Pretty impressed so far with College of Charleston

Thought I’d post here for future families looking at College of Charleston as CC has helped us so much in our research.

So far, we/S19 are pretty impressed with College of Charleston. Our tour back in July was done very well. Received a bag of info and a collapsible water bottle from some very friendly and happy students who checked us in. Liked the video reel of college success trivia while waiting for the info session. Tour guide was great, decently knowledgeable about the school. Liked the business building and the hospital right near one of the academic buildings for my pre-med interested kid. Charleston area is beautiful and looks really fun.

Going to accepted students day this weekend and will report back anything additional. I am interested in hearing about dorms/accommodations, athletics, internships/research, etc. Wanted to mention also that the marketing has been done well and at the right times. S19 getting calls/emails from departments encouraging him to stop by at accepted students day (but not too many calls/emails). The math/science department is hosting their own lunch and going on tour together. Will receive a tshirt at there as well.

Right now CofC is one of S19’s top choices. If he ends up not going there, it will be because he decides not to go with the city environment and/or maybe a football college or closer to home. Everything else is really great!

Forgot to mention that the Honors College looked/sounded really good. Seems like some good perks available and worth doing. I wish my lazybones son would have applied, but he was “essay-ed” out. His loss. :slight_smile:

@cakeisgreat the Honors College is a wonderful program. I can’t say enough good things. My DS19’s test scores were not competitive for the Honors College, but DS16 loves it and is thriving. The caliber of students in that program is impressive.

I saw C of C twice. The first time I was not impressed. It felt like 80% the school’s presentation consisted of talking about the frivolous aspects of C of C: how great it was to be near the beach, the good shopping in Charleston, the nice weather, etc., with the last 20% about the substantive aspects, such as academics, facilities, internships, and study abroad. By the time they arrived at the last 20% they had lost us, and being from out of the area we didn’t have the experiences of current families to counteract the idea that C of C was a school for kids who weren’t serious about their studies.

Four years later I returned with my younger child, and wow, what a difference. They had totally revamped the admissions experience, stressing the opportunities C of C provides-academics, jobs and internships in Charleston, special programs and majors. We came away excited about the College, and it’s one of my child’s top choices.

College of Charleston offers both academic & non-academic excitement. What a gorgeous city ! South Carolina beaches are wonderful. Not sure, but I suspect that the Outer Banks of North Carolina are within a day’s drive. (Just checked. A bit less than 8 hours each way from Charleston , SC to Duck, NC. Only worthwhile for a very long weekend or over Spring break.) My point is that business & young professional lives rarely require or allow one to see such special locations–so why not do so during one’s college years ?

If I was young enough to redo my college years, the College of Charleston would definitely be one of my target schools.

Back from the accepted students day tour and figured I’d post while its fresh in my mind. WOW what fun! Arrived on schedule and all the students were SO nice and helpful. We did a lot of the activities scheduled quickly, so that left us room to walk around the area, and there were students posted all around the street corners. Of course, being the CC mom that I am, we stopped and talked to two nice students who gave us the “extras.” One was a German major from Atlanta which was great because S19 wants to double major or minor in German. Talked about weather, why CofC, dorming, athletics, study abroad, etc. We met art, history, biology, theater, and business majors.

Dorms looks nice - they had all the dorms open for us to view and buildings looked well maintained from the outside. We went inside Berry Hall and it’s a great set up - two rooms with double beds a bath in between and common area for the microwave, etc. Furniture provided (a plus for us because we are far away). The students said dorming is becoming more popular now and they were filled up this year. This was confirmed by an Uber driver who lived here for 20 years as well. BTW - 3 Uber drivers confirmed CofC is a great college and continuing to grow as is Charleston in general.

Loved the pre-med discussion - two students gave the talk (the main advisor got called away on emergency), and we felt they really help students navigate their journey to med school. Left us feeling very confident that if S19 follows the plan and meets with the advisor (and gets the GPA), med school is attainable.

