Parents Weekend, as it’s informally known, or Family Weekend, as it’s technically known, offers a variety of programs. Visitors and students can do all of them, or none of them. After a week of midterms, family time can be the perfect reward.
Last week was Chapel Hill academics at its finest. I had two papers due on the same day. I had two tests within two days of one another. I even had a presentation in front of a fifty-person class. As everyone knows, UNC provides rigorous academics, and those same academics make people like me miss the luxuries of home and high school courses.
Every year, UNC provides events at Family Weekend. Saturday afternoon, there was barbecue in the Pit. The football team also played East Carolina University on Saturday. And if you didn’t like losing, you could have distracted yourself with tours and department open houses. The options were endless.
As a sophomore, I’ve been blessed with family members who have come to visit me on both Family Weekends. Driving through stormy weather, my parents rescued me from the rain last year. Because of the ceaseless rain last year, my family and I skipped most of the football game for food at P.F. Chang’s.
This past weekend, my parents decided to visit my older brother, so my wonderful aunt came to visit me. Like a second mother, she fed me. There was nothing I could do except eat and eat and eat and eat. After completing this all-time favorite task, we walked around campus.
Pointing out the Davie Poplar Tree, the Old Well, the Pit, and Polk Place, we moseyed around. We watched everyone at the tailgates amble into Kenan Stadium. My aunt and I abandoned our roles as sports fans in favor of our roles as shoppers. Basically, she spoiled me.
To me, a Carolina student, Family Weekend was a time for spoiling and lounging with loved ones. I felt as if I was the lucky one. But thinking back, I realize that UNC offers so much more than a weekend with family. The university offers a sense of reciprocity. As I laughed with my aunt, as she spoiled me, I told her all about the campus, the diversity, and the academics. All students know that UNC is the best school, but during Family Weekend, everyone shares in that idea. What better gift is there?
-Kate Albers ’16
The world is currently facing tough questions when it comes to science and technology. Luckily, UNC’s Chancellor’s Science Scholars (CSS) Program is preparing students to provide some answers.
CSS is an Excel@Carolina program dedicated to increasing the representation of underrepresented minorities in science and technology. It is open to admitted students of all backgrounds.
The inaugural cohort of scholars began their CSS experience this past summer with a six-week crash course intro to college life. The scholars learned about campus resources and took courses, ending with a presentation from all 24 students. First-year scholar Gabriella Gallo said it was a special way to show everyone that cares about them, including their families and UNC faculty members, all of their hard work.
CSS provides other opportunities like summer research participation and internships that can help scholars reach their goals. As juniors and seniors, scholars have faculty mentors and career services resources to prepare them for the transition out of UNC. Many, like first-year Sierra Atwater (who hopes to be a neonatologist), are planning to eventually enter Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs. But a big emphasis of CSS is research, and scholars are encouraged to become actively involved in it.
CSS gives students a chance to explore research topics that interest them most. First-year Luke Fernandez, who does research at the UNC Water Institute, wants to figure out how to provide people in developing countries with affordable access to clean water. Gabriella is interested in the neurological effects that smiling has on mood and personality, and Sierra wants to learn more about the development of new scientific equipment to use in medicine.
As you can tell from their interests, this first class of scholars is diverse. But what brings them together is more than just science and technology. Luke is looking forward to building relationships over the next four years with his fellow scholars, and Gabriella agrees. As an out-of-state student, she said she felt homesick at first, but the other scholars were there for her. She said connections like that are going to leave the biggest impact, and she knows those strong relationships with the other scholars are unique to UNC… something that she probably couldn’t find anywhere else.
To learn more about the new Chancellor’s Science Scholars program, check out the program website. And if you’re interested in earning a Chancellor’s Science Scholarship at UNC, all you have to do is apply for admission. There’s no separate application; you’ll be automatically considered for this program, as well as many other opportunities, when you apply.
As I am preparing for many exams before Fall Break arrives, prospective students will (hopefully) be working hard on their essays for admission into the GREATEST University ever (I promise, I’m not biased). I know that you all are probably having anxiety over the college application process in general, but coming from my perspective, it is all worth it in the end. Whether it is the difficulty of even starting the essay, or not quite figuring out whom you want to choose to write your letter of recommendation, there is plenty of time to complete it all. The Early Action application is due Oct. 15, and Regular Admission is due Jan. 10.
When I was working on my essays almost two years ago, I was as nervous as ever. With advice from my family and teachers, I settled into the mindset of knowing that if I just expressed my true self through the essays, that would be my best effort. There is no need to overstep, and for example, submit ten letters of recommendation. If you give 100 percent on the application, there is no need to exaggerate.
