University of South Carolina
BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public school in Massachusetts. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Majors: Marketing and Management – in the Darla More School of Business
Minors: Public Relations and Advertising
Extracurricular Activities: Sorority
What impact did the sorority have on your experience?
It helped me make all my friends in the beginning, but now that I’m older I’m not that involved.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
I usually have four exams and then there will be a homework assignment each week that has some problems, like, if it’s for a Finance class they will be math problems and for Accounting they are multiple choice.
Is there anything that you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
The business school is one of the best schools within South Carolina. The building itself is also new and really nice. It is big and competitive to get into so the professors can be hard to get in touch with. Just in the time I was there, the minimum GPA to get in increased. My economics professor also said that the classes are going to be harder to deter the weaker students from applying.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Management 250 – Professional Communication. It was my favorite because it was really small and discussion based.
What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Introduction to Economics because it was a huge lecture.
How accessible are your professors?
They are all pretty accessible if you want to reach out to them. I have been to office hours and they’ve answered my questions.
Why did you pick your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I chose the business school because it was the biggest program at my school. I did Marketing and Management because they go together easily, you only need like two extra classes. I’m happy with my choice.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Bates West, it’s like the worst dorm on campus. There were four of us sharing two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. It was crappy, but it was better than not having a living room and kitchen I guess.
Sophomore: Apartment with three other roommates.
Junior: Townhouse with two other roommates.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I know the area of Columbia can be dangerous but I’ve never seen anything that was dangerous. I got my moped stolen once, but that’s about it. I think the locals stay away from the college areas. [In Columbia there are 64 crimes per square mile, versus the national median being 31.1.]
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
The Salty-Nut Café, but I think that’s my favorite place to hang out and socialize. They have a great happy hour.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Pros and cons of being located in Columbia, SC?
Pros: (1) There’s a lot of good food that’s close by.
(2) There are a bunch of stores and [places for activities], like movie theaters.
(3) There’s a close airport in Columbia.
Cons: (1) On gamedays Ubers can surge to like $100.
(2) The area is dangerous. [There are 7.74 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, versus the national median of 4.]
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
I like to go to the bars in Five Points. On Fridays, there is a thing called Friday After Class which is happy hour at a bar in Five Points. Then I do gamedays on Saturdays. Thursday is the biggest night for going downtown just because nobody goes out really after Friday After Class and gamedays unless you’re a trooper. There are different weeknights that are bigger for each class.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Guys kind of have to be in a frat, but sororities are not as big of a deal. It was a help to make friends, but I have a huge group of friends who aren’t in sororities too and a lot of my friends have dropped out of their sororities. Frats are important because they host the tailgates. There’s another tailgate lot, but it’s boring. They also have mixers and events, like mountain weekends and formals. Sororities have functions where you don’t go anywhere, but the frats have the functions where you leave campus.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
Not really anything, that’s the thing. There are no parties. Everybody goes to a party and then goes downtown. Even freshman year you’re doing that.
How happy are you with the nightlife at South Carolina? Is there anything you would change if you could?
No, I don’t think I’d change anything. I like that everybody goes to Five Points but there are a bunch of different bars in the same area.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My roommate freshman year wasn’t in a sorority (you rush before your fall semester of freshman year starts) and she had guy friends from home who were all in the same frat, so that’s how I met my first guy friends. My girlfriends I met from through my freshman roommate and my sorority.
How would you describe the social scene?
Good. It’s sometimes hard to balance school with everything because there’s always something happening. It’s all about time management.
To what extent do people inside and outside of Greek life mix socially?
The frats don’t really mix, but the sororities do. For all my girlfriends, there’s about 20 of us, half of us are in sororities and half of us aren’t and we all go everywhere together.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I don’t really know, just because I don’t know anyone who is [of a different sexual orientation.] I think races mix, but it’s not that common.
How would you describe the student body?
South Carolina is more of a party school. You can wear [workout] clothes to class and nobody cares. The only time I look nice is when I’m going out. I also think there are a lot of kids here who are really rich. You have a lot of cute blondes and a lot of guys who drive nice cars. [Socioeconomically, 25% of students come from the top 10%.]
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.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I haven’t utilized that much. My sorority alumni network is more present. I’ve used that to find babysitting opportunities and stuff like that.
Have you used the career office at all? If so, how helpful have they been?
I went there a while ago for help on my resume. I also took a class that taught you how to have good interviews and what to wear to your job and stuff like that. I haven’t really had to use the career office because the business school is pretty good at that stuff.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
I use Microsoft Excel and Access in my Management classes.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating has the office been to your needs?
I get financial aid and my parents mostly deal with them and they haven’t complained. I’m studying abroad next semester and they were really helpful in telling me what forms and stuff to get.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
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 interested in Greek life may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
For Girls, you may think you need to be in a sorority, but you’ll find friends even if you’re not. For boys, I think you should rush freshman year and get that out of the way.
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 South Carolina:
1) Tailgates and the school spirit. There is a really fun social life.
3) It has a good business school.
Reasons to not attend South Carolina:
1) Columbia has a [bad crime rate], but the parts around the school are nice, so I wouldn’t not attend South Carolina because of that.