Parents Weekend Frequently Asked Questions

Please review this preliminary list of frequently asked questions about Parents Weekend. The Parent & Family Programs staff is busy planning and finalizing details for Parents Weekend 2017, so this page will continue to be updated as the weekend approaches.

General and registration

When is Parents Weekend 2017?
Parents Weekend will be held Oct. 6-8, 2017. This is a great time to visit campus to see your student’s college home! Many fun social and educational events are planned for the weekend so your family can have a great time together and learn more about the University of South Carolina.

How do I register, and what is included with the Parents Weekend package?
Registration begins Friday, June 30 and ends Friday, September 15 at 4 p.m. (EST). Registration is available on the Parents Weekend website. Each family member who wants to participate in the Parents Weekend activities MUST have a package purchased in their name. The $75 per person package allows participation in all of the activities on the schedule of events, unless otherwise noted. Football tickets are NOT included in the Parents Weekend package but can be purchased through the registration process for $45.

What events can my student attend?
Your student is invited to attend all Parents Weekend events with your family. Students may attend all Friday events at no charge. If your student would like to attend the Parents Weekend Tailgate Party Saturday, they will need a $15 Student Tailgate Party Ticket. Please note that if your student would like to sit with you at the football game, you must purchase a Parents Weekend package and football ticket for them. In order to add a Parents Weekend package for your student, you will need to add them as a family member on your registration. Otherwise, we encourage all students to go through the student ticketing process, which allows them to request a ticket for the student section.

Should I bring my younger children (my USC student’s siblings)?
Yes! Parents Weekend is for the whole family and not just parents. Many families bring siblings of all ages, grandparents, aunts, uncles… everyone! Please keep in mind that all family members, regardless of age, must purchase a Parents Weekend package to participate in the events. Please note that when you register, you must purchase a football ticket in addition to the Parents Weekend package if you want to attend the football game, regardless of age. Football tickets are NOT included in the Parents Weekend package. We do not sell separate family tickets for any of our events (including the Beach Bash and Tailgate Party).

Are refunds available?
All Parents Weekend packages and football tickets are non-refundable. Please encourage your student to pick up your materials even if you are unable to attend at the last minute. Your student can use the football tickets and attend the Parents Weekend events if they’d like. If, during the registration period, you decide you can no longer attend, you may sell your packages and football tickets to another family. Simply contact the Office of Parent & Family Programs at to let us know the names and contact information for the people who will be using your packages/tickets.

During the weekend

Can my student pick up my packet for me during check-in?
Yes, if you are unable to attend check-in for the weekend, your student can pick up your materials. Please make sure your student brings their CarolinaCard (student ID) and a copy of your confirmation email.

When should we plan to arrive? Do parents stay for the whole weekend?
Families are encouraged to arrive on Thursday evening so they can enjoy the many events planned for Friday. Events are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so plan to stay for the entire weekend! We encourage you to make your hotel reservations early because hotels near campus fill up quickly. Plenty of hotels outside of the immediate downtown Columbia area are available, so consider looking at those as well.

What can we do while in Columbia?
Columbia is a vibrant city with many activities going on throughout the year, beautiful sites to see and delicious restaurants to enjoy. We hope that you will take advantage of everything the city has to offer during your visit! Continue to check the Parents Weekend website throughout the summer as events and attractions are added to the list.

What if I arrive after check-in ends at 5 p.m. on Friday? What if I can’t come until Saturday?
Please encourage your student to pick up your materials during check-in on Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If that is not possible, you may check in on Friday evening from 8-10 p.m. during the Beach Bash at the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center (enter at the pool house gate). For families not arriving in Columbia until late Friday evening or Saturday, check-in also will be available in the Russell House Ballroom on Saturday, Oct. 7 in the morning (check-in time subject to change based on football game).

Are tickets needed for every Parents Weekend 2017 event?
Your Parents Weekend nametag, which you will receive with your materials at check-in, will serve as your admission ticket to all events. Make sure to wear your Parents Weekend nametag to all events or you may be denied admission.

 Football information

I purchased tickets to the Parents Weekend 2017 football game. Will they be mailed to me?
Tickets will not be mailed. They will be included with your materials that you will pick up at check-in on Friday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturday, Oct. 7 (check-in time subject to change based on football game) in the Russell House Ballroom. If you are only interested in attending the football game and not participating in Parents Weekend, please contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-4SC-FANS or visit Gamecock Athletics to inquire about ticket availability.

How does my student get a ticket for the football game?
Students have the opportunity to request football tickets for each home football game. During the week of each home game, students should request a ticket and then claim and load their ticket onto their CarolinaCard. Loyalty points are an important factor in students receiving tickets for football games, so encourage your student to attend many athletic events to build up loyalty points. For more information on the student football ticket request and claim process, click here.

