Attending the Best Colleges in South Carolina

Students across the country have a wide selection of schools to choose from. Some high school students are considering schools around the United States, while others would rather stick to a specific state. If you’ve got your heart set on top colleges in South Carolina, we’ve got just the list for you.

Best Colleges in South Carolina Red Award Emblem

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Colleges in South Carolina

We’ve rounded up six of the best colleges in South Carolina and provided detailed reviews of each. Cross reference your wish list for a school with our reviews to narrow your choices down even further.

Whether you’re looking for private colleges in South Carolina or public colleges in South Carolina, our list of the top colleges in South Carolina will get you that much closer to finding the school of your dreams.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Colleges in South Carolina

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that college):

Top 6 Best Colleges in South Carolina | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Top Colleges in South Carolina

Highlighted Features

Clemson UniversityMichelin Career Center
Furman UniversityEducation specialist certifications
Lander UniversityPre-professional programs
South Carolina State UniversityExtensive research & outreach commitment
University of South CarolinaLearning and living communities
Wofford CollegeWellness Center

Table: Top 6 Best Colleges in South Carolina | Above list is sorted alphabetically

How to Cut Costs While Attending One of the Top Colleges in South Carolina

College is an expensive investment. Average tuition at a public college in the United States for in-state students is $9,139. For out-of-state students, it’s $22,958. Private colleges come in at an average of $31,231.

You can’t negotiate the price of your tuition, but you can be smart about your spending habits while you’re attending one of these colleges in South Carolina. Some smart financial things to do while attending South Carolina colleges are to:

  • Make periodic contributions to your savings account: Choosing to put off saving until you graduate (or pay off your student loans) is a big mistake. Get into the habit of putting away 10 – 20 percent of your paychecks. This will give you a safety net and a nest egg to start your life once you graduate.
  • Limit how much you eat out: Cook at home as often as you can. If you live in a residence hall, try and limit most of your meals to those you get through your meal plan. Restaurant bills (especially those drinks) can add up. Treat yourself occasionally, but not too often.
  • Buy your textbooks used: Do not fall into the trap of thinking you need brand new textbooks. Textbooks are very pricey, and there are several students who will sell you their textbooks for dirt cheap if you take the time to look.

top colleges in south carolina

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Colleges in South Carolina

Below, please find the detailed review of each card on our list of the best colleges in South Carolina. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top colleges in South Carolina to score so highly in our selection ranking.

Clemson University Review

Clemson University is one of the public colleges in South Carolina. It is also one of the most popular colleges in SC. Ninety-two percent of polled seniors at Clemson say they would pick the school again. It’s no wonder that it is on our list of the best SC colleges.


Clemson has a reputation as a fun, lively, and welcoming atmosphere. Students looking at colleges in South Carolina plan to spend four years on campus. Feeling like they are part of a family is important. Clemson has been ranked as home to some of the happiest students in the country.

Career Support and Guidance

Students receive an exceptional amount of support from Clemson. Good colleges in South Carolina make sure their students have the education and guidance they need to be competitive players in the workforce after graduation. Helping students get that guidance is the mission of the Clemson Center for Career and Professional Development.

Clemson offers cooperative education opportunities, so students have an opportunity to apply their classroom learning to real world scenarios. Good colleges in South Carolina and elsewhere recognize that employers want to see work experience. Co-op programs give students the chance to obtain this while earning their degree.

This center also helps students find great internship positions.

The Michelin Career Center is another source of support that makes Clemson one of the top public colleges in South Carolina. Students receive expert advice on resume writing, job seeking, career counseling, and more. Students can also use the school’s online career portal, ClemsonJobLink, to look for job postings, company information sessions, and more.


The Clemson Tigers represent themselves in a variety of sports. Clemson students can participate in:

  • Baseball (only men’s team)
  • Basketball (men’s and women’s team)
  • Cross Country (men’s and women’s team)
  • Football (only men’s team)
  • Diving (only women’s team)
  • Rowing (only women’s team)
  • Soccer (men’s and women’s team)
  • Tennis (men’s and women’s team)
  • Track and Field (men’s and women’s team)
  • Volleyball (only women’s team)

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Furman University Review

Furman University is one of the private colleges in South Carolina. In addition to terrific academic programs, this top school offers a visual and performing arts program as well as being home to NCAA Division I athletes.

