Carolina Undergraduate Admissions

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The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jul 31

Food For Thought

Hey, everyone!  I thought I would introduce myself once again. I’m Maddie Taylor, a junior from Clemmons, NC. I’m a Journalism and Mass Communications major with a Public Relations specialization. My recent blog posts have been centered on transitioning from home to college and also academics, but for this post I decided to focus on one other extremely important aspect of college: food. I mean, everyone eats and wants to eat good food, so I thought I would offer some suggestions.

First off, most freshmen will have a meal plan for Lenoir and Rams Head Dining Halls. I’ve eaten at both places many times, and I would have to say, the M&M cookies have to be the best. I know, I chose a dessert, but you’ll agree with me after you taste one. Also, you can get as many as you want, so that’s plus. For an actual meal, pizza is always a good option, and the dining hall makes it pretty good. There are so many days where you’ll choose to eat pizza and skip the healthy stuff, which I will admit that’s me pretty much everyday.

There are many other options on campus, including the bottom floor of Lenoir, which has Chick-fil-A, Subway, Med Deli, a salad bar and more. Also, there’s Wendy’s at the bottom of the Student Union and Alpine Bagel at the top. I always find myself going to Wendy’s on the weekends and grabbing a frosty every now and then.

As most, if not all of you may know, campus is right near Franklin Street and there are some great restaurants. Here are some of my personal favorites:

maddie blog post

Qdoba: Tacos are always a good idea, especially on Tuesdays when all tacos are only $1 with a purchase of a drink #collegebudget.

[B]’SKI’S: One of the many perks of [B]’SKI’S is they deliver. Yes, I am that lazy girl that will and has ordered delivery many times before even if it takes me only 5 minutes to walk there. [B]’SKI’S is primarily wraps, but you can get anything you want on the wrap, literally. I’ve known people who’ve ordered anything from eggs to chicken tenders on their wraps. Also, it is pretty inexpensive, which is definitely a plus.

“YoPo”: For those of you who love frozen yogurt, this is the place for you. The Yogurt Pump is definitely one of the best places on Franklin Street. Its kind of one of Chapel Hill’s treasures, and it’s been there since 1982. I will go to YoPo anytime in any type of weather…and yes, even with snow on the ground. Here’s a tip: collect 10 receipts, you get a free cup. It may sound like a lot at first, but trust me; you’ll have 10 in no time.

“TOPO”: Want to talk about a Chapel Hill landmark? Top of the Hill is most certainly one of them. Football games, basketball games, birthdays and more are celebrated there. Scoring a seat to watch the UNC vs. Duke men’s basketball game is like gold, especially on the balcony. It is more upscale, and a little pricey, but for special occasions it is worth it. The view from the balcony is breathtaking, as cliché as it sounds.

Last but not least, here are a few places around Chapel Hill that I recommend:

Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen: Biscuits. Enough said.

Maple View Ice Cream: About a ten-minute drive from campus, Maple View is located on the top of a hill that looks over the Maple View Farm. I’ve heard that the ice cream and sunset views there are amazing, and I’ll be headed there this year for sure.

Weaver Street Market: Located in Carrboro, this little market sells locally produced food and offers many things from music events outside to an in-store mini restaurant.


-Maddie Taylor ’16

Jul 29

What Makes You Stand Out: Unrequested Extras Edition

Assistant Director of Admissions Patty Baum explains what you should do with the extra materials you may want to submit, but aren’t required on the application.


Jul 28

Starting Off Right

Whether you realize it or not, this week is the start of August.  Stores are ringing in the new school year, and in a few weeks, so will you.  I still remember move-in weekend at Carolina: it’s an abundance of activities, discounts, and free food.  But the overwhelming part can be trying to balance being in a new environment with tons of great opportunities while also preparing for college.  Because sometimes, we would all like to think that college is just a playground without the coursework.