Carolina puts an emphasis on looking at “the complete package” in a prospective student. Specifically, that test that you give four hours of your life for on a Saturday is not the deciding factor. Your SAT score is definitely considered with the application, but your acceptance is not totally dependent on that score. Your grades, extracurricular activities, academic achievements, AP scores and more are all considered within the acceptance process. If you shine in your volunteer experiences, showcase that. Carolina is looking at who you are as a student and overall person, not just one score.
I will probably mention often that Carolina has been my dream since…well, forever and that I feel so honored to attend this University, even after a freshman year filled with difficult classes, multiple exams, and late nights of studying. I’m still here and extremely proud to show my Tar Heel pride everywhere I go. When you come to Chapel Hill, you’ll feel a sense of family. As cheesy as it sounds, singing the alma mater at sporting events feels like one huge family coming together to sing, all wearing that gorgeous Carolina blue. Once you are here, you most likely won’t want to leave. Good luck to all you! Remember, take a breath, and be yourself. Hopefully you’ll be a Tar Heel soon!
-Maddie Taylor ’16
When you apply to Carolina, we’re not just reviewing your application for admission. We also use the information you submit in your application to consider you for a number of exciting opportunities, including merit scholarships, Honors Carolina, summer fellowships, assured admission to our professional schools, and more. Some of these opportunities involve scholarship money, some don’t. But all of them connect you to an exciting aspect of the intellectual life at Carolina from the first day you step on campus. The great news is that you don’t have to submit any additional applications or information to be considered for all these great opportunities:
Last year, Carolina awarded more than 250 merit scholarships to incoming first-year students. We encourage first-year students to apply by the Early Action deadline of October 15 for fullest consideration for merit scholarships. Learn more about the different scholarships we offer.
About 250 first-year students are invited to join our honors program, Honors Carolina, each year. Honors students have priority registration for honors courses, which are seminar-style classes that emphasize discussion, debate, and interaction between students and professor. Honors Carolina also sponsors lecture series as well as special study abroad and research fellowship programs.
Each year, we invite about a quarter of our admitted students to join one of the opportunities included in Excel@Carolina:
- Summer Fellowships. Summer Study Abroad Fellowships provide a one-time $5,000 award for summer study abroad. Students may use the award toward one of 81 study abroad programs in 37 countries. Carolina Summer Research Fellowships award $5,000 to students for use toward a research project of their own design.
- Carolina Research Scholars Program. Carolina Research Scholars brings together students from across the academic disciplines who are engaged in undergraduate research. First-year students who are chosen for entry into the program receive special advising that helps them navigate the research community at Carolina and network with fellow researchers.
- First Year Fellows. First Year Fellows connects students with the exciting opportunities and resources available at Carolina through special lectures, discussions, and excursions. Fellows are also guaranteed a seat in one of their top-choice First Year Seminars.
- Assured Admission Programs. Most students apply to our schools of business, education, journalism, and pharmacy during their sophomore year at Carolina. Each year, though, we offer a group of new first-year students assured admission to each of these programs. Assured admission students also benefit from special coursework and advising in their first two years, allowing them to begin pursuing their study of these subjects early.
- First Year Service Corps. Connect with fellow students who are committed to public service and gain new skills through this special program in partnership with Carolina’s Center for Public Service.
- Chancellor’s Science Scholarship. New this year, the Chancellor’s Science Scholarship offers a $10,000 renewable scholarship toward the cost of attendance, as well as a $5,000 award for summer research. It’s geared toward students looking to become leaders in the fields of science and math.
So how do we select students for these opportunities? As the admissions committee reads your application, they’ll also be considering you for all of the above programs. They’ll be looking for the same things we look for in all of our candidates: intellect, curiosity, creativity, leadership, kindness, courage, and diversity of background and experience. Your essays and letters of recommendation are important as they help us understand who you are as a person and how you will contribute here. We want students who will not only take advantage of the opportunities here at Carolina, but who will also make new opportunities both for themselves and their fellow students.
Faculty committees make the final selection of merit scholarship and Honors candidates. For Excel@Carolina, we survey finalists to find out which programs are of most interest to them, and then match students to one of their top choices. So if you’re chosen as a finalist, you’ll be able to tell us which program is the best match for you.
Ready to apply? Get started!
There is no question that UNC stands upon foundations of cultural diversity and acceptance of others. UNC is a leading example of how students of various backgrounds can come together to learn from each other, not just by sharing knowledge, but by sharing cultural experiences. By exposing ourselves to different cultures, we mature into connected, conscientious adults—something that is invaluable in this day and age.
