Top South Carolina Colleges

Learn About 11 of the Top-Ranked Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

My top picks for South Carolina include a wide range of public and private institutions.  From a large public research university like the University of South Carolina to a tiny Christian college like Erskine, South Carolina has schools to match a variety of student personalities and interests. The 11 top South Carolina colleges below are listed alphabetically to avoid the arbitrary distinctions often used to distinguish #1 from #2, and because of the impossibility of comparing a small private college with a large public institution. The schools were chosen based on their first-year retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, curricular innovations, value, financial aid and student engagement.

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Will You Get In? See if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into any of the top South Carolina colleges with this free tool from Cappex: Calculate Your Chances for Top South Carolina Colleges

Anderson University in South Carolina
Anderson University in South Carolina. jameskm03 / Flickr
  • Location: Anderson, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 3,432 (2,944 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Christian university (Baptist)
  • Distinctions: excellent grant aid and overall value; strong Christian identity; NCAA Division II athletics program; programs for traditional undergraduates, adults, and graduate students; 17 to 1 student / faculty ratio
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Anderson University profile
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The Citadel
The Citadel. citedelmatt / Flickr
  • Location: Charleston, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 3,602 (2,773 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public military university
  • Distinctions: high graduate rates in relation to student profile; 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; curricular emphasis on leadership and character training; member of the NCAA Division I Southern Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Citadel profile
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Clemson University Football Stadium
Clemson University Football Stadium. Jas&Suz / Flickr
  • Location: Clemson, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 23,406 (18,599 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: one of the country's top public universities; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; attractive campus in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along Lake Hartwell; strong business, science and engineering programs; member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Clemson University profile
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College of Charleston
College of Charleston. lhilyer libr / Flickr
  • Location: Charleston, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 11,294 (10,375 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 15 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 21; excellent value; founded in 1770 and located in a historically rich area; member of the NCAA Division I Southern Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the College of Charleston profile
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Converse College
Converse College. Converse College / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 1,320 (870 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: master's-level women's college
  • Distinctions: 13 to 1 student / faculty ratio; popular graduate education programs; programs for adult women; good grant aid; high graduation rate in relation to the student profile; home of the Petrie School of Music; NCAA Division II athletics program
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Converse College profile
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Erskine College
Erskine College. Photo Courtesy of Erskine College
  • Location: Due West, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 822 (614 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Christian liberal arts college (Presbyterian)
  • Distinctions: 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; home to the Bowie Arts Center; high placement rate for medical school, law school and other graduate programs; NCAA Division II athletics program
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Erskine College profile
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Furman University
Furman University. JeffersonDavis / Flickr
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Presbyterian College
Presbyterian College. Jackmjenkins / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Clinton, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 1,352 (1,063 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college (Presbyterian)
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 14; good value; good breadth of offerings for a small college (34 majors, 47 minors, and 50 clubs and organizations); member of the NCAA Division I Big South Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Presbyterian College profile
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University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina. Florencebballer / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Columbia, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 34,099 (25,556 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: well-regarded honors college; strong first-year student program; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; 350 bachelor, master's and doctoral programs; member of the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the University of South Carolina profile
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Winthrop University
Winthrop University. keithbsmiley / Flickr
  • Location: Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 6,109 (5,091 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: 14 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 24; home to many buildings on the National Historic Register; students from 42 states and 54 countries; more than 180 clubs and organizations; member of the NCAA Division I Big South Conference 
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Winthrop University profile
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Wofford College Gibbs Stadium
Wofford College Gibbs Stadium. Greenstrat / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • Enrollment: 1,683 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college (Methodist)
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student / faculty ratio; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; campus is a National Historic District and a designated arboretum; member of the NCAA Division I Southern Conference
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Wofford College profile
More »

Calculate Your Chances

Calculate Your Chances of Being Admitted
Calculate Your Chances of Being Admitted.
Se​e if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into one of these top South Carolina schools with this free tool from Cappex: Calculate Your Chances of Getting In
South Atlantic Region
South Atlantic Region.

If you're hoping to attend college in the Southeast, don't limit your search to South Carolina. Check out these 30 top colleges and universities in the Southeast. More »

Royce Hall at UCLA
Royce Hall at UCLA. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin

If your open to the idea of attending college anywhere, here are many of the top colleges and universities throughout the United States:

Private Universities | Public Universities | Liberal Arts Colleges | Engineering | Business | Women's | Most Selective | More Top Picks More »

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Grove, Allen. "Top South Carolina Colleges." ThoughtCo, Dec. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-south-carolina-colleges-788329. Grove, Allen. (2017, December 27). Top South Carolina Colleges. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-south-carolina-colleges-788329 Grove, Allen. "Top South Carolina Colleges." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-south-carolina-colleges-788329 (accessed January 20, 2018).