Impressions Of
University of South Carolina

Academic Experience

Female Public Health Major C/O 2020

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Now that I’m finished my general courses they’re about half Business Administration classes and half in Public Health. That means classes are based on health promotion, education, and behavior, and the other half is all in the sciences and have labs. Most of my major grades are exams.

Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
The Public Health Department has really good advisors, which can be tough to find at a school this big.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
As I’ve gotten older it’s become more competitive, but it’s a comfortable environment. You’re never feeling super behind. It’s competitive in the sense that you could put in a ton of work and that wouldn’t change the way the teacher teaches you. It’s not competitive in the sense that you wouldn’t study with someone. It’s competitive that they’re tougher classes and you’re working hard, not competing against other people.

Male English Major C/O 2020

Can you describe your weekly coursework for English?
We pretty much read one book a week and then discuss it in class, along with reading quizzes every so often. Three or four times a semester we have a five-page paper, and at the end of the course you write a cumulative paper breaking down the semester.

Is there anything that you feel the English department does especially well or especially poorly?
It definitely encourages group discussion as much as possible. This is great for an English major because it allows you to bounce around ideas, which is a good way to encapsulate a book’s meaning.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s definitely collaborative. It’s not about seeing who can write the best paper. It’s more so about sharing our ideas to synthesize the main point.

Male Finance and Operations and Supply Chain Double Major C/O 2020

Is there anything that you feel the either of your majors’ departments does especially well or especially poorly?
I’ve had tons of experience with faculty from both departments. My professors in Operations and Supply Chain are very proactive in seeking out students for certain opportunities. Because there are so many Finance students, it’s a little harder to connect with those professors. Almost all of the professors I’ve had are very approachable, down to earth, and easy to work with.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Definitely collaborative, but in finance there can sometimes be a competitive environment. In my Investment Management Portfolio Strategy class, we used Stock Track [as a portfolio simulator] in the class, and the with portfolios finishing in the top 10% got extra credit. Other classes are collaborative where you are almost always working in a group, opposed to listening to a lecture.

How accessible have your professors been?
Incredibly. I can’t say enough about that. I think it’s different for me because I’ve had more classes with non-tenured professors who are trying to establish a good reputation.

Social Opportunities

Female Pharmacy Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Often times on the weekend my friends and I like to go out to eat and try different places Downtown and in the Vista. We’ll have movie nights at each other’s houses, but a lot of people love spending their weekends down in Five Points. There’s definitely stuff to do on the weekends.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
A few times a year there are festivals downtown, like the Greek festival, the Colombian Festival, and different things like that. My friends and I always go to those. [See events happening in downtown Columbia.]

How happy are you with the weekend options at South Carolina? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty happy with it, and there’s nothing I’d change.

Female Public Health Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
There is a big downtown scene in an area called Five Points. It’s an area with a bunch of bars and that’s the nightlife I participate in most. Students go out there on weekdays and weekends. There are also home tailgates on Saturdays which are a huge part of our social life.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Being in the South, there is a stereotype that you can’t do anything without it. Having Five Points forces our social life to be a bar scene instead of a house party scene, and also Greek life can’t host parties in their houses. Everybody just goes to a party and then goes downtown, so the reality is if you’re going to a bar it doesn’t matter if you’re in Greek life or not. For boys, it’s more important socially than girls because fraternities hold events and any girl can go so it doesn’t matter for them. Also, in the fall the frats hold tailgates and any girl can come, but if you’re a boy and are not in the frat you’ll have like a thousand questions asked of you. It’s harder for boys who are not in fraternities socially in general.

Male Finance and Operations and Supply Chain Double Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I live right by Five Points, which is the bar district. There are a dozen bars all right next to one another, and it’s nice to get familiar with as you begin your college journey. Football season and tailgating on Saturdays are a big deal. Being in Greek life, we have connections with local businesses to host events.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s a pretty strict numbers thing. Certain fraternities go to certain spots and stick to each other. Some work well together, so the downtown scene can be composed of different Greek organizations that work together. There are two main tailgating areas. One is reserved for fraternities on campus, so if you aren’t in one or don’t have a wristband for that lot, you are diverted into a separate area to tailgate.

Campus Culture

Female Pharmacy Major C/O 2020

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I do notice that people generally stay with their own race. That’s not to say the mixing of different races never happens, but all the students from overseas like to stay together, all the Caucasian girls stay together, and things like that. [About 77% of students are White and 10% of students are African-American.]

How strong is the Black community on campus?
I think it’s a very strong community on campus. They all like to hang out together.

How do you like the size of South Carolina? [South Carolina has about 26,360 undergraduates.]
Lately, it may be a little too big. Every year they say the incoming class is the biggest we’ve ever had, which is great, but I feel the campus is overpopulated and you have to wait 30-minutes in line for food, and there’s no parking. I hope in the future they won’t admit as many people.

Male Finance and Operations and Supply Chain Double Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene at USC?
It’s accepting. Even if I weren’t in Greek life I’d find a new spot for myself within the business school, or outside socially on campus.

