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College Of Charleston Honors Essay Samples

Here's what we need for your application file to be complete: 

All application materials must be either received or postmarked by the specified deadline. Remember, we can’t review your application and make a decision until your application file is complete.

Once you’ve applied, you’ll receive information about how to check the status of your application, and you’ll be able to see if anything is missing. 



Applying to college can be stressful. But, were here for you. If you're having issues with the application, this will help guide you through the application process.

While we don't accept the Common Application, feel free to use an essay you may have crafted for the Common Application as essay Option No. 1: Choose your own topic. 

You're required to submit one of the following short essays (250-750 words). 

    • Option 1: Choose your own topic. Use an academic writing sample that highlights creativity and innovation, or provide a response to a universal essay topic.
    • Option 2: The College of Charleston community is a family. We foster a culture of inclusion and celebrate diversity. Explain a situation in which you helped an outsider feel welcome.  
    • Option 3: “To Know Thyself” is what the College of Charleston experience is all about. At the College, you'll receive a powerful education in a modern, complex city. In this ever evolving environment, every opportunity will be available to you. How will you evolve? What will you discover about yourself that you'll inevitably impart and share with the world? 

You can own your admissions essay!


You will pay the $50 application fee when you submit the online application.


All freshman applicants are given the option of attaching an unofficial copy of their high school transcript for purposes of expediting the application review process. Applicants may upload documents in PDF format (maximum size 5 MB). Use a transcript listing grades and courses through the conclusion of your junior year, preferably with your senior year schedule included. Your transcript must show your full legal name and either date of birth or permanent address.

Applicants may decline the option of providing their own transcript, and instead may opt to have their counselor submit the transcript to the College of Charleston directly. Know this is acceptable but may delay processing; application files must be complete before the admissions committee can render a decision.

Transcripts should be submitted in one of the following formats:

Fax: 843.953.6322
Email: admapplicants@cofc.edu
Parchment/Naviance upload: College of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.)
Mail to: Office of Admissions, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, S.C. 29424-0001

Transcripts reflecting completed dual enrollment (college) coursework may be sent any time but are not required to complete a freshman application file. College transcripts must be submitted directly from the institution of record prior to a student beginning classes at the College of Charleston.

The Office of Admissions reserves the right to request an official transcript at any time to assist with the decision process. All scholarship offers, including state scholarship offers, are contingent upon receipt of an official, final high school transcript from the school of record directly. All SAT/ACT scores must be submitted to the College of Charleston directly from the testing agency; scores are not considered official when provided on a student transcript.


Either the SAT or the ACT is required and scores must be submitted directly from the testing agency. We do not require the SAT subject tests. We encourage you to complete these tests in your junior year so you have time to take them again in your senior year if necessary. Be sure to send us all your scores — if you take a test more than once, we’ll use your highest evidence-based reading and writing and math from the new version of the SAT or your highest ACT composite scores. Results of the SAT prior to redesign in March 2016 should be submitted and will be considered for admission. Super-scoring between the new and old versions of the SAT will not be used for admissions or for institutional scholarship purposes.  Official scores should be sent directly from the testing service. The College of Charleston's code for the SAT is 5113 and for the ACT is 3846. It takes approximately four weeks for scores to reach the Office of Admissions, so keep that in mind when selecting your test date. Note: the College recommends a writing score to be submitted as part of your standardized test scores. We highly encourage students to take both the SAT and ACT tests as well as to submit all scores from all test dates. 


Personal statement. If you have not yet expressed something that deserves consideration from the admissions committee, this is your opportunity to do so. (Maximum 750 words.)

Again, the personal statement is optional for most students; however, if you've taken a GAP semester/year or if you're completing a post-grad year, this section is required to explain your activities over that time period. If additional space is required, you may submit your personal statement in a separate letter via email to admapplicants@cofc.edu. Please include your full name (first, middle, and last) and complete mailing address on any attached information.

Letters of recommendation. Recommendation letters are not required for undergraduate admission. But, if you would like to send letters of recommendation, please limit them to two and request them from guidance/college counselors and/or teachers. You can mail, email or fax letters (admapplicants@cofc.edu or 843.953.6322), or upload them via Parchment. 

The Honors College requires one recommendation from a teacher in one of the following subject areas: English, Math, Science, History or a foreign language. You will provide us your preferred teacher's first name, last name and email address and the Honors College will reach out to them to solicit a reference. Your recommender must complete the Honors College recommendation for your application to be complete. Please contact honors@cofc.edu for more information on how to submit your letter of recommendation.

Interviews. The College of Charleston does not offer interviews. If you would like, you can speak with a counselor during your campus visit. If you can't make it to campus, but a counselor is traveling to your area, you can request a sit-down. A sit-down is a great way for you to get information about the College — and it has no bearing on our admissions decision.

