Dream big, impact the community, leave a legacy!


About Us

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.

How are students chosen for admission into the Capstone Scholars Program?

  • The Capstone Scholars Program is an invitation only program
  • No separate application is required and this program is open to all majors
  • All accepted students who apply by the December 1 deadline are given consideration
  • Capstone Scholars are usually notified of their admission into the program in early March
  • Students must have very competitive high school grade point averages, a university scholarship, and high standardized test scores

Planning a visit to campus?
Contact the University of South Carolina Visitor Center to set up a tour. They will connect you to meet with the Capstone staff.

Life as a Capstone Scholar
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, opting to live in the Capstone House or Columbia Residence Hall communities, or opting into a Capstone-only themed section of English 101 and/or 102. Capstone class sizes are generally smaller, which allows for more peer interaction and discussion of ideas.

Many of the benefits of the Capstone Scholars Program deal with our outside of the classroom experiences. Scholars are eligible to apply for a $2,000 travel grant to help with the cost of traveling abroad for Maymester and summer programs. Scholars can also apply for the Magellan Apprentice research grant for up to $1,000 as well as the Experiential Education grant for internships and co-ops.

A variety of other opportunities to connect with faculty, staff, and peers are offered through our programs. Capstone Scholars have the opportunity to attend workshops, small group discussions on current events, excursions (skydiving, whitewater rafting, ice-skating), and participate in community service events. Capstone Scholars staff members meet with each scholar at least once a semester to learn both their goals and aspirations, as well as to help them succeed at the University of South Carolina.

Recent Awards
2014 Middle School Partner of the Year-USC Capstone Scholars Mentoring Program
2010 Winner of South Carolina College Personnel Association (SCCPA) award for outstanding programming and program development at a Large Institution

Thoughts from current and former Capstone Scholars:

"The Capstone Scholars program has been an essential part of my college experience. From the first moment I stepped on campus as a freshman, I have felt the community Capstone offers. From hanging out at Hot Cookie Friday to taking weekend trips, the friends I made living in Capstone are friends I know I will have for life. Through Capstone, I found a support system. The staff members are wonderful and do their best to help each and every scholar succeed. They go above and beyond, working hard to provide us with opportunities to excel in everything we do. I have had the pleasure of working as a Capstone Summer Coordinator, where I was able to share my Capstone experience with incoming freshman. Hopefully I inspired them to take advantage of all of the wonderful things the Capstone Scholars program has to offer."

 ~Mallory Sprinkle, Cary, North Carolina

Thomas Landzert"One of the great things about Capstone is how rewarding it is. I don't think that my college experience would have been as great if I hadn't decided to join. The Capstone community has given me some of the best friends that I have, and chances to bond with them throughout all of the events. The Personal Challenge helped me grow as a person, and find out what it is that I want to do. Since they offer so much support in every part of college life, I'm glad to say that Capstone made me a well-rounded student. I might not have had the friends I do now or have ever had the courage to change my major without Capstone!"

 ~Amber Brown, Columbia, South Carolina

Chris Perez"As a Capstone Scholar, you are not just a statistic in a very large university. Instead, you are a real person who the Capstone Scholar staff wants to get to know on an individual level. The Capstone Scholars Program opened the door and got me hooked on working with Men’s Basketball, something I never would have done had I made the soccer team or had I not been a Capstone Scholar. At one of the lowest points in my life, the Capstone Scholars Program helped me find a new thing that I love to do and a new group that I love being a part of, something I will be forever grateful for!"

 ~Chris Perez, San Antonio, TX

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, Mooresville, NC

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, Lexington, SC