Local Atmosphere

Columbia, SC
Tuition (in-state)
$27,644 ($10,488)
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: People are very welcoming and warm to others. I haven't been around the city much, but the locals are fairly friendly.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Columbia is a great city. Tons of stuff to do.

5 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: I love it here!!! Everyone at my school are friendlier than ever. The whole school is amazing, which I love going here.

5 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: Nightlife is the bomb dot com. 5 points for all your extracurricular alcohogit needs. When you're older and more civilized meander over to the vista and you'll meet some swanky locals and share in some less slurred conversation. All-in-all, there's more people out at night than during the day most of the time. Party on gamecocks.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: I absolutely love this city....as long as I stay in the right areas. Definitely an amazing city, hosting the perfect college atmosphere, an important business district, the official state capital, and anything you could want in a city. Very easy to get around. The only problem is that there is definitely a lot of crime. I would never walk alone at night, even just from the gym to my car. Police are very active and visible, but are more focused on underage drinking than gang violence. But as long as you're smart, you'll be safe.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Gregory Goetz
Fort Mitchell, KY
Media Arts/Entrepreneurial Business
View all previous student authors

Located in the heart of Columbia, USC delights many students with the mix of Southern charm on campus and the fast pace of the urban setting. The campus grounds are scattered with gorgeous greenery, secluded gardens, and beautiful buildings. USC also harbors a vast array of historical treasures. On campus, students are able to visit McKissick Museum, which features rotating exhibits highlighting Southern culture. Additionally, many of the buildings on central campus pre-date the Civil War and are now used as upperclassman apartments, faculty office buildings, and even classrooms. Being in the South and smack in the middle of the “Bible Belt,” there is a lot of conservative thinking in the city of Columbia; however, USC’s campus is moderate in its views, with both extremes present. Many are involved in the political scene, and students make their voices heard on issues such as budget cuts, educational funding, the war in Iraq, and state and national elections.

A short drive from the University of South Carolina rewards students with Columbia's recreational staples such as the Riverbanks Zoo, the State Museum, and Lake Murray, all favorites among students. If you’re willing to travel a bit, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are all within a few hours. The Southern atmosphere, the urban setting, and the variety of activities in the area combine to make the atmosphere at USC ideal for many students.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Columbia is home to the first free-standing American college library, the South Caroliniana Library (1840).
  2. Located on the outskirts of Columbia, many birds flock to Bomb Island on Lake Murray to roost. This island has been declared a bird sanctuary, and many like to watch the birds return to the island each day around sunset.
  3. Columbia has attracted acts such as Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama.
  4. The Carolina Center in Columbia has attracted acts such as Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen, and President George W. Bush.
  5. The Strom Thurmond Fitness and Wellness Center features state-of-the-art equipment and a 52-foot climbing wall.
Notable Natives
  • Whispering Bill Anderson - singer
  • James Mark Baldwin - psychologist
  • Joseph H. Burckhalter - inventor
  • Alex English - basketball player
Local Slang
  • Cola: Columbia
  • Sketchy: Suspicious or unusual
  • Straight: Okay or all right
  • Ya'll: You all
Points of Interest
  • Colonial Life Arena
  • Columbia Museum of Art
  • Congaree River Walk
  • Downtown Columbia
  • EdVenture
  • Frankie’s Fun Park
  • Koger Center for the Performing Arts
  • Lake Murray
  • McKissick Museum
  • Nickelodeon Theater
  • Riverbanks Zoo
  • Sesquicentennial State Park
  • South Carolina State Museum
  • South Carolina State Museum
  • State House
Shopping Centers
  • Columbia Place
  • Columbiana Centre
  • Dutch Square Mall
  • Midtown at Forest Acres
Movie Theaters
AMC Dutch Square 14
800 Bush River Rd.
(888) 262-4386
Movie Theaters
Carmike 14
122 Afton Ct.
(803) 781-3067
Movie Theaters
Carmike Wynnsong 10
5230 Forest Drive
(803) 781-8100
Movie Theaters
Columbia Place Stadium Cinemas
7201/802 Two Notch Rd.
(803) 419-5454
Movie Theaters
Columbiana Grande
1250 Bower Pkwy.
(803) 407-9898
Movie Theaters
Nickelodeon Theatre
937 Main St.
(803) 254-3433
Movie Theaters
Pastime Pavilion 8
929 North Lake Dr.
(803) 951-3603
Movie Theaters
Regal Columbia Cinema 7
3400 Forest Dr.
(803) 790-9001
Movie Theaters
Regal Sandhill Cinema 16
450 Town Center Place
(803) 736-1811
Movie Theaters
St. Andrews Cinema 5
527 St. Andrews Road
(803) 772-7469
Major Sports Teams
  • Columbia Blowfish: minor-league baseball
  • Columbia Inferno: hockey
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Atlanta: GA: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Charleston: SC: 2 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 159 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 158 responses

  • 0% Painfully remote.
  • 18% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 4% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 22% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 56% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 158 responses

  • 12% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 49% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 39% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 157 responses

  • 21% No way.
  • 57% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 22% Totally.



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