Loved the math/science building. Loved touring the city again. It was quiet in the morning but grew busier through the day and into the night (makes sense). Students felt there was lots to do and we agree!

From the college perspective, we did not see any negatives or concerns. No one outside the college (like the Uber drivers) had any complaints about living in the area or the college, and they seemed very welcoming. We heard there is more girls than guys in attendance, but we saw plenty of guys working today. S19 can definitely see himself here. The city is easy to navigate if you are someone who likes walking around/independent.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. @carolinamom2boys we passed by the honors house a couple of times, and I thought of you each time :). Thanks for adding your thoughts and also @sue22 and @publisher.

Edit - forgot to mention that the train is a 15-minute or less drive from CofC and super easy and comfortable (for any out-of-staters). I think the airport is close as well. I would have no problem if S19 utilized either of these ways of transportation.

@cakeisgreat Did they mention that they have their own ambulance crew staffed by CofC students who have become certified. Many use this as a way to get hours for med school applications. Something you may want to look into.

@carolinamom2boys No they didnt mention that, but that is so cool. They mentioned a bunch of other stuff, and the fact that there are more oppts shows they really work to provide opportunities for the students to get their hours. This is the first college on our list that made it a point to say how important it was and when to start…and here’s how we’ll help you start it. I loved that.

@carolinamom2boys Would love to hear more about the Honors College experience. My D (I think – what is D? I see people use it. I haven’t used this site often) is an accepted student to the Honors College and is deciding between this, U-Arizona and Pitt (those latter two non-Honors). My D plans to be a history major and to be honest, looking at the staff bios CofC’s history is pretty weak compared to the other two. If the Honors College offerings are really wonderful, that could make up the difference and make CofC the top choice, which would be great for a bunch of reasons. How encompassing is the Honors College experience? I know the kids are bright and the faculty is supposed to be the creme de la creme of CoC (is that REALLY the case?), but how much of that is one’s experience in CofC Honors and how much are you a “normal” CofC student with a few perks (like priority registration). This is NO DISS on CofC, I know it’s a wonderful school, but my D also has a couple great opportunities at Pitt and U-Arizona as a non-Honors College student he has to weigh this opportunity against.

Oh-- this is so hard! Any advice would be welcome. @cakeisgreat thank you for your reports on accepted students day!

@AndrewBander - While I’m not Carolina2boys, I do have some experience with all of the schools you have mentioned in your post. I have a current CofC Honors College sophomore and an incoming CofC Honors College/Aiken Fellows freshman. My incoming freshman was also accepted at Pitt, with very large merit. Both myself and my husband attended UofA (Beardown!). We have been so impressed with the Honors College at CofC! My sophomore’s professors have been top notch and very invested in our student’s success and goals. Between the freshman and sophomore years, she was involved in paid research and just received another stipend for paid genetic research this summer. This opportunity was made possible by connections made in the Honors College. She also traveled abroad over Spring Break with one of her Honors professors. It was an outstanding opportunity for her. Whenever she has reached out to the Honors College, she’s received a prompt response and they know her by name. Her Honors College advisor knows exactly who she is and has gone out of his way, on multiple occasions, to help her. My incoming freshman had many outstanding opportunities, all with large merit. Much of his decision was based on his older sibling’s experience and the opportunities already presented to him by the professors in his major at CofC. He has been offered a research opportunity this summer (before his freshman year) that will set him up for success and make him more attractive for future competitive research/internship opportunities. This is an opportunity made possible by the Honors College. We were super impressed with Pitt and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up there for an advanced degree. I cannot speak about the experience or opportunities as a history major. My older is a biology (emphasis in molecular biology) and the my incoming freshman is a computer science major. My husband I both studied communications at UofA. We loved out time at UofA! The 3 schools your daughter has to choose from are very different. Pitt and CofC are more urban while UofA is a big campus centered around a large central mall area. All 3 schools have their own perks and I am certain she will be successful wherever she ends up. With all of the programs colleges have these days, success is possible when a student reaches out and pursues the opportunities available to them. Both of my students chose to be “a big fish in a small pond”. Both had opportunities at large schools but felt at home in Charleston and felt it was the best fit for them. I hope I have helped. Please feel free to pm me if you have any additional questions.