Résumés (etc.). A resume is required to complete your application to the Honors College. Please contact honors@cofc.edu if you have additional questions. 

Arts submissions and auditions. We do not require arts submissions or auditions for admission, and there is no separate application for the School of the Arts. However, there are some departmental scholarships available requiring auditions or portfolio reviews. Please contact the School of the Arts for information on scholarship opportunities available for freshman.


You may apply for our Honors College within our regular application. Honors College applicants are required to submit one letter of recommendation from a teacher in English, Science, Math, History or a Foreign Language, an Honors College-specific essay and a resume. For more information on the Honors admissions process and requirements, please visit honors.cofc.edu. If you have any questions, please contact the Honors College directly at 843.953.7154 or honors@cofc.edu

Honors College applicants must submit a separate 500 - 800 word essay. Visit honors.cofc.edu for more information. 


Residency for tuition purposes is determined when you submit your application. To learn more, contact the Legal Residency Office.

Last modified on October 2, 2017 by allisonl

In honor of South Carolina’s College Application Month, College of Charleston experts offer 10 tips to rock your admissions essay. The College’s admissions essay questions (available now at this link) are:

  • What event in the last ten years will have the greatest impact on the millennial generation?
  • Your YouTube channel just hit one million views. Describe your most watched video.

    Time to buckle down!

The admissions essay is an important part of the application, and one of the few parts you have control over as you enter your senior year of high school – the grades you’ve already received and the extracurricular activities you’ve already participated in won’t change, but your essay is what you make it.

Associate Director of Admissions Christina DeCario looks for clues about an applicant’s personality, college preparedness and writing skills in the admissions essay. Here, DeCario and English professor Whitney Adams offer tips for you to impress admissions counselors with your essay, show that you’re capable of college-level writing and (bonus) come extra prepared for your required first-year English course.

1. Look at it as an opportunity.

“The essay is a very important part of the holistic review process,” DeCario says. “If your profile is a little uneven, like you’re successful outside the classroom but your grades aren’t quite there, or you’re the valedictorian but you’re not a good test taker, the essay can push you from a maybe to a yes. Just show us you’ll bring something unique to campus.”

RELATED: 8 Do’s and Don’ts of College Admissions Essays

2. Be confident in your writing.

Adams has noticed that many students she works with aren’t confident in their writing abilities. “If you write without confidence, you’re not convincing yourself or your reader, so find your own writing voice and trust yourself,” she advises.

3. Show, don’t tell.

“Include something I won’t get from your transcript,” DeCario suggests. “I know what you’re interested in studying and where you live from your application. Use the essay to give me insight into your personality by providing anecdotes that give me something new.”

4. Don’t go over the word limit.

It may seem obvious, but much of high school writing is based on a minimum number of pages or words, while the admissions essay has a maximum (500 words). “It forces you to be succinct, so write efficiently,” Adams says.

5. Proofread three ways.

DeCario recommends that you “proofread. Have someone else proofread. Then read it out loud to yourself. When you proofread, you should check for grammar and sentence structure. When someone else proofreads they will be looking for clarity in the essay. When you read it out loud, you’ll catch errors or even entire missing words like ‘a’ or ‘and’ that you didn’t catch when you read it in your head.”

6. If you make a claim, back it up.

Eyes on the prize

This is an easy way to show what you’ve learned from writing in high school. “The biggest problem I come across in my classes is students making statements without backing them up with evidence,” Adams says.

This may or may not apply to your essay, but if you do make claims that you can’t prove without an outside source, make sure you include evidence.

7. Explain why.

“I focus a lot on the question, ‘so what?’ in my classes,” Adams explains. “Why does it matter, why is it important? You have to look at a subject, even if you are the subject, critically to be able to answer that question, but it’s the question that readers care about most.”

8. Have a conclusion.

Make sure to wrap up your points in a way that’s true to the rest of the essay. “So many essays start off well, the second and third paragraphs are solid, and then they just end,” DeCario says. “You need to explain why you told me all the things you wrote about earlier in the essay. Relate it to yourself and the essay question.”

9. Answer the question…

“Let’s say you’re asked to describe yourself in one word: then describe yourself in one word. Don’t describe yourself in two words and don’t say you can’t describe yourself in one word because there’s a word for that – undefined – and because that’s what we asked you to do. It also relates to college preparedness. If a professor asks you to describe yourself in one word and you describe yourself in two, then you’ve failed.”

10. … The whole question

If an essay question is two parts, “keep the entire question in mind,” DeCario recommends. Make sure that you’re providing a thorough answer to the prompt.

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