As the holiday season approaches, all of us here at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions would like to send our season’s greetings to each and every one of you.
Please know that if you have questions about visiting campus, applying to Carolina, or any other topic, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You are welcome to call, email, or contact us via social media, and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. Please know that in observance of the University’s holiday schedule, our office will be closed December 24-26, and again on December 31 and January 1.
In the meantime, students, enjoy your winter break! Here’s to a fantastic 2015.
High school seniors, this one’s for you.
We know that it’s a busy time of year for you and that you’re eagerly anticipating your winter break. We asked current Tar Heels how they would make the most of their senior year winter break, if they had it over again, and here were their ideas:
- Finish those applications
Many schools have a second application deadline. Take advantage of the hot cocoa or hot cider and finish up — for Carolina, this means submitting your application by January 10th. And don’t worry… this includes your online application and your application fee, but you can submit the other parts of the application (transcripts, test scores and supporting materials from your teacher/counselor) within 2-3 weeks after the deadline.
- Spend time with friends and family
Macy, a junior from Greensboro, gained perspective after she arrived at Carolina. “This is your last winter break as a high school student to really spend time with your friends and family from home. I wish someone had told me how much my high school breaks would mean to me once I came to college. Of course, I still come home every winter break, but now a lot of that time is devoted to visiting friends from school or working a job over the holidays.”
- Fill out FASFA/CSS PROFILE
Remember that the FASFA and CSS PROFILE become available on January 1st and are due by March 1st. It may seem early to start the financial aid application process, but this is the perfect time to fill out these two forms out, before classes – and homework – start up again.
- Relax and refocus
Whether you bake a hundred holiday cookies, volunteer at the soup kitchen, or watch a holiday movie, we recommend relaxing and taking a break from the rigor of high school life. After you feel relaxed and stress-free, it’s time to refocus and prepare for the second half of senior year. It can be hard as a senior to focus after winter break, but make sure you take the time to set some academic and personal goals to finish out the school year strong. You’re almost to graduation!
Great news! We were thrilled to learn that Carolina ranks first once again – and for the 14th time in a row – as the best value in American public higher education, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. The new ranking appears in the February 2015 issue and was posted December 17 online.
Carolina has topped the list based on academic quality and affordability every single time since Kiplinger’s began issuing the rankings in 1998.
Carolina’s commitment to low cost isn’t a coincidence – it’s a value built into the school’s mission and its history. In fact, Carolina’s cost has always been among the lowest of all comparable universities, including its public peers. This remains true even in the face of rising costs, declining state funding and an economic downturn, which has significantly increased the share of undergraduates with need.
Yet another reason, if you haven’t already, to apply to Carolina by our first-year admission deadline of January 10 or transfer admission by February 15! For more reasons and tips, see #CountdowntoCarolina on Twitter.
“Why does it take so long to get my decision?”
It’s a question we hear frequently, and one you’ve probably been wondering. For Early Action applicants, it might feel like January is an eternity away. For Regular Decision — March is even further.
But just as you probably didn’t submit your application without proofreading it first and making sure it was the best it could be, we don’t want to give your decision without fairly and thoroughly reviewing every application.
And for our early action deadline, that means approximately 17,000 applications to read and discuss.
Our readers are hard at work, but it takes time to read that many applications, all of which have essays, letters of recommendations, test scores and transcripts.
Despite the common belief that admissions offices just toss any application without a certain GPA or test score in the trash bin, each reader at our office does thoroughly review every part of the application. To find out what readers are looking for, check out our “What Makes You Stand Out” video series.
And it doesn’t stop there. After the reader makes his or her decision, each application’s decision (yes, all 17,000) is reviewed to ensure fairness and accuracy.
Once all decisions are finalized, we will release our Early Action decisions by the end of January. Regular Decision applicants receive news by the end of March.
Until then, we’re here to answer any questions you have about missing documents or other concerns! Tweet at us @uncadmissions, or feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have.
Winter break may include binge-watching Netflix and catching up on sleep for some students, but for other Tar Heels, it’s an opportunity to also give back and incorporate service work into their schedules. There are a variety of service trips offered through the Carolina Center for Public Service, ranging from partnering with experienced community partners around the state to locations around the world. Last year, a group of students traveled to Pembroke, N.C. to learn about rural poverty issues.
Students apply through APPLES Service Learning program and have the chance to choose from four alternate six-day trips. Once students are selected, they go through an orientation session to better prepare them for the trip and to get to know the other students and organizers going on the trip. What are the options available?
- GlobeMed Health and Equity: Students interested in the medical field have the chance to work with GlobeMed at UNC and the Center for Aids Research. This trip includes work in HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, maternal health, and discussing issues of poverty, health, and social justice.
- Rural Communities: Students interested in education, health, or infrastructure problems will be able to work with local programs affecting low-income rural communities in NC.