The first few weeks can be hectic, even downright nerve-wracking.  The most important thing to remember: you’re not alone.  If you’re homesick, so are other students.  Got lost on the first day of classes?  Join the club.  Trip on a brick.  No sweat.  Shake it off as best you can.  But if you do find yourself struggling, I have some tips that, looking back, I wish I knew before coming to college:

  • Week of Welcome (WOW) is the perfect opportunity to meet people and the university.  Naturally, your first instinct is to go to all the cool events, like Fall Fest, Mini Golf in the Library, and the Target Kick-Off Event, but there are some great events that are there to keep you informed and aware.  There are sessions on learning the bus routes (and I can’t even tell you how crucial this is if you don’t want to walk or if you don’t have transportation of your own), budgeting, and a part-time job expo for those needing the extra cash.  Read through the WOW schedule in your Tar Heel Beginnings Guide that you’ll get during move-in and pay careful attention to the events taking place.  Visit for an online copy!
  • Many of you are in the process of finalizing your class schedules.  But in the meantime, check Sakai ( and see if your professor has already posted the course syllabi or other instructions.  Don’t get caught off guard on the first day of class.  Sometimes they do post reading assignments and to-dos before you ever step foot in the class building.
  • TOUR THE CAMPUS.  This is crucial because those first few weeks, UNC seems like the size of a city.  WOW does host tours before classes begin, but you can also grab a buddy, print out your class schedule, and just walk around.  It’s a great way to get to know your roommates, suitemates, or that person from your orientation group.  The quickest way to feel overwhelmed at UNC is to feel lost.  (And if you can get into some of the classroom buildings, go inside and find your classroom.  You’ll thank me for that tip later.)
  • Be open to new things.  Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable, but don’t sit around waiting for opportunities to fall onto your lap.  From personal experience, I have felt more at home at UNC the more involved I have become in organizations related to what I love and surrounded by people who have the same interests as me.

I can’t tell you it’ll be easy.  It won’t.  You might not become BFFs with your roommate and your professor may not single you out to be their protégé and teach you meaningful life lessons, Feeny style.  But being proactive and open-minded can be the difference between a good or bad first semester.  Keep in touch with your orientation leader if you need tips or someone to talk to (as a previous OL, I can promise you that is it our duty to do what we can to help with your transition to UNC), a mentor, or RA.  And I’ll leave on this final tip: learn the alma mater, Hark the Sound, if you haven’t already.  You never know when we just might break into song!


-Ashley Spruill ’15

Jul 28

Program Spotlight: PWAD

Imagine this: You are a new student walking across campus and you hear several older students talking about this amazing PWAD course they are taking. Your first thought? What is PWAD and how do I enroll in this fun class! Here at Carolina, students have created acronyms and abbreviations for everything and PWAD is one of them.

PWAD stands for Peace War and Defense. The Curriculum of Peace War and Defense brings together faculty and courses from many disciplines to provide undergraduates with a range of approaches to the fundamental issues of human conflict, and national and global security and defense.

Students who are interested in working for the federal government and agencies, state and local governments, banks, and many other businesses should consider majoring in PWAD. Many students go on to graduate and professional schools in government, history, international relations and law.

UNC Senior Cristina Berriz shares her experiences as a PWAD major:

UNC: What led you to choose this major?

CB: “Well, initially I was a Global Studies major with a focus in the Middle East because I wanted to go into intelligence after graduation, but upon learning that I needed to take at least four semesters of Arabic, I realized I couldn’t do the Global Studies major and still graduate on time. An advisor recommended that I look into the PWAD major as it offers a lot of the same courses in the Middle East as Global Studies, but doesn’t have the language requirement. After researching the major, I realized it was actually a MUCH better fit for what I wanted to do because they offer a specific focus for “National and International Defense & Security”. There are also other focuses you can choose from, but this one fit me best.”

UNC: What is your favorite class you have taken in this major and why?

CB: “This question is hard. I’ve taken two classes through the PWAD department that I’ve really loved. The first, PWAD 350, is required for every student and I took it with Dr. David Gray. This is one of the only classes I’ve taken that actually taught me things I can use in the real world (as far as what I want to get involved with) like how to develop public policy for national and international security issues. Dr. Gray also has you write an Issue Topic paper where you focus on one specific area of national and international security. Since taking his class I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Gray through the process of getting my paper published in an academic journal.

