Multi-Layered Support System

You'll benefit from the perspective and knowledge of a multi-layered support system during your time on campus. We match all our students with an academic and staff advisor as well as a student mentor.

Academic Advisor

These advisors can help steer you academically and professionally with the following types of questions.

  • Academic Direction—Which courses should I take? What should I major in? Which research opportunity should I pursue? 
  • Career Direction—What are career paths for someone with my talents and interests? Can you connect me with an internship? 
  • Pre-Professional & Graduate Programs—How do I make sure I'm on track for dentistry school? What graduate programs would boost my career? 

Staff Advisor

Your staff advisor is a member of our staff who is easily accessible to you. Have a question about housing? Need help with a form? Want to connect with a counselor? Your staff advisor can help guide you. 

Peer Mentor

This is someone who's been in your shoes. Our student success leaders are some of our top students who are passionate about helping the next wave of Koalas. 

Plan a Career You'll Love

Career services are free and available to you the moment you set foot on campus. Prepare for a rewarding career with our robust services:

  • Career Counseling & Assessments 
  • Resume & Cover Letter Assistance
  • Mock Interviews
  • Internships, Shadowing & Experiential Learning 
  • Career Fairs & Info Sessions 
  • Job Networking & Placements 
  • Graduate Application Guidance
  • Alumni Connections 
columbia skyline

Capital City Advantage

Going to college in a capital city has its perks. Government roles are plentiful, plus businesses and non-profits are drawn to settle near the action. See where recent students have interned: 

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Columbia City Mayor’s Fellows
  • Columbia Metropolitan Airport
  • Epworth Early Intervention Center
  • Girl Scouts of the Midlands
  • Palmetto Autism Interventions
  • Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
  • South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • South Carolina Hospital Association
  • Tapps Art Center
  • The Cooperative Ministry
  • The Taylor Agency
  • W.S. Reamer, CPA

The First-Year Experience

Here are a few of the many ways we ensure our first-year students start strong. 

Supportive Advisors & Mentors

Work closely with an advisor who specializes in helping first-year students. Plus, learn about study skills, time management, and campus activities from your peer mentor. 

Pre-Orientation & Orientation

Cover a broad range of topics during virtual pre-orientation and in-person orientation. You'll get access to the resources you need before you even start classes. 

Strategies for Success Curriculum 

You'll take a class called LA-100 that helps you navigate your first semester with topics on: campus resources, career exploration, community building, and more. 

Success Coaches 

We'll walk alongside you, helping you to reflect on your strengths and passions. You'll create a four-year plan to reach your goals. 

Success Socials

Get insights on topics like study skills, reading strategies, test taking, and wellness. These workshops are offered all fall, multiple times a week. 

First-Generation College Students

Being a first-generation college student means you're the first person in your household to attend college. It may mean that you're navigating unfamiliar processes, but it can also be a tremendous source of pride. We're proud of our first-gen students—see how we position you for success here. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find support as a first-generation student?

Like all our students, you'll be assigned an academic and a staff advisor, plus a peer mentor. These advisors can help you with your academic questions as well as provide support for all aspects of college life. You're in a great position to succeed at a small school like Columbia College because we have the resources and the bandwidth to know and care for each student. 

How can I prepare academically for college? 
  1. Workshops: Develop consistent study habits and good time management skills. We offer numerous workshops on these topics and more throughout the fall semester. Check out the student success resources to learn more. 
  2. Professors: Ask questions in class, be sure you understand your assignments and develop relationships with your professors. They're eager to know you and help you.
  3. Advisors: Gain perspective from your advisors and use the many resources available to you on campus, like tutoring, study groups, and more. 
What can I do to make the most of my college experience?

Work hard and ask questions along the way. If you're not familiar with the process or certain terminology, don't hesitate to discuss it with your advisor, a professor, or even your classmates. 

Lean on your advisors because they're especially aware of all the resources available on campus. Plus, they've worked with numerous first-generation students and understand the unique situations you face. 

Are there scholarships or financial aid options specifically for first-generation students?

Financial Aid

After you apply, you can start the financial aid process by filling out the "FAFSA" (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which determines the federal loans, aid, and grants you're eligible for. Learn more about the financial aid process


While none of our scholarships are specifically designated for first-gen students, we offer a range of scholarship opportunities for all students. High-achieving students as well as students with lower high school GPAs but high aspirations are eligible for scholarships. Athletic, Art, Dance, Music, and State-Based opportunities may also apply to you. Applying early is the key to being eligible for the most scholarship support. 

Wellness & Safety

Your support system extends beyond academic and professional resources. Curious about counseling, campus safety, healthcare, fitness, and wellness resources for students?