So you’ve finished applying for college—congratulations! Now it is time to start making plans for how you will pay for college. For most students, the first step in this process will be to file FAFSA—the Free Application for Federal Student Aid—and the CSS—College Scholarship Service—Financial Aid Profile. To receive any kind of federal financial aid or aid from UNC or the state of North Carolina, both of these forms must be filed.
These forms collect financial data about students and their parents in order to determine who is eligible for need-based aid. Financial aid can be awarded in three ways: via grants, loans, and work-study. Grants are essentially free money—that is, money that doesn’t need to be paid back—given to students to use toward their educational expenses. Loans are money that students borrow from the government and must pay back at a pre-determined interest rate upon graduating. Finally, work-study is an option for students to work a part-time job with a salary paid partially by the federal government and partially by the employer.
As a student who has had a work-study job for the full three years I have been here at Carolina, I can personally attest to the positive nature of the work-study program. I work in the Union—right in the heart of UNC’s campus— so I have a steady job that I can put on my resume, and I earn a stable income throughout the school year to pay for my expenses. Furthermore, my employer understands that I am a student first and an employee second and has always been very accommodating to my hectic schedule.
If you’re interested in receiving any of these three types of aid, go ahead and begin the application process! Before getting started on FAFSA or the CSS Financial Aid Profile, you and your parents should first file your 2013 taxes, as the forms require information which will be found on your tax returns. FAFSA gathers general information regarding finances and demographics while the CSS Financial Aid Profile collects more detailed financial information. Both forms are required to be eligible for financial aid at UNC. While applying for financial aid for the first time may seem daunting, my advice to you is to get started early. Finish the applications with plenty of time before the deadline in case you need to seek outside help, or in case there are any errors in your application.
On the topic of paying for college, it should be noted that Carolina is among the most affordable public universities, given the quality of the education you will receive. In fact, the Princeton Review named Carolina the #1 “Best Value Public College” for 2014. Check out the article here!
Get started on applying for financial aid today!
- To file FAFSA visit www.fafsa.gov. Priority deadline for UNC is March 1.
- To file the CSS Profile visit http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile. Deadline is February 15.
- For more information on financial aid and how to apply, feel free to contact UNC’s Office of Scholarships and Student Aid at www.studentaid.unc.edu.
– Christie Boodée ’15
Good morning! Today we’re posting FAQs for Early Action admitted, deferred, and denied students. The questions for admitted students are in this post, please scroll down to the next posts for deferred and denied FAQs.
I’ve been admitted! Yay! Now what?
Congratulations! We hope you’ll decide to make Carolina your home for the next four years. We might be biased, but we think it’s about the best undergraduate experience to be had. We’ll do our best over the next few months to help you find out all you can about Carolina, so that you can decide if it’s the best place for you. One of the best ways to get to know our community and the opportunities available here is to join us for one of our admitted-student events. An invitation to Explore Carolina is included with your paper letter of admission, and you’ll also get more details via email later this morning. From the events section of your MyCarolina, you’ll be able to view all of your admitted-student event invitations later today.
Our Enroll pages have detailed information on the next steps you’ll need to take when you’re ready to enroll.
Will I receive any merit scholarships?
Early Action applicants who are being considered for a merit-based scholarship will receive an invitation soon for Scholarship Day. At Scholarship Day, students take part in discussion sessions with faculty members and other scholars. After the event, final scholarship selections are decided. The majority of the merit-based scholarships offered by Carolina are awarded to the students who attend Scholarship Day.
If you aren’t initially offered a merit-based scholarship, please know that at Carolina you will have multiple opportunities to earn a variety of awards once you arrive on campus. Read more about Scholarship Opportunities for Carolina students.
Also, any student admitted for our Early Action deadline can also apply for the Global Gap Year Fellowship, an opportunity that awards seven incoming first-year students up to $7,500 for an international year of service. Read more and apply here.
Am I being considered for Honors or any other special opportunities?
We will be sending an email to select admitted students early next week regarding Excel@Carolina, a special program featuring 10 extraordinary opportunities for outstanding first-year students. In the email, we will ask students to indicate which of these opportunities they’re most interested in. We’ll then use those preferences as part of our final decisions about these opportunities.
What about financial aid?
All students who apply for financial aid by the priority deadline of March 1 will receive their aid in the weeks following the deadline. The Office of Scholarships and Student Aid awards student aid packages as quickly as they can, but you can help by making sure they have all of the information they need. Check your To-Do List in ConnectCarolina periodically to make sure they haven’t requested more information. Also, create your Onyen and UNC email account, as that is how the Student Aid office will communicate with you. More info is available on the Student Aid website.
