Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tips for the Activities Section

I thought I'd take a few minutes to post some tips for the Activities section of the application for those of you who are still working on your second deadline applications. (And I'm sure these tips will apply for all of your college applications, so I hope they'll be helpful.)

The most important thing is to make your list scannable and easy to read quickly. If you've ever created a resume, you've learned the importance of organizing and prioritizing the information so that the parts that you most want to communicate jump off the page. That should be your goal with your activities list as well. Keep in mind that, as with a resume, your reader isn't going to spend an hour reading your activities list--they're likely to start out by scanning, and then return to the most interesting bits to read more in-depth.

Prioritize. What is the most significant activity you've been involved in--the one you've spent the most time on or you feel has been most important to you? That is the one that should be listed first. The next most important next, and so on. Don't worry about what you think will impress the Admissions Committee most. If lacrosse is your thing, put lacrosse first. Don't list that one Saturday you spent in the soup kitchen first just because you think it looks good.

Clump activities together. A LONGER LIST IS NOT A BETTER LIST. In fact, very long lists are extremely difficult to read, and your reader will likely give up before he has reached the end. Oftentimes, students list every single community service activity as a separate entry. I would recommend listing "Community Service" as one activity and adding up all the hours that you have spent on community service for the hours section. Then use the description area below to concisely describe the different ways you've gotten involved in service. This applies to other activities as well, such as music, drama, journalism, etc.

They don't have to be "official" activities. List whatever you've spent a significant amount of time doing, not just the official, school-related activities. I read an application once where a student simply listed "Reading" because she loved reading and spent many hours a week enjoying science fiction novels. Maybe you've been teaching yourself guitar or you are constantly sketching in your journal. Let us know about those things too.

PROOFREAD. I would say 8 out of 10 applications I read have typos in the activities list. (I'm making that up, but you get my drift.) Unfortunately, because you are typing directly into your web browser, you don't have the luxury of the spell-checker. So do it the old-fashioned way: read and re-read (and re-read), use your dictionary, and get someone to read behind you to check for typos.

Hope this helps, post a comment if you have questions or if you have any other tips to share.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not even a mouse (or a snowflake!)

It hasn't actually snowed here yet, but we've got our fingers crossed for at least a dusting before the New Year. (The photo is from our archive--some mythical year before my arrival in North Carolina. My colleagues tell me it does snow here. It didn't last year, but I have great hopes for this year.) It is cold though, and the campus seems hunkered down and hibernating for its brief winter sleep. The line "not a creature was stirring" is apt. Almost all of the students are gone, enjoying the winter break and the holidays with their families.

Our office is also quieter, as we finish up our work of reading and re-reading applications and finalize the decisions that we will send out in mid-January. For those of you who applied for our first deadline, you can expect to see your decisions posted online no later than January 15 and your official letters to arrive soon after. In past years, we have been able to post decisions a little earlier than our official January 15 notification date, but since we received quite a few more applications this year for our first deadline, you can probably expect to hear from us right around the 15th. I will post an entry here on the blog the moment we post decisions, so if you don't want to be constantly hitting that "refresh" button in hopes of seeing a decision appear, subscribe to this blog (see the box at right to get it in your email) so that you'll know when decisions are up.

For those of you applying for our second deadline, best of luck with your applications over winter break. (January 15 is coming right up!) Please post a comment if you have any questions at all about your application and we'll be sure to get back to you quickly.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, and hoping you have a peaceful and restful break.

Updated to add: Turns out that Feedburner, the service that delivers our blog posts to your email if you subscribe, only sends out those emails once a day (at some point overnight). So if you subscribe, you will not immediately receive an email but will receive it that night. Sorry about that. Hope it's still helpful for some of you. I'm sure there are other ways of getting this blog's feed--maybe subscribing through an RSS reader, such as Google Reader. If anyone knows of how to do it, please share!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Celebrating Exams

I know I'm biased, but I think we have the greatest and friendliest students in the world, and the most spirited. If you need evidence of the latter, take a look at this clip of how our students came together this week to blow off a little steam during exams.

You don't have to be able to dance to be a Tar Heel. But it helps to love life--and to be willing to love your classmates.

--Stephen Farmer

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Deadline Down, One to Go

A big thank you to all of you who submitted your applications for our first deadline. We really are honored that you have included us in your college search, and we look forward to getting to know you better through your applications.

Now that you have submitted your applications, we have to read them all! We take our holistic review process very seriously and work very hard to be sure that every application receives a thorough and thoughtful review. You can be assured that at least two people will read your application; many are read by three or more people. For all the members of the Admissions Committee, the next month and a half will be extremely busy, to say the least. This is the time of year when my "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster reminds me to just keep chugging. A few weeks from now I will look at this comparably small stack of folders sitting on my desk and sigh with envy.

A couple things to keep in mind if you are a first deadline applicant:

We are working through bins and bins of mail. Really, our mail room looks like a tornado ripped through it, scattering paper all around. (Not really, it's actually all very meticulously organized. A miracle of organization, in fact, thanks to our great mail center staff. But still, it's a lot of paper.) If you mailed in any part of your application, it may take up to six weeks for us to get it properly filed and accounted for. If you get one of those "Urgent: Missing Application Materials" emails, DON'T PANIC. If an item that you mailed in is still listed as missing on your Homepage, DON'T PANIC. Most likely, the item in question is still making its way to its proper home in the little manila folder that has your name on it. If it is still listed as missing six weeks after you put it in the mail, just give us a call.

November SAT/ACT scores will automatically be considered with first deadline applications, no matter how early you submitted your application. All you need to do is have the testing center mail us the scores, and we'll be sure they are taken into consideration.

I can't think of anything else. Any questions? Just let me know.

For those of you who haven't applied yet, keep in mind our final deadline of January 15 will creep up faster than you might expect. Let us know how we can help.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last-Minute Application FAQs

Monday is our first application deadline. If you have your application submitted by midnight on Monday, you'll get your decision in mid-January. So a lot of you will be finishing up your essays and then holding your breath as you hit that "Submit" button in the next few days. I know it's stressful, but it will also feel so good to get it out of the way. (I sound like your mother again, sorry.)