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@AndrewBander my oldest son is a William Aiken Fellow at the Honors College at CofC. It is a true Honors College , not just an Honors program. The students receive additional advising, priority registration, scholarship opportunities and community service requirements . They are required to do a Honors Bachelor’s Essay. We have found professors in Honors , as well as non honors classes to be invested in student success. My son has been surrounded by high achievers who chose CofC over schools like GT, Wofford, Furman, Wake Forest. His peers families have taught at prestigious universities. Many of his friends have been published and have studied abroad. There is a person in the Honors College dedicated to assist students in pursuing honors like Goldwater , Fulbright and Rhodes scholars. My son has also participated in research . He couldn’t be happier. He chose CofC Honors over Clemson Calhoun Honors, Wofford, Furman and Winthrop University.

My youngest will be attending CofC as a freshman in the Fall. He will not be in the Honors College. He will be a Historic Preservation and Community Planning. We met with Dr Gilmore from the program. He has quite an impressive resume. He received his undergrad at William and Mary and his masters and Doctorate at the University of London. He spent a good bit of time with us. Charleston is a very historic city that offers opportunities that Pitt and Arizona cannot IMO. CofC is a true liberal arts college that provides a well rounded education not offered by traditional research universities. Only you can decide what school is best for your child.

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@AndrewBander I looked at some of your other posts and it appears that you are looking for a moderate to conservative school…CofC does lean more left. Also I saw that you are Jewish. I wanted to let you know that there a strong Jewish student Association and Hillel on campus. There is also a vegan/kosher dining hall on campus if that is something that interests you.

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College of Charleston would be more conservative than Pitt. It’s also ranked high for being welcoming to Jewish students.
I wouldn’t pick UArizona non honors though - the budget cuts have been drastic and only the honors college has been somewhat preserved, with humanities suffering the brunt of it.
At Pitt, check to see whether your child would be able to take some honors seminars. Those are really important for History majors. The introductory large lecture style “overview” classes are good for non majors but are similar to the “rocks for jocks” offered for science majors in terms of rigor and usefulness for the major (except those aren’t counted for STEM majors, who have their own classes - which is often not the case for history, hence the recommendation to see if it’d be possible to take a more rigorous History Honors seminar starting freshman year).
For a history major, I think the ideal combination is liberal arts college/honors for undergrad => major research university for graduate school. For history, what matters most is interactive seminars with a LOT of reading and writing, ie., what LACs are really good at. In addition, personal attention will yield more opportunities and support, which in turn will lead to better grad school outcomes.

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@MYOS1634 Thanks for your comments! On politics, I did a lot of research last night, and the history faculty at Pitt are far more mainstream / a-political than at CofC, which is radically wildly Leftist / communist (I only use that word because faculty members proudly declare themselves that word). But the student body as a whole (I don’t know about history students) has more conservative representation at CofC than at Pitt.

After my research last night, Arizona is emerging as the leading choice… I haven’t been able to find anything online about this. Can you tell me more? I did see that state funding to Arizona universities had been cut substantially but the article said that tuition payments had more than made up the difference, and I couldn’t find anything about actual cuts at the University, or in the humanities (which have been in decline nationwide, so some gradual shrinkage is going on everywhere). What have you heard?
THANK YOU, your comments are very helpful.