The other class I took through the PWAD department that really stood out to me was PWAD 574 – War and Culture which focused on the media’s portrayal of terrorism. We analyzed a lot of terrorist recruitment videos and found what tactics they used to get viewers to sympathize with their causes and influence them to join in the terrorist activity. This class taught me skills that I can use in the work force to actually aid our country in security issues.”

UNC: Has anything about the department (resources, professors, or curriculum) particularly impacted your Carolina experience?

CB: “I think this department really appeals to a niche group of students who wanted to be involved in government work in some manner. There are students who want to work for Congressmen, the FBI, the CIA, the military, the Department of Defense…the list goes on and on. It tackles current hot-button issues that our future employers want us to be informed about. A few of my professors have gone above and beyond what is asked for of a professor and have helped me secure interviews for jobs, get my work published, and further my career. While I originally thought of myself as a Political Science major with a second major in PWAD, I now definitely consider PWAD to be my main major and priority.”

UNC: Why should someone choose your major?

CB: “​If you want to deal with issues of war and defense and want to get involved in the defense industry in some capacity, PWAD is definitely the major for you. Your classes aren’t busy work in this department, they’re challenging and often time-consuming, but you’re actually learning information you’re going to retain and use again in the future.”

Click here for more information about PWAD.


Jul 24

What I Wish I’d Known: Outside Classes

Sophomore year of college, I had a conversation with a friend that changed my academic career at Carolina. I was going through a pretty typical sophomore dilemma – what am I going to major in? Do I need to pick up any minors? How am I going to take all the classes that I want? As I dithered about a Business minor and moaned about having no room to fit in a Women’s Studies class, he said something insanely simple: “Instead of worrying about the titles you get, worry about what you want to learn.”

I knew the answer to that question: I wanted to pick up general business skills, learn as much as I could about science as related to other subjects, and also take some cool random classes because, hey, why not? Originally, I hadn’t been able to fit everything into my schedule: if I was going to double major and pick up a minor, I’d have very little free time left.

But I realized that to learn business skills, I didn’t need a business minor: I could just take a few business classes (Consulting Skills and Frameworks, Excel, and Negotiations – highly recommend all three!) I could take a class in the School of Public Health without being a major: I did that too, ultimately going on a week-long study abroad trip to London with my professors. With the extra free space in my schedule, I took classes entirely unrelated to my majors, like the Global Guanajuato APPLES service learning course that allowed me to develop a deep perspective on immigration policy in North Carolina and travel to central Mexico. I even took a science policy class at the school down the road, taking the Robertson bus and repping Carolina gear every trip.

These opportunities – to take classes in departments or schools outside your major, do shorter study abroad programs, take classes at Duke or another institution free of charge – are awesome ways to really take advantage of all the phenomenal academic experiences UNC has to offer. The practical skills and interdisciplinary perspectives I gained from these classes were vital to helping me define my personal and career goals. Most require nothing more than a form or two to register, and you’ll find yourself in a diverse environment with new people that will challenge you to learn more. Whatever your interests are, at Carolina, if somebody’s teaching it, you can be a part of it. All you have to do is ask yourself: what do you want to learn?

Hetali Lodaya ’14

Jul 23

Who? What? Where? – Questions to Ask at a College Fair

College fairs are your opportunity to meet with admissions officers – people who love the schools they represent and want to build relationships with prospective students. If you are unable to visit campuses, this may be your only opportunity to get face-to-face interaction, so it is important to make the most of the experience. Researched, thoughtful questions will help segue into better conversation, making the experience beneficial for both you and the recruiter.

Nervous about a college fair? Not sure what to ask? The best way to ease your nerves and be well-prepared is to plan your questions ahead of time. First, research the schools you plan on talking to at the fair. You will likely find the answers to your initial questions online, so you can save valuable time at the fair by finding that information on your own. Questions about average GPA, SAT/ACT scores, rankings or general admissions requirements only require a quick statistic for an answer, don’t tell you anything new about the school, and don’t make you a memorable visitor to a school’s table.