- Students for Education Reform (SEFR): Interested in education? This program partners with SFER and works on topics such as literacy and college access.
- Violence Prevention: Students interested in violence prevention and social identities have the opportunity to work with issues related to gender-based violence.
Tar Heels are dedicated to giving back at all times of the year. Which of these winter break programs would you want to do? Learn more about APPLES Service-Learning by visiting their website, and follow us on social media to keep updated on unique opportunities!
The Regular Decision deadline (January 10, 2015) is fast approaching, and we are excited to count down the reasons why you should apply if you haven’t already! Stick with us in the coming weeks to learn more about Carolina, get tips on how to finish your application, and hear from current students about why they love being Tar Heels. Follow #CountdowntoCarolina on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
For those of you who already applied, feel free to chime in your thoughts using the hashtag #WhyCarolina. We’ll retweet our favorite reasons!
Lastly, if you’re working on your application and you have questions, always feel free to reach out and contact us. We’re here to help.
While University Career Services works with all students on their career goals, different departments may also have staff members dedicated to helping advance students’ dreams. Jay Eubank works as the director of career services in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Eubank works closely with current students to identify and land internships and with graduating students to obtain entry-level jobs. He is also known for his incredible compilation of career-related listserv emails.
Eubank became most interested in helping college students find jobs because of his former interest in reporting, which is centered on informing and helping people. “When this job came up I was still a newspaper reporter. [I noticed] it combined really cool aspects of that job with a new group of people,” said Eubank, who has been working in the J-school for 18 years and worked as a journalist for nine years prior.
“It’s been really satisfying to work with students and see how they grow and mature, how they think about jobs, careers and their lives, from that initial meeting to the time they graduate and beyond. I find our students are pretty pragmatic. They are interested in finding the ways to use the skills they are developing,” said Eubank.
Eubank works directly for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication but says that the school is unbelievably lucky to have a great University Career Services office, which is located right next door in Hanes Hall. UCS and J-School Career services work closely and share information and resources like their appointment scheduling system and connecting employers who are interested in meeting with UNC students.
Changes in Media
In 1996, when Eubank first started working at the J-school, the internet was just taking off. “When I started, newspaper and journalism was in a much better place. The enrollment in public relations and advertising has been on an upward slope and more people are interested in those fields,” said Eubank. “[When you] look at where journalism is now, we have social media, all these new tools. It’s been interesting to see how things have changed based off that and the careers students are most interested in.”
Most of Eubank’s day-to-day work includes helping students decide which concentration they are interested in pursuing as well as walk-in appointments to help students update their resumes and cover letters, and talking about internship and job search strategy. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working: 80.3% of 2014 J-school grads were employed within a few months of graduation.
“I like working with students, they keep you on your toes. From year-to-year you’ll see subtle (or not so subtle) differences in what students are wanting to do.” added Eubank.
With these subtle differences in mind, the Journalism school offers unique opportunities each year, such as traveling on networking trips to New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other major cities.
Eubank handles some on-campus recruiting for internships and jobs though information sessions and connecting employers with students directly. He also oversees an internship course in which students can apply for class credit through their experience.
Joining the Community
Eubank encourages all students interested in Journalism to consider Carolina. “I love working with the faculty and staff here in the Journalism School — it’s a pretty interesting group. I think we’re pretty special, in that we have some people who are on the more academic side and then there is a large grouping of faculty on the professional side.” To learn more, visit the Journalism and Mass Communication website and be sure to submit your application through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Earlier today, we focused on pre-professional organizations and how they can support students as they pursue their careers. This afternoon, we’re introducing you to a specific organization: The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). A growing network of 11,000 students and advisors in more than 300 chapters across the United States, Argentina, and Colombia, this pre-professional society seeks to enhance the education of its members, broaden their network, and help launch careers in public relations. PRSSA is supported by its parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), that seeks to maintain support for professionals in public relations.
Carolina PRSSA is the local chapter for Tar Heels interested in pursuing a career in public relations. Supported by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as faculty advisors Lois Boynton and Valerie Fields, Carolina PRSSA is the one of the best resources on campus for students interested in learning more about what public relations (PR) has to offer as a career.
Carolina PRSSA aims to provide students with opportunities to engage in the field of PR through chapter meetings where members may participate in case studies, workshops, or meet with speakers. Members also travel to various PR agencies for tours that showcase what a day-to-day work schedule may look like. Companies and departments that Carolina PRSSA has worked with include:
- Bolt PR
- HQ Raleigh
- RLS Communications
- University Career Services
- …and more!
Members also have the opportunity to participate in national events hosted by PRSSA Nationals. Earlier this semester, chapter president Ashley Spruill (’15) was awarded The Don and Barbara Curtis Excellence Fund for Extracurricular Student Activities by the Journalism School and received $1000 to attend the PRSSA National Conference in Washington, D.C. where she had the opportunity to hear from speakers in various facets of public relations, including entertainment PR, healthcare PR, IBM, agencies, and more. She was also able to connect with other students from Tennessee, California, New York, Louisiana, and more.
