Frequently Asked Questions
The University of South Carolina is a large institution and you will probably have several questions related to your academic experience while you are here. This Frequently Asked Questions page offers answers to common questions asked by the University of South Carolina students about how to be successful and navigate through the various programs and offices on campus.
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General Academic Policies and Topics
Where do I find my GPA?
Log in to VIP (https://vip.sc.edu/). Under the Academics tab, click on Grade Report to locate your semester and cumulative GPA.
What is academic advisement?
Academic advisement is the process you go through to choose the courses you will take to complete your degree at the University of South Carolina. In the fall and spring prior to the registration period, you must see your academic advisor. An advisor will give you advice on the best route to complete your degree requirements along with information on careers and graduate school. However, it is your responsibility to use that advice.
Who is my academic advisor?
When you enrolled at the University of South Carolina, you were assigned an advisor. To find out who is your advisor, go to VIP and click the Academics tab. Your advisor will be listed under Registration Eligibility/ Advisor Information. You may also contact your department.
Do I have to be advised?
YES, if you want to register! Every undergraduate student must see an academic advisor before they may register for classes.
When is advisement?
Advisement times vary from college to college. Visit your department in early October and early March to find out when and how they will handle academic advisement. Also, ask your residence hall staff when the Pre-Advising sessions in the residence halls will take place.
How do I change my major?
More information about changing your major is here
- Research the requirements for the program you want to change into (i.e. GPA minimum and required courses).
- Talk to your current academic advisor about your plan to change majors. If it is near the time of advisement, you will more likely need to be advised by your current program.
- Contact the student services office/undergraduate studies office in the program you wish to switch into and speak with an advisor about switching majors. Find out when the department accepts new majors (sometime it is a limited time frame).
- Complete appropriate paperwork.
- Remember each college and school has different requirements for entering into programs. Students must plan on meeting with advisors from both majors and should plan well in advance of advisement time.
How many classes should I take each semester?
To graduate in four years, most students take 15-18 credit hours a semester. The exact number of required graduation credit hours varies by college or department. To be considered a full-time undergraduate student, you must take at least 12 hours a semester.
I think my professor entered my grade incorrectly. How can I get my grade changed?
Grade changes based on transcription or computation errors should be reported directly to the Office of the University Registrar on the appropriate grade change form signed by the instructor and the head of the student's academic unit. Any request for a grade change must be submitted by the instructor no later than one calendar year from the date on which the grade was reported. Visit http://registrar.sc.edu for more information.
I forgot my VIP Personal Identification Number (PIN). Where can I find out what it is?
Contact the Office of the University Registrar (777-5555). You can also pick up your PIN in person (with a picture ID) from the Office of the University Registrar in Petigru College.
What does it mean to take a class "Pass/ Fail"?
The Pass-Fail program is designed to encourage students to investigate fields outside of their major curriculum without affecting their grade point average. The only grades assigned on courses taken under the Pass-Fail option are S (satisfactory performance) and U (unsatisfactory progress). A student will be given credit for courses in which the grade of S is earned, but these courses will not affect the computation of the grade point average. Visit the Academic Bulletin for more information: http://www.sc.edu/bulletin/ugrad/acadregs.html
I failed a class and need to retake it. Will my new grade replace the old grade?
Every currently enrolled fully-admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate earning a “D+”, “D”, “F” or “WF” in a University of South Carolina course may take up to two (2) undergraduate courses for a second time for the purpose of grade forgiveness. Both the first and second grades shall appear on the University of South Carolina permanent record, but only the second grade will be used in computing the University of South Carolina cumulative grade point average. An explanatory notice will appear on the record. Once grade forgiveness is applied to a repeated course, the action may not be revoked. Students can get more information from the Registrar's Office website at http://registrar.sc.edu/html/grade_forgiv.stm.
What is plagiarism?
The University of South Carolina’s Student Handbook, the Carolina Community, defines plagiarism as “unauthorized use of another person’s work without proper acknowledgement of source.” Plagiarism could include failing to cite your sources or turning in someone else’s paper as your own. For more information about plagiarism, visit the Department of English Language and Literature’s web site: http://www.cas.sc.edu/ENGL/fye/students/student_guide_responsibility.html#plagiarism
Where do I register for classes?