I thought I'd pull out a few of the most common questions we get this time of year and answer them here:

Exactly what needs to be submitted and/or postmarked by November 3?
You need to submit your application, essays and application fee by November 3. If you're mailing your application, these materials need to be postmarked by November 3. All the other materials--teacher recommendations, transcripts, counselor statement, and test scores--can arrive after the deadline. (One small exception to the rule: if you are paying by check or money order, or have requested a fee waiver from your counselor, those items can arrive after the deadline. Just be sure when you submit your application online that you choose the correct payment option.)

How late on Monday can I submit my application?
Until midnight EST.

Will you let me know if there are items missing from my application?
Oh yes, you will get many delightful emails from us if we are missing anything vital.

If I'm applying online, can I send my teacher recommendations by mail?
Yes. You may send any items by mail to add to your application. Please be sure to put your name and birth date on any items that you send, so we know who you are!

Can I send supplemental materials like new clippings, certificates, or artwork to add to my application?
You're welcome to send paper materials to add to your application. Unfortunately we rarely have time to view electronic media sent on CD, so please don't send those. If you choose to send additional items, keep in mind that you want to present yourself as completely, but also as concisely and articulately, as you can. So, for instance, it will be much more effective to send a neatly organized, one-page resume of your achievements than all 50 perfect attendance certificates you've received since kindergarten. Also, please know that we can't return any items you submit, so be sure to send photocopies and not the originals.

If I'm denied first deadline, can I re-apply second deadline?
No. We do defer a small percentage of our first deadline applicants, whom we then review again with our second deadline applicants. But if you are denied first deadline, that is a final decision.

I was originally going to apply first deadline, but now I would like to be considered for second deadline. What do I need to do?
No problem. Just send an email requesting that change to uncmissingitems@admissions.unc.edu. It's helpful if you put "Deadline Change" in the subject line and include your full name and birth date.

I'd like to take the SAT/ACT in November. Will that score be considered with my first deadline application?
Yes. Any scores for test dates in October and November will be considered for first deadline applicants. Just be sure to request that your scores be sent to UNC-Chapel Hill. There is no need to request rush delivery, as we receive the scores electronically.

What's all this "defer" nonsense?
As we are reading first deadline applicants, there is a small percentage of students that we can not make a decision on this early in the season, so we "defer" them and review their applications again with our second deadline applicants. Typically this is because we just can't predict what our second deadline pool will look like, how many students will end up applying, etc. If you receive a defer decision in January, we truly appreciate your patience as you wait for your final answer in March.

What other questions do you have? Please keep in mind that our office is not open over the weekend, so you won't be able to get us on the phone. Please use this comment stream to ask your questions over the weekend, and I'll be sure to check in here often.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Survey: What do YOU think of our new website?

We're redesigning our website and we'd love to get some feedback on the new design! Since we're still in the design phase, when you go to the site, please note that most of the links and drop-down menus are non-working. You can't actually click through to go deeper into the site. We're only looking for feedback on the design and usability of the main page at this point.

Before answering the questions below, please visit the site. There are a series of rotating photos (just click anywhere on the image to see the next one). Do you like the look? Do you understand where to click to find the information you're looking for? Any and all feedback is appreciated. If you'd like, please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section at the bottom of this post.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Solving Great Problems

Sunday, October 12, was a great day for Carolina. For one thing, it was the University’s birthday. For another, it was the day we installed our new Chancellor, Holden Thorp.

After taking what must be the longest oath of office anywhere—administered by Patricia Timmons-Goodson, a UNC-Chapel Hill alumna and justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court—Chancellor Thorp talked about his vision for the future of the nation’s oldest public university.

If you’re thinking about joining us in Chapel Hill, his remarks, which are available here, are worth reading in their entirety. And if you’re not yet thinking about UNC, and you’re the kind of person who hopes to change the world, the following three paragraphs are especially worth reading:
This is the right time for a Carolina education. It may be the most challenging period our state and nation have ever faced. But thanks to my years at Carolina, I am filled with an enduring hope that derives from the unquenchable idealism of our students and their interest in the world's great problems.

So imagine that a student could come to Chapel Hill to major in Mandarin and international studies while addressing global health. Or major in chemistry while addressing global warming. Or major in American Studies while addressing poverty or youth violence.

We can come together as an intellectual community to address the world's great problems. We can do it without dismantling or realigning our existing academic structure. And students can do their work on the great problems inside the classroom and as part of their academic life. Because of our guiding principle of academic excellence plus service, Carolina is perfectly suited to redefine higher education in this way and to leverage our young peoples' interests in the great problems to enhance their academic success and position them to lead us.
If you want to help solve our greatest problems, and if you want to be positioned to lead us through the challenges we face, then this is a great day to think about Carolina. Regardless, we are here to help you, and we wish you well.

--Stephen Farmer

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beat the Deadline

Our first deadline falls on November 3. If this year turns out like last year, around 5,000 students will hit the submit button on their applications within 48 hours of the deadline.

If you can help it, don’t let this be you. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with waiting until the deadline, and while we’ll gladly receive your application whether it comes to us on October 2 or November 2, it’s generally smart to avoid the last-minute rush.

Two years ago I waited too long to finish a big project. Thinking I had plenty of time before my Monday deadline, I woke up early on Saturday, grabbed a cup of coffee, turned on our home computer—and got the blue screen of death.

Don’t let this be you. Great students lead busy lives, and there are times when just-in-time delivery is the best that you can do. But waiting until the last minute doesn’t always work—and even when it does, it can cost you both a weekend’s worth of worry and a lapful of hot coffee.

--Stephen Farmer

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why apply first deadline?

Our first application deadline of November 2 is coming up in just three weeks. For more info about the difference between our two deadlines, see this post I wrote a couple months ago. I definitely encourage you to apply by the first deadline if you can. But why, you ask???

