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Before You Arrive

Start preparing for your Freshman Orientation by taking care of the preliminary details.

For Freshmen

A high school graduate who is entering a post-secondary institution for the first time is considered a freshman student.

Planning for Orientation

Make sure you don't miss out on anything by ensuring that these things are taken care of ahead of time. If you fail to prepare properly, you will not be able to register for classes during your Day of Orientation.

  1. Determine and know your Orientation Session.

    Remember: You are able to choose between in-person or virtual Orientation experiences. We encourage you take into account your learning preferences, health risks and so forth. Be sure to have this discussion with the family member who will be attending with you, so you are all on the same page! Once you have registered for an Orientation, ensure you registered for the correct one. 

  2. Complete your Checklist for New Freshman.
    You can locate the checklist and track your progress with Self Service Carolina.

  3. Complete your advising homework.
    Watch your Pre-Orientation Advising Modules in your Orientation Portal and complete your Advising Worksheet.

  4. Take your math placement test online.
    Your math placement test should be taken at least two weeks prior to your orientation session. The exam is available 24 hours a day/7days a week.
    More about math placement testing » 

  5. Register to take your foreign language placement test.
    The foreign language placement test should be taken before you attend Orientation. More about foreign language placement testing »

  6. Submit residency, citizenship, and immunization records.
    It is critical that you submit your residency information, citizenship verification, and immunization records prior to orientation to prevent holds on your account during the registration process.

  7. Request your CarolinaCard, your official university ID, online.
    To receive your CarolinaCard complete the Cardholder Agreement and upload your photo. If your photo is accepted, the CarolinaCard Office will send a confirmation email. 

Overnight Accommodations

While overnight accommodations may not be necessary, we wanted to share a few options: 

  • Stay steps from campus at Graduate Columbia, a boutique hotel tailored to South Carolina. Sleep well in their comfy, cheerful guestrooms.  
  • Stay at Hotel Trundle, Columbia’s award-winning boutique hotel. Save 15% on your stay with promo code BYEBYEKIDDO. Visit to book! 
  • Steps from UofSC, these 5star Airbnb lofts provide a cozy alternative to hotels. Our restored 1920s studios offer free parking, snacks and charming character!
  • Experience living at South Carolina this summer during your Orientation visit. Enjoy accommodations in Patterson Hall that are designed for you as new Gamecocks. Here, you can select a room or package that fits your travel needs this summer.  For more information visit the Conference Center website.


There are two airports located close to the city of Columbia. Within Columbia, we have the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Less than a two hour drive is the Charlotte International Airport. For those arriving to and from Charlotte, Columbia Charlotte Shuttle is the leading provider of transportation between USC and the Charlotte Airport. Be sure to ask about their 10-Pack discount. 

What to have ready

  • VIP ID and Password

    You will use this throughout orientation, so please plan to memorize it or write it down in advance of your session.

  • Transcripts and Records
    Including AP/IB scores, high school transcripts, immunization records, your advising worksheet and any other relative correspondence.

  • Completed Advising Worksheet »
    You will need this to register for classes. 

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