South Carolina
College and Career Planning in K-12


The South Carolina Department of Education disburses over $21 million in state funds annually to support the hiring of school guidance personnel who have completed the Career Development Facilitator (CDF) training and/or earned global CDF certification.

In accordance with the Education and Economic Development Act of 2005, these guidance personnel are responsible for ensuring that all middle school students have numerous opportunities to explore career options and complete career interest assessments prior to developing their individual graduation plans, with assistance from their parents/guardians and school counselors. The IGPs for eighth grade students identify the students’ choices of one or more of the 16 career clusters as focus areas. Students may change their choices of clusters at any time.

In high school, tenth grade students are required to narrow their focus areas by selecting academic majors within their chosen clusters. The selection of a major is also documented in the graduation plan to guide students in the selection of elective courses as they form their college and career aspirations beyond graduation.

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education administers a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program. The objectives of GEAR UP are to increase high school students’ academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education. Students in the program receive the following:

  • Tutoring and mentorship
  • Introduction to institutions of higher education through trips and school-based sessions
  • Informational sessions regarding financial aid for postsecondary education

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education also offers SC CAN (, a statewide portal that provides access to online resources for South Carolina students, families, and educational professionals. Visitors are able to view the site through mobile, computer, and tablet devices, access information through social media, watch videos, view pictures, download resources, receive news and program updates, read student blogs, submit success stories, and view an interactive calendar of events.

Beginning July 1, 2014, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education awarded funding to a Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness at Francis Marion University. This Center will partner with school districts, technical colleges, economic development centers, and four-year colleges and universities to prepare students for postsecondary success. The Center will provide resources, programs, and support for existing and new P-20 initiatives and stakeholders (including administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and students). Further, the Center will conduct research to further an understanding of how best to prepare South Carolina’s students for the challenges they face beyond high school.

Using the South Carolina Transfer and Articulation Center (SC TRAC), students can better plan their progression to a degree by identifying and taking courses that will transfer toward a degree program at a public institution. Using SC TRAC, students can easily locate information related to transfer and access transfer agreements, search for course equivalencies to determine how courses taken at one institution transfer to another, and find detailed and up-to-date information on degree pathways.