Have questions for UNC students?
Join the Facebook group Admitted: UNC 2018 to connect with both other admitted students and current UNC students. Within the group, you can ask current students any question you like, and you’ll also get a chance to meet other admitted students who are considering Carolina.
Congratulations again on your admission to Carolina. We look forward to welcoming you in the fall!
If you received a notification stating that you have been deferred, we’re sorry to ask you to wait a little longer for a final decision. I know this is incredibly frustrating, particularly given that you applied Early Action and have already waited so patiently, but we promise to have a final decision to you by the end of March. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions for Deferred Students. We’ve summarized some of the points below as well.
What does a deferral mean?
A deferred admissions decision means that we need more time and more information – about your performance this school year and about our applicant pool – in order to make our final decision. We will consider everything you have already submitted to us, the midyear grades you will report, and the overall strength of our applicant pool to aid us in making a final decision on your candidacy.
What are my chances?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict at this point. On our FAQs, you can see that we ended up offering admission to 346 deferred students last year and 372 the previous year. We won’t know until March how many we’ll be able to admit this year.
Is there anything I can do to improve my chances?
Send us your midyear grades. We’ll be sending you an email soon with instructions on how to self-report your midyear grades online. Don’t ask your counselor to send us a paper report; instead you’ll enter your own grades online. If you have new test scores, you can send us those as well. Our code for the SAT is 5816, and our code for the ACT is 3162. Beyond that, all you can do is wait and focus on successfully completing your final year of high school.
Should I still apply for Financial Aid?
Yes! The Financial Aid deadline is March 1, so you’ll still want to submit your application in case we are able to admit you. More info is available on the Student Aid website.
Please let us know what other questions you have.
If we disappointed you yesterday, we are truly sorry. We know how hard it is to receive this kind of bad news, and we really hate delivering it. Please know that it’s not you, it’s us. We have so many talented applicants – nearly 17,000 for Early Action this year – and space for only about 4,000 in our first-year class. We have to deny many talented students who would do great things here.
Through our work with the Carolina Covenant, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Josh. He’s an outstanding student who came to us as a junior transfer and is now earning his MBA through Kenan-Flagler Business School. Below is a little of his story:
“I was not accepted to Carolina as a high school senior, but I knew that this is where I wanted to be so I decided to work hard and transfer. It was like a dream come true when I finally got my admissions letter and then found out that I could graduate debt-free as a Covenant Scholar. Once I got to campus, I took advantage of the countless resources that are available to students. Thanks to the support of faculty and staff mentors, I was able to land a job in banking after graduation. It was during that time that I started thinking about getting my MBA, and I knew I wanted to return to Carolina. I applied to two business schools and received my acceptance letter to the other school first, but I knew that if I didn’t get into Kenan-Flagler the first time, I was just going to work harder and try again the following year. Luckily, that wasn’t necessary. I’ll be graduating with my MBA in May, and I already have a full-time job lined up!” – Josh
Josh is proof that there are many paths to Carolina. We hope you have an amazing college experience wherever you choose to attend. But if you’re interested in transferring in a year or two, we hope you’ll keep us in mind.
Is this decision final?
Yes. We’re sorry, but we can’t re-consider your application this year. However, if your heart is set on Carolina, there’s always the option of transferring after a year or two at another school.
Why did you deny me?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question because our review is holistic. We don’t deny any student on the basis of a single number or a single grade, but instead we consider everything we know about a student. We review each application multiple times and ultimately we have to make a lot of hard decisions. The unfortunate truth is that we just don’t have space for the many talented students who apply.
I have my heart set on attending Carolina one day. What should I do?
Each year we enroll approximately 900 transfer students into the sophomore and junior classes at Carolina. Transfer students bring with them a diversity of background and experiences that enrich our community tremendously, and we welcome them into the full academic and extracurricular life of the University. For more advice, please see Applying as a Transfer Student.
Please let us know what other questions you have.
Here are the steps to view your decision when it’s available online:
- Go to Connectcarolina.unc.edu
- Click on “Login to ConnectCarolina Student Center”
- Login with your Guest ID. If you do not have a Guest ID, please follow the email instructions we sent to you. If you do not have these instructions, please email us at email@example.com.
- Under Admissions, click on “Click here to view your decision in a new window. Please make sure popup-blocking software is disabled.”
In order to view your decision, please note that, if applicable, the pop-up blocker feature on your browser must be disabled.
