University of South Carolina


Capstone Scholars

Capstone is a two-year academic program designed to provide a smaller community for many of our freshmen while maintaining all of the resources available at the University of South Carolina. Each fall, approximately 500 of some of the nation's brightest students enroll in the Capstone Scholars Program and begin their collegiate experiences as Gamecocks.

How are Students Chosen for Admission into the Capstone Scholars Program?

Students are invited into the Capstone Scholars Program. No separate application is required, and Capstone is open to all majors. All accepted students who apply by the December 1 deadline are given consideration, and Capstone Scholars are usually notified of their admission into the program in early March. Students admitted into the program for fall 2013 presented very competitive high school grade point averages along with average standardized test scores of 1322 (SAT critical reading and math sections) and 30 (ACT composite).

Life as a Capstone Scholar

Many of our current Scholars say that a big advantage of being a Capstone Scholar is having the opportunity to live in Capstone House and Columbia Halls, two of our suite-style residence halls. Capstone and Columbia are adjacent to one another and located near many of our main academic buildings. They are directly across the street from the Moore School of Business. Upperclassman residence advisors supervise each floor, where it's not uncommon to see study groups during a typical weeknight. Special housing opportunities group students by major, which makes it even easier to feel a sense of community. Students who wish to study outside of their residence hall can venture over to the Capstone Study Shack. The Capstone Study Shack features four separate study areas, a full kitchen, a balcony, and wireless Internet access. Capstone Scholars also have the luxury of a cafeteria, conveniently located in Capstone House. Gibbes Court is on the first floor and serves hot meals throughout the day.

One of the goals of the Capstone Scholars program is to "open doors of opportunity for engaged learning." Capstone Scholars immediately form a close bond by taking Capstone-only sections of University 101, our award-winning freshman transition course. Scholars also are able to take Capstone-only sections of English 101 and 102. Capstone class sizes are generally smaller, which allows for more peer interaction and discussion of ideas. Many of our Capstone Scholars study abroad in the Capstone Abroad Maymester course. Scholars have traveled to such places as London, Ireland, China, and Peru. Scholars are eligible to apply for a $2,000 travel grant to help with the cost of traveling abroad.

Of course, the University recognizes that it is necessary to engage Capstone Scholars outside of the classroom. Capstone Conversations are a series of discussions led by distinguished faculty and community members. Scholars are required to attend at least four conversations, and many of our students say this is their favorite part of the Capstone Scholars program. Students are also encouraged to attend the Capstone Cinema series, which features a film with a discussion led by a USC faculty member. The Career Center is committed to helping our students become successful professionally and sponsors workshops that focus on creating a four-year plan to help Scholars begin setting their career goals.

One of the most unique traditions of the Capstone Scholars Program is "Hot Cookie Friday," which occurs once a month. Many Scholars can be found in the Study Shack enjoying hot cookies while interacting with fellow Scholars and University faculty.

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