Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any additional questions, email

Charleston Area

Learn more about Charleston and the surrounding area.
  • Where is College of Charleston Located?

    College of Charleston is located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina, 115 miles from the state capital, Columbia, and 300 miles from Atlanta, Georgia. Charleston is a coastal city and is only 20 minutes from some of the best beaches in the Southeast. The population of the Charleston metropolitan area is around 756,000.

    Charleston Visitor Center
  • How do I get to Charleston?

    Charleston is accessible from the Charleston International Airport in North Charleston. Amtrak passenger train services are also available from the North Charleston Amtrak Station.

    When you are arriving for your first semester in Charleston, the Center for International Education staff can provide transportation from the airport to campus. Look for emails with additional information after you are admitted and submit your travel plans as soon as they are finalized.

  • What is the weather like?

    Charleston has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters, hot and humid summers, and significant rain fall year around. Charleston also experiences a hurricane season from June 1-November 30. 

    Charleston Weather
  • How well known is the College of Charleston?

    The College of Charleston is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences university. Founded in 1770, the College is among the nation’s top universities for quality education, student life, and affordability. The College offers a distinctive combination of a beautiful and historic campus, modern facilities, and cutting-edge programs. 

    About College of Charleston
  • Do I need a car?

    Probably not. Charleston is a small city in which most destinations can be reached by car. There is also the CARTA bus system that is free of charge for all College of Charleston with a valid College of Charleston student ID card.  CARTA bus transit system offers Fixed-route express and Para transit service throughout the Charleston metropolitan area, including DASH service in the Historic Peninsula area of the City of Charleston. The System can take you to shopping centers, hospitals, schools, cultural centers, city and county facilities, and office parks.

  • Where can I get health care in the area?

    If there is an emergency dial 911 to receive immediate care. All registered students at the College of Charleston are eligible to utilize the College of Charleston’s Student Health Services. The services provided by Student Health Services are: confidential care, care for minor injuries, care for minor illnesses, examination and consultation related to gyn problems, pregnancy testing, counseling, contraceptive information, STD testing, immunization updates, tuberculosis skin testing, asthma care, allergy shots, respiratory treatments, dermatology care, diagnostic testing, and assistance with referrals to consultants. 

    Student Health Services

International Student Questions

Learn more about being an international student.
  • How many international students are at College of Charleston?

    We normally welcome 60-80 exchange students per year from many different countries including: Austria, China, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The College also welcomes many degree seeking international students from all over the world. For the Fall 2023 semester, we had more than 140 students from 31 different countries in our exchange, undergraduate, and graduate programs.

  • What is the admissions process for degree seeking international students?

    International students (anyone who would require a U.S. student visa to study at the College) follow the same application process as domestic students, with a few additional requirements. Instructions for the application as well as application deadlines and English proficiency requirements can be found at the College of Charleston’s Admissions website.

    Office of Admissions
  • Does the College of Charleston offer financial aid to international students?

    International aid resources for foreign students who wish to study in the US can be found at This website has been created for international students who are interested in attending college in the United States and need financial assistance. Furthermore, student loans are available from:

  • How do I pay tuition and fees?

    You may access your billing via the College's student portal myPortal in the eBill section. To learn how to use eBill, visit the Treasurer’s website. Please note the billing schedule. The College of Charleston accepts Mastercard, American Express and Discover but not Visa. You can also pay via electronic check. For detailed information on international money transfer procedures to pay your College of Charleston tuition and fees, contact Melissa Ochal, Director in the Center for International Education. 

    Treasurer's Office
  • Can I work while in the United States?

    F-1 students may work on campus during the academic year for up to 20 hours per week. Students can find available positions (non-work study positions) through the Career Center. Although, after studying for a full academic year F-1 students are allowed to find off-campus employment. There are two types of off-campus employment: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), or Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post completion). All off-campus employment must be related to the student’s area of study, appropriate for their degree level, and must be authorized by the designated school official (staff member at the CIE) and USCIS. International exchange students with a J-1 visa may not work off-campus during the stay of their program.

    Career Center
  • What are the vaccination requirements?

    The College of Charleston requires three vaccines for the safety of our campus community:

    • Measles, Mumps, Rubella
      - Dose 1 must be given at first birthday or after and Dose 2 must be at least 28 days later
      - This requirement only applies to students born after 1956

    • Quadrivalent Meningitis
      - Administered at 16 years of age or after
      - Meningitis Serogroup B is not required
      - Also known as MCV4, Menactra or Menveo
      - Students over the age of 24 are not required to get this vaccine if they do not already have one

    • TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis)
      - Must be given within the last 10 years
    Immunization Requirements
  • Do I need health insurance?

    Yes, the College of Charleston requires all international student enroll in our health insurance plan. Private health care in the US is very expensive so this is vital to protect yourself in case of illness or injury.

    CofC Insurance Plan
  • Can I get a driver’s license?

    Yes, all international students are eligible to apply for a beginner’s permit, driver’s license, or identification card. The expiration date of the driver’s license will be determined by the applicants authorized period of stay in the US or the expiration date of the applicant’s employment authorization document, but will not exceed 5 years. Visit the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles for more information.

    SC DMV

Life on Campus

Learn more about being a student at College of Charleson.
  • When does the school year begin and end?

    The academic school year at the College of Charleston begins in late August and ends in early May. The fall semester runs from late August through mid- December. The spring semester begins in January for those students wishing to begin class midyear.

    Academic Calendar
  • How many courses can I take?

    For undergraduate students, a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester are required for immigration purposes and to be considered a full time student. This is usually 3-4 classes. In order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years, most students will need to enroll in 15 credit hours per semester. Graduate students are required to enroll in 6 credit hours per semester to maintain their immigration status.

  • Where will I live?

    International students live in on campus dormitories. International students must apply for housing before they arrive to Charleston. Students starting at the College of Charleston during our spring semester (January), can apply for housing starting November 1st. Students starting at the College of Charleston during our fall semester (August), MUST apply before the May 1st deadline. Students apply for housing via myPortal and can view instructions on how to apply for housing online. Once you pay your housing deposit you will receive your housing placement. International students may also choose to live off campus. 

    On-campus Housing
  • What items are included in my room?

    The College’s Residence Life Office provides a list of items that you can and cannot bring. Please note that bedding is NOT provided. There is just a mattress in your room and you will need to purchase or bring bedding. Also note that the beds in different buildings are different sizes. The list of items indicates the bedding size you will need.

    The Center for International Education has a "Free Store" of gently used items donated by previous international students and available for you to take as needed!

    We will also provide information about shipping bedding and other essential items to the College in advance of your arrival in the United States!

    Residence Life
  • What things do I need to bring with me?

    See the link below for what to bring! Please note that all new students will be able to visit Target and our Free Store the day after their arrival to purchase any necessities they were unable to pack.

    What to Bring
  • Where can I stay during school breaks?

    Students should contact the Center for International Education and the Office of Housing if they will need housing during winter, Thanksgiving, and spring breaks. Typically these requests can be accommodated, but students may incur additional fees.