Will spare the details of the PAINFUL decision process . . .  .  The verdict is . . . .  
The Honors College at University of South Carolina! 
The other school was so totally awesome.  There was nothing about it not to love, except the price tag.  But as one MBA friend put it, "That’s a huge Delta [difference in price]!"  In the end, the scholarship offers, combined with a college that is also superlative (although very different) won the day.  
And, although it may be our state school, USC Honors is really nothing to sneeze at:   (especially the last paragraph)

S will be one of 300 freshmen admitted to the Honors College.  Will have access to small classes taught by senior faculty and designed specifically for the most highly motivated students in the university.   Yet she will also have access to all the resources of a research university.  It’s an education that truly can be whatever one makes of it.  One of the honors programs most highly commended in the book "Public Ivies" because it operates as a separate college rather than merely as a program within the university. 
Thanks to many of you for advice and input.  S received very thoughtful letters from several people — friends and family of all ages and persuasions and perspectives.  And some whom we know less well; GWU graduates who went there for u-grad, grad school; one U of SC Honors Alum who went from USC Honors to Peace Corps to Johns Hopkins (#1 program in International Studies) to State Dept and who kindly responded thoughtfully to a letter from a stranger.  This was partly a very practical decision to get a solid undergraduate diploma and save resources for graduate school.  A decision not to go into debt. A practical decision for a family with two more children waiting in the wings for their turn at education.  But it was also a decision based on the strength of the Honors College and the belief it offers a superlative education.  Albeit less focused / one sided in interest than a diploma from the other school.  And recognizing that neither choice was a "bad" choice. 
But hmm, we are already seeing an advantage of not having a one-dimensional focus!  Now that we are settled and picking courses, some big decisions regarding course schedule seem to be not just what language for International Business (declared major and #1 ranked program in U.S., albeit a risk since they only admit 50 sophmores per year), but, hmm . . . 
"On Tuesdays and Thursdays would I rather take Oceanography or Natural History of South Carolina taught by (THE) Rudy Mancke*?"   
(*S was a recipient of the Rudy Mancke Award for Excellence in Natural Science during 9th Grade for her research related to her 9th grade science project, The Measured Effect of Rainfall on Nonpoint Source Pollution Levels in the Gills Creek Watershed.) 
Okay, nuff CROWING about our future GAMECOCK in the family, will go back to being a normal person now.  Now my big decision for tomorrow:  Do I wear my Garnet and Black Gamecock T-shirt or  my Carolina Girls T! 
Just got back from Hong Kong.  Will post about that trip soon.  And Monday is ANNIVERSARY # 24 for D & Me!!!   Has a lot changed in 24 years, or WHAT  (not just grey hair either).   Twenty four years ago, who even would have imagined these three daughters, two of them almost grown up! 

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