One of the most important steps in the college decision process is visiting the schools on your list so you can not only learn more about the university, but also get a feel for campus and actually picture yourself as part of the student body. So how can you make the most of your college visit? Planning, reservations, research, exploring, asking questions and keeping an open mind are all very important when you visit a school for the first time. Planning a visit to Chapel Hill soon? Sign up for an info session and tour here. Of course, don’t forget to document your trip and share your favorite moments using #TarHeelTour.
This week we’ll be posting lots of great places to visit on your trip to Carolina. Tweet us with questions or suggestions for more great tour stops – @UNCAdmissions!
Love to write? UNC would love to have you.
UNC doesn’t just have one path for writers, it has several! If you think a minor in Creative Writing fits your writing goals, you have some options. There are three paths in the program: one for poetry, one for fiction and one that’s more of a grab-bag if you’re interested in everything!
Poets can take Intro to Poetry as early as Sophomore year. Then, the most talented students are allowed into Intermediate Poetry Writing. Then, those students can apply to the next highest level: Advanced Poetry writing. Finally, the top students in Poetry enter an Honors course where they spend two semesters putting together an anthology of poetry.
Fiction writing works the same way. If you’re interested in sticking to the Fiction track, you can move up the ranks until you’re in the Honors course (taught by Big Fish author David Wallace). These students spend an entire year writing a book of short stories.
Of course, you can veer off the track if you find another Creative Writing course that strikes your fancy. For recent grad Madison Way, it was Creative Non-Fiction (Sports Writing). “I love sports and I love sports media, so this class was a no-brainer, have-to-take-it kind of deal. Joy Goodwin, a former ABC Sports/ESPN producer, taught the class and every day, we’d discuss what it meant to be a great sportswriter and we’d try our hand at crafting the perfect sports story. ”
UNC offers several fascinating Creative Writing classes that are off the Poetry/Fiction Writing paths, such as Immersive Non-Fiction and Playwriting. Students can also take classes in song-writing or Gram-o-rama, a popular course that ends in a silly performance.
Though Playwriting is offered within Creative Writing, students specifically interested in script-writing can minor in Writing for the Screen and Stage. These students work on writing plays, sitcoms and other pieces of performance work. You can get more information on that program here.
There are many opportunities to write at UNC, and even if you want to write outside of a class, UNC has some options. Plop under a tree in the arboretum or sprawl out with your laptop in Polk Place. Inspiration is bound to come to you.
Carolina has hidden priceless gems all over the place. As you go through your own journey as a student here, you will discover that those gems are not only places, but also programs, organizations, and opportunities that had never crossed your mind. Whether you are reading this as a first-year or transfer student, a concerned parent, or someone researching this university, you will hopefully find the following of use to you. Having gone through my four years in the southern part of heaven, there is little to nothing I regret, but there are things I wish I would have known.
Scholarships. Grants. Money. Travel. Fun. Awesome. You can have all of that (and place it in one sentence if you would like) if you just know where to look.
At Carolina, it’s not uncommon to develop an interest in research, come up with a great idea for a project, or find that your intellectual and cultural curiosities compel you to go abroad. If you have no idea where to start making these plans, here is some wisdom from a recent graduate: Begin your search over at Career Services. Their site has links and information, but being someone who prefers human interaction, I highly encourage you to schedule a visit and get some one-on-one help with an expert. They’ve seen it all, from the person planning their future from Day 1 to the last minute drop-in asking what they should do with their lives. The staff there will be able to point you to the right resources.
In addition, ask friends and professors about what they have done and how they financed it. Not only could you find new resources to fund special opportunities, but you could also discover a completely new project or venture that would further advance your interests. You can learn so much from your professors and peers that will expand your horizons at Carolina. For example, did you know that the Frances L. Phillips Travel Scholarship allows juniors and seniors in the College of Arts and Sciences to design their own international travel experiences and provides funding to make it happen? I wish I had known about this opportunity a little bit earlier in my college career, but now I’m passing along this knowledge to future Tar Heels so that you can check it out along with the many other possibilities that Carolina has to offer!