@carolinamom2boys Thank you so much for your insights and for having researched ME and some things I am looking for, for my D’s choice. In your list of what the Honors College offers you didn’t mention the Berry Hall housing together benefit. Is that a benefit? Did your son do it and was it worth it? My D wasn’t impressed with the layout and worn look of Berry Hall (the common room doesn’t have windows for example, all of which is fine – but again, compared to residence halls at U-AZ and Pitt). But if you’re living with smart kids in a friendly and supportive environment, it’s worth it.
If he were to take the CofC offer, we’d have to swallow a lot in terms of politics. As mentioned in my comments to MYOS1634, the faculty profiles of the history department were disappointing, even shockingly bad from our perspective. Lots of faculty publish on radical political history, gender and ethnic studies, very few on Western Civilization or even Europe. My D is in a high school now which is radically Left and it’s not a great fit, so maybe CofC isn’t for us. We thought South Carolina might be less strident than New Jersey, but those faculty profiles are to the Left of what you’d find at Rutgers, which is pretty astonishing.
So despite it seeming perfect in so many ways, including financial, I don’t know if we can stomach it…

@2readytogo So funny you have experience with all three of my D’s choices! My takeaway is you like all three and my D will thrive at any of them. My biggest hesitation about your alma mater, U-AZ, is it’s isolation. Far from us on the East Coast, and from what I can tell students don’t venture far off campus much, as the city isn’t as safe as Charleston, nor does it have any particular attractions calling to them, as Charleston does. She’d also probably have to live off campus as a freshman, as U-AZ is lacking enough dorm space.
My biggest problem with Pitt is financial (smallest merit award) and that I have another D there already, a freshman, who feels this D would be impinging on her space and wants to have her own college experience, free of siblings (even as I type that it sounds crazy!).
My biggest problem with CofC is the radical leftist politics of the history faculty (by their own description). My D is a conservative and doesn’t want to be an isolated outcast, which is somewhat the case at her current high school in a very far Left town where we live.

Question: Are the top-notch professors you mention just for Honors courses? Or for all courses?

@AndrewBander my son was involved in the Entrepreneurial Living Learning Community as a Freshman. He has remained friends with many of the people that he has met in the program . Honors students are not required to live in Honors housing after their freshman year. He lived in Berry his sophomore year, but now lives in an apartment style dorm and will next year as well.

In terms of CofC being " radical leftist", I have not experienced that at all. Given your negative opinions regarding what CofC has to offer in terms of housing , education, strength of faculty I would have to say CofC does not sound right for your daughter. I mean why consider sending your child to a school with " shockingly bad professors"? If it was, the right choice ,you wouldn’t have to “stomach it” Best of luck to your daughter .

@carolinamom2boys Faculty politics tends to be department-specific, and my comments were about the history department. Overall, the faculty at CofC seems to have a well-deserved excellent reputation. Housing isn’t a big deal and we’d never make our choice based on that. CofC has so much going for it but yes – as you said – it may just not be the right fit for my daughter in that department. If she were to study in the sciences or really any but a few fields, the political orientations of the faculty would be completely irrelevant. But in history, where the faculty openly declare themselves “Communist” (and as history faculty you have to wonder, considering Communism killed tens of millions in the 20th century between Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, just for starters) and so many of the faculty focus on gender studies or ethnic studies, rather than Western Civ and Classics, it’s unfortunate for her (because it’s so good in so many other ways) but I suppose it won’t work.

Just so you know a lot of/most current research into European history focuses on groups that have typically been ignored by research: women, children, colonized societies (whether internally or externally), LGBTQ individuals, indentured servants… There’s also research into ways of thinking, science&technology/irrational reasoning, clothing, forbidden books, crime/punishment, prejudice/rumors, etc.
Research has to focus on what has not been explored till now. In short, there’s very little research currently being done that covers well trodden areas, even in classical and European history.
Look at the freshman seminars and honors seminars offered at each.
For Arizona, look at how many 1st/2nd year history courses are writing intensive; have fewer than 25 students; require papers; require 30+ pages of primary source readings per week (80pp best); or on the contrary are mostly textbook-based with few/no primary sources, have multiple choice test evaluations, are lecture-based. This would be available through the registration tool (you can look at the Spring 2019 offerings if Fall 2019 isn’t available).

@AndrewBander just FYI Western Civilization was a required for the Honors program and CofC has an entire major dedicated to The Classics. You had such a visceral response it makes no sense to even try to make it work. You’d always feel like she was settling and didn’t belong there.