Dream Big! Impact the Community. Leave a Legacy.


About The Capstone Scholars Program

The Capstone Scholars Program is a two-year educational enrichment program, designed to provide opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Capstone Scholars live by the program motto: Dream Big! Impact the Community and Leave a Legacy. The pillars of the program are Academics, Leadership, Social, and Service.

First-year students are invited to the program based on their academic qualifications demonstrated during the undergraduate application process. The Capstone Scholars Program is open to students from all majors. All students applying to the University by the December 1 deadline are considered for invitation to the Capstone Scholars Program. Please see the Visitors page for more information concerning the requirements to receive an invitation.


Originally outlined in the Report of the Strategic Directives and Initiatives Committee in 2002, the Capstone Scholars Program was created through the leadership of University President, Andrew Sorensen, and the Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost for Academic Support, Dennis Pruitt, in the summer of 2004. The Capstone Scholars Program was developed to provide a unique and engaging learning experience for high-achieving students at the University of South Carolina. Originally envisioned as a community of 300 to 350 students, the program was received with great enthusiasm and welcomed approximately 500 students in its inaugural class in the fall of 2005. Since its inception, the Capstone Scholars Program, a two-year program, has recruited well over 500 students each fall semester who represent over 50 different academic majors and over 42 different home states.

Capstone Scholars represents a dynamic partnership between academic and student affairs units at the University of South Carolina. Ten offices throughout the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support have partnered with the Capstone Scholars Program to make the Capstone Scholars a powerful two-year living and learning community. The partnering offices include: Undergraduate Admissions, the Office of Pre-Professional Advising, the Office of Undergraduate Research, Fellowships and Scholar Programs, University 101, The Study Abroad Office, Orientation and Testing, The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, Student Engagement, and University Housing.

Capstone Scholars Program Annual Reports
Capstone Scholars Program in the News

2010 Winner of South Carolina College Personnel Association (SCCPA) award for outstanding programming and program development at a Large Insitution

Quick Facts About Capstone Scholars

Capstone Scholars come to the University of South Carolina from across the country.

2012-2013 Freshman Class

  • Approximately 608 Capstone Scholars
  • 57% Female / 43% Male
  • 41% In-State / 59% Out-of-State
  • Scholars come from 33 different states
  • Mean SAT: 1324/ Mean ACT: 30


Thoughts from current and former Capstone Scholars:

Noran Mohamed"If it hadn’t been for the Capstone Scholars Program I don’t think my freshman year would have been so rewarding! This program is extraordinary! From the very beginning, opportunities to excel and go above the average were given to us. Not only do you improve the academic facet of your education but you have the chance to become involved in service opportunities on campus, undergraduate research, and social events. The environment is conducive for growth because you live with students that are similarly oriented and the staff members are some of the most caring and helpful people you will meet on campus. I would advise this program to anyone that wants to get more out of their college experience."

~Noran Mohamed, Sophomore Biology Major, Lexington, SC

Thomas Landzert"One of the best aspects of the Capstone Scholars Program is that it makes USC feel much smaller. Acclimating to a large University from high school can seem overwhelming, but the Capstone experience makes that transition so much easier. You are housed together with roughly 500 students in a central location on campus and it provides you with the opportunity to meet a lot of students, learn about the many student activities at USC and to get involved in community service work. Whether it’s climbing a 50 foot climbing tower, socializing with friends at Hot Cookie Fridays or mentoring middle school children, the program immediately gets you involved in college life. The staff is extraordinary! They are always willing to help and they challenge you to reach new heights. The Capstone Scholars Program has given me the tools to be successful at USC and I am proud to be a part of such a dynamic program."

 ~Thomas Landzert, Sophomore Political Science major, Mooresville, NC

Alyssa Trenery"I can honestly say that the Capstone Scholars Program has significantly enhanced my college experience. Through Capstone I was able to make some of the best friendships of my life, receive valuable advise from the outstanding Capstone Scholars staff, get involved in a number of activities on- and off-campus, and learn more about myself. My roommate and I were even able to establish a service activity for Capstone’s Service Friday Program involving a nearby hospital. I would highly recommend that Capstone Scholars take advantage of the amazing opportunities this unique program has to offer. I believe that the Capstone Scholars Program is comparable to a fun and supportive family that will help prepare you to succeed in all aspects of life."

~Alyssa Trenery, Sophomore Biology/Pre-Med major, Columbia, SC

Lauren Stitzlein"Looking back on my freshman year, I can attribute so many of the great memories and experiences to my inclusion in the Capstone Scholars community! From move-in day on, it made an otherwise overwhelmingly large school much smaller and more manageable. It was great to live in the Capstone House with 560 other like-minded and similarly motivated peers that constantly supported one another! From there, the Capstone Scholars staff encouraged me to take advantage of countless opportunities and connections on campus. Whether it's an Emerging Leaders class to work on leadership skills, the Skydiving Club to help conquer one's fears or get a huge thrill, a Capstone Maymester trip abroad (Ecuador in my case) to serve others in another country, or the monthly Hot Cookie Friday to brighten up one's week, there's something for all students in the Capstone Scholars Program at USC, and that's why it's such a wonderful community for students to be a part of!"

 ~Lauren Stitzlein, Junior Broadcast Journalism major, Olney, MD

Hannah Reinke "The Capstone Scholars Program made me feel more at home at the University of South Carolina. The events helped me build relationships and make connections. The Capstone building surrounded me with students of similar interests. (most of my friends now lived on my hall freshman year!) And perhaps most importantly, the faculty genuinely care and want students to succeed. This living and learning community has provided me with so many diverse opportunities from participating in the Mud Run, to meeting Jim Sonefeld (drummer for Hootie and the Blowfish), to interviewing the President of the university. Also, Capstone building is also one of the best freshman dorms!"

 ~Hannah Reinke, Junior Physical Education major, Marietta, GA

Brewer Eberly"The Capstone Scholars Program is simply epic, easily one of the best opportunities available at USC. It is rare to find a program that urges you to get involved through weekly social events, service with other students, and conquering your own personal challenges. The faculty is truly extraordinary. They have specifically helped me get involved with undergraduate research, an endeavor I never thought I would pursue. I can assure you that if you let it, this authentic program will open up doors that you never could have imagined."

 ~Brewer Eberly, Junior Biology/Pre Med major, Travelers Rest, SC