One standout feature that makes Furman University one of the good colleges in South Carolina is its commitment to guaranteeing housing for all four years of a student’s time there.

Furman University is one of the private colleges in South Carolina where students can earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or education specialist degree.

School Statistics

The best colleges in South Carolina make it easy for prospective students to understand the kind of school they’ll be attending. This is also helpful for understanding how diverse Furman is among the colleges in South Carolina.

Furman is one of the small colleges in South Carolina: There are 2700 enrolled undergraduates. The school is made up of 43 percent males and 57 percent females. Its portion of in-state students is 28.5 percent. Their total undergraduate population consists of:

  • 5.3 percent African-American students
  • 2.3 percent Asian students
  • 3 percent Hispanic students
  • 2.1 percent of students identifying as multiracial or other (this number includes international students)

Almost every U.S. state is represented at Furman, one of the best private colleges in South Carolina: 45 states! There are also 53 countries represented. When you’re one of the best South Carolina colleges, word gets around.


Just because Furman is one of the small colleges in South Carolina, doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer a wide selection of study options. There are over 60 academic programs at Furman from both the liberal arts and the sciences.

One of the benefits of small colleges in South Carolina is that they can provide students with a personalized learning experience, something that just isn’t possible at one of the larger colleges in SC. Furman is one of the SC colleges that offers an “individualized” degree program for students.

On top of this, this is one of the colleges in SC that provides hands-on learning experience for its students. This is quickly becoming a non-negotiable not just for SC colleges but for colleges across the country.

This hands-on, experiential learning happens through internships, research opportunities, community-centered learning, and international travel.

Students can choose from several programs, including:

  • Accounting
  • Anthropology
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Neuroscience
  • Philosophy
  • Sustainability Studies

This school also offers the following certifications:

  • Early Childhood (PK-3)
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (PK-12)
  • Languages – French, Latin, Spanish (PK – 12)
  • Literacy – Reading and Writing (PK – 12)
  • Music (PK – 12)
  • Special Education & Learning Disabilities or Emotional & Behavioral Disorders (PK – 12)
  • Biology, Chemistry, English, Mathematics, Physics, or Social Studies (9-12)

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Lander University Review

Lander University is one of the public colleges in South Carolina. It is also one of the relatively smaller colleges South Carolina has, with about 2,700 students enrolled.

Lander got its start as a women’s college when it was founded in 1872. It started off as a private institution before it became one of the public colleges in South Carolina. In 1943, the school began admitting men, and it became one of the coeducational colleges in South Carolina.

public colleges in south carolina

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Lander University is one of the top South Carolina colleges for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs. Students attending one of the best colleges South Carolina has to offer, Lander University, can explore undergraduate studies in the arts, humanities, sciences, business, and mathematics.

Majors that students at Lander can choose from include:

  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cybersecurity
  • Exercise Science
  • Financial Services
  • Forensic Studies
  • Government Administration
  • Health Care Management
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Management/Marketing
  • Mass Communications
  • Nursing
  • Psychology

Another element that makes Lander one of the top colleges in South Carolina is its pre-professional programs for students who know what they’d like to pursue as a career:

  • Pre-Dentistry
  • Pre-Law
  • Pre-Medicine
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy
  • Pre-Optometry
  • Pre-Pharmacy
  • Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Pre-Physician Assistant
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Experience Your Education (EYE) Program

The Eye Program is one of the features that makes Lander one of the top colleges in South Carolina. It is an experiential learning program designed to help students apply their skills before they enter the workforce.

Through the Eye Program, students can participate in service learning, course-embedded projects, internships, co-ops, and study abroad programs. The program helps students add something hands-on and experiential to their resume when they graduate from one of the best public colleges in South Carolina.

South Carolina State University Review

South Carolina State University is one of the public colleges in South Carolina. Founded in 1896, South Carolina State University is a historically black college that has produced leaders in government, athletics, medicine, education, science, engineering, and more.

Facts and Statistics

South Carolina State University is one of the public colleges in South Carolina with a small campus where students enjoy small class sizes and a more personalized learning experience.

The school has a population of 2,900 students, making it one of the small colleges in South Carolina. Their goal as one of the public colleges in South Carolina is to provide an affordable, quality education to students.