Three good reasons to apply by November 2:
  1. It’s not that hard to meet the deadline. You’ve got three weeks. And the only thing that you need to have submitted by November 2 is the application itself, your essays, and the application fee. It’s fine if your transcripts, test scores, and recommendations arrive after the deadline. Also, keep in mind that any test scores from tests you take in November will be considered with your application, even if you are applying for the first deadline. So really, it’s just those pesky essays. Buckle down and get them done. You’ll be glad you did.
  2. More chance for scholarships. The earlier you get your application in, the more time we’ll have to consider you for merit scholarships. Some scholarships require that you apply by the first deadline. Others don’t require it, but it gives the selection committees more time to do their work. This isn’t a hard and fast rule; plenty of scholarships are awarded to second deadline applicants. Definitely do your research about all the different scholarships available—both through the University and from outside sources. But for the best chance of being considered for the greatest number of scholarships, it's best to apply by November 2.
  3. You don’t want to spend your winter holiday filling out applications. I mean, who would? And if you’re applying to a gazillion + one schools, it’s at least one application that you won’t have to worry about while you’re stuffed with holiday turkey.
Questions? Let me know!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Student Stories

Last week, we had a fantastic time criss-crossing campus with a photographer, capturing student faces, voices and stories during a three-day photo shoot. We met with more than 40 students to snap their pictures and talk to them on video about their experiences at Carolina. I interviewed some amazing students who are doing extraordinary things--muscular dystrophy research, community development work with local schools, studying the conflict zones of the Republic of Georgia, to name just a few. I was blown away by these students, and I am a pretty tough one to impress.

The three-day shoot was tiring, but fun. We must have walked back and forth across this campus a dozen times. (Not all that bad a walk at all, as our Director Stephen Farmer wrote below, but a more difficult feat after the sixth time in one day!)

We're looking forward to sharing the video and stories that we are recording with all of you through this blog, as well as on our new website. We're redesigning the website, so look forward to much more multimedia and lots of opportunities to hear directly from current students.

But in the meantime we are getting ready to begin reading your applications! Consider this my first official reminder: the first deadline is just over three weeks away! I'm going to nag you as badly as your mother.

Below is a short excerpt from one of our interviews. Julia is a senior chemistry major; she's the one doing the muscular dystrophy research. When I asked her to tell me more about her research, her eyes just lit up and she enthusiastically began talking. I think that's the thing I love most about being on this campus--people here seem to find a passion, and they just run with it. The enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Transfer Application is Up!

As of late last week, the online application for transfer students is available! Apply now through your UNC Homepage. Or if you'd rather not apply online, you can download a PDF of the application and mail it in the old-fashioned way.

One change this year is we've given you options for the essay! Now you can choose which essay prompt you'd like to respond to. We're hoping this will give you more scope for the imagination.

The deadline for transfer applications is March 2 this year. For more about transferring to Carolina, visit our Transfer page. Questions? Post a comment right here!

We hope to see your application and get to know you soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

One Campus

Yesterday I wrote about walking the 400 steps from the Pit to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Today I took a longer walk—all the way across campus—just to show you how long it doesn't take.

Carolina is one campus. All our undergraduates study, and most of them live, within a few minutes of one another. When you visit while you’re still in high school, you might wonder how you’ll find your way around. But the campus is really pretty compact—and there are plenty of friendly people to help you find your way.

1:52:00 pm. Standing at the northernmost edge of campus--on the stone wall separating McCorkle Place from Franklin Street. Two students walk past and wish me happy Friday.

1:55:00 pm. Just miss photo of toddler drinking from the Old Well. Nothing to be sad about, since this happens every day.

1:57:45 pm. Wilson Library, home of one of the greatest manuscript collections in the world, as well as the great digital collection Documenting the American South. Steps here are a great place to meet; in fact I’m meeting a prospective student here tomorrow afternoon just before the football game to talk about Carolina.

1:59:15 pm. Bell Tower. Fourteen bells chime the hour and occasionally play “Sweet Caroline.”

2:04:30 pm. Rams Head Dining Hall. Delayed because of conversation with Steve Reznick, friend and psychology professor. Walk down lawn—actually a green roof for the parking deck below--just as Rebecca Egbert, assistant director of admissions, walks out of dining hall with terrific transfer students involved in our C-STEP program.

2:09:50 pm. Student Academic Services Building. Delayed because of conversation with John Blanchard and Robert Mercer, friends and colleagues from the athletics department. Note color of sky.

Total time: 17 minutes, 50 seconds. I’m betting you can beat that pretty easily—and if you don’t want to walk or need help getting around, there are tons of buses and vans to get you from place to place. Happy Friday.

--Stephen Farmer

Why do they seem so happy?

Yesterday morning in the media center at West Charlotte High School, one of the students asked Holden Thorp, our chancellor, what makes UNC students special. Chancellor Thorp said: “They love the University, and they love each other.”

I just walked back to my office from the Pit, the shaded, sunken plaza that’s the heart of student life at Carolina. It’s a short trip—maybe 400 steps—but on the way at least a dozen students smiled and said hello. The few who didn’t were walking in twos or threes, laughing and lost in conversation.

Why do students smile so much at Carolina? Why do they seem so happy?

I think Holden Thorp has the right answer—and I’m not just saying that because he’s the chancellor.

--Stephen Farmer

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Three or Four Hints about Essays

This morning I visited West Charlotte High School, home of the Lions, with our chancellor, Dr. Holden Thorp. We were warmly welcomed and had a great time.

The students at West Charlotte asked terrific questions. One of them had to do with application essays: What specifically do we look for when we read them?

Because this is such a good question, and because it’s one that comes up a lot, I thought it might be helpful to post a talk on this subject that I gave last spring to a group of guidance counselors. Let me know if this does any good at all—and please feel free to tell me if it doesn’t.

We received this essay last year, in response to a prompt that asked students to choose and describe a logo that encapsulates who they are:
Logos are symbols that are used to describe or stand for objects, places, or people. If I were to choose a logo for myself it would be a boat.
One reason I would choose my logo to be a boat is because I love to fish and most of the time when I go fishing it takes place on a boat. I try to go fishing on my boat as often as I can. I usually go out every weekend and if I have free time after school I don’t mind going in the late afternoon. My favorite fishing is waking up early and going way offshore. I like this best because the fish are bigger.
Another reason I would choose a boat as my logo is that I’d much rather drive a boat than a car. …
And so it went on—for five well-organized paragraphs. After reading it, we knew that this student liked his boat. But we didn’t know much else about him.

