Courtesy of Olivia Turner
In past fall breaks, I have done things like going to the beach with my family to getting my wisdom teeth out and eating nothing but ice cream for five days, but this fall break was different.
My mom and I packed up our car and headed off to South Carolina for a week of college tours at four very different schools.
We arrived to our hotel in Spartanburg, S.C. on Monday night, and we attended our first tour the next morning at Wofford College. As we drove through brick columns and past the pond with William Mabry’s “Fountain Wings” sculpture, my mom described the campus as “a jewel I would never expect to find in such a run down part of town.”
During an informational meeting, I was pleased to learn that the faculty works very hard to make sure everyone is involved, and they help any students who may be struggling.
As our meeting ended and we began the campus tour, I instantly fell in love. I felt like everyone was very involved and knew each other well.
Our tour guide said that most students love the campus so much that they usually stay there on the weekend or only stray a few blocks away to downtown Spartanburg.
We saw everything from the dorm rooms and village for senior housing to the newly built art museum. I don’t know if it was the beautiful architecture or fact that their mascot was a terrier, but something about that campus made me feel like I belonged there.
We drove about 45 minutes to Greenville, S.C. to see Furman University. From the moment that my mom and I stepped on the campus, we both agreed that we had stepped into another world that was a little “too perfect.”
As we drove to the Office of Admissions, we admired the beautiful buildings, fountains and well-kept landscape. Although we didn’t know the school colors upon arriving at the school we quickly learned them as we spotted purple flowers everywhere, and we were offered cookies with purple M&Ms.
After a quick informational session, we went on a walking tour and then a golf cart tour. During these tours I couldn’t help but feel that the campus was somewhat spread out for such a small student body.
Furman hosts several unique features, such as an environmentally friendly farming area and a residence hall where American students can live with foreign students to learn about their culture. Furman was incredible, but I don’t think it was the perfect school for me.
University of South Carolina
Our next stop was Columbia, S.C. for a tour of USC. We stayed at a quaint hotel only a few blocks from campus. On Wednesday morning, we got up bright and early and made our way over to the large college. We got there early and explored the campus before meeting in the Office of Admissions.
After a brief meeting we started our walking tour.
Our first stop was the famous “Horseshoe,” a green area that students gather to study and hangout. It is surrounded by residence halls, classroom buildings and the college president’s house. Our tour guide Sarah said “You can make a big school small, but you can’t make a small school big.”
Although I agree with this statement, thanks to the diversity of clubs and programs USC had to offer, I personally think that a smaller school would be a better fit for me.
College of Charleston
My mom and I were exhausted as we drove to Charleston for our fourth and final college tour of the week. Our tour at the College of Charleston wasn’t until Friday morning so my mom and I had the opportunity to explore the city on Thursday.
Neither of us had been there before and we couldn’t wait to see the city. Our day started with breakfast at Callie’s Charleston Biscuits where we waited in a line all the way out the door. We went to several shops on King Street, walked down Rainbow Row and had lunch at 82 Queen.
We ended our day in what I believe to be the best possible way: by sitting on the beach with a new found love for the city of Charleston.
On Friday morning, we drove to the campus. It had a very different feel because Charleston is the 13th oldest college in the country. The extensive history of the school became clear when our tour guide pointed out a building with a very narrow doorway.
“The men who built this building wanted it to be an all boys school, so they made the doorway too narrow for the women’s big hoop skirts to fit through,” she said.
All of these schools have so much to offer students. Regardless of where I end up, I am glad that I was lucky enough to see four very different schools, and I was able to discover the kind of school that is right for me.