“My involvement in PRSSA has confirmed my decision to pursue a career in PR,” said Ashley. “By being an active member and then gaining a leadership position, I’ve been awarded opportunities to learn more about the field and network with amazing people. And because we’re such a well-known organization, many professionals will contact us directly with internship and career opportunities for our members.”
Although many pre-professional organizations may structure themselves slightly differently, the focus and goals and often very similar: to engage students in the field they’re pursuing and serve as a resource as students prepare to enter that field. Carolina PRSSA is one of the many pre-professional organizations on campus. To find more, visit studentlife.unc.edu and keep up with UNC Admissions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we share more information about preparing for internships and careers.
Finding the right career path upon arriving at college can be difficult. Maybe you know what you want to do but need help finding more mentors or internship opportunities, or maybe you’re undecided and looking to find more information about whether or not a certain career is right for you. Either way, figuring out how to get started can be the most challenging part of this process. Perhaps you could consider joining a pre-professional organization to begin navigating what life could be like post-graduation in a particular field of interest!
But wait — what is a pre-professional organization? At UNC, these are student-run organizations that serve as a branch for a much larger network, often with affiliate chapters at other schools. Examples include the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society, American Medical Association, Association of English Majors, and Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity. These pre-professional organizations can often provide a network of students on campus and at other schools, as well as of professionals already working in the field.
Membership may vary, so if there are any organizations that you’re interested in, ask when their meetings are held and if it’s possible for you to sit in and learn about the kinds of things they do. Some host speakers, travel to businesses and conferences, host workshops, and connect students to internships and job opportunities. They also present great leadership opportunities that can help show future employers that you’re serious about the field.
Websites like studentlife.unc.edu or beginning-of-the-year events like Fall Fest are a great way for Tar Heels to learn about these organizations and get connected. Many will also post fliers in the respective buildings for their department and school. And if you don’t see an organization that fits your needs, you can always start your own!
There are many people in the University Career Services office who are committed to serving Carolina students. Today, we’re featuring Vergie A. Taylor, Assistant Director of University Career Services, who tirelessly advocates for students while adding spunk and energy to the Carolina community.
We sat down to chat with Taylor and learn more about her Career Planning Counselor role at UCS. For her, “the conversations that I have with students keep me motivated to do my job.” A graduate of North Carolina Central University and Kansas State University, she has been with UNC-Chapel Hill since 1990. Prior to working at UCS, Taylor worked in the Wake County School System, Auburn University and Tuskegee University.
“Why I love what I do”
When she was notified that she would receive the Harvey E. Beech Award back in 2012, Taylor wrote a speech that she ended up having to revise on the very day of acceptance. The Beech Award is always given at Homecoming, a weekend when several students and alumni stop by her office to visit. That particular Homecoming, a former student didn’t show up alone. Taylor would always tell him to bring a picture of his three kids when he visited — and this time, he did one better. He brought them to meet Taylor.
“After having them come visit, I had to revise my remarks. The fact is that I remember him as a student, and here he is with his family, all his boys. Seeing the growth in your students on their journey to adulthood is inspiring.”
High Tech/High Touch
While her job spans many responsibilities, one is new to the modern age. Taylor helps facilitate Google Hangouts and Skype sessions between students and recruiters. “Everything is becoming so high tech, high touch. When I started here we didn’t even have a website!”
Now, students can schedule an appointment with UCS online. Taylor believes that UCS has a dual personal touch that makes the center stand out. Students can connect with the office online, using high-tech methods, or they can walk in and meet with an advisor at their convenience.
Tips and Tricks
One thing that Taylor was excited to share is a link on the UCS website that reads: What can you do with this degree? Students are pleasantly surprised with what they can do with all the degrees and certificates that UNC offers.
The website also has a First Destination Survey. When students graduate, they can fill out the survey and view information about previously graduated students degrees and their careers. This information can help undecided students figure out what major they want based on the graduate and career opportunities.
Yet another resource? The people around campus. “I always tell students to check with our TAs and professors for internships and jobs. They often know where their previous students have jobs and can provide networking opportunities,” said Taylor.
Taylor’s advice for those seeking a job or internship: “Work on your hit list whether you are looking for an internship or jobs. Let it grow, then be prepared to follow up. I hear from employers all the time that students don’t follow up.” Then in contrast, Taylor said, “I hear students say I applied for 5 internships… or I applied for 10 internships or jobs and when they say they haven’t heard anything.”
Her response is, “What’s wrong with your fingers? Reach out and touch. You have to call and email people to follow up.”
We are fortunate to have such strong advocates for our students as Vergie A. Taylor. We send our sincere thanks to the entire UCS staff, who work to assist students in pursuing their dreams. To find out more about UCS, visit www.careers.unc.edu.