Students may be gone for the summer, but it’s an exciting time on the College of Charleston campus.
That’s because for the next two months, more than 2,000 fresh faces will be making their way to the College for orientation to begin their journeys as Cougars. This year, there are 10 two-day sessions for students and their families to get acclimated with CofC, learn more about campus resources – and students, perhaps most importantly, will sign up for their first semester of courses.
Orientation always proves an exhilarating couple of days for any student, but it can also be a little overwhelming. With that in mind, here are some answers to some common orientation questions:
When is Orientation?
There are 11 orientation sessions between June 19 and Aug. 18, including special session for members of the College’s Charleston Bridge Program on July 7. Several of the sessions are targeted toward different student communities, including veterans, transfers and Honors College students. The final orientation, on Aug. 17 and 18, is reserved for incoming students who live more than 700 miles from campus.
To register for an orientation session, students should log into MyCharleston.
What happens at Orientation?
Orientation is a chance for students and their families to get acclimated to CofC before the start of the fall semester. Students meet other incoming students and their families, their academic advisors and faculty and staff from every corner of the College of Charleston community. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about vital College programs and services. And they’ll sign up for their first semester of coursework.
Running concurrently with student orientation programs, an optional family orientation is also an important opportunity for family members to learn about information to help support their students during their first year on campus. Families can attend sessions on student safety, CofC’s history, financial aid, health services and other topics. They can ask orientation interns and campus faculty questions about life and learning at the College. And they’ll even get an in-depth tour of campus during the second day of proceedings. Please note, family members will spend most of both days separate from their students during orientation.
And before you ask — yes, orientation is required for students.
What do I need to do before I come to Orientation?
Students should make sure they’ve paid deposits, applied for housing, familiarized themselves with MyCharleston, completed foreign language and math placement tests as well as filled out health forms before making their way to campus for orientation. A full checklist can be found on the Orientation website.
Where do I eat during Orientation?
Students and their families will have vouchers for lunch at CofC’s Liberty Fresh Food Co. during their orientation sessions. But many students and their families may want to try a few of the restaurants around campus for dinner. If you didn’t already know, Charleston is a huge foodie city — and many establishments are run by fellow Cougars.
For a quick dinner of bright salads, meaty sandwiches, or fresh sushi, stop by Caviar & Bananas at 41 George St. Co-owned by Margaret Furniss ’00, this café is popular with students for its grab-and-go selections.
If you feel like going Greek, visit Stella’s at 114 Saint Philip St. Owner Steven Niketas ’90 wanted to bring his family’s recipes to Charleston and has everyone talking about the huge portions of lamb frites, dolmades and calamari.
Chef Jeremiah Bacon ’95 runs the kitchen at new American restaurant The Macintosh. The menu draws inspiration from the abundance of Lowcountry produce and products, like a seared wreckfish with rainbow chard and snap beans.
If you’re looking for raw oysters and lobster rolls, take a pedicab from campus to 167 Raw on East Bay Street. Owned by Jesse Sandole ’10, this petite eatery packs in fresh catches on a daily basis.
Michael Shemtov ’00 wrote a business plan for a Mellow Mushroom eatery near campus as a final paper for his business coursework. Now, you can benefit from his project with piping hot pizza close to the school.
It’s a bit of a walk from the main campus, but D’Allesandro’s Pizza at the corner of St. Philip and Bogard streets has drawn CofC students in since 2006 with unique toppings and funky surrounding. Ben D’Allesandro ’05 opened this pizzeria his brother Nick shortly after graduation.
If you’re looking for more recommendations, student Ellie Thomson has a few.
Where do I stay during Orientation?
Students attending the first eight sessions of orientation can have the unique opportunity to stay at a College of Charleston residence hall, but space will be limited. Be sure to reserve orientation housing as soon as possible, and don’t forget to bring bed linens for a twin-extra long bed along with a towel and toiletries!
Students and families not staying in on-campus housing are encouraged to stay at any of the the Charleston area’s many hotels and other lodging options. Be sure to ask when booking if the business offers special rates to guests attending College of Charleston events.
If you’re driving to campus during orientation sessions, note that parking in downtown Charleston is extremely limited. But the College does offer three public parking garages. A full day of parking at these garages typically costs $16.
Can I share my Orientation experience on social media?
Absolutely! Be sure to tag #CofC in your tweets and Instagram posts, and follow the College’s Instagram and Snapchat accounts to see snaps and Instagram Stories from your Orientation interns!