McKissick Museum, home of the Visitor Center

Tour Tips

As you plan for your upcoming visit, keep these tips in mind to help make your time on campus enjoyable and worry free.

If a visit date (or a campus tour) is fully booked or blocked off, be prepared to show yourself around.

We offer campus tours Mondays through Fridays (except holidays and extended student breaks) throughout the year. If we make a date (or campus tour) unavailable, it's for a good reason - to ensure your safety, comfort and enjoyment. Please note that dates will show as green/available in our system as long as a visit activity is offered that day. It does not guarantee that a campus tour is available. If you are unable to find a visit date/campus tour that works for your scheduled, we encourage you to still visit campus and stop by the Visitor Center. We may be able to add you to our campus tour waitlist. Additionally, we can provide you with our self-guided tour brochure, connect you with an admissions representative and answer any questions you may have.

Waitlist Policy

We may be able to accommodate walk-ins for campus tours through our waitlist. In-person requests to be added to the waitlist for a campus tour will only be taken on the same day as the tour. Visitors must be physically present at the Visitor Center 30 minutes before the preferred tour time to request to be added to the waitlist. Please note that visitors are limited to choosing one tour time when requesting to be added to the waitlist. Waitlist requests are first-come, first-serve and do not guarantee a space on a campus tour. During the spring semester, we reserve the right to prioritize admitted students. If space becomes available, visitors on the waitlist will be able to join the campus tour once the admissions overview has ended. If space does not become available, a member of our team will provide you with self-guided options for exploring campus. Your flexibility and patience are greatly appreciated.


Register for your visit before booking transportation/lodging.

Tours can fill up quickly during peak visit times and in the worst-case scenario, you can amend your booking by contacting us. If visiting USC is a high priority, register for your visit as early as you can, before booking any transportation/lodging. Plane, train and bus tickets cost money and can become very expensive to change or cancel - so it's better to keep an eye on prices, but to book them after confirming your visit. If you cannot attend after all, please cancel your registration using the link in your confirmation email or by calling us at 803-777-0169 - it allows us to offer your spot to another prospective family!


Visit Confirmation

As soon as you complete your visit registration, you will receive a confirmation email with important details. Attached to the email, you will find your parking pass and our Visitor Parking Guide. You must print the parking pass prior to your visit. If you will need special assistance while you are on campus, please notify the Visitor Center as early as possible at 803-777-0169. You can also request accommodations when completing your visit registration. Learn more about guest accessibility.


Changes and Cancellations

You can use the “edit or cancel your registration” link provided in your confirmation email to make changes or cancel your visit. To reschedule your visit for a different day, first register for your preferred new date, then cancel your existing reservation. For assistance, call 803-777-0169 or email


Late Arrivals

Please be advised that your seat will be forfeited if you arrive more than 15 minutes after the campus tour begins. We encourage all visitors to check-in 30 minutes before their tour. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late, we will be happy to provide you with information about our self-guided tour.


Visitor Parking

The Visitor Center is located in McKissick Museum on the Historic Horseshoe. After registering for your visit, you will receive detailed instructions for our complimentary Visitor Center parking. All other visitors are welcome to park in the numerous metered visitor parking spaces across campus and on many of the streets that surround campus. Please note that metered parking is not complimentary.



COVID-19 and Your Campus Visit

To help protect the health and safety of the University of South Carolina community and all our visitors, the university has put into place COVID-19 guidelines following CDC guidance.


What to Wear

Check the weather and dress appropriately. The student-led walking tour of campus can last up to two hours, so please wear comfortable, closed-toes shoes and pack an umbrella in case of rain. We also recommend bringing a refillable water bottle to campus. We have various locations for you to fill up your water bottle along our campus tour route.


While You're in Town

If you're planning to stay in town for a while, consult our calendar for events and check out Explore Columbia for attractions and accommodations. Remember to ask about special rates for USC visitors when making your hotel reservations.


Frequently Asked Questions

Campus tour are offered weekdays at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., with an additional 11 a.m. tour on Mondays and Fridays. Please note that tours may be unavailable during holidays and extended student breaks.

We do not offer guided tours on major holidays or weekends. If you're trying to visit on a day when we do not offer guided tours, we recommend doing a self-guided tour. We have a self-guided tour map that you can pick up at anytime from our mailbox in front of the Visitor Center.

March and April are our busiest months. Monday and Friday are generally the busiest days of the week because of their proximity to the weekend. Please remember, many high schools all over the country often take the same holidays. These days are a great time to visit our campus; however, they can fill up quickly.

We release campus tours based on current student ambassador availability. Therefore, we wait until our students have solidified their class schedules and summer plans before announcing campus tours.

We close our visit registration within one business day of a visit date. Please note that tours can fill up quickly during peak visit times, so we encourage you to register as soon as you can. If the one business day deadline has passed, you may visit the day of and request to be added to our day of waitlist.  View our waitlist policy.

No! All of our visits and events are completely free.

While two colleges/universities might be in the same city or geographic region, it might not be possible to visit them both in one day (without the aid of a teleporter). Google maps is fairly reliable, but make sure to note how traffic might change depending on the time of day. Make sure to give yourself time to stay hydrated, well-paced and comfortable.

You can sign up for a campus visit online. Please be sure to have the student’s information prior to registering. Coming with a friend or sibling? All prospective students should be registered separately.  

We cannot guarantee space for guests who have not pre-registered. Guests who have not pre-registered may visit the day of and request to be added to our day of waitlist. View our waitlist policy. If we cannot accommodate you and your guests on a tour, we will be happy to set up you up with our self-guided tour.