Just this past weekend, UNC’s Chinese Undergraduate Student Association (CUSA) threw a splendid festival celebrating one of China’s biggest holidays, Mid-Autumn Festival. The event included delicious catered Chinese foods, as well as a spectacular cultural show. So, what was so great about it? Not just the fact that I got to witness our fellow students display their cultural talents, but also the fact that students of every cultural background showed up to attend the festival. I felt proud that my fellow Tar Heels took interest in my culture, as I am Chinese, and were able to enjoy the traditions which I was brought up from.
I find much value in learning about other cultures, and it is wonderful to know that my fellow Tar Heels do as well. These sorts of experiences are definitely worth taking with us once we have to part from UNC.
-Amy Yang ’16
One of the hardest things to get used to in a university setting is how huge lectures are. Some of the introductory courses can reach 400 students in a lecture hall. While this is a daunting figure, know that 66 percent of the classes at UNC have fewer than 30 students and 87 percent have fewer than 50 students. The giant lecture halls are only a small portion of the classes you will take at Carolina.
So, how do you survive these large lectures? The normal rules apply: Go to lecture, take notes, do all the assignments, go to office hours and ask questions. But sometimes it’s hard to get the professor’s attention when you are one among hundreds, sometimes office hours are too busy, and sometimes you just don’t understand the material.
Don’t worry! Carolina understands, which is why Supplemental Instruction exists.
Supplemental Instruction is a program that has been growing at UNC and is currently most used in introductory Biology and Physics classes. In Supplemental Instruction (SI), an experienced undergraduate or graduate student that excelled in that particular course helps lead a collaborative, guided study session. The SI leader goes to all of the lectures, does all the assignments, regularly communicates with the professor and receives regular training and evaluation.
SI sessions usually last about 50 minutes and are available up to three times a week. It is not mandatory, but it is a time and place to go over the lecture, homework, questions, and any other bits and pieces of material that you don’t understand. What’s more is that SI leaders have usually been in your shoes so they understand the confusion about certain things and will relate with a lot of the problems you may have.
Research has shown that students that regularly attend Supplemental Instruction sessions get grades half to one full letter grade above those that do not attend SI. SI is not about targeting high-risk students but targeting high-risk courses where the class size can be terrifying and the lectures may be hard to understand coming from a high school prospective.
SI is an opportunity to really process the material that you are getting in lecture, meet some of your classmates in a smaller setting, and allow you more time to work through any problems you may have with assignments and study methods. If lecture is when you get to see and taste a delicious meal, SI is when you can take your time, chew and really savor all of the flavors.
If you would like more information about SI and/or tutoring services at Carolina, check out the Learning Center down in SASB North or at http://learningcenter.unc.edu/. For specific SI schedules, check with your professor and department.
-Wynton Wong ’15
When my first midterm exam was around the corner, I diligently set up camp at my desk in my room in Koury Residence Hall, ready for putting in some solid study hours.
There was one problem, though. My bed was right next to my desk. Easy access to a flat, oh-so-comfy surface meant easy access to naps. Though I started strong, somehow I would always end up on my bed. This quickly became a problem. With the date of the test looming closer, I knew I had to shake things up. And so, armed with my textbooks, laptop, and more highlighters than any human being could possibly need, I set off for campus in search of the perfect study nook. Except, I never got out the door. What I found in the hallways of Koury was a student’s dream—insofar as any dream could be about studying—spacious, well-lit, clean study rooms equipped with whiteboards and projectors galore. I looked around until I found the perfect one, settled in, and immediately got to work. Well, not immediately, but you get the point!
For the rest of my first year, this became my go-to study nook. It perfectly fit my needs and was a quiet, distraction-free environment. I could play music, write on the whiteboard, and spread out my stuff on the table just how I wanted. It turned the room into my own little study. Most days, I would come in stressed with all that I had to do, but I would leave happy with the progress I’d made. The familiarity helped ease me into my studying and let me delve into the material. It became part of my weekly routine and freed up more time for hanging out with friends and participating in clubs.
Why does having a study nook matter? Well, you probably have a go-to spot at home where you study. For most of us, we benefit from the consistency of having a place to return to for work. What makes UNC’s campus so conducive to studying is that there are so many different studying environments for different types of students. Everyone I know has a different spot on campus where this happens. In order to succeed academically, it’s crucial to have a spot where you can be most productive and get things done.
Do you have to study in college? Yes. But that doesn’t mean being stuck in a stuffy library. Study the way you want to, and you’ll study smarter.
