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    Jacob Dustan, Carolina Scholar

    "Carolina has become a part of me, a welcome I never expected, a transformative four years that will stay with me for life."

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    Sona Chowdhary, Carolina Scholar

    "As a student at USC, I have had the privilege of meeting such a diverse, passionate and lively group of people."

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    Elizabeth Moore, Carolina Scholar

    "My time as a Gamecock has not only taught me how to be an engineer, but has shown me the importance of passion, service and discovery, and that's something I am forever grateful for."

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    Camille Harris, McNair Scholar

    "Being a McNair Scholar catapulted me into a land of opportunity where money was no object; all I had to do was decide."

  • Top Scholar Banner

    Morgan Lundy, McNair Scholar

    "This scholarship opened up every one of these doors, and I am slowly realizing what a privilege it has been. It has shaped who I am today, and I will be forever grateful."

Who are Top Scholars?

Top Scholars are the university's most distinguished merit award recipients that currently represent 34 cities in South Carolina and 16 states nationally. They receive substantial tuition reduction that is renewable for up to four years of study. Scholars earn these highly competitive awards based on outstanding academic talent, exemplary character, and remarkable leadership skills.

To be named a Top Scholar includes benefits that extend far beyond a generous scholarship. Our Scholars are also part of an elite student community supported by faculty, staff, civic and business leaders, alumni, and donors.

It is our hope that Top Scholars will reach their full potential as academic achievers, leaders and ambassadors during their undergraduate tenure and beyond. Therefore, Scholars receive abundant personal attention to ensure they are most prepared for entering the job market or applying for graduate or professional school. So, who are Top Scholars?

Top Scholars are scholars first.

Our Scholars have diverse intellectual pursuits and the University of South Carolina is prepared to support those many interests. Mentored by premier faculty, Scholars are at the forefront of undergraduate research in their respective academic fields.

It is not uncommon to find a Top Scholar working in the USC Neurolinguistics Laboratory, exploring sustainable energy initiatives with ExxonMobil, or interning with The Washington Post.

Even more, Scholars have access to specialized programming through the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs. As a result, Top Scholars lead the way at USC as national fellowship recipients.

They have and continue to earn the impressive titles of Marshall, Udall, Truman, Fulbright, NOAA Hollings, and Goldwater Scholars among many others.

Top Scholars are global citizens.

Touched by the needs of communities abroad, our Scholars have found themselves immersed in many cultural and physical landscapes.

Their curiosity has led them to visit Chile, Turkey, Spain and Italy. They've experienced the sunrise in Uganda, England and Australia. And they've practiced language skills in Argentina, China, France, Japan, and Germany. Scholars have access to study abroad programs through the university and the South Carolina Honors College.

Top Scholars are campus leaders.

Their extraordinary commitment to leadership and service sets an honorable standard for their peers. Our Scholars are University Ambassadors, club presidents, humanitarians, start-up musicians, intramural sports champions, and Euphradian Society masters of rhetoric.

Many dedicate countless hours outside the classroom to soup kitchens, medical clinics, and encouraging young interest in the sciences through programs like Carolina Science Outreach.

Top Scholars are Honors College students.

Our Scholars receive automatic admission to the South Carolina Honors College. As a result, Scholars have access to the many academic and extracurricular enrichment opportunities provided by the nation's top-ranked public honors college.

This includes personalized advisement, where Scholars meet individually with an Honors advisor to help them navigate their varied interests and find an undergraduate niche.

Top Scholars are Gamecocks.

As an important part of the Carolina family, our Scholars are also athletes, members of the marching band, campus radio personalities, and columnists for The Daily Gamecock.

You may find Scholars studying on the Horseshoe, organizing a concert for Carolina Productions, participating in Dance Marathon, or simply enjoying Chicken Finger Wednesday. With so many opportunities on a vibrant campus, Top Scholars know that every day is a great day to be Gamecocks!