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What exactly is it like?

haydenhayden Registered User Posts: 4,415 Senior Member
It seems South Carolina is starting to increase their visibility and marketing to OOS'ers. For those OOS'ers who are beginning to apply, can someone who is familiar with the school shed some light on it? What is the campus like? What is the culture of the student body? Plus anything else you could add. Thanks!
Post edited by hayden on

Replies to: What exactly is it like?

  • cathymeecathymee Registered User Posts: 2,384 Senior Member
    Hayden I'll PM you everyone around here is sick of me already!!!
  • Mom4LifeMom4Life Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    I can speak only for myself, of course, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this question! (Thanks for my PM, by the way...) An "insider's view" is always more informative than a brochure or even a campus tour (which was very impressive; we took one last February). I, for one, appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to share your and your S's insights.
  • haydenhayden Registered User Posts: 4,415 Senior Member
    cathymee - hope everything is okay. We look forward to your post. Afamily member just got accepted and she's anxious to hear about the school. She's never had a chance to visit. Thanks!
  • McKmomMcKmom Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    I can tell you a little about my D's experience. She is a freshman in the honors college, planning to major in business. She chose to live in Capstone, which houses several floors of honors college students and the Capstone scholars. She is from out of state and did not know anyone when she arrived on campus. She has found the students to be friendly and welcoming. Her classes are a mix of large and small (with the small ones having 15-20 people) and she has gotten to know several of her professors quite well. The fall is the time for Gamecock football and she has loved that part of student life. She did not choose to join a sorority, but she has friends who are in sororities/fraternities and friends who are not. The campus is located in the middle of the city, but there are plenty of grass/trees/flowers in the heart of the campus. She also enjoys the mild weather and "southern hospitality."
  • cathymeecathymee Registered User Posts: 2,384 Senior Member
    Ive gotten more requests to make remarks publicly so here goes.
    Like McKMom,S is in the Honors College,so doesnt have much experience with the general student population,though he has friends from classes who live everywhere on campus and are not honors students. The school is very welcoming to OOS kids,though he does get good natured teasing for being a damn "Yankee".Hes a New Yorker so hes had to tone himself down a little...they think he walks,talks,does everything too quickly and loudly,but he loves it there.
    The campus is definitely urban..it has more street traffic running through it than I expected to see but it also has large grassy, treed and flowered areas.Most kids have cars,S doesn't. Public transportation is completely lacking and the campus shuttles leave alot to be desired.They are talking of expanding the shuttles to off campus locales.But S has managed to get rides whever he needs to go,including the airport which is an easy 10-15 minute ride from campus.
    Hes had a mixture of big/small classes.The class he feared most (Honors Marine Bio) turned out to be his favorite and he loved the teacher.He had a TA in the lab for that class, and a TA for his general Music class. He got involved in activities for his major very easily ,attended football games (LOVES that aspect of the campus),saw Ben Folds for 5$,Bob Saget for 5$,went to one of the Broadway series at the Koger or Colonial Center for a student rush price.Saw friends perform in chorus,drama and orchestra productions.Hes always had something to do.Hes taken advantage of the Strom fitness center,including the climbing wall.
    Its a slightly preppy,conservative campus compared to some we saw.Guys tend to dress up in collared polo shirts and khaki's,and have shorter hair than we're used to.But S just rolls with it, LOL.
    Hes developed a taste for grits,bacon,biscuits and gravy and BBQ.Thinks tailgating is the worlds greatest invention.Misses good NY bagels, good NY pizza and TOAST !!!says they dont know about toasted bread in Columbia LOL but you get a biscuit with everything.
    One great thing about USC is campus diversity. We come from a NY suburb and S is used to going to school with lots of ethnic groups,including African Americans.Alot of campuses we saw had Asians but no other minority groups.USC is different and S liked that.
    Let me know what else you would like to know about!
  • lissy347lissy347 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Cathymee- I'm from Massachusetts and I def. have my reservations about going to USC for reasons similar to what you mentioned- being a "damn yankee" and whatnot. Although I'm not sure if that is where I'm going (I have yet to visit) I was just wondering if your son has ever run into any problems like feeling left out or treated differently or something. I've heard that students can be really cliquey because most of them know each other from high school.
    Thanks a lot!
  • cathymeecathymee Registered User Posts: 2,384 Senior Member
    I made a reply and it got lost..I'll try again shortly
  • PA MomPA Mom Registered User Posts: 975 Member
    My d is also a freshman at USC (from Pennsylvania. ) She is in the Capstone Scholars program which is about 50% OOS so she lives in a building with a lot of OOS'ers. However, she joined a sorority which has very few OOS and fewer northerners, and it has not been a problem for her. She does not feel that the students are cliquey or that they resent "yankees".
    She has a car ,so transportation has not been a problem for her. We bought a garage parking permit for her so she would not have to hunt for parking (mostly because I did not want her parking far from campus at night). She has had pretty good classes - one T/A that she wasn't pleased with but it was only one day a week so not crucial.There have been extra study sessions offered and pretty good communications with professors. She was very pleased with registration for next semester as well and really likes her advisor.
    Football has been fun, the fitness center well used ( she likes the pilates classes), food is pretty good( although she gained the freshman 15), and in general she is pretty happy. Also got to see Ben Folds for $5 and has been to numerous other concerts for her music class. The dorm is pretty nice and safe,and she feels pretty safe in general on campus and off ( like walking to Five Points) wghich is good because she is generally pretty cautious.
    Hope this helps!
  • cathymeecathymee Registered User Posts: 2,384 Senior Member
    the cliquey feeling from high school can happen on any campus that might be close to home.S is in a mix of students,like PA's D in the Honors College dorm Maxcy.He now has friends from all over and his two new best friends are from S Carolina.He is not in a fraternity.
    He went there knowing nobody except the kids he met on the McNair weekend.
    I think MY concerns over the North-South thing were much greater than his.
    Faculty come from all over the US,and their educational backgrounds are from all over.
    As far as safety goes, he has had a bicycle stolen (as D did at her U a few years back).He feels safe,walks alot.While the campus is open to the city streets, it's patrolled visibly and is not a hangout for city residents..
    Dorms are locked with card access and manned desks.The Horseshoe area does get visitors as it is historic, and theres a museum there.
    Like PA's D he feels comfortable walking in 5Points and the Vista areas,and they have walked to the football stadium (a hike!!) as well.
    He will have a car there next year and we will get a garage parking spot,as parking is a big issue.
  • momwithquestionsmomwithquestions . Posts: 119 Junior Member
    D got accepted two weeks ago, although not in the Honors College. My question is since we are from the North east, how do those kids get back and forth? I can see doing an airline flight for Christmas, but what do most OOSs do for Thanksgiving and Spring break? Also, what about Amtrak. It look as though any schedule that comes from the NY/NJ area gets her into the Amtrak station down there at 1:30am..........

