There are nearly 500 new faces on campus at the College of Charleston for the Spring 2018 semester. Some of those arrived from as far away as India, Tunisia, China and Cambodia. And many came from right here in South Carolina. These new students form an exciting winter phenomenon that augments the makeup of the student body.
While many of these new students have arrived via the College’s two bridge programs for freshmen – Charleston Bridge and iCharleston – others are transfer students, some are returning students and about 10 percent are active duty or veteran members of the military.
According to Jimmie Foster, associate vice president of enrollment management, roughly one-third of the new faces on campus have transferred into the College from other institutions.
“It’s always exciting to welcome our new students in the spring semester,” says Foster. “The College has historically had a strong pipeline of new students who start in January. Collectively, these new students have some of the most fascinating stories about how they individually ended up at the College. Certainly the significant number of students transitioning from the College’s two freshman bridge programs – Charleston Bridge and iCharleston – have had a positive impact on the total number of students starting with us this spring.”
And some students have made a long journey to become a Cougar.
“We’ve also got a healthy contingent of international students starting this semester,” says Foster. “Six of them are first-year students and eight of them are transferring here. They come from India, China, Tunisia, the Bahamas and Cambodia, as well as a few other countries.”
Foster adds that roughly 20 percent of the new faces on campus this spring are students who formerly attended the College, but didn’t finish their degrees. Now they’re back and intent on graduating.
Among the 10 percent who are either military veterans or active duty members of the military is Jenean Ambersley, a U.S. Navy veteran who transferred to the College to study computer information systems.
“I was an information systems technician in the Navy,” Ambersley explains. “I had the pleasure of serving all over the world, including in Bahrain and Hawaii, where I was most recently stationed. But now, I am looking forward to taking my IT skills to another level and furthering my career in this field. My family lives in South Carolina, so I’m looking forward to coming home to spend some time with them while I pursue my degree.”
Ambersley will be joined by over 120 students who have come to the College by way of the Charleston Bridge Program, an enrollment platform that enables students to transfer to the College after being enrolled at Trident Technical College. And another 60 of the new students are arriving through iCharleston, a program that allows students to study abroad at a partner institution during their first semester of college.
Of the nearly 500 incoming students this spring, two-thirds are from South Carolina, including Nick Ruppel from Columbia. Ruppel says he was drawn to the College by the beauty of the campus as well as the College’s many resources that support student success. He participated in the Charleston Bridge program and plans to major in business.
Another newcomer by way of the Bridge Program is Temera Millidge, from Beaufort, South Carolina. She says the College’s urban atmosphere won her over, adding that she was also motivated to enroll at CofC because the area reminds her of home.
Millidge says the Bridge Program was a good opportunity to get started at the college level: “Getting through the Bridge Program successfully was a big goal of mine. I’ve done that, and now I’m ready to make the most of my college career.”