Now let me quote from a different essay—one that left a different impression.
It seemed like everything exciting in the world was about to happen to you when you were ten. Even in the books I read, ten-year-olds seemed always about to embark on some new adventure. Wendy from Peter Pan was ten. So was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and Anne in Anne of Green Gables. Secretly I had a feeling that life would now start being like a book, full of humor and excitement. I was ten years old, and I thought I could do anything. Well, no, that’s not true. I knew I could do anything.
This student was writing in response to a prompt that asked, “What advice would you give to a ten-year-old?” She ended like this:
Keep that feeling, that confidence, as long as you can. It’s a way of looking at things that makes the whole world seem as if it’s just a little more brightly colored, a little more gentle. If you don’t know the odds, you may find yourself accomplishing anything.
Where did this essay succeed where the Boat essay fell short? Let me offer just three observations, in the hopes that they’ll be helpful to at least some of your students.

The first idea: voice matters as much as content. Good essays sound as though they were written by real people—ideally, smart, curious, good-hearted people.

The second idea: little is better than big. Small subjects close at hand are better than big subjects that are beyond any writer’s grasp. Students are tempted to write about big things, about ultimate experiences—the best thing that ever happened to me; the worst thing that ever happened to me. Almost no one can write well about this kind of thing, and students should generally steer clear.

The third idea: others are better than self. Not everyone shares this view. In fact we often advise students that the essay is a chance to say something about themselves—preferably something winning and definitive. But in my view this is really a tall order for any student, and in fact it’s something of a curse. It’s the rare writer and the rarer seventeen-year-old who can write self-consciously in this way. Better to write about something else, especially since we learn a lot about others by listening to them talk about something not themselves.

To illustrate this point, here’s a third essay from last year. The prompt read: “Describe a mistake you’ve seen some leader make.”
Head over heels, my grandfather entered the grave. He was merely ashes at that point, stored in a modest cardboard box. Before his death, he was a dedicated minister and teacher. Despite this, the pastor in charge of the internment ceremony bent down slightly and tossed Granddaddy into the hole. The priest let gravity take my grandfather three feet down when he was supposed to be ensuring a journey many miles upward.
I watched disbelief spread like a wave around the circle of family members. Their eyes fixated on the hole as my grandfather bumped and tumbled into his final resting place like a man in a barrel going over Niagara Falls.
The pastor was the leader of the ceremony, the emcee of mourning and remembrance. …
“The emcee of mourning and remembrance”—what a beautiful and evocative phrase! The student closed with the quiet lesson she’d drawn from her experience: “A leader must realize the effect of every choice he makes on the people in his charge and must act in the best interest of his followers.” Wouldn’t we all want to teach this student? Wouldn’t we want to learn from her?

Three observations: Voice as much as content. Little better than big. Others better than self.

And this fourth one: stories help. If your students get stuck, encourage them to tell us a story. Humans are suckers for stories, because our stories tell us something about ourselves, and because our stories matter.

--Stephen Farmer

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday On The Road: Rain, But Barbecue

It feels good to be back home after a week on the road. Covering seven counties and hundreds of miles is a tiring yet fulfilling experience, but I'm always ready to return home at the end of the week.

It's a shame the week ended with rain. A weird weather system drifted in off of the coast late this week. Wet, windy weather always makes following directions on unfamiliar roads much more complicated. Today had its highlights though, and there are two things in particular I'd like to share.

First, barbecue. The admissions representatives from Louisburg College recommended Johnny's Barbecue, an apparent hometown favorite, for lunch. The reps from UNC-Wilmington, Marshall University, UNC-Pembroke, and I almost didn't make it there. We followed a Garmin GPS's instructions and ended up on a dead end road in a neighborhood at a vacant lot. A very nice man who lived in the neighborhood directed us to the real location of the restaurant. The food was worth it! I had a barbecue sandwich with cole slaw, hush puppies and sweet tea. It had all the characteristics of a quintessential North Carolina lunch.

More importantly, during my final visit of the week at Warren County High School I saw one of Carolina's own recent alumni in action. Jennifer Fisher, who is a college adviser for a couple of schools in Warren County, had been responsible for organizing the college fair and preparing students to meet the representatives. She is part of a national program based in the Admissions Office at UNC-Chapel Hill called the National College Advising Corps. The corps places recent graduates from colleges around the country in under served high schools in order to encourage more students to consider applying to and attending college. Ms. Fisher did a great job preparing the students for the fair. In just my short hour at the school, I could see the impact she is having on her students. I'm so glad I could be there to see the progress she is making first-hand. Check out the pictures. I snapped a quick photo of my table display and convinced Ms. Fisher to slow down for 20 seconds for a shot of us together.

I hope you've enjoyed learning more about the typical experiences admissions counselors have on the road. I'm off to enjoy my brief weekend. I'll be out on the road again next week, so look for me if you are from Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Rockingham or Stokes counties. Stop by my table and say hi!

Over and out,


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday On The Road: Sharing Tables

Who said admissions counselors can't have a little fun? The picture shows the representatives from High Point University, Cleveland College (Tenn.), Marshall University (W. Va.), Belmont Abbey and me shopping during our lunch break.

This week I am delighted to be traveling in a group with representatives from North Carolina and around the country. Each year our universities travel to just about every county in the state on one, organized schedule. Our professional organization, the Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (CACRAO), works with local high schools to coordinate the schedule, and all of the representatives agree to travel together as a service to the state.

At the college fairs students sometimes assume we are competing with each other to get students to apply and attend our institution specifically. Our traditional sports rivalries are sometimes thought to be present in the college admissions process too. For instance, "How can the NC State and Carolina representatives share a table, much less stand beside each other? Aren't they rivals?"

The truth is college fairs organized by CACRAO are not about the traditional rivalries. As admissions professionals we are dedicated to getting students interested in attending college in general. We are not trying to steal students from each other -- we want students to find the best college for themselves. We all have unique characteristics to offer, and we want you to find the best fit.

Outside of the fairs we attend, we respect each other as colleages and friends. We enjoy learning about each other's universities. Each representative had interesting college experiences themselves, and each took a different path to get to their current position. On top of the amazing students I meet daily, I get to know individuals from around the country that are dedicated to advancing the education of all students.

