Colleges fill with students

College of Charleston students Emily Rogers (left) and Emma Owens carry their belongings into The Kelly House on Friday as students return for fall semester.

Amanda McAdory wanted to go away for college, but not too far away.

McAdory, 18, who's from James Island, is one of Charleston Southern University's 700 freshmen this year. She and other first-time and transfer students moved into the dorms Friday. Upperclassmen are arriving today and Sunday. Classes begin Monday.

McAdory's mother, Jennifer McAdory, said the Christian school in North Charleston was "my only choice" among local college's and universities. She wanted her daughter to attend a school that felt safe, and that promoted Christian values.

Students also are moving in at the College of Charleston. Freshman arrived at The Citadel last weekend, and upperclassmen arrive Sunday. Students already have moved in and started classes at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, the state's largest schools.

Tina Gallo, a Charleston Southern sophomore, said she chose the school for three reasons: the Christian environment, the nursing program, and no snow. Gallo, 19, is from Pittsburgh.

University spokesman John Strubel said students from many states attend the school, but 75 percent to 80 percent of them are from the local area.

Debbie Williamson, vice president for enrollment management, said about 2,400 undergraduates are enrolled so far this year. Total enrollment, including graduate students is about 3,300, she said.

About 1,200 student will live in the seven residence halls on campus, and 50 to 60 upperclassmen will live in the Wingate by Wyndham hotel owned by the university and located on the 300-acre campus.

"We're literally maxed out in housing," Williamson said. And we're overflowing in the classrooms. Enrollment is up about 4 percent, she said.

Strubel said the university spruced up the campus over the summer, and one of the residence halls has been renovated. Officials plan to renovate a hall each summer until all of the facilities are upgraded, he said.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or