Some of their notable facts and statistics are:

  • Out of all the colleges in South Carolina, they are the only one that offers a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering.
  • Out of all the colleges in South Carolina, they are the only one that offers a Master of Science degree in transportation.
  • They are the only one out of the South Carolina colleges that offers a Master of Business Administration with a focus in agribusiness.
  • It is the only one of the SC colleges that participates in former president Barack Obama’s USAID program that supplies textbooks and learning materials for schools in Tanzania.


South Carolina State University offers several degrees and programs for its students. Possible areas of study include:

  • Accounting
  • Business Economics
  • Agribusiness
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Counselor Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Social Work
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Professional English


As one of the country’s land-grant institutions, research makes up a large part of South Carolina State University’s mission. The following institutions and initiatives are associated with the South Carolina State University:

  • 1890 Research and Extension
  • Center for NASA Research and Technology
  • I.P. Stainback Museum and Planetarium
  • James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center
  • Office of Sponsored Programs
  • Small Business Development Center
  • WSSB 90.3 FM
  • Child Development Learning Center
  • Centralized Advisement Retention and Evaluation Center
  • Environmental Policy Institute
  • TRIO
  • Applied Radiation Sciences Laboratory

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University of South Carolina Review

The University of South Carolina is one of the public universities in the state. It is one of the public colleges in South Carolina with a lot of impressive rankings. It’s been ranked number one in the following areas:

  • Undergraduate International Business Major
  • International MBA
  • Best International Experience
  • Ph.D Program in Exercise Science

It has also received high rankings for its graduate programs, delivering work-ready graduates, and for its number of African-American graduates.


Students can choose from hundreds of areas of study when they choose to attend the University of South Carolina, one of the best colleges in South Carolina:

  • Advertising
  • African American Studies
  • Art Studio
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Chinese Studies
  • Classics
  • Comparative Literature
  • Economics
  • European Studies
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Geophysics
  • Hospitality Management
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Risk Management and Insurance
  • Tourism Management
  • Visual Communications

On-Campus Living

Students who choose to live on campus have ample support during their time at the University of South Carolina. Each living community is also considered a “learning community.”

Each learning community has a different focus. The communities available at this school, one of the top colleges in South Carolina, include:

  • Business Community
  • Capstone Scholars
  • Carolina Men’s Community
  • Carolina Women’s Community
  • Engineering and Computing
  • Green Quad
  • Healthy Carolina Wellness
  • Galen Health Fellows
  • Honors Community
  • International House at Maxcy College
  • Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Music Community
  • Preston Residential College
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Sport and Entertainment Management
  • Women in Leadership
  • Women in Retailing
  • Women in Science

Every student gets the opportunity to try campus living at least once during their time at the University of South Carolina. This is usually in their first year.

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Wofford College Review

Wofford College is one of the private colleges in South Carolina. It was established in 1854 as an independent liberal arts college. Students who attend this school typically go on to pursue careers in law, medicine, or commerce, or pursue graduate studies.


This liberal arts college has a wide range of degree options for its students to choose from, including:

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Business Economics
  • Chinese
  • Computer Science
  • English
  • Environmental Studies
  • Finance
  • German
  • Government
  • History
  • International Affairs
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religion

Campus Life

There are several activities at Wofford College. In between classes and studying, students at Wofford, one of the top colleges in South Carolina, will have numerous activities to keep them busy. They are also a great way to find like-minded people on campus.

There are several student organizations and groups in several categories, including:

  • Honor Societies
  • Student Government
  • Academic & Professional
  • Fraternities & Sororities
  • Greek Executive Bodies
  • Religious & Service
  • Special Interest
  • Performing Arts
  • Student Publications

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion ensures that the campus is a welcoming environment for all students. There are several intramural sports teams and recreational activities for students to stay fit and healthy while attending one of the best colleges in South Carolina.

There is also a Wellness Center where students get access to the support they need to maintain their physical, emotional, and mental health.

Conclusion – Top 6 Best Colleges in South Carolina

South Carolina is a state with a lot of American history and a lot of great schools. When you’re choosing between the best colleges in South Carolina, it’s important to think about what you want your university experience to look like. Once you’ve done so, compare your list to our list of the top colleges in South Carolina to find the best fit.

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