We do not recommend signing up multiple students for a visit under one registration. We ask that each individual student signs up separately online for the visit. We need each student’s information so that we can have an accurate count of students and guests.

Of course! We love when students visit together, and we will be sure to allow you to enjoy your visit experience together. We encourage you to email your name and your friend's name to prior to your visit.

Once your visit is confirmed, you will automatically receive a confirmation email sent to the email address you provided on the online registration form. Your confirmation email is very important, as it has information on where to meet, how to get here and where to park. Inside the email, you will find your parking pass and our Visitor Parking Guide. You must print the parking pass prior to your visit.

You can either use the “edit or cancel your registration” link or the “update guest count” link in the email communication you received post registration. You can also call us at 803-777-0169 to update your guest count. We cannot guarantee that there will be space for guests who have not pre-registered.

We can only give out or sign school excuses for students who are registered for an official campus visit. Excuses can only be given for the exact day that a student participates in the campus visit. All visit participants will receive a detailed email 24 hours after the visit experience to serve as an excuse note for school or work.

You will get to see the main area of campus during your 90-minute campus walking tour. Your University Ambassador will be a current student who will not only discuss areas of campus life but will also talk about the history of certain areas of campus. Please note, we have limited access into academic buildings and our student union, and residence halls are unable to be shown at this time. Due to time constraints, we do not show athletic facilities, Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center or Greek Village as part of our regular tour route.

At this time, we are unable to show residence halls on our general campus tour. Inside the Visitor Center, you can find a mock residence hall room and interactive housing displays. You can also virtually view our residence halls.

Yes! Your tour guide will show you where our bookstore is located on campus. You will be unable to stop during the actual tour; however, you will have the opportunity to stop by after you finish with the tour.

The tour is given by trained current students (called University Ambassadors) who are able to give the history and current uses of university buildings, inform visitors of university traditions and provide their own views and perspectives of the USC student experience. Learn more about our University Ambassadors.

We do not offer private visits.

Yes, we keep our tours small as a way to ensure your safety, comfort and enjoyment.

We strive to provide a quality experience for every student. However, we find that admitted students have more questions. If ambassador availability permits, we will separate admitted students from the general campus tour to provide additional time for questions. In addition, we offer South Carolina Honors College Admitted Student Panels and Capstone Scholars Admitted Student Tours. Students must be admitted/invited to these programs to participate. Information about these activities will be available through the admitted student’s application portal.

We offer group tours for schools and organizations that are interested in scheduling a visit for their students. Group visits are offered Tuesday - Thursday during certain times of the year. You may request your group visit online.

Of course! We highly encourage family and guest participation. In order for us to accommodate the highest number of prospective students, we do ask that you limit the number of guests you bring to no more than three.

The University of South Carolina welcomes patrons and their service animals to our campus. Service animals must remain under control of their handler at all times. Pets and emotional support or comfort animals are not allowed inside USC buildings. However, animals and pets are allowed in outdoor spaces.

We do not provide lunch for our weekday visits; however, you are always more than welcome to stop by the Russell House University Union for lunch on your own before or after your tour. Our University Ambassadors can also provide recommendations for on- and off-campus places to eat.

One-on-one appointments are typically reserved for seniors and transfer students. If you are eligible to request a one-on-one appointment, you will receive an email within a few days of registering for your visit. Using the link in the email, fill out the appointment request form. After submitting the form, you will receive an email stating that your request was received. If we are able to accommodate your appointment(s), you will receive an additional email with your specific appointment(s) once scheduled. If we cannot accommodate your appointment(s), you will receive an explanation email. Please note that all one-on-one appointment requests must be made at least two weeks in advance for the courtesy of the departments we work with in scheduling these appointments. Please be patient with us because we process appointment requests by the order in which the visit will take place.

We do not offer opportunities to sit in on a class. We find it much more beneficial for you to meet with someone in a specific department rather than sitting in on a class. One-on-one appointments are typically reserved for seniors and transfer students. 

Due to NCAA compliance rules, our office is not able to schedule athletic meetings. You will need to contact the athletic office for assistance (803-777-4202).

We hope that it will not rain on your visit; however, if it does, we will still offer tours. Our tours are mainly outdoor walking tours, so please be sure to check the weather before you come so that you can be prepared. In the case of severe weather, your University Ambassador will present a virtual tour to you. You will have the opportunity to speak with an admissions representative if you would like. If the university closes for inclement weather, you will be notified via email. Information will also be available at a href="">

Columbia has multiple hotels to choose from, all within a very close distance to campus. View our recommendations. Remember to ask about special rates for USC visitors when making your hotel reservations.

Due to liability, we do not offer overnight accommodations. You are more than welcome to check out our various hotels located close to campus.

We are not able to store any visitor luggage during tours. We recommend leaving your luggage at your hotel until the completion of your visit.

The closest airport to USC is the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). It is approximately a 15-20 minute drive from campus. The next closest airport is the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in Charlotte, NC. It is approximately a 1.5 hour drive from our campus.

We do not offer a shuttle service to and from the Columbia airport. There are, however, several taxi companies and car rental companies available. We also do not offer shuttle service to and from the Charlotte airport; however, there is a shuttle company: Columbia Charlotte Shuttle. Car rental companies are available at the Charlotte airport as well.

Unfortunately, our office does not sell or give away any athletic tickets. You can purchase these through the athletics ticket office (803-777-4274) or online.


Further Questions or Assistance

Just contact the Visitor Center by email ( or call 803-777-0169 and we'll be happy to help.