On the road we share tables and set up our displays side by side. We caravan to all of the events and sometimes carpool. We eat meals together and hang out during free time. Most importantly, we share a sincere interest in your future, and we work together to help as many students as we can realize their dreams.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday On The Road: "I love this school!"

I have two lifelong travel goals. One is to visit all 50 of our country's states. The other is to visit all 100 of North Carolina's counties. I'm really close to attaining the latter (I have 17 left). The weather was perfect for driving today. Check out the pictures below. In the second you will see the typical caravan of admissions representatives driving from one fair to the next.

Today was a good day to be on the road. It also was a good day to be a Tar Heel. The definite theme of the day was, "I love this school." More students than normal started their conversations with these words. My simple response to them was, "What about UNC-Chapel Hill do you love the most?" I expected to get "basketball" in response. That's the obvious answer. But I underestimated their passion for the University.

The science programs are really good.
A lot of smart people go to school there.

I've visited campus and it's so nice.
My friend is an English major there and she tells me about everything.

It's always been my dream to go to Carolina.

The students I spoke with today had a love for the University that runs deep. In part, I think their love is due to the excellence of the academic experience and the beauty of the historic campus, but there's something more. Many North Carolinians feel a connection to UNC-Chapel Hill, because of the sense of community it resonates. I'm glad our prospective students intuitively understand that special aspect about Carolina.

And I was asked a lot of thoughtful questions today too. Like I said, it was a good day. I savored it, because the meteorologists say we're in for rain tomorrow (and I left my umbrella at home).

I'd love to hear more about what you all love the most about UNC-Chapel Hill. Feel free to post your comments.

Next Up: Traveling with "Rivals"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday On The Road: Heavy Lifting in High Heels

Admissions representatives do not need to carry dumbbells along on the road, because we lift enough heavy boxes to maintain our fitness. I handed out at least 500 of our brochures to students and families today in Alamance and Orange counties. That adds up to a substantial amount of packing, unpacking, pulling, toting, stacking and arranging. Amidst all of the moving of materials, admissions reps have to be outfitted with the proper equipment to get the job done. I've compiled a list of the items I can't live without on the road.

Laurie's Top Ten Admissions Travel Items
  1. Brochures... Of course, we attend college fairs to provide both printed and verbal information, so the brochures are a must.
  2. Rolling Suitcase... (Pictured Above) When I'm not carrying boxes I'm wheeling a black bag full of materials behind me. If you have ever seen us arriving for college fairs, we look like flight attendants entering an airport.
  3. Van... I'll be driving more than 500 miles this week! All of the materials are arranged in just the right way for easy access in loading and unloading.
  4. Bottled Water... To maintain my voice while talking all day.
  5. Cell Phone... I'm not sure how we survived without them.
  6. Google Maps... Another thing I barely remember living without. When possible, Google Maps is replaced by GPS.
  7. Name Tag... I'm proud to wear my name tag, because I'm proud to represent UNC-Chapel Hill!
  8. Coffee... I'm addicted anyway, but admissions travel gives me an excuse to have a cup (or two).
  9. Computer... I try to stay connected to the happenings in the office as much as possible while on the road.
  10. Carolina Blue... Like I said, I love the University, so I try to incorporate Carolina Blue into my outfits as much as possible.
To be successful at traveling, it's helpful to have flexibility, a good sense of direction, creativity and a love for visiting new places as well.

Before I travel farther away from home for the rest of the week, I better make sure my bags are packed!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday On The Road: Laurie's Travels

Hello, Readers! I'm Laurie Hogan, one of the Admissions Counselors at UNC-Chapel Hill. Travel is a big part of our job during the fall months, so this week I'll be blogging from the road.

Travel is my favorite part of working in admissions. As a Carolina alumnae, I love talking about the University, and boy, can I talk. I also like meeting all of you in your high schools and hometowns. You surprise and impress me daily with stories about your academic achievements and involvement with activities. You're amazing people, and I'm lucky to be a part of your college search.

Here's a schedule of the locations I'm visiting this week. I'll be in Alamance, Caswell, Person, Granville, Vance, Franklin and Warren counties in North Carolina. If you see me at one of these college fairs, please stop by my table and let me know you saw the blog!

Monday: Alamance County at Elon University
Tuesday: Alamance County at Elon University; Chapel Hill/Carrboro and Orange County at UNC-Chapel Hill
Wednesday: Person Senior HS and Bartlett-Yancey HS
Thursday: Northern Vance HS, Southern Vance HS, JF Webb HS/South Granville HS
Friday: Bunn/Franklinton/Louisburg HS at Louisburg College; Warren County HS

As you may have guessed, admissions travel involves creativity in driving, restaurant scouting and lodging. I'll do my best to bring you the most exciting parts. Today I spoke with a lot of great students and parents in Alamance County. This is starting off to be a great week! I'll be back tomorow to tell you more.

Up Next: Equipment Essentials

Meet Sarah Nelson

Sarah Nelson
Title: Admissions Counselor
# of years at UNC: 1
Hometown: Harrisburg, PA
Area of specialty in office: working with transfer students

My favorite part of my job is talking with visiting families and students and sharing my love for Carolina.

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be a writer for a travel magazine.

My favorite thing about Carolina is the amazingly talented and diverse student body.

If I could be an undergraduate all over again, studying at Carolina, I would major in public policy. I find some much of my work in education tied to national and state policy and would really love to have a better understanding of this area.

The best question I’ve ever gotten at a college fair was tell me five words to describe Carolina. I wish I could remember which words I used…it was a great question!

My best memory from my undergraduate experience is the out-of-class internships and volunteer experiences I had as a public relations major.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Meet Andrea Felder

Andrea Felder
Title: Associate Director
NC territory: I no longer have a North Carolina territory. But, I travel here and there around the state for my colleagues, so you may see me at a fair this fall.
Out-of-State territory: I have the pleasure of recruiting internationally. So, my out of state territory is the rest of the world.
# of years at UNC: 4 years as an undergraduate and 8 years in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Hometown: Mitchellville, MD
Area of specialty in office: In addition to working with international students, I also work with the staff that takes phone calls and processes applications.

