South Carolina Colleges & Universities

The many colleges in South Carolina are remarkably varied, and offer high-caliber education to a wide range of students.

South Carolina Colleges Offer First-Rate Academics, Athletics, and Diversity: New England may take all the credit for America's world-class educational institutions, but travel a bit further south down the Atlantic coastline and you'll discover a small state with a wealth of varied colleges and universities. South Carolina schools appeal to a wide demographic, offering a blend of history, diversity, and reputable academics in a beautiful southern setting.

Major South Carolina Schools: There are currently 36 four-year colleges in South Carolina. Profiled below are a few of the state's most prominent institutions of higher learning.

  • University of South Carolina (public): Largest among the four-year schools in South Carolina is the University of South Carolina, with an undergraduate body of 20,494. Situated in South Carolina's capital--the modestly-sized city of Columbus--this university is a bit more selective than other institutions of its kind, with an acceptance rate of 64%. It offers NCAA Division I athletics, and popular majors include business and the social sciences. Tuition costs $9,786 for native South Carolinians and $25,362 for out-of-state students.
  • Furman University (private): Furman is a private liberal arts college located in the suburban city of Greenville and prides itself on its abundant internship and research opportunities. Its undergraduate class comprises 2,754 students, most of whom major in the social sciences, business, and history. Furman is also an NCAA Division I school. Combined tuition and fees cost $38,088 for all students, out-of-state or not.
  • Clemson University (public): Clemson University is a prestigious mid-sized school of 15,346 undergraduates, set in a rural town of the same name. In addition to its location in the gorgeous foothills of southern Appalachia, Clemson University also boasts an enviable academic reputation, having been voted one of America's best colleges by US News & World Report. Most students elect to major in business or engineering, and Clemson's athletics belong to NCAA Division I. Tuition costs $11,908 for residents, $27,420 for out-of-state students.
  • Claflin University (private): Claflin University is a highly selective liberal arts school affiliated with the United Methodist Church. America's oldest historically black college, Claflin still maintains a overwhelming African American student body; these 1,779 student represent the top 35% of all applicants. Almost 70% of Claflin's attendees are female. Claflin offers one of the top liberal arts programs in the country, and charges a very reasonable $12,868 in tuition and fees.

Career Opportunities in South Carolina: South Carolina's economy was particularly affected by 2008's recession crisis, but unemployment levels have fallen steadily throughout 2010 and, as of July, hover at 10.7 percent. Major industries include agriculture, tourism, textiles, manufacturing, and electronics. Additionally, South Carolina leads the nation in several rehabilitative and therapy professions. Radiation therapists employed in South Carolina, for example, earn a mean annual wage of $97,090; practitioners of health diagnosis and treatment earn $121,360. Workers in both professions earn more than anyone else in the country in the above specialties. Veterinarians are similarly well-compensated, making a mean annual wage of $99,630.

Whatever your passion, earning a degree from one of the fine schools in South Carolina equals a sound investment in your future.

The writer Karin Hansen holds a degree in English from San Francisco State University.

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