Once you’ve researched the schools and made a list of the basic information, you can start to develop a list of questions that dig deeper. You can use the research to build questions based on your interests. Perhaps you found an admissions criteria that needs clarification for your situation, or you found a story, major, program that you would love to learn more about. By showing that you have already researched the university, you allow the admissions officer to focus his or her response on your situation.

If you’re not sure on a major, ask questions about the student body or campus life. Most admissions officers work on campus and interact with students, so they’ll have plenty of great stories to share with you. Some of them are even graduates of the universities they represent, so they can speak from both a professional and personal standpoint. By asking questions that characterize the student body, you can find out much more about a university than you could necessarily find online or in a brochure. These types of questions will also help you better picture yourself as a potential member of the student body.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. College representatives love talking about their schools and do it all the time, so there is likely nothing they haven’t heard before. This is your opportunity to find out key information that will impact the next four years of your life, so don’t pass up the opportunity to talk to a representative at a college fair because you were too afraid to ask.

Still need help figuring out what to ask? Check out this great list of questions from the College Board. Also, review our tips for making the most of a college fair.

We hope to see you at a college fair soon!

Jul 22

Making the Most of a College Fair

Heading to a college fair soon? We hope to see you there! Each year, we travel across the state, country, and world to meet with students and families just like you. College fairs are a great way for us to introduce ourselves to students who couldn’t necessarily make it to Chapel Hill for a visit, and they’re a fantastic way for you to interact with a bunch of colleges and universities at once. However, with some fairs having hundreds of schools present, it is important to strategize ahead of time to make the most of your limited time there.

Before the Fair

Narrow. Most college fairs will provide a list of all schools that will be at the event. By going through this list ahead of time, you can strategically plan which booths to visit at the fair. Picture the type of college environment you want, and ask yourself some questions to help narrow down the colleges at the fair.

  • Would you feel most comfortable in a large, medium or small school?
  • Which schools offer your major or match your academic interests?
  • Are you looking for an urban, suburban or rural setting?
  • How close to home do you want to be?
  • Does public/private status or religious affiliation matter to you?
  • Will you need financial aid?

Research. Once you have a better idea of which types of schools you want to focus on, you can make a list of schools to research. Don’t limit yourself to colleges or universities that you’ve already heard of – instead, take this opportunity to explore all the options that meet your criteria. You can start doing some background research before the college fair. Start with each school’s website, or admissions website if they have one. Often you’ll be able to find listings of opportunities offered by each school, admissions statistics, school rankings, and more. Schools provide this information on their websites for you, so take advantage of its availability. This research will help you save time and ask more personal questions at the fair, because you already know the basic information and admissions facts about the school.

At the Fair

Ask. Admissions representatives attend college fairs because they love their school and are excited about meeting prospective students, so don’t be afraid to approach us and ask your questions. We promise we won’t bite! Since you’ve already done your research online, you can use this opportunity to ask questions only a human could answer – questions that help you characterize the student body, get a better picture of campus, understand the academic atmosphere, etc. These admissions officers probably know the university better than anyone else – or at least know who to ask if they don’t know the answer to your question.

Listen. Many times there will be a group of people at each table. While you’re waiting for your turn to ask a question, listen to what others are asking. Instead of repeating the same questions, listen for their responses and then use your own question to follow up.

After the Fair

Follow-Up. When you sign in or register with each school at the college fair (make sure you do this!) they will take the first step in building a relationship with you by adding your to their database or mailing list. You can maintain this relationship by following up with the admissions officer if you got their card, or returning to the admissions website to update your applicant profile. Stay connected via email and social media so you don’t miss important application updates or special opportunities.

Visit. While college fairs are great opportunities to introduce yourself to a bunch of colleges at once, it is still important to see campus for yourself. After the fair, narrow down your list even further, and visit as many of those schools as you can. Seeing campus and having the opportunity to meet students and professors can make your decision process much easier.

