College of Charleston Visit
by Lauren Gersick
Associate Director of College Counseling
In another of our series chronicling interesting colleges and universities, last week I was able to visit College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. After three days on campus, here is what I learned:
At around 10,000 undergrads, CoC hits the sweet spot of a medium-sized college with a quaint, defined campus located in a city. The city of Charleston is one of the most beautiful and historic urban areas in the US. Cobblestone streets, tree-lined quads and tons of Spanish moss make the campus incredibly appealing. Charleston is walkable, on a harbor and has phenomenal weather. While Charleston is Southern in its geography, it attracts many transplants from other parts of the country, offering a diverse and eclectic vibe to the city. The food, it is worth noting, is phenomenal!
CoC is an undergraduate, public, liberal arts institution. Teachers are committed to knowing their students and students take pride in being a part of the CoC community. Students work closely with faculty and teachers are committed to the College in part because of the direct work with students in the classroom.
Programs in Marine Biology, Religious Studies/Jewish Studies, Management, Health Sciences and the broader Humanities are all excellent. Abroad programs, of which there are many, are strong and the College encourages students to participate. There is also a rapidly expanding program focusing on Computer Science as Charleston's technology community expands.
The Honors College is highly selective and offers research, academic, residential and programmatic opportunity for students who enroll. The College is home to a top sailing team as well as strong baseball and basketball programs.
Worth noting, in particular, is the Marine Bio facility. Housed on James Island, a short ride from campus, the program shares its facility with a number of government labs, offering the resources of federally funded research to undergraduate students. Historically, CoC has been a regional school but over the last 5-10 years the school has reached beyond the Southeast and has attracted in increasing number of students from the West. On my visit I met a student from Santa Barbara and another from Lafayette, CA, in passing.
The College is also proud of its traditions. Graduation, which takes place on the main quad, involves students wearing all white while carrying bouquets of red roses. After the ceremony the entire graduating class dances through the streets of the city to a reception.
If a student is looking for a spirited, academically engaged medium-sized university in a jaw-droppingly beautiful place, College of Charleston might be worth a serious look. In particular, the Honors college offers significant merit-based financial aid beyond need-based assistance. As a public institution, CoC is much more reasonably priced than many private colleges with similar vibe and programming.
Friday February, 21, 2014 at 03:21PM
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