– Matt Evangelisto ’15
Today’s post comes from Madison Way, a senior journalism major from South Carolina. She’ll be writing a series of posts sharing her perspectives as an out-of-state student. Have questions for Madison? Leave a comment below!
I’m an “out-of-stater.” It’s a title I’m very proud of, and if you’re an out-of-state student applying to Carolina, it’s a title you should be proud of, too. You want to meet new people and make new discoveries. That’s commendable, but being an out-of-state student looking at UNC-Chapel Hill can be intimidating. The way I see it, there are three ways you can look at applying here if you’re an out-of-state student.
The first is full of curiosity. Why Carolina? Why do people all over the world care so much about a school nestled into the heart of the southeast? Why is Michael Jordan such a big deal to these people? (Answer: He’s Michael Jordan.)
Your curiosity is warranted. In fact, it’s encouraged. When you’re looking at colleges, you have a vast variety of options to choose from. There are different sizes, different focuses, different geographic locations, different everything!
What brings us here is the unique experience. Everybody here has big goals and you’ll watch as they achieve them. UNC fosters creativity and ambition, so if you want to do something, chances are there’s an opportunity to do so at UNC. At Carolina you can explore science with Bill Nye the Science Guy or talk about Scandal with Judy Smith. You can even “Slow Jam The News” with Barack Obama.
So, you realize how great of an academic institution UNC is and then you might hit the second outlook: panic. This was me. I knew I wanted to come to Carolina almost instantly and the more my tour guide talked, the more I wanted to scream “Stop! You sold me already!!”
UNC accepts about 15% of out-of-state applicants. That’s not a friendly statistic.
Listen to me, though. You can’t let a statistic dictate your application decisions. Our admissions committee doesn’t judge you based on one number, so you shouldn’t judge applying to UNC by a number, either! If you’re looking at Carolina, you’re probably a highly motivated, strong student. Don’t count yourself out and DON’T (this is a big one) miss out on your senior year of high school because you’ve spooked yourself over admissions decisions.
The third is love. I know what you’re thinking. “Man, this admissions website is so dramatic.” But we’re not being dramatic. We’re being honest. Our students love Carolina and we bet you will, too.
There’s a famous quote by Charles Kuralt that you’ll probably hear at least 30 times your first week at UNC (if you choose to come here).
“What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. Or the crisp October nights or the memory of dogwoods blooming. Our loyalty is not only to William Richardson Davie, though we are proud of what he did 200 years ago today. Nor even to Dean Smith, though we are proud of what he did last March. No, our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, as it was meant to be, the University of the people.”
So here’s my advice to you: come to UNC. Visit. Not only will you see that Carolina is beautiful, but you’ll see our students in action. You’ll see the collaboration of chemists in Venable Lab or a group of aspiring singers in the quad. Chapel Hill is full of thinkers and creators (like you!) and when you get here, it’ll feel like you’ve found the exact place where you belong.
Madison Way is a senior from Hilton Head, S.C. She’s the Executive Producer of Sports Xtra, Carolina’s weekly sports newscast and she also reports for Carolina Week and The Daily Tar Heel. Madison spent this past summer interning at ESPN.
Thank you for your interest in Carolina! We’re receiving a lot of phone calls on the following topics, and we thought you might like to know the latest!
Have you received my application?
We are thrilled that you have chosen to apply to UNC Chapel Hill! We are preparing to import submitted Common Applications into our database within the next couple of weeks. Applicants will then receive an email with detailed instructions on how to create their MyCarolina accounts. We appreciate your patience, and we look forward to getting to know you.
SAT/ACT: When to Take?
We are able to accept scores for SAT and ACT tests taken through November for Early Action and through December for Regular Decision. Be sure to have the testing agency send your updated scores as soon as they are available, though please note that there is no need to request rush delivery as we receive these scores electronically. Our SAT code is 5816 and our ACT code is 3162.
Again, thank you for your interest in Carolina!
Earlier this week, our transfer application became available on the Common Application. If you’re interested in applying to Carolina as a transfer student, learn more on our website. Students hoping to enter Carolina in Fall 2014 should submit their application by February 14, 2014. We don’t offer spring admission, so Fall 2014 is your next opportunity to apply. Although the application is now available, keep in mind that we don’t do rolling admissions, so you’re welcome to apply at any time between now and the February 14 deadline. All applicants will receive their decision at the same time in mid-April.
Have questions about transferring to Carolina? Leave us a comment below. You can also get in touch with Tar Heel Transfers, an organization for students who have transferred here. Visit them on Facebook or Twitter.