There may be fewer students on campus for the summer, but the College of Charleston is still buzzing with activity.

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 time as Cougars. This year, there are 11 two-day sessions for students to get acclimated with CofC, learn more about campus resources and sign up for their first semester of courses.

Orientation always proves an exhilarating couple of days, but it can also be a little overwhelming. With that in mind, here are answers to some common orientation questions:

When is Orientation? 

There are 11 orientation sessions between June 20 and Aug. 18. Several of the sessions are targeted toward different student communities, including Honors College students and transfer students. The final orientation, on Aug. 18 and 19, is reserved for incoming students who live more than 700 miles from campus. Orientation is required for all new students.

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 their academic advisors as well as 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 Health Services, financial aid, residence life and housing, and academic support, among others. They can ask orientation interns and faculty members questions about life and learning at CofC. And they’ll get an in-depth tour of campus.

students at college of charleston orientation

What do I need to do before I come to Orientation?

Students should make sure they’ve paid deposits, applied for housing, submitted a Cougar Card photo, make sure they are compliant with their health forms and submitted any AP/IB scores 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-founded 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 St. Philip Street. 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.

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 eatery packs in fresh catches on a daily basis.

students in the cistern yard at the college of charleston

Where do I stay during Orientation?

Students attending the first nine 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 have two public parking garages available this summer, including:

  • St. Philip St. Garage located on St. Philip St. between Vanderhorst St. and Calhoun St.
    Address: 89 St. Philip St.
  • George Garage located on St. Philip St. between George St. and Liberty St.
    Address: 34 St. Philip St.

Can I share my orientation experience on social media?

Absolutely! Be sure to tag #CofC26, #HomeSweetCofC and #CofCSummerOrientation in your tweets (@CofC) and Instagram posts (@CollegeofCharleston), and follow the College’s Instagram account to see stories from orientation!