    So, what's the magic trick? Also, do most of you OOs drive all the way down with the "stuff" in August and drive back down in May?

    Thanks so much!!!
  • PA MomPA Mom Registered User Posts: 975 Member
    It is a little bit of a pain... We are 10 hours away and we drove down in August with all of her stuff. Took her car and ours since she was keeping a car down with her. One of those things that you really need to think about I guess.
    We did not expect her home that much but she was a little homesick so flew once (parents weekend since we did not go) and drove twice ( Fall break and Thanksgiving) then again at Winter break. She's not planning to come home that much this semester since the homesickness has worn off.
    Columbia does have a nice airport that is fairly close to campus.

    Now my youngest is talking about going to the west coast - that will be a whole other mess to figure out. LOL
  • cathymeecathymee Registered User Posts: 2,384 Senior Member
    we flew down to Columbia in August and rented a car to do the move in "stuff".Columbia has direct flights to Ny on Delta, and lots of connecting flights on US Air.H and S flew once to Charlotte (for Orientation) on Jet Blue and drove the 90 minutes to USC.
    Lots of kids have cars,including a local girl from our area of NY S got to know
    in his dorm.She drove down in Aug,parents in a second car.She flew back for Thanksgiving,but drove back for Christmas so she could have her car for the 5 week break.Her roommate and another kid drove with her.They said its an 11 hour trip.She offered S a ride but he chose to fly.He knows other OOs kids who did the same thing. I would guess kids who come home for Spring break might not drive as its only a week,dont forget alot of kids dont go home for that break but make other trips.
    S will take a car next year, our plan is to drive down with him and fly back.US Air offers one way ticketing.
    Last year at the McNair weekend we met a kid from NJ who doesnt like to fly,who uses Amtrak.He didnt care for their convenience or scheduling but felt he had no other option.Apparently you can walk to campus from the Amtrak station,he said its not close but not too far away.
    S plans to rent storage with other OOs kids for the summer so he doesnt have to drag his stuff home.
  • momwithquestionsmomwithquestions . Posts: 119 Junior Member
    We actually flew into Columbia, SC last year, and we were very impressed with the area. To be honest, I never thought about driving down with D and then flying home (I guess freshman can have cars?) and then flying down and driving back with her in May. I don't want her driving alone.

