Welcome to the College of Charleston! Everything you need to know to start your year off right

Whether you're a first-year student, a senior ready to finish up school or a lifelong learner, starting a new academic year is an exhilarating and sometimes overwhelming time. And at the College of Charleston there is never a shortage of things to learn, people to meet or things new and old to see.

But luckily, at CofC, there are plenty of programs to make your time here productive, fulfilling and fun. So, whether you're stepping onto America's most beautiful college campus for the first time or just a few credits away from crossing the Cistern, here's some answers to questions you may be having as begin to achieve and enjoy your time at CofC:

Where am I?

You know this one by now: You're at the College of Charleston, the nation's first municipal higher learning institution and one of the South's premiere destinations for a holistic, liberal arts education. More than 10,000 undergrads and 1,000 more graduate students call CofC's campus in the heart of historic Charleston home.

With a main campus that spans a dozen city blocks and facilities on the Cooper River, James Island, North Charleston and the 881-acre Dixie Plantation in Hollywood, South Carolina, there are a lot of places to learn at the College of Charleston.

With so many facilities, it can be a little overwhelming for new students to find their way around. But there are a few buildings that you should know as you get acclimated to life at CofC.

And by the way – don't forget to show your Cougar pride on the first day of classes. Starting at noon on Aug. 22 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 23, CofC alumni, friends and family from all over the world will come together for a warm #CougarWelcome.

What can I study?

A degree from the College of Charleston means you've earned a well-rounded education deeply rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. The College offers more than 135 majors and minors across seven schools.

Not sure what to major in? The College's Career Center is offering workshops throughout the fall semester to help students navigate the sea of possibilities on campus.

The offerings are always changing at the College. This year, undergraduates and graduates will have access to a bevy of new programs and areas of study, including a bachelor's degree in commercial real estate finance and a master's in community planning, policy and design.

How am I going to fit everything in my room at a residence hall?

Move-in week can be both an exciting and stressful experience for freshmen Cougars and their families. It’s hot, the boxes are heavy, the halls are crowded, and then there are the emotions connected with leaving home for the first time. Thankfully, many parents have experienced this and are happy to share advice to help make the move smoother.

There are a few essential items you're going to need to make a smooth transition to living in one of our residence halls. That's right, it's not as simple as bringing your toothbrush, favorite T-shirt and a book bag. Here's what some seasoned CofC RAs say you should bring to campus.

You may not know it yet, but sustainability is a big part of life at the College of Charleston. From practicing the 3 Rs (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse) in residence halls and buildings to the sustainability tenets that make up the College's new quality enhancement plan (or QEP), leaving the world in a better place than where we found it is central to the CofC ethos. With that in mind, here are some easy sustainability tips to kick off the semester:

Where (and what) do I eat?

Charleston has a reputation as a food town, but you don't have to leave campus for a great meal. The College offers everything from all-you-can-eat dining halls to vegan dining at Marty's Place and Mediterranean grain bowls at Olilo in the Stern Student Center Food Court.

Venturing off campus? Many of the city's restaurants are run by CofC alums who will be happy to see fellow Cougars stopping in for a bite.

What is there to do outside of class?

Whether you're a Charleston resident, a longtime visitor or a complete newbie to the Holy City, one thing is clear: There's a ton to do when you're not in class or studying for that next big exam. From strolls around the historic district to day trips and the region's beaches to on-campus clubs and sustainability programs, there's never a lack of things to do at CofC.

As an urban campus in the heart of the city’s historic downtown, the College of Charleston couldn’t be easier to navigate. Whether you're on two legs, two wheels or four (or more), you should be able to get around CofC and the outlying areas with ease.

Trying to find new friends? One great way to meet fellow students at the College of Charleston is through any one of more than 200 clubs on campus. With offerings ranging from acapella and comic books to water polo and paranormal activities, there's a club for every interest at CofC.

Want to show some Cougar spirit? There's no better way to do so than to throw on a maroon shirt and cheer on one of CofC's sports teams.

The College's sailing team was crowned national champions last spring, the men's basketball team made a deep run in the 2017 CAA tournament, and new baseball coach Chad Holbrook was part of five College World Series appearances before joining CofC.

Any way you slice it, it's a great time to cheer on the Cougars.

Looking to show off campus? The College of Charleston is full of places that make for perfect snaps and Instagram posts (did we mention Travel + Leisure named CofC the most beautiful college campus in America?).

You shouldn't have too much trouble finding great places to pose for that epic selfie or show off your artistic photography skills, but just in case, here's 9 of the most Instagrammable spots on campus:

How do I stay healthy?

It will happen.

One day you will trip on the bricks and skin your knee; a sick roommate will give you the flu or a strange rash may suddenly appear.

You will need to see a doctor. And luckily for you, the College has four doctors, several nurse practitioners and nurses on staff at Student Health Services.

Starting a new semester can be a stressful and uncertain time for new and returning students alike, so it's important to do things that help you deal with adjusting to new classes, classmates, professors, roommates and environs.

And with that — whether this is your first time walking down Cougar Mall or you've lost count of how many times you've tripped on an uneven brick — welcome to the College. We (and Clyde, especially) are so excited you're back.


Photos by Reese Moore and Mike Ledford

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