To what extent do people inside and outside of Greek life mix?
A good amount for sure. I have a healthy number of friends not in fraternities so I’d say the line isn’t that hard between those in Greek life and not. [About 25% of students are in Greek life at South Carolina.]

How would you describe the student body?
Our student body is big enough that students falling into any crowd can find their own scene. I don’t think there is one particular look for the whole student body. [The undergraduate population is 26,362.]

Female Marketing and Management Double Major C/O 2020

Was it a culture shock to transition to Columbia, SC from Massachusetts?
No, but I wouldn’t say I experienced any culture shock because it’s such a big school. All of my friends are Northern. I was surprised because I thought everybody was going to listen to country music and stuff but it’s a lot of Northern people there. There are Southern fraternities who hang out with Southern people, but I don’t really hang out with them.[41% of the Class of 2022 came from out of state.]

Do you think people are happy with their choice of South Carolina by senior year?
Yes. Every single day my friends and I talk about how we go to the best school in the country and couldn’t dream of a better college experience.

How do you like the size of South Carolina? [South Carolina has about 26,360 undergraduates.]
I thought it would have affected me more. The classes are huge, freshman year especially. Even if the classes were small, I don’t think I would have participated much anyways so that doesn’t affect me. My sorority helps the school feel smaller, but I like the size because I’m still meeting new people as a junior and it gives me more social opportunities.

Columbia, SC

Pros of

  • “Despite what a lot of people think, I think there is a lot of stuff to do here. The Downtown area and the Vista [are nice places] to hang out around over the weekend.”
  • “I love that Columbia is 1.5 hours from Charlotte, 2 Hours from Charleston, and 3 hours to Atlanta. I’ve gotten to know those other cities so well by doing weekend trips and going to concerts there. I feel like I’ve gotten to experience cities that’d I’d never spend more than one weekend in.”
  • “It’s the state capital. The state house is next to campus and that has opportunities for students to work there. It also brings people there and makes the city feel more important.”
  • “The school is close to the Columbia airport, so if you’re flying in it’s easy.”

Cons of

  • “On gamedays Ubers can surge to like $100.”
  • “The area is dangerous.” [There are 7.74 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, versus the national median of 4.]
  • “The roads and traffic patterns aren’t that good so getting to class can be a hassle.”
  • “When it’s not football season with tailgates to go to, there isn’t much variety for what to do on the weekends.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Public Health Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about South Carolina before entering as a freshman?
Not knowing anything going in made South Carolina the experience it was, so I don’t think there’s something I wish I knew. The two things I always say to people who are looking at South Carolina is that Columbia is a city that has everything. You have a campus that makes you feel like you’re on campus, but the downtown area is right next to campus. You’re also an hour away from the mountains and an hour and a half away from the beach. The location has a lot more positives than I realized before coming. The other thing I tell people is it’s not that important to be in a sorority then you would think going in. You have to rush freshman year before you start classes, so you literally know nothing. For boys, it’s more important and I would suggest rushing to feel it out, but for girls, it doesn’t matter if you end up in one or not.

Male English Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The Five Points area and where the bars are. They are all centralized in the downtown area, but the tour won’t mention this at all.

What is something a prospective student should know that has not been mentioned?
Everyone makes South Carolina out to be this huge SEC school that’s into college football, but there are a ton of different kids here. People are from all over the place doing different things and going with the flow. I’d say it’s a pretty laid back environment.

Female Marketing and Management Double Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about South Carolina before entering as a freshman?
I didn’t think I was going to like a bar school, and I didn’t even know South Carolina was a bar school. I think I’m lucky I didn’t know that because I thought I wanted to go to a house party school, but now that I’m here I know that a bar school is way better. I like that everyone can go to a bar, it’s not like a specific frat or something. If anyone is out, they’re at Five Points, and all the bars are in walking distance so you can hang out with them.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Greek Village is really cool. I applied as undecided so I never toured the business school, but the business school building is really nice. Also, the stadium is about a mile off campus so they don’t show that.

Reasons to attend and not to attend University of South Carolina

To Attend

  • “The Greek community in itself is really strong.”
  • “The weather makes a huge difference in your mood and behavior. Having the weather be nice helps people get out and do stuff more.”
  • “Tailgates and the school spirit. There is a really fun social life.”
  • “Because it’s such a big school, you will find your people.”
  • “It’s an accepting environment for how big the school is. I’ve never felt intimidated by the size, and I’m always comfortable going to someone I’ve never met for help.”

To Not Attend

  • “If you’re someone who doesn’t know how to advocate for themselves well or doesn’t ask questions, it’s easy to get lost academically. For example, the advisors have so many kids assigned to them they only talk to the people who reach out to them.”
  • “If your learning style is in small classrooms, you may struggle in the classes because up until junior year you’re mostly in large lecture halls. If that’s hard for you, I’d consider a smaller school.”
  • “I can see how some people feel excluded if they aren’t in a Greek organization.”
  • “If you’re more interested in a tight-knit community altogether, like seeing the same people twice and having your professor know your name, I would not recommend USC.”
Notice: University of South Carolina is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by University of South Carolina.

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