Known as "Cola" to locals, Columbia, South Carolina is a charming city rich in history and tradition. It's also a great college town where students can enjoy an active art and music scene, museums and an abundance of outdoor activities.
For those more focused on their studies, the University of South Carolina offers On Your Time initiatives to help students catch up if they've fallen behind or get ahead of their coursework to graduate early — something that can help students save money by avoiding extra semesters.
Several private colleges in Columbia offer diploma or certificate programs in a variety of fields, included skilled trades. Schools like Fortis College and Remington College offer a range of programs, while other colleges in Columbia have a more specific focus. Aspiring cosmetologists, for example, can choose from Paul Mitchell the School or Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology.
In the greater Columbia metropolitan area, Midlands Technical College, a public institution, operates six campuses that provide students ample access to higher learning opportunities, including day, evening and online courses. Their dental hygiene and dental assisting programs host a Smiles from the Heart event each year to provide no-cost dental services to local children.
The largest and oldest of the colleges in Columbia is the University of South Carolina's main campus, founded in 1801. Cheer for the USC Gamecocks as they compete in a variety of NCAA Division I sports, alongside their mascot Cocky. If that doesn't suit you, the smaller, all-women's Columbia College is home to the Fighting Koalas. The most popular degree programs at USC include finance, marketing and business administration, while students at Columbia College favor communications, criminal justice and social work.
In addition to Columbia College, there are several other faith-based universities in Columbia, including Allen University, Benedict College, and Columbia International University.
Of the universities in Columbia that offer advanced studies, USC has the most extensive offering of master's and doctoral degree programs in just about every subject. Columbia International University, on the other hand, offers master's and postgraduate degrees mostly with a focus on ministry and the arts. Columbia College also offers a handful of graduate degree programs, though some are only available online. Their traditional, face-to-face master's programs include higher education administration, organizational leadership and more.