My favorite part of my job is meeting new students and answering their questions. I also really enjoy getting to know students through their applications.

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be a college counselor at an international school. Or I would travel around the world and learn about local cultures.

My favorite thing about Carolina is the sense of community found on this campus. You can definitely find your niche here. I also like spring days in Chapel Hill.

The longest airline journey I’ve ever experienced was my trip from Singapore back to the RDU airport. I was in the air for about 21 hours. Add to that a few hours for layovers in Japan and Washington, D.C.

If I could be an undergraduate all over again, studying at Carolina, I would major in international studies again. I thoroughly enjoyed that major.

My best memory from my undergraduate experience is a surprise birthday party that my friends threw for me. Although I almost unknowingly thwarted their plans, they pulled off the surprise flawlessly.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meet Jessica Hernandez

Jessica Hernandez
Title: Assistant Director
NC territory: Mecklenburg and Union County
Out-of-State territory: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, California
# of years at UNC: 3 years
Hometown: Norwalk, CT
Area of specialty in office: Diversity Recruitment

My favorite part of my job is speaking to prospective students and parents who might be going through the college application process for the first time; reading applications.

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be helping develop education policy.

My favorite thing about Carolina is the student body. I have met some really dynamic, smart, involved and personable students that LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it here. It makes it easy for me to talk to prospective students and feel like I am being honest about what we have to offer.

When traveling in my recruitment territory, I like to eat at all the wonderful restaurants in my territory.

The longest airline journey I’ve ever experienced was when I was 12 years old…traveling to Honduras to visit relatives. I left from New York went to Miami and was supposed to catch a connecting flight to Honduras. I missed my connecting flight, had to stay overnight in Miami with a flight attendant then for some reason flew to Texas the next day and then to Honduras. It was the scariest most grown up thing I had ever done up to that point!

Meet Bob Patterson

Bob Patterson
Title: Associate Director of Admissions
NC territory: Orange, Durham, Caswell, Franklin, Granville, Person, Rockingham, Vance, Warren
# of years at UNC: Going on 4 years
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Area of specialty in office: Recruitment

My favorite part of my job is working with students to pursue the dream of going to college.

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be a high school guidance counselor.

My favorite thing about Carolina is the community of students and the pride they exhibit every day. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t see at least 50 students wearing a Carolina shirt.

The longest airline journey I’ve ever experienced was a flight from Charlotte, NC to Munich, Germany with my father. We cruised around the Mediterranean visiting 6 different countries including Egypt and Greece.

If I could be an undergraduate all over again, studying at Carolina, I would major in everything. There are so many great opportunities available to Carolina students that were never available to me.

My best memory from my undergraduate experience is giving a tour to a student who decided to enroll on the spot.

Bob declined to submit a photograph. So I drew a picture of him. He looks just like that, promise!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet Laurie Hogan

Laurie Hogan
Title: Admissions Counselor
Where I'm Traveling: Central North Carolina (Stokes, Forsyth, Davie, Davidson, Rowan, Rockingham, Guilford, Randolph, Caswell, Alamance, Person, Orange, Durham, Granville, Vance, Franklin, Warren and Wake counties)
# of years at UNC: 4 (Carolina student!) + 1 (Student Affairs) + 1 (Admissions)
Hometown: High Point, NC
Area of specialty in office: I work with students daily to solve problems and answer their questions, so I know a little bit about everything, but I mostly work with recruitment and the awarding of transfer credit. Also, if you need to know something about campus, a department, or student organization, I'm a walking Carolina encyclopedia.

If I weren’t an admissions counselor, I would be a press secretary for a governor or senator, a Government/U.S. History teacher, or I’d open a bakery.

My favorite thing about Carolina is McCorkle Place, the upper quad that is home to the oldest buildings on campus, the Old Well and the Davie Poplar. It’s shady and quiet, filled with history. It reminds me that being a Tar Heel means I’m connected to past students, who have walked the same pathways as me since 1795.

If I could be an undergraduate all over again, studying at Carolina, I would major in Journalism and Political Science again, because they are excellent majors. But I'd also consider American Studies, Biomedical Engineering, Dentistry, Education, Health Policy & Administration or Music.

The best question I’ve ever gotten at a college fair was, "If I go to Carolina, can I be a crocodile hunter like Steve Irwin?"

Laurie is heading out across North Carolina this week for some college fairs, and she'll be blogging from the road. So check back to hear her stories, and submit your own questions for her! --Julie

Meet Dave Meredith

Dave Meredith
Title: Senior Assistant Director
NC territory: Wake County
Out-of-state territory: California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana
# of years at UNC: Five
Hometown: Morehead, Kentucky but spent most of my life in Ohio until I moved to NC.

My favorite part of my job is meeting students and helping them navigate the fairly complex world of admissions. It really isn’t that complex!

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be a beach bum, but from what I hear, they don’t make much money. How about a SCUBA site explorer? Or even a food taster for seafood restaurants.
My favorite thing about Carolina is the students of course! It sounds corny but it is true.

When travelling in my recruitment territory, I like to count how many times I get lost. Sometimes it is a very high number. Luckily I’ve learned that it is OK to ask for directions.

The longest airline journey I’ve ever experienced was Cincinnati to Hawaii but man was it worth it!

If in possession of limitless worldly wealth, I would buy Maui and go diving every day. Oh, and eat grilled mahi for lunch every day! I’d spend the weekends in Belize exploring Mayan ruins.

If I could be an undergraduate all over again, studying at Carolina, I would major in…probably History or Political Science.

The best question I’ve ever gotten at a college fair was "Do you all have a basketball team?" And this was at a North Carolina fair!! I’m not making that up!

My best memory from my undergraduate experience is…The guys next door built a deck in their room. Think about it. They put their mattresses under the deck which meant nearly 100% of their room space was usable. It was a great idea and soon became THE place to hang out. Of course tearing it down was no fun but the rest of the year was great.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Meet Julie Sizemore

Julie Sizemore
Title: Assistant Director
NC territory: I am territory-less because of my other duties in the office. This occasionally makes me sad, and makes me not feel like a "real" recruiter. But then again, I don't have to criss-cross the state and country like a restless vagabond, so I see that as a plus.
OOS territory: See above.
# of years at UNC: One + a wee bit.
Hometown: Williamsburg, VA
Area of specialty in office: Communications (letters, emails, brochures, website, BLOG!!)