How to Disable Your Pop-Up Blocker
- In the menu bar, go to Tools and navigate down to “Pop-up Blocker”
- Click on “Turn-Off Pop-up Blocker.”
- Click the Google Pop-up Blocker toolbar icon. (Click on “More” if you do not see the Pop-up Blocker Icon“
- The Pop-up Blocker icon should read “Popups are okay.” If not, click on the button to allow pop-ups from the page you are on.
- In the menu bar, go to Tools and navigate down to Options.
- Select “Content” tab or icon.
- Uncheck box labeled “Block pop-up windows.”
- Click on “Blocking Pop-ups” at the bottom right corner of the AOL window.
- Uncheck box labeled “Suppress pop-ups from websites I visit.”
- Click “Save” button.
- Click on the Yahoo Toolbar’s popup blocker icon option arrow. This arrow is pointing down beside of the popup blocker icon.
- Click on “Enable Pop-up Blocker” to uncheck.
- Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
- Select Settings.
- Click Show advanced settings.
- In the “Privacy” section, click the Content settings button.
- In the “Pop-ups” section, select “Allow all sites to show pop-ups.”
- Open the Safari menu and select the “Preferences” option.
- In the window that displays, click on the “Security” option.
- Remove the checkmark from the “Block pop-up” windows option.
- Close the window.
Or, for an older version of Safari, try
- Open Safari
- Click on the Safari Menu
- Uncheck “Block Pop-Up Windows”
Almost everyone has an interest or passion strong enough to enjoy taking a class on it. For students at Carolina, there is a unique program that goes a few steps further by allowing the opportunity to actually create and teach a class.
The program is called C-START (Carolina Students Taking Academic Responsibility through Teaching), and it is a yearlong process that gives student-instructors the chance to develop a course based on a topic of interest to them.
For senior Mandy Eidson, that topic was water. In a course titled “A Cultural Biography of Water,” Mandy and her students will explore and investigate how water is represented artistically. The idea ties in with the university’s current “Water in Our World” theme, and Mandy developed the idea for the course after she realized how important it is to understand water issues.
“When I was starting to plan my senior thesis last spring, I became very interested in the poetic representations of water and began to investigate water’s wider cultural associations,” she said. “The more I read, the more I became convinced that telling the story of water – its ‘cultural biography’ – is especially important today, at a time when social attitudes toward water are in need of a revision.”
After students develop an idea and go through an application process during the spring semester, C-START begins in the fall of the next academic year, when each student-instructor develops a syllabus and lesson plans for his or her class with the guidance of a faculty mentor. During the spring semester, the student-instructors teach their courses of 10-15 students once a week for an hour and 50 minutes.
Junior Matthew Leming, who is teaching a course called “The Past and Future of the Digital World,” said that the small class size allows the opportunity to further explore certain areas of a subject and to develop a discussion-based course, even in topics where discussion is typically uncommon.
“Computer science courses are typically hard-and-dry coding, which is fine, but it is rare that teachers shed light on the history of computer science in the normal undergraduate curriculum,” Matthew said. “And I wanted a more discussion-based coding course, one where students can help each other out in the classroom.”
That isn’t to say that the process of developing and leading a course as a student-instructor doesn’t come with its fair share of challenges. Mandy said that it has been difficult to decide what activities will keep students engaged, especially since she wants to present her topic in the best way possible. And Matthew said that the process has given him a greater respect for the preparation and work that his professors put into their courses. But he said that while there are challenges in C-START, there are also rewards.
“It lets students take the initiative themselves. There’s very little hand-holding involved, so just knowing that I got the creative control to make a course about whatever I wanted is fantastic,” he said.
Mandy said that, although it has been challenging, C-START allows students to create and foster a learning environment where everyone can bring his or her unique interests and perspectives. And the best part is that it has given her the opportunity to share her passions with other students at Carolina.
“I think this opportunity will give me a greater sense of self-awareness about my leadership abilities and areas for growth, which can be applicable to whatever path I take in the future,” she said. “Even more importantly though, I hope that this experience will always serve as a reminder to pursue my passions and work with others to address issues that I care deeply about.”
For many of you, it is your senior year of high school. You spent the fall researching schools and applying to your top picks. You will probably spend the winter anticipating acceptance letters and filling out financial aid. In the midst of all this college preparation, you are still in high school and want to enjoy time with your friends and family and live it up. I totally understand. As a senior at UNC, I am also preparing for the next chapter in my life, the workforce, and I realize how scary uncertainty can be. I also understand wanting to have fun while you’re still in high school. So how do you balance this YOGO (You Only Graduate Once) mentality while still making sure you are keeping your grades up?