Edgar Lopez ’14
UNC Admissions Representative
Hey everyone! For those who are new to the blog, my name is Amy. I am a rising junior on the pre-dental track majoring in Biology and minoring in Chinese. You know what I have always loved about UNC? It is bursting at the seams with opportunity. Everywhere I go, there are professors ready to engage students in their research, dentists ready to teach me about my dream profession, and peers with open minds and open hearts. All these opportunities are readily available and at your feet at UNC. All it takes is some courage and persistence to obtain them.
Two months ago, I never would have imagined that I would be spending my summer volunteering in the Pediatrics Department of the UNC School of Dentistry helping out patients and meeting dentists and dental students. I simply blindly emailed any and every dentist I could think of, and while many times I was turned down for the opportunities I wanted, it worked out for the best. The word “no” has yet to stop me from trying because I have faith in the UNC community—I have faith that being surrounded by so many golden opportunities, it is impossible not to find something that suits me. Thus, I want to encourage each and every prospective or current UNC student to take action! Because, UNC provides the best learning opportunities not just within the classroom, but outside as well.
– Amy Yang ’16
During the admissions and scholarship application process, it can be easy to see the end goal as simply getting here. However, the road to scholarships and funding doesn’t end when you apply to college as a senior in high school. We have a goal of developing a diverse, globally-minded, research driven student body. In order to make this happen, students often discover projects or experiences that require funding. Then what?
At Carolina, we know that you cannot possibly imagine everything that will happen in college, all the opportunities you will want to explore, and all of the costs that these ventures will present. Our goal is to equip our student body with as many tools as possible to achieve their educational, personal, and career goals. Even if you don’t enroll at Carolina with a scholarship, there are still plenty of ways to earn some help. All you have to do is find the funding:
Want to explore one of UNC’s 300+ Study Abroad programs? There are scholarships for that. Need resources to start your own research project? You can find funding for that. There are grants for everything from summer research to Asian travel to Latin American indigenous language education. Some programs offer funding for very specific purposes, while others allow you the freedom to design your own research projects or ventures. There is even a student-led fund that provides monthly grants to students to pursue personal, professional, and academic interests away from Carolina. Basically, no matter where your goals take you, UNC will support you.
For senior Mary Liz Entwistle, the goal was finding internships. “In one of my first classes in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, I learned how important internships are in developing a career in public relations, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into some real world PR work. But how could I balance these internship roles (some of them unpaid) with the rest of my academic and extracurricular involvement? Fortunately, I was able to apply for and receive one of the 100+ scholarships totaling more than $125,000 that the J-School awarded to students this year. By not giving up on scholarships upon arrival at UNC, I have been able to explore internships each semester that have allowed me to apply my classroom knowledge to real projects, make connections for my future career, and develop my skills as a PR professional.”
When you come to Carolina, your journey has only just begun. What will you discover with the resources at UNC?
Have you ever wondered what makes you stand out for scholarships and special opportunities? Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Andrew Parrish explains scholarship and Excel@Carolina selection at UNC:
In addition to automatic consideration for institutional scholarships, first-year applicants also receive consideration for Excel@Carolina, a program for top applicants. Excel students are then matched with a program to facilitate research, provide mentoring, or fund specific extracurricular opportunities.
Do you have what it takes to Excel?
Most students know the difference between merit-based and need-based scholarships, but did you know there are many opportunities for students to earn scholarships from organizations outside their chosen university? Each year scholarships from outside organizations give students the opportunity to learn at a lower cost. Scholarships are gift money that do not require repayment or a work commitment, and are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, individual talent and/or other criteria specified by the scholarship. Outside scholarships include any funding from sources other than UNC, the NC State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), or the federal government.
UNC Senior Gilina McBride shared her experience and advice about searching for outside scholarships with us:
As a high school senior, there were many opportunities for me and my classmates to apply for local, statewide and nationwide scholarships to help us out during our first year and beyond. One of the reasons I chose to come to Carolina was because of the amazing education at a great price, but I still knew I would need help. I applied to many local and state scholarships and received most of them. The majority of my scholarships were one time use, but I did receive one scholarship that I use each year and it has made a great impact on my financial aid by reducing my loans each year. Free money is better than money you have to pay back, right?
