You’ve put in the effort, received your high school diploma and been accepted to the College of Charleston. Now, it’s time to take the next steps in beginning your journey as college students.

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 13 two-day sessions for students to get acclimated to the College, learn more about campus resources and sign up for their first semester of courses.

Orientation is always 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 13 orientation sessions between June 19 and Aug. 18, 2023. Several of the sessions are targeted toward different student communities, including Honors College students and transfer students. The final orientation, on Aug. 17 and 18, 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 MyPortal. You must have paid your non-refundable enrollment deposit to be able to register for orientation. Once you are logged into MyPortal, go to the top right of the MyPortal screen and click on the down arrow that looks like a V. Click on “select profile,” then select “College of Charleston member” and then choose the orientation profile. Next, click on the “orientation registration” box. Verify that your name and email address are displayed at the top of the form. Follow the instructions and complete the entire reservation form.

What happens at Orientation?

Orientation is a chance for students and their families to get acclimated to the College of Charleston before the start of the fall semester. Students meet their academic advisors as well as faculty and staff from every corner of the College community. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other other incoming students and learn about vital College programs and services. And incoming students will 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, Dining Services, and academic support, among others. They can ask orientation interns and faculty members questions about life and learning at the College  as well as take an in-depth tour of campus.

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

Students should submit a Cougar Card photo, make sure they complete the immunization record form, submit any AP/IB scores and double check that their phone number and address are correct in MyPortal before making their way to campus for orientation. Transfer students should make sure their official transcripts are submitted to the College two weeks before their orientation.  A full checklist can be found on the Orientation website.

Where do I eat during Orientation?

Students and their families will receive a voucher for lunch at an on campus dining facility to use during their orientation sessions. But they may want to also 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.

Where do I stay during Orientation?

Students attending orientation in June or July have the opportunity to stay at a College of Charleston residence hall, but space is limited. Be sure to reserve orientation housing as soon as possible!

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 #CofC27, #HomeSweetCofC and #CofCSummerOrientation in your tweets (@CofC) and Instagram posts (@CollegeofCharleston), and follow the College’s Instagram account to see stories from orientation!