University of South Carolina Essay

University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina Area

Admission Essay requirements

A personal statement or graduate school essay, is your opportunity to sell yourself in the graduate school application process. Your goal is to help the admissions committee understand YOU personally and see what sets you apart from other applicants.

Although requirements vary from school to school, with some programs requesting only one or two paragraphs and others requiring multiple essays, personal statements generally fall into one of two categories:

1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you freedom to write what you want to write; however, you can run into the pitfall of being too broad.

2. The response to very specific questions: Your statement should respond specifically to the question or questions being asked. This type of statement makes it easy to formulate what you want to say, but can stifle creativity.

Admission essay / personal statement prompts

Writing a personal statement can often be the most difficult part of the application process. Before beginning, spend some time reflecting on your life experiences, events, and achievements relevant to your career choice and application to graduate school.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is unique about you or your life story?  

  • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?  

  • What in your life has shaped you or influenced your goals?

  • When did you become interested in this field?  

How have you learned about this field—through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?  What have you learned about this field that has deepened your interest and your belief that you are a good fit?  What insights have you gained?  If you have worked or had internships or leadership experiences what have you learned and how has that work contributed to your growth?  

  • What are your career goals?  

  • Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain?

  • What personal qualities, values and skills do you possess that would improve your likelihood for success in the field?

  • How can you convey and demonstrate that you have these characteristics?  

  • What makes you a superior candidate for graduate school and what is going to make you more successful in the profession or field than other applicants?  

  • Why should the admissions committee be interested in you?

  • What are the most persuasive and undeniable reasons you can give the committee to admit you into their program?

More useful essay prompts

Getting started with your statement, follow these advices:

  • Tell a story: Use the opening paragraph to grab the readers attention. Tailor your essay: It is important to mirror yourself to the culture of the institution, for example if the college is well known for community service or research point this out as a value of yours.

  • Be specific: Use specific examples to validate your statements and ideas. Include details about your experiences in your field of interest. Your desire to enter into your chosen field should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement.

  • Be thoughtful and honest.

Office of Admissions Contacts

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
University of South Carolina
902 Sumter Street Access / Lieber College
Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: (803)777-7700
Fax: (803)777-0101

Career consultants

Rick Hearin, Executive Director of University Career Services
Jennifer Broyles, Director of Career Development & Experiential Education
Janet Jones, Director of Employer Relations

University of South Carolina

Where they live

  • Columbia, South Carolina Area - 31,428

  • Charlotte, North Carolina Area - 7,626

  • Greenville, South Carolina Area - 7,435

  • Charleston, South Carolina Area - 7,430

  • Greater Atlanta Area - 5,412

Where they work

  • Palmetto Health - 589

  • BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina - 411

  • Wells Fargo - 396

  • US Army - 355

  • Medical University of South Carolina - 324

What they do

  • Education - 10,918

  • Sales - 10,701

  • Operations - 8,809

  • Healthcare Services - 6,665

  • Entrepreneurship - 6,584

  • Media and Communication - 5,537

  • Engineering - 4,974

  • Community and Social Services - 4,938

What they studied

  • Business Administration and Management, General - 6,739

  • Psychology - 4,755

  • Political Science and Government - 4,366

  • Marketing - 3,811

  • Journalism - 3,471

  • English Language and Literature/Letters - 3,420

  • Biology, General - 3,102

  • Mass Communication/Media Studies - 3,010

What they’re skilled at

  • Customer Service - 25,776

  • Microsoft Office - 25,738

  • Public Speaking - 22,341

  • Leadership - 21,552

  • Microsoft Excel - 18,206


Notable alumni

Patrick Heim

Head of Trust & Security at Dropbox



  • Chief Information Security Officer at Kaiser Permanente

  • Director of Professional Services at nCircle

  • Board Member at Cylance, Inc.

IMBA, International Finance

  • Senior Manager at Deloitte (from Touche Ross & Co.)

  • EVP and Chief Financial Officer at

  • Chief Financial Officer at LANDESK Software (Acquired by Avocent)

BS, Accounting

1976 – 1980

Andrew Miller

Global CEO and Corporate Director in the Technology Sector



  • CEO and Director at Polycom


  • SVP North America at Monster Worldwide

BS, Business Administration

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