However, the scholarships I received were not just handed to me. I had to put in time and effort to research and apply for each individual scholarship that I received. But isn’t that what most students coming to Carolina want to do? Carolina students don’t wait for an opportunity to come their way, they go out and get what they want. Many great scholarships opportunities will be missed simply because people do not know about them. So make the most of your education by finding scholarships that fit your needs, and reach out to teachers and counselors at your high school to help find more scholarship opportunities.
Where should you start looking for outside scholarships? As Gilina advised, your first stop should be your school’s college counseling office. Your counselors will have great recommendations, particularly for scholarships that are specific to your geographic area. There are also hundreds of scholarship search engines on the internet—find more information about these at UNC Student Aid’s Outside Scholarships page.
Good luck and happy scholarship-hunting!
All first-year applicants to UNC are automatically considered for merit scholarships — there’s no separate application and nothing else you need to do, beyond applying for admission.
As a public institution, UNC’s first commitment is making Carolina affordable for every admitted student. Most of our resources go to keeping tuition low and providing need-based aid, so merit scholarships are very limited. Some schools give out merit aid like candy; here, they’re more like diamonds. Only about 5% of enrolling students will receive a four-year merit scholarship.
But because of UNC’s relatively low tuition and generous financial aid, the cost of coming to Carolina is often far below other universities, even after other schools’ merit awards are factored in. That’s why we’ve been named the #1 Best Value by Kiplinger’s Magazine for 13 years running. With fierce competition and low costs, just earning admission to Carolina is a bit like winning a merit award.
So, how ‘bout those diamond-quality scholarships?
- Institutional scholarships include Carolina Scholars, Colonel Robinson Scholars, Johnston Scholars, and Pogue Scholars. These scholarships not only include financial assistance, but also offer support and resources, such as mentoring, special programs, and social events. These scholarships are grouped together as the Scholars Program.
- The Morehead-Cain Scholarship is awarded to about 50 students per year and offers a fully-funded four-year experience. Not only are all costs of attendance at Carolina covered, but scholars benefit from incredible summer experiences as well as programming throughout the year. All early action applicants are considered for the M-C on the basis of their application for admission, since we refer applicants to their selection committee. But if you attend a nominating school and/or are a resident of North Carolina, you may also apply directly for the scholarship.
- The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program is another full, four-year scholarship that offers great programming and summer experiences to 18 incoming UNC students. It’s a joint program with Duke, so students do a “campus switch” and spend one semester of their sophomore year at the opposite campus. Our admissions committee refers applicants to the Robertson selection committee based on the application for admission, but students may also apply directly for the scholarship.
Even if you aren’t selected for one of these scholarships, there are still opportunities for additional funding to help cover the cost of your education. Later this week, we’ll be sharing more information about outside scholarships, grants and funding opportunities you can earn after you’ve enrolled at Carolina, and other great awards offered to new students. Stay tuned!
You can build your own burger. You can design your own website. And you can personalize your pizza. But did you know you can build your own major?
It’s called Interdisciplinary Studies (or IDST), and it’s a program at UNC that allows you to design your own curriculum based on a specific interest area that you want to explore.
Most Carolina students choose to stay within a traditional major, but Lisa Morris, a senior IDST major said she didn’t quite feel “fulfilled.” As a med school hopeful, Lisa wanted study both the biological and “humanistic” side of medicine by balancing science classes and classes in the humanities. While researching options for double majors, minors, or other interesting classes to fit into her schedule, Lisa stumbled upon Interdisciplinary Studies.
After a meeting with the IDST academic advisor, Lisa had created and titled her new major: “Medical Anthropology.” Modeled after the medical anthropology minor offered at UNC, Lisa’s new major would allow her to study the intersections between medicine and other factors such as lifestyle choice and cultural background. After fine-tuning her proposal and speaking with a few more staff and faculty members, Lisa’s major was approved by the Dean!
Want to know how you can build a major like Lisa did? Here’s the basics:
You can apply to become an Interdisciplinary Studies major during your second sophomore semester or first junior semester. By then, you should have your focus figured out and your faculty advisor- a requirement for all IDST majors- solidified. An advisor in Steele Building, UNC’s academic advising headquarters, will help you design the classes that you will take. Each IDST major must take at least 8 courses from 3 different departments. Once you’ve got your schedule built and a proposal written that outlines how an IDST major will benefit you in the future, your materials are reviewed by the Dean. Once it’s approved, you can get going with your personalized major!