Keep Your Eye on the Prize: Sometimes I find it extremely hard to motivate myself to study or even go to class. It’s my last few months of college, and I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. But I have to keep reminding myself that I want to stay where I am as well. I would hate to see all my hard work go to waste just because I want to have fun these last few months of school. With this said, it’s important to keep your grades up because some colleges (like UNC) continue to watch your grades after you have been accepted. Don’t be that student who gets their acceptance letter revoked because of poor grades at the end of your senior year!
Find A Balance: There’s no fun in all work and no play. Even though school is important, so is spending time with your friends and family. One suggestion I have for finding balance is studying with your friends. That way you are able to hang out with them and get your work done at the same time. You could also join clubs at school that your friends are a part of. That way you are staying active, while at the same time participating in something that both you and your friends care about.
- Live in the moment: We are always on the go, and sometimes we forget to enjoy the current moment we are in. Don’t look at school as something cumbersome you have to do and mark off of your “to-do” list. Think about how what you are learning with help you in college. Also, take the time to use your teachers as a resource. They aren’t there just to teach. I’m sure some of them have great advice about college and potential careers you are interested in.
If you keep your eye on the prize, maintain a balance of work and play, and live in the moment, you should have no problem enjoying these last few months of high school, while at the same time keeping up your grades! Good luck with the rest of the school year, and remember you’re almost done! YOGO!
– Desere’ Cross ’14
You might have heard that Carolina is a big university, with lots of people and lots of acreage. But “big” and “small” are relative terms, and it’s hard to communicate exactly what a campus of 18,000 students feels like. So, just how big is Carolina anyway? Personally, we think that it’s not too big, and not too small, but just right. Check out this infographic to learn more!
North Carolina may be known as the state that was “first in flight” (thanks, Wright brothers) but did you know that the University of North Carolina is dedicated to making the state known for another first? That would be the reputation of providing first-generation college (FGC) students access to a world-class education.
We’d say we’re making progress. Nearly one in five of our students are first-generation college students. Yes, one in five. We believe that access to higher education is vital for the success of all communities, so we take our achievements seriously.
No matter their background, Carolina sets FGC students up to succeed. We know first-hand how much pride students and their families feel about being one step closer to what many before them could only dream of achieving. And we are here to listen and address all the questions and anxieties they may have about beginning their college journey.
That’s why when FGC students decide to become a Tar Heel, we use all of our passion and resources to demonstrate how they can succeed – both in and out of the classroom. To learn more, visit the Carolina Firsts website, visit campus or give us a call. The Carolina community is here for all Tar Heels.
Milestones for Both
During winter break, I had time to brainstorm new ideas for chapters, eat plenty of food, and anxiously await the business school admission.
When I began to brainstorm new ideas for chapters in my book, I found that all of the chapters only voiced my opinion. So, in my search for new opinions, I decided to interview a senior, dental hygiene major.
The interview gave me some new insight and also reiterated some of the ideas that I have already learned/written. During the interview, I learned that the interviewee would be the first member of her family to graduate college. So, to say that this is just another college graduate would be a huge understatement, but a milestone that the interviewee will forever cherish.
Here are some of the questions that I asked during the interview:
1. What has been the most difficult thing for you to overcome while in college?
“Accepting the fact that I cannot make perfect grades as I did in high school. The course load I took at UNC my freshman year included many sciences and was a lot more challenging than I had expected. I thought the first C I received was going to kill me, but I quickly learned that sometimes a B or a C is the best I can do, and that is fine.”
2. What advice would you offer about making the decision about your degree or career?
“Shadow your job of interest, take classes in that subject, visit offices, talk to employees, and get as much information about your career of interest to see if it is something you would enjoy.”
3. How did or do you deal with homesickness?
“Phones calls and visits home are the best cure when feeling homesick; Letters in the mail and surprise packages aren’t too bad either”
4. What has been the best thing about your college experience at UNC or what will you remember the most?
“The friendships I have made in college are some of the best I have ever had; I will miss living with my roommates and hanging out with all of my UNC friends the most; Whether it is tailgating for a football game, going out to eat, studying in the library together, or watching a basketball game, those experiences bring memories and friendships that last a lifetime.”
– Austin Helms ’16
Note: Austin is recounting his experiences on a personal blog. To read all of “Milestones for Both,” and to learn more, click here.