dorm
- the state-of-the-art Wellness and Fitness Center
- the Greek Village's 20 fraternity and sorority houses
- the South Carolina Honors College residence hall
- the 34,800-square-foot Dance and Marching Band facility
- the Gamecocks' new riverfront baseball stadium
- the academic enrichment center for student-athletes
South Carolina is a pioneer and national leader in the first-year experience, including its acclaimed University 101 program that helps students adjust to college life. The First Year Reading Experience also brings together more than 3,000 students from the freshman class the week before fall classes begin to discuss a book as a common point of reference. The 2010 selection: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
Support programs that help students keep their academic momentum into their second year and beyond include:
- Academic Centers of Excellence in residence halls
- the Student Success Center at Thomas Cooper Library
- a student-led Supplemental Instruction program for core courses
- The Sophomore Initiative
The University is both raising its academic profile—average SAT scores for the freshman class are up 86 points, to 1187, since 2001—as well as increasing access through the following initiatives:
- Bridge Program, providing academic support to students transferring from one of the state's technical colleges
- Gamecock Guarantee, providing financial and academic support for qualified state residents who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend the University
- Engineering and Computing Expanded Life Scholarship program, supplementing existing state-funded LIFE scholarships for at least 100 in-state freshmen
With support from the Office of Fellowship and Scholar Programs (OFSP), South Carolina students have won $13.9 million in prestigious national scholarships and fellowships since 1994. In fact, the University was tied for 15th among national comprehensive universities—and tied for seventh among public universities—for the number of Goldwater and Truman scholarships won in 2007. During the 2009-10 academic year alone, 53 awards totaling more than $1.8 million were won by our students. Awards included Marshall, Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater, and Fulbright, among others.
OFSP also administers the programs that recruit top in-state (Carolina Scholars) and out-of-state (McNair Scholars) students to campus. The average SAT scores for their 2007 freshman classes—1476 and 1503, respectively.
Opportunities, challenges, and discoveries await at the University of South Carolina—life experiences that will help define who students become and how they continue the University's tradition of making a difference on campus, in the community, and around the world.