I have a documented disability. What types of services are available for me at the University of South Carolina?
The Office of Student Disability Services serves students with appropriately
documented disabilities, including physical, blind, deaf, psychiatric, traumatic brain injury, other health disabilities, learning disabilities and
ADD/ADHD. Services are determined by a committee review of documentation. Each student is considered on an individual basis, and appropriate accommodations are determined. For more information, please visit the office’s web site: http://www.sa.sc.edu/sds
If I take classes at another college over the summer, will they count for credit at the University of South Carolina?
Before taking classes at another college or university, you must have your advisor approve the courses in advance. If you are taking classes at a South Carolina technical college, you can check the Transfer Credit Guide http://www.cas.sc.edu/ugrad/transferguide.pdf to see what courses will count towards your University of South Carolina degree. You may take up to eighteen (18) semester hours of courses in transient status provided that (1) you are in good standing, (2) the courses are approved in advance by your academic advisor and dean on a Special Enrollment Request (AS 30), and (3) the other institution is fully accredited and the course work meets University specifications for transfer credits. Transient work must be passed with a grade of C or higher. All work taken at other institutions is treated as transfer work and is not included in the U.S.C. GPA.
I am planning to go to medical school. What resources are available to me at the University of South Carolina?
The Office of Pre-Professional Advising provides University of South Carolina undergraduates with the competitive edge in gaining admission into law school, medical school, and other health related institutions. Visit their office at 208 Sumwalt College, call 803-777-5581 to schedule an appointment, or see their web site: http://www.sc.edu/oppa for more information.
Where can I learn more about improving my study habits and setting goals for academic success?
Schedule an Academic Success consultation with the University of South Carolina’s Academic Centers for Excellence: http://www.sc.edu/ACE ACE Academic Coaches will work with you to develop a personalized plan for success.
What is Supplemental Instruction?
Supplemental Instruction is a learning enhancement program that consists of a series of weekly review sessions for students enrolled in historically difficult courses. Sessions are open to all students who want to improve their understanding of the course material, as well as their grades. For more information, please visit: http://www.sa.sc.edu/supplementalinstruction/index.htm
What tutoring is available to students at the University of South Carolina?
Please visit the My Tutoring page for more information.
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Choosing a Career: The University of South Carolina's Career Center
Where is the Career Center located and when is it open?
The Career Center is located on the 6th floor of the H. William Close Building at the corner of Pendleton and Barnwell streets. Look for the building with the flags. The hours are 8:30 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday during the fall and spring semesters and 8 am – 4:30 pm during Maymester and summer sessions. The Career Center is also open during most academic breaks, unless the entire University is closed.
Is the Career Center only for graduating seniors?
No. The Career Center has resources for all levels of students at the University of South Carolina. It’s never too early to visit the office to learn more about planning for your future work or investigating internship possibilities.
Can the Career Center help me choose my major?
The Career Center doesn’t provide academic advising, but the staff can provide resources to help you choose or clarify your major. If you need help deciding on a major, start by visiting the Career Center during on-call hours (Mondays through Fridays, 1-4 p.m.) to speak with a staff member.
How can the Career Center help me find a part-time job, internship, co-op, graduate assistantship, or full-time job?
You can start by checking the Career Center’s web site (http://www.sc.edu/career) for basic job search information, strategies, and web resources. Then, stop by the office to explore our Career Library and/or speak with a staff member to help you customize your job search.
Can the Career Center help me with my resume and/or cover letter?
Career Center staff can provide feedback on resumes and cover letters. Simply print out your resume/cover letter and stop by during on-call hours (Mondays through Fridays, 1-4 p.m.) for immediate assistance. No appointment needed.
How can I find student employment on campus?
Student employment positions are posted on the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships’ web site http://www.sc.edu/financialaid/workstudy.html and JobMate http://www.sc.edu/career/JobMateAccessInstructions.html.
More FAQs about the Career Center: http://www.sc.edu/career/?id=faq
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Fellowship and Scholar Programs
What kinds of fellowship competitions does the Fellowships Office coordinate?
Scholarships and fellowships that are nationally competitive, and are not funded by the University of South Carolina. Nationally competitive means that students from all across the United States are applying for the award. National awards are very competitive and prestigious and usually require a substantial amount of writing and often interviews. Please see our Scholarship Winners page for recent award recipients from the University of South Carolina.
