College of Charleston

College of Charleston


Founded in 1770, the College of Charleston is a nationally recognized, public liberal arts and sciences university located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina. Students from 51 states and territories and 61 countries choose the College for its small-college feel blended with the advantages and diversity of an urban, mid-sized university. The College provides a creative and intellectually stimulating environment where students are challenged by a committed and caring faculty of distinguished teacher-scholars. The city of Charleston serves students as a learning laboratory for experiences in business, science, teaching, the humanities, languages and the arts. For multicultural and first-generation college students, the College of Charleston is a particularly strong match.

Programs Supporting First-Generation College Students

Pre-College Summer Experience Senior Project

This summer college-preparatory program for rising high school seniors brings first-generation or multicultural students to the College for six days and five nights. Participants interact with current students, attend a College class, take a test-strategies class and a practice SAT/ACT exam, learn time-management skills, visit nearby MUSC or the Charleston School of Law, and experience the city and university. Learn more about Senior Project

Summer Bridge & Orientation Speedy Consolidation and Transition Program (SPECTRA)

SPECTRA is a challenging transitional summer academic program for African American, Latino, Asian and Native American (AALANA) high-school graduates who are enrolling at the College for the fall semester. During a five-week, on-campus experience, students learn to develop successful academic and social networks; bridge the gap between stereotypical barriers that students of color face on predominantly white campuses; and understand the academic rigors of college life. Students are further supported through academic advising, mentoring, college skills workshops, financial aid advising and special seminars.

Scholars & Leadership Gateway to Success

The Gateway to Success Scholarship was established to increase enrollment of first-generation, underserved, and economically disadvantaged students with strong competitive academic credentials.

Scholars & Leadership South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SCAMP)

Partly funded by the National Science Foundation, SCAMP provides mentoring and summer-research opportunities for AALANA students who want to pursue a degree in the sciences, engineering, mathematics or technology. Qualified students may receive an annual stipend. Learn more about South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SCAMP)

Scholars & Leadership Bonner Leaders Grant

Bonner Leaders are outstanding students who commit themselves to leadership through service and making positive change across campus and in the Charleston community. This four-year, service-based scholarship program allows students to apply theory to practice through real-life work experience at area nonprofit organizations. The program also facilitates students’ transition from being volunteers to becoming leaders in their community through powerful leadership development training and education. Grant recipients receive a graduated scholarship for participation in the program. Learn more about Bonner Leaders Grant

Scholars & Leadership Call Me MISTER Program

In an effort to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers, particularly in South Carolina’s lowest performing schools, the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance’s Call Me MISTER program selects students from backgrounds that are underrepresented or underserved in the teaching profession and provides them with tuition assistance and academic, social and cultural support as they pursue an approved program of study in teacher education. Learn more about Call Me MISTER Program

Student Diversity

  • 10,375
  • 37/63
  • n/a
    First-generation college students
  • <1%
    American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 2%
  • 8%
    Black or African American
  • 5%
  • <1%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 79%
  • 4%
    Two or more races
  • 1%
    Race and/or ethnicity unknown
  • 1%

Student Success

  • 79%
    First-to-second year retention
  • 69%
    Six-year graduation
  • 63%
    Six-year graduation for underrepresented minority groups
  • 88%
    Freshmen who live on campus
  • 31%
    Undergraduates who live on campus
  • 532
    Full-time faculty
  • 70
    Full-time minority faculty
  • 15:1
    Student–faculty ratio
  • Top 5 Majors

    Business/Marketing, Biological/life sciences, Visual and performing arts, Communication/journalism, Psychology

  • Multicultural Student Clubs and Organizations

    Arabic Club, Asian Student Association, Black Student Union, Chinese Club, Graduate Students of Color Association, Hispanic Latino Club, India Club, Japanese Club, International Students Club, Italian Club, Portuguese Club, Russian Club, Spanish Club


Cost of Attendance

  • $29,544
  • $11,386
    In-state Tuition
  • $320
    Required Fees
  • n/a
    Room and Board

Financial Aid

  • $15,571,541
    Total institutional scholarships/grants
  • $13,574
    Average aid package
  • $26,586
    Average student loan debt upon graduation (of those who borrow)
  • 24%
    Pell Grant recipients among freshmen
  • 49%
    Students with financial need
  • 96%
    Students with need awarded financial aid
  • 71%
    Students with need awarded need-based scholarship or grant aid
  • 17%
    Students with need whose need was fully met


Applicant Academics

  • 10,828
    # of applicants
  • 84%
  • 3.90
    Average HS GPA
  • 25
    ACT Composite
  • 500—600
    SAT Critical Reading
  • 500—590
    SAT Math
  • n/a—n/a
    SAT Writing
  • n/a
    SAT/ACT optional


  • 04/01
    Regular application closing date
  • $50
    Application Fee
  • $50
    Application Fee (online)
  • yes
    Fee waiver for applicants with financial need
  • n/a
    Early decision plan
  • n/a
    Early decision application closing date
  • yes
    Early action plan
  • 11/01
    Early action application closing date