Visit our Tar Heels in Your Town page to see if we’re coming to a college fair or event near you. We’ll be updating this list as we add events this fall. Email with questions or to schedule an event.

Jul 21

Program Spotlight: Advertising

Your college niche. When you find it, you just know.

Suddenly, you’re surrounded by people who think like you do, talk like you do, and share many of your interests. You can click with these people. And you can click with this class material. You do well without really trying or forcing it- not because you’re lazy, but because you’re a natural.

You just know.

Recent grad Karly Brooks shared the story of her academic journey, a series of “aha!” moments that led to her finding her niche at Carolina:

After a lot of soul-searching as a first-year, I found my niche. I had evaluated my strengths (writing, time management, and working with groups) and my weaknesses (any and everything to do with numbers or molecules or anything I couldn’t write down) and had thus turned my sights away from one professional school and landed on another: The School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Little did I know, this was just the beginning.

After my acceptance into the J-School, I chose a track, or a specialized area of study in the school. I was interested in public relations, but didn’t really know much about it. Most of what I did know, I got from Jason Bateman’s character in Hancock who puts his company symbol on the moon. I was pretty pumped to take Intro to Public Relations and Advertising, my first ever real-world class, as a second-semester sophomore. PR and Advertising are two separate tracks in the school, but they can also be combined to create one track, Strategic Communication, so the intro classes for both are taught together: eight weeks of PR followed by eight weeks of advertising. The PR section flew by and I did well, but I never really got excited. Then, one day in the second half of the class, my advertising professor showed us an agency called Droga5’s campaign for Bing and Jay-Z, and it hit me:

This stuff was awesome.

I wanted to do stuff like that.

I just knew.

And so, I switched to advertising, my niche within my niche. I began to take classes in things like Copywriting and Advertising Campaigns, where I learned that soon I would have to choose my niche within my niche within my niche. Advertising agencies are broken up into departments. Here’s the basics: The account team connects with the clients and makes sure everyone is happy and things are on track. The research and strategy teams dig deep into consumer research and figure out how exactly to speak to the consumers we want to target. The media team figures out which channels, magazines, or swimming pools (if you’re confused, click the Jay-Z link) to place our ads in. And then there’s the creative team, where the ideas actually come to life. I remember feeling a strange combination of disappointment and excitement when I heard more about what creatives do:

“This sounds amazing, and I think in a perfect world, it would be for me. But I’m definitely not creative enough. I’m a good writer I guess, but I have no design skills. I’m not good enough for this job.”

But it kept gnawing at me, and at some point my junior year it occurred to me to that the “I’m not good enough” argument was crap. If the creative department was what I wanted, then the creative department was what I would work for. And so I did. I managed to land an internship the summer before my senior year at an agency called Erwin Penland (link), where I fell even more in love with creative and was able to hone my craft and gear up to apply to portfolio schools and jobs this year as a senior.

And remember what I said before? About how you’ll click with people and click with your work? About how when you find your niche, you just know?

Well, I’ve found my niche within my niche within my niche. And now I know.


Jul 18

FAQ Friday: Transfer Edition

Happy Friday! We’ve spent the week talking about transfer credit here on the blog, so we hope this has provided some helpful information for students looking to get credit for work they’ve done away from UNC. (If you missed them, check out our posts about transfer credit for prospective students and current students, as well as our information about test credit.)

As our newest class—both first-year and transfer—register for classes this summer and get ready for the fall semester, we’ve been hearing some FAQs about transfer credit. Below are a few; if you have more questions, please leave a comment or contact us!

When will test credit be awarded?

We award all test credit (also called Credit By Exam, or BE) for new students a week or two after classes start. So, if you have sent us official AP, ACT, SAT, SAT Subject, or IB scores, we’ll automatically award that credit by mid September. In the meantime, you can see what credit you’ll get for your scores by visiting our Test and Placement Credit page.

Want to check that we’ve received all of your official test scores? Log into your ConnectCarolina Student Center, scroll to the bottom, and click “View my test scores.”