What makes a student competitive for a national fellowship?
Successful applicants must be academically talented students with a proven record of intellectual curiosity and passion for a particular field of study. The average GPA of the University of South Carolina's national fellowship winners is a 3.86, but having a strong GPA alone is not enough to win an award. Involvement in community service, holding leadership positions, and participating in undergraduate research are just a few examples of the many co-curricular achievements of our winners.
Does the Fellowships and Scholar Programs office have anything to do with financial aid?
We work closely with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and encourage students who have won a national fellowship to seek their assistance. However, we cannot answer financial aid questions and we do not award any scholarships.
What are Scholar Programs?
The Fellowships and Scholar Programs office has a two-pronged mission: to support students considering application for national fellowships, and to also provide support for the University of South Carolina's Carolina and McNair Scholars. These scholarships are for the University of South Carolina undergraduate students from within South Carolina (Carolina Scholars) and from out-of-state (Robert C. McNair Scholars).
Where is the Fellowships Office and when are you open?
The Fellowships Office is located on the to second floor of Legare College and the email address to and is open weekdays, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm., including the summer. During the fall and spring semesters, Drop-In Hours are available to discuss national fellowships with enrolled the University of South Carolina students. Meetings in the summer are by appointment only. Contact the office at OFSP@sc.edu or by calling (803-777-0958) to schedule an appointment.
More FAQs about the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs: http://www.sc.edu/ofsp/faqs.html
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When should I start planning my study abroad experience?
Many people begin their search the semester before they plan to go abroad. But if you take more time to research your options and think about what you want to do, you will have more program choices available to you and more time to apply for study abroad scholarships. Ideally, it is best to start planning 9-12 months before your departure. However, you may apply for programs as long as you are able to meet the posted deadlines.
If I study abroad will it delay my graduation?
If you plan carefully with your academic advisor and have your study abroad approved as part of your academic program, it will not delay your graduation.
Do I have to speak a foreign language to study abroad?
Knowing a foreign language is not a prerequisite for study abroad. There are many opportunities to study in English-speaking countries. You can also take courses in English in many non-English-speaking countries – like business or journalism courses in Italy or marine science courses in Denmark.
Is study abroad limited to certain majors?
Study abroad is not limited to certain majors. Some of the more structured majors, such as journalism, pre-med, nursing, pharmacy, and engineering, typically require more lead-time for planning, but it is possible.
Can I use my financial aid and scholarships to study abroad?
Students may use federal financial aid and general university and/or state sponsored scholarships to study abroad provided that the course work undertaken abroad has been approved in advance. Departmental and private scholarships require approval of the provider.
What is the GPA requirement for study abroad?
The minimum GPA required for the University of South Carolina programs is 3.0. Many program providers are willing to accept students with GPA’s between 2.5 and 3.0.
How can I learn more about studying abroad?
Attend an information session offered weekly on Fridays at 2:30 p.m. in the Study Abroad office in the Byrnes Building or drop by the office Mondays and Fridays, 3-5 p.m., to obtain basic information. For more detailed questions, or to proceed with the next steps in the process, please schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad Advisor by calling: 803-777-7557.
More FAQs about Studying Abroad: http://www.sa.sc.edu/sa/prospective-faq.htm
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Office of Undergraduate Research
What opportunities are available for students through the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR)?
Partner with a faculty member to research a topic of interest to you (outside of your major is OK!). Present your research at Discovery Day. Apply to become a Magellan Scholar and receive up to $3,000 to fund your research project in collaboration with a faculty mentor. Any student who is working on a research project, whether funded or not or credit/no credit, is considered part of the Undergraduate Research Initiative and the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is ready and willing to help you.
What are some important things to know in getting started on a research project with OUR?
- You do not have to do research in your major!
- Start getting involved early in your college career (if possible, your first year)
- Take the initiative to discover your interest areas – what classes or topics most interest you
- Review the web sites of various departments on campus – these often list what faculty are doing
- Seek out faculty or other professionals (on or off-campus) who are doing work that interests you
- Talk to your advisor about receiving credit through independent study, etc. for your scholarly work
More FAQs about Undergraduate Research: http://www.sc.edu/our/student_faq.shtml
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