My favorite part of my job is working with our wonderful group of student bloggers and keeping in touch with prospective students through this blog.

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be creating custom stationery, invitations, and prints on a 1,000 lb letterpress in my garage. I would wear a bandana on my head and flip-flops on my feet every single day. And since this is a daydream, we'll say I'd also have a complete silkscreen studio in there too. I'll need a bigger garage. Oh, wait. I'll need to get a garage. A big one.

If I could be an undergraduate all over again, studying at Carolina, I would major in…um...linguistics, information science, art, city and regional planning, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, journalism, or peace, war and defense. Or maybe sociology.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meet Melissa Kotačka

Melissa A. Kotačka
Title: Assistant Director
NC territory: northeastern North Carolina (east of I-95 and north of US 264 plus Johnston County)
Out-of-State territory: Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
# of years at UNC: Two as a graduate student, less than one in Admissions
Hometown: I was born in Florida, spent my formative years in Iowa and have called Chapel Hill home for over five years now.
Area of specialty in office: Working with prospective music students, decoding international transcripts

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be teaching middle school language arts.

When travelling in my recruitment territory, I like to expand my photography portfolio.

If I could be an undergraduate all over again, studying at Carolina, I would major in education and linguistics.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Meet Andrew Parrish

Andrew Parrish
Title: Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions
NC territory: Western NC
Out-Of-State territory: Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio
# of years at UNC: 2
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Area of specialty in office: I’m in charge of daily visitation, which means the various ways that people visit campus on a daily basis. It also means I get to work with some of our top students as I advise our Carolina Admissions Ambassador program, which is the program dedicated to engaging prospective students in meaningful conversation about Carolina.

My favorite part of my job is the humbling opportunity to be a beacon of light on the craggy shore of the college search journey. It’s such an exciting time of life for so many students, and I get the chance to interact with some of the brightest and most thoughtful prospective students this country has to offer. I get to share with them a little bit of the feeble advice I possess and have learned through my own trial and error. Now, that’s not a job, that’s a calling!

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be…Do I have to give a realistic answer?? I am going to pretend I can be a big kid here…. I would either be A) Skiing in the Swiss Alps B) Taking pictures for National Geographic C) Starting a consulting business that allowed me to use experiential learning techniques in the wilderness to teach self-awareness and create opportunities for shared meaning amongst groups of people D) Free-lance writing about the world and the various peoples and cultures within it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Meet Kendra

# of years at UNC:
4 years of undergraduate study and 9 years working in the Admissions Office
Hometown: Pittsboro, NC
Areas of specialty in office: Transfer students, Coordinate the Carolina Alumni Admissions Program

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be a professional poker player!

My favorite thing about Carolina is
fall days. There’s nothing like walking on campus on a clear fall day, under Carolina Blue skies, and hearing “Hark the Sound” ringing from the bell tower.

When traveling in my recruitment territory, I like to visit the local outlet malls.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Meet Erin Breese

Erin M. Breese
Title: Senior Assistant Director of Admissions
NC territory: Cleveland County, Gaston County, A portion of Mecklenburg County (David Butler High School, East Mecklenburg High School, EE Waddell High School, Independence High School, Providence High School, South Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte Country Day School, Providence Day School, Weddington High School)
Out-Of-State territory: Washington DC, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas
Number of years at UNC: Two
Hometown: I’ve lived in Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Belgium, Oklahoma, Virginia, Vermont, Miami – and now North Carolina.
Areas of specialty in office: Organize efforts to recruit prospective Tar Heels; oversee daily visitation program; act as member of application review committee; manage AP/IB/CLEP/ACT/SAT credit by exam process; remove spider webs from the front of the Admissions building

My favorite part of my job is demystifying college admissions for our guests and helping students realize their life should not be defined by where they go to college, but what they do while they are there.

If I weren’t an admissions director, I would be a speech-language pathologist, archeologist, or rabbit rescuer.

When travelling in my recruitment territory, I like to perfect my skill of eating and reading while driving.

Meet our recruitment staff

Fall is travel season in the Admissions Office. Our recruitment staff (some 18 or so strong) heads out on the road to meet students at college fairs, high school visits, parent nights, and receptions. You can visit Tar Heels in Your Town to get the latest on where we're visiting. If there is not an event listed for your area, keep checking back over the coming months. We are always adding events, and we continue to update that list throughout the fall.

I'll be introducing some of our recruitment staff here on the blog over the next week. I sent out a questionnaire for them to fill out. (which they LOVED of course. No not really. One said it felt like he was filling out a personal ad.) Hopefully you'll enjoy seeing the faces and personalities of our great staff--and feel free to send us any questions you have.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New bloggers on the Tar Heel Blog

We've got a couple new bloggers posting over at Tar Heel Blog. Autumn is a sophomore journalism major from Martinsville, VA. Her first post includes an awesome 360-degree video of her dorm room, in case you're wondering just what a Carolina residence hall room looks like. I don't think they're all quite that clean--I'm not sure how many Tar Heels make their bed on a daily basis. I might be surprised though. These students have a way of surprising me pretty much all the time.

We also have Olga joining us. She's a first-year studying journalism and psychology. Born in Moscow, she now lives in Columbia, MO. I mentioned Olga in my last post for her great piece in the Daily Tar Heel about adjusting to college life, so I'm very excited to have her on the blog as well.

Welcome Autumn and Olga! A few more bloggers will be joining us in the coming weeks, so there will be lots of activity over on the Tar Heel Blog. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New Semester

I meant to get out and shoot some pictures of the first day of classes, but you'll have to settle for pictures of the second day of classes. After the relative quiet of the summer, the Pit seems to be bursting with students. It's probably the busiest place on campus, since it's bordered by the Student Union, the Undergraduate Library, Lenoir (one of the main dining halls), and Student Stores. A lot of student organizations also set up tables and signs to recruit new members, so it's a great way to see what's going on around campus.

Watch the Pitcam to see what's going on in the Pit right this second.