We encourage students to learn the process for requesting football tickets. Student tickets are located in the student section, which is in a different location in the stadium from the tickets that parents purchase. However, it is very typical for parents and students to enjoy the Tailgate Party together and then meet up after the game. Your student should be able to meet their friends before entering the student section.

I want to sit with my student at the football game. What do I need to do?
If you want your student to sit with you at the football game, you will need to purchase a Parents Weekend package and football ticket for them.

It is very typical for students to sit with their friends in the student section and then meet back up with their families after the football game. Students are eligible to request student football tickets and can learn more about the process here:

Where will my seats be located for the football game?
Gamecock Athletics allows the Office of Parent & Family Programs to offer tickets for Parents Weekend participants to purchase with their registrations prior to when single game tickets go on sale to the general public in August. Gamecock Club season ticket holders get first priority of seat selection, so many of the tickets that are available for single game use (including the Parents Weekend tickets) are located in various sections of the upper decks. Tickets purchased through our office are randomly assigned to our registered families.

This will be my first football game at South Carolina. What should I expect?
We are so excited for you to experience the excitement of Williams-Brice Stadium! We encourage you to read through all of the materials provided to you at check-in, including the Guide to Parents Weekend and the Football Fan Guide.

Know that gamedays at South Carolina bring large crowds of fans to tailgate all around the surrounding area starting hours before the game. Expect crowds and traffic, so plan ahead! When that many Gamecock fans come together, you can expect an exhilarating environment and a fun time with your family. To give you an idea of what the atmosphere will be like, we encourage you to watch this Welcome to Williams-Brice video. Start practicing your Sandstorm moves now! To learn more about South Carolina football traditions, click here.

Guests with disabilities or needing accommodations

We have a family member in a wheelchair. Can we get around at all the events?
All events during Parents Weekend are handicapped accessible, including the football game on Saturday. If you need special accommodations for seating at the football game, please email the Office of Parent & Family Programs at as early as possible to let us know the details of your needs.

We have a family member who needs accommodations. Who can we talk to?
We want all guests to have a fun and family-filled weekend at Parents Weekend. If you need an accommodation, please email the Office of Parent & Family Programs at as early as possible to let us know the details of your needs. We will try our best to make arrangements!

Beach Bash and Tailgate Party

Do I need to bring food or drink to the Parents Weekend Tailgate Party or Beach Bash? Is there seating available?
We will have plenty of food and drinks available at the Parents Weekend Tailgate Party and Beach Bash. Tables and chairs are available at the Beach Bash but not at the Tailgate Party, so plan to bring a blanket with you if you’d like. Outside beverages are not permitted at any Parents Weekend events.

We have another guest who would like to attend just one event, so can I buy a separate ticket for them to attend that one event?
No. All of our events are exclusive to the Parents Weekend package, and we do not sell tickets to individual events with exception of the Student Tailgate Party Ticket.


I want to participate in the Parents Weekend 5K run/walk. How do I register?
The Parents Weekend 5K will take place at 8 a.m. (rain or shine) on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Solomon Blatt P.E. Center. Run or walk the 5K course for fun with your family! Preregistered participants can pick up their packets on Friday at Parents Weekend check-in or from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Carolina Beach Bash. On-site registration begins on Saturday at 7 a.m. and ends at 7:45 a.m. Pre-registered participants who cross the finish line are guaranteed a Parents Weekend 5K t-shirt. Dress for a hot, humid South Carolina day! Registration will open June 30.


Where can I park during Parents Weekend 2017?
Visitor parking is available and more details will be shared in the coming months.

Is parking available at the Tailgate Party?
Parking is not available at the Tailgate Party, but a variety of options for parking around the stadium area are available. Many pay lots are located around the stadium (costing anywhere from $10 to $45). Another option is to park in a designation lot on campus and take a shuttle, which will drop you off on Rosewood Drive at the back of the State Fairgrounds. (The shuttle also picks up on Greene Street in front of the Russell House.) The shuttle is free for Carolina students with their CarolinaCard and $3 round-trip for non-students. For more information about the shuttle to the game, click here. For more information about parking around Williams-Brice stadium, click here. If you choose to drive to the stadium, please allow plenty of time to get to the stadium, and be prepared for heavy traffic delays. Parking lots fill up quickly, so plan to leave for the game at least four to five hours before kickoff if you are driving. This may seem like a long time, but you do not want to get stuck in traffic and miss the Tailgate Party! If you choose to ride the shuttle, please keep in mind that the walk to the Tailgate Party is approximately 1 mile. This is a typical walk around our stadium, so please wear comfortable clothing and shoes!