If you’re about to graduate from high school or are looking to continue your education as an adult, South Carolina offers many colleges and universities. When I graduated Whitmire High School in 1990, I graduated with about 30 classmates. After talking with my guidance counselor about my concerns of leaving the small town experience for a large university we decided that first going to a smaller two year community college would be my best option. Classes tend to be smaller which enables your professors to give you more one on one attention in the classroom and they’re more available to you during their office hours.
Recently, I decided that I’m ready to go back to college to get a better education to make a better life for my kids and myself. I researched local schools so that I could make an “educated” decision when choosing the college right for me. Here I will share what I found about the top five community colleges in the state.
Spartanburg Methodist College
Spartanburg Methodist College is truly a unique college. It’s can be compared to a university in the fact that so many programs, academic and sports, are offered. SMC is also unique in the fact that it the only independent residential two year college in South Carolina. The academics program at Spartanburg Methodist are so strong that more than 90 percent of graduates continue their education at the nation’s finest universities and colleges.
Spartanburg Methodist College has a student population on average of 800 students. The typical class size is only 18 students, allowing your teachers to give you individualized attention. Complete programs offered at SMC include Associate in Arts, Associates in Criminal Justice, Associates in Religious Studies, Associates in Science and a Paralegal Certification Program.
The athletics department at Spartanburg Methodist College are vast for a 2 year school. Programs include men and womens basketball, men and womens cross country, men and womens golf, men and womens soccer, men and womens tennis, softball, wrestling, volleyball and baseball.
Tuition at SMC is a little steep at $13,359, room and board $7,400, estimated fees and books $1,605 for a total of $22,364 however, 96 percent of students qualify for some form of financial aid.
Spartanburg Methodist College is located at 1000 Powell Mill Rd in Spartanburg, SC. The phone number is 1-800-772-7286. You can visit them on the web at www.smcsc.edu.
Piedmont Technical College
Piedmont Technical College is a 2 year community college with 7 campuses, the main campus is located in Greenwood, SC. The 6 smaller campuses are located in Abbeville, Edgefield, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda.
Technical colleges are a cheaper option for your educational needs. Tuition for full time students ranges from $1,645.20 to $3,385.20 for international students. Tuition for part time students, less than 12 credit hours ranges from $137.10 to $282.10 per credit hour.
Piedmont Technical College has a wide range of academic programs. Office technology, agricultural, automotive, business, computer technology, criminal justice, engineering, health sciences, pottery and welding are just some of the programs offered.
Piedmont Tech’s graduation rate is 16 percent, retention rate is 59 percent and transfer rate is 18 percent.
The main campus of PTC is located at 620 N. Emerald Road, Greenwood, SC. You can call them at 1-800-868-5528 or visit them on the web at www.ptc.edu.
University of South Carolina 2 Year System
The University of South Carolina has 4 smaller 2 year colleges located throughout the state. The USC 2 year system is a great opportunity for students who want that big university experience on a smaller campus.
Tuition is starts at $2,736 per semester for full time students and $228 per credit hour for part time students.
Each campus offers a choice of associate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Small classes are offered for individualized attention. There is easy transition from the regional campuses to the senior campus without re-applying.
USC Lancaster is located at 476 Hubbard Dr in Lancaster, SC. They can be called at 803-313-7000. USC Salkehatchie is locate at 465 James Brandt Blvd in Allendale and can be reached at 803-584-3446. USC Sumter is located at 200 Miller Road in Sumter, SC. The phone number there is 803-775-USCS. Finally, USC Union is located on Main Street in Union, SC and can be reached by phone at 864-429-8728. You can also visit all locations on the web at www.saeu.sc.edu.
Midlands Technical College
Midlands Technical College is a 2 year school located in the midlands of South Carolina. Like Piedmont Technical College, Midlands offers several locations to suit your educational needs. Midlands Technical College offers programs in business and public service, health sciences, information systems technology and nursing as well as many others.
Tuition for full time students starts at $1,740 per semester and $145 per credit hour for part time students. Midlands has a high graduation rate at 53.7 percent.
Midlands locations include the Airport Campus at 1260 Lexington Drive, West Columbia, SC; the Batesburg-Leesville campus at 423 College Street, Batesburg-Leesville, SC; the Beltline Campus at 316 South Beltline Blvd, Columbia, SC; the Fort Jackson Campus at the Army Continued Education Center, Imbodent Street, Fort Jackson, SC; the Harbison Campus at 7300 College Street, Irmo, SC; and the Northeast Campus at 151 Powell Road, Columbia, SC. The main phone number for Midlands Technical College is 803-738-8324 or visit them on the web at www.midlandstech.edu.
Spartanburg Community College
Our final stop on the educational tour is Spartanburg Community College. This college offers four locations and 47 associate, certificate and diploma programs. Many of these are available online. Programs include accounting, automotive, business, pre-chiropractic, culinary arts, expanded duty dental, graphics and web, horticulture, marketing, nursing, paralegal, pharmacy technician, robotics, surgery technician and welding as well as many others.
Tuition for full time students starts at $1,768 per semester or $148 per credit hour for part time students. The graduation rate for SCC is 14 percent.
The central campus is located at I-85 Business at New Cut Road in Spartanburg, SC. The Cherokee County campus is located at 523 Chesnee Highway in Gaffney, SC. The Tyger River campus is located at 1875 East Main Street in Duncan, SC. The Union County Advanced Technology Center is located at 1401 Furman Fendley Highway at Union, SC. The main phone number is 864-592-4800 and you can visit their website at www.sccsc.edu.
Whether you chose Spartanburg Methodist College for it academic and athletic excellence or the simplicity of a technical college, you’re sure to achieve your goals at a community college in South Carolina.