If you’re a new first-year student, you should not be prevented from registering for any course because of a pre-requisite that you have met with your anticipated test credit. If you’re a new transfer student, it’s possible that a class you want to register for will be unavailable until your test credit is officially awarded. If you run into this problem, please email us at so that we can look into the issue for you.

When will the transfer credit from my previous institution be awarded?

At this point, we’re completely caught up awarding credit for transcripts that we’ve received. (If you sent your transcript recently, you should see the credit within the next week or so.) When your credit is awarded, you’ll receive an email summary of the evaluation. You can also view it on your Connect Carolina Student Center by going to “Transfer Credit Report” in the drop-down menu of the Academics section.

If it’s been more than two weeks since you sent your transcript and you don’t see your transfer credit, email us at

Other questions? Let us know!

Jul 17

The Halfway Point

Happy summer, everyone! Whether you’re spending it in Chapel Hill taking classes or spending some time at home, it’s great to finally have warm, sunny days (tbt to the never ending winter earlier this year). I’m actually starting to get jealous of the people in Chapel Hill currently, and I can’t wait to get back there in a few weeks!

About a week ago, I was having one of those “driving in the car alone and thinking about life” moments, and I realized that I am halfway through my undergraduate career at UNC. Seriously, orientation seems like yesterday. Searching for the buildings my classes were in using my iPhone map so I wouldn’t look like a first-year using a real campus map, even though I was still wandering around obviously lost; I mean, where did the time go? The summer before my freshman year, I was repeatedly told that time would go by even faster in college, and I can tell you now that’s 100% true. I’ve had some struggles during my first two years, whether it was with friendships or just missing home, but I wouldn’t trade being at UNC for anything. I’ve made some GREAT memories so far, and I know you all will too. For the incoming Class of 2018, get ready for the best four years of your life.

I’ve always been a huge fan of UNC Basketball, but let me tell you…rushing Franklin Street after a big win against Duke was one of the best memories yet. Thousands of students coming together to celebrate a win against the most hated team in college basketball (#unbiased) was one for the books. When I was in high school, I used to watch the news just to see the live video of Franklin Street after a win against Duke, and earlier this year, I was finally a part of it. Hopefully this year you all will get to join in on the fun.

the halfway pointPhoto Credit: The Herald Sun

For those of you who are nervous about leaving home in a few weeks to come to Carolina, you are definitely not alone. I’m going to be honest, I’m a junior…and it’s still going to be hard for me. I’m extremely close to my family, but I am also very independent, and college has been a big reason for that. At school, there’s no one telling you what to do. You choose to go to class, what to eat, how much money to spend, who your friends are, what you do on the weekends and more. It is awesome at first, but it’s also a ton of responsibility. The biggest aspect for me so far has been how I react to certain situations. At the end of the day, never stray away from who you are and your morals, but also try to not take everything so personally. You’re going to be challenged in college, from your grades to your choice of new friendships that might not work out. I can now say that I have made some quality friendships and I’m so thankful for them. Getting to experience my time at UNC with genuine, fun, intellectual people is such a blessing, and I’m sure you all will feel the same way soon.

Take advantage of every opportunity you have at UNC, even from the very beginning…and yes I’m talking about Convocation. A day or two after you move in, the WOW (Week of Welcome) will begin, and Convocation is the event that is sort of the “initiation” into the University. You’ll learn the cheers to use at sporting events, a little history of Carolina, and have an introduction to some organizations. Also, you’re encouraged to wear Carolina blue to the event. Sounds a bit cheesy, but anything for UNC, I would totally do. Most students do attend, and it’s the first event where you get a “family” feel, even if it is a very, very large family.  Once you’re at UNC for a bit, it won’t feel as big as it seems at first. I will admit, some days I can walk through the Pit and not see anyone I know, but then the next day I’ll see 5 of my friends. The more acclimated you get with the campus, the smaller it’ll get.

I said it once and I’ll say it again, I am so excited to be back in the Southern Part of Heaven soon. Get ready, Class of 2018, it’ll be here faster than you think.


-Maddie Taylor ’16