    To be honest, she is not sure where she will go, as she has received many acceptances. I must admit, that USC is MY dream school..........but I'm not the one going to college, am I? So, the decision is up to her. I have a feeling she is going to end up in the Washington, DC area, which wouldn't be too bad.

    I have another question for you OOS. Do you anticipate that your kids will come back to your home area to live and start careers afterwards? Or do you think they will settle somewhere in the south? My dream would be to have my kids settle and start careers and families in the south, so that I can retire and live guilt free in NC, SC or GA and not worry about being too far away from them. (as opposed to either them or me living in NY/NJ)
  • cathymeecathymee Registered User Posts: 2,384 Senior Member
    S at USC is my youger child.Older D is a grad student in the midwest (St Louis) after undergrad in Arizona. Shes planning a higher ed career and likely will live wherever the jobs are in her field. S is in Sports Management and also will follow wherever the jobs might be.I have no delusion that they will return to Long Island NY to live..its just too expensive here.H and I plan on getting out as soon as jobs/retirement/aged mother let it be possible.
  • eadadeadad Registered User Posts: 2,759 Senior Member
    ***I?m EAdad?s daughter, I?m a freshman at USC***

    While parental perspectives are ok, my dad and I thought it would be helpful to get the student side to life on USC campus. I?m a Capstone Scholar from Texas living in Capstone which has a lot of OOS students. I have found it very helpful being from so far away to be surrounded by lots of other students from OOS, and it has been especially nice having a roommate (PAmom?s daughter) who is OOS because we?re in the same boat. Although there are a good amount of OOS students in Capstone, I do not at all feel a separation between in-staters and out of state-ers as my friends are 50/50 and I love them all equally.

    I realize that my experience may be different from other students? but it?s still helpful to get a real perspective. I chose to join sorority and I?m extremely happy. I have not found it difficult to balance my sorority activities with my school work and did very well this semester. Also, I know there are rumors about Greeks and non-greeks not associating, but it is just that: a rumor. In fact my best friend is non-greek and I spend the majority of my time with her. Greek life is only as time consuming as you make it; your involvement is based on personal choice and is a great way to meet lots of new people. I do not find campus to be clique-y because I feel like I have friends in many different groups: in-state, out of state, greek, non greek etc.

    As far as the urban aspect of USC, the campus has two different personalities. When you?re on main campus (walking to class or on the horseshoe), you feel completely separated from the city. I live at the top (or bottom) of campus and when I?m in my dorm or walking to classes on main campus, I feel like I?m in a different world. It?s quiet, it?s beautiful, and does not feel like it is in the middle of the state?s capital city. Even down by Greene street where Russell House is has a main road running through it, but they close the gates to keep cars from driving through during the day. Down by the Strom and the Coliseum is a bit more urban, but I spent a great deal of time down there (in classes and working out) and I do not feel at all unsafe walking or taking the shuttle. I go to the Strom to workout regularly and I enjoy the walk through campus because it is very scenic and a pretty good workout on its own!

    Walking to 5 points (which is right down the hill from my dorm) is very convenient to go shopping or grab a bite to eat or go to the pharmacy/grocery store. However, because you are in a city, I do recommend that at night you walk with people for safety. The buddy system is great and for a very cautious person, I always feel safe on campus!

    USC has surprisingly good food. Gibbes Court is on the first floor of Capstone and I eat 99% of my meals there because it?s convenient and also happens to be one of the best dining halls on campus. There is a wide variety of options to choose from and the food is very tasty! When I want to mix it up a bit, I eat at Patty-O in Patterson dorm which has healthy dining options like make your own stir-fry with fresh veggies and chicken/shrimp and make your own salads etc?it?s a very popular dining location for the girls on campus! Russell House has a lot of fast food and ice-cream etc but I pride myself in the fact that I have not eaten there once this year so it IS avoidable if you?re worried about the freshman 15!

    At a large school like USC, your experience is what you make of it. I have had a great experience because I am outgoing and attend lots of functions, go downtown, go shopping and really use the resources to their fullest! I hope my perspective has been helpful and if you have any other questions, I?ll be happy to answer them..direct them to my dad and he?ll forward them to me. I could not have asked for a better first year/first semester experience?it has been everything I ever dreamed of and more!
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