This morning in the Daily Tar Heel, I read a great column written by first-year Olga Kuzmina. She writes about how she made the decision to come to Carolina, and also about the challenges of adjusting to college life. It's a beautifully written and honest piece. She ends by saying:
"We all bring our own ideals of how our UNC experience should be. We put aside parts of our old lives and look to fill those voids with something new; a membership in the Campus Y or the friendship with a roommate that extends beyond Facebook wall posts. Rather than wallow in the absence of familiar faces, I'm throwing out preconceived notions, wearing the tar on my heel with pride and leaving my own footprint on campus."
It's exciting to think about all the first-years who are settling in and contemplating how they'll leave their footprint here. And in the Admissions Office, we're already thinking about the next class of amazing students (that'll be the Class of 2013!). The ones who will be walking through the Pit this time next year, feeling slightly lost, a little homesick, but confident knowing that Carolina is the right place for them. Is it the right place for you?

Our student bloggers are back on campus, and blogging over at the Tar Heel Blog. They are an incredibly enthusiastic and helpful group of students. Check it out, and ask them any questions you have.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Two Application Deadlines

As in past years, we have two deadlines for first-year applications. This time of year we get a lot of questions about our two application deadlines: What’s the difference? Which should I do? Will applying early give me a better chance?

One of the most important things to know is that applying early does not commit you to a binding decision. You may apply elsewhere for binding or other early admission programs. We want to give you more options, rather than less.

Why do we offer two deadlines?
We find it makes the whole experience much more pleasant. For you and for us. You can choose whichever deadline is most convenient for you, and best fits your schedule. And we don't have to read all 20,000+ applications at one go. Just thinking about that makes me shudder. I don't think it would be humanly possible. Last year, of the approximately 21,500 applications we received, 11,300 applied first deadline and 10,200 applied second deadline.

Although we have two deadlines, we evaluate each application against our entire pool of applicants. For this reason, there is no inherent advantage in applying first vs second deadline. The only advantage for one over the other lies in which deadline allows you to submit the best application you can.

Why apply first deadline?
  • A stress-free spring semester. Enjoy your senior year a little bit more. (Not too much, of course. You will still have to submit all final grades for your senior year. Beware senioritis.)
  • Have more time to make a thoughtful decision about which college is the right fit for you. You’ll have more time in the spring to visit schools, talk to students, and consider what you need for a successful college experience.
  • Spread the work of applications over a longer span of time. If you are applying to multiple schools, you can get your Carolina application out of the way early, and be less stressed while completing the others.

Why apply second deadline?
  • Be able to submit first semester grades. If your junior year grades are not as high as you’d like, it might be a good idea to apply second deadline, so that we will be able to see the first semester grades of your senior year.
  • Take the SAT/ACT one more time. For second deadline, you can take the tests in December and the results will still reach us in time.
  • Have more time to submit the best application you can. Take extra time with your essays and get thoughtful recommendations for your teacher and counselor.

Make sense? Good. You decide when you want to submit your application, and we’ll be delighted to read it. And if you have any further questions, as always feel free to leave a comment below.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Honors Program. Super-Sized.

The Honors Program this week announced that it will be doubling the number of students they invite each year to join the program. In past years, we've been able to invite about 200 students. Now that number will be doubled--to about 400, or approximately 10% of each incoming class. I am EXCITED about this. We read so many applications of students who are doing amazing things, and now we can nominate more of them for the Honors Program. Here are a few FAQs about the Honors Program at Carolina:

What are the benefits for Honors students?
They get first crack at enrolling in Honors courses--about 120 courses across the spectrum of majors. The Johnston Center brings scholars, speakers, and performers to campus every year. Most Honors students develop the kind of relationships with professors that allow them to mold their own academic experience, whether by participating in research, writing a thesis, or even developing new courses.

How do I get admitted into the program?
As we read applications, we nominate those students who we believe have extraordinary promise. These applications are then sent to a panel of faculty, who make the final decisions about admission into the Honors Program.

What kind of students are you looking for?
Smart ones. Not necessarily the ones with the best standardized test scores--a high SAT alone will not get you into the program. We are looking for students who are taking control of their own education. They are constantly looking for ways to stretch the boundaries. Taking the toughest classes at their high school, and then going outside the school for more opportunities to learn. Becoming leaders within their schools or communities, and making contributions that will continue to enrich the community even after they have left. One faculty member described it to me as the "active learners"--students who are going to not just passively scrape through four years at Carolina, but those who will take charge of their experience here, and leave this campus changed because of their presence.

Do I have to be invited into the program as a first-year in order to participate?
No! That's the best thing about the Honors Program at Carolina. It's not an elitist club, but a thriving program whose aim is to enrich the experience of all students. If we can't invite you to join as a first-year, you can apply to join as soon as your second semester on campus. Anyone can take Honors courses as space allows. Anyone can write an honors thesis and graduate with honors. It's inclusive, not exclusive. That's just how we roll here, as you'll find out as you get to know our campus. The opportunities are here for the taking. We're looking for the people who are going to step up, take those opportunities, and do things with them that we can't even begin to imagine.

What other questions do you have about the Honors Program? Post them in the comments, and I'll be sure they get answered. (um, I am going on vacation next week though, so be patient. I'll answer questions in the comments as soon as I can.) I'll be posting more frequently as we get into this application season though, so keep visiting! And happy Friday!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Essay Questions for the 2009 Application!

Today on the website, we're publishing the seven questions that will be the options for the long essay portion of the First-Year Application this year. A lot of thought and debate goes into these questions--we end up reading hundreds of these essays, so for our sake as well as yours we do our best to make them interesting!

Here are the 2009 essay questions:
  1. We tend to spend our time doing the things we know we do well—running because we’re good runners, or painting because we’re talented artists. Tell us about a time when you tried something for which you had no talent. How did it go?
  2. If you were principal of your school, what one thing would you change first, and why?
  3. What one thing would you hope to be remembered for after four years at Carolina? What do you hope would be your most memorable contribution—to the life of our community and the experience of your fellow students?
  4. Is there someone in your school who should attend college but for some reason can’t or won’t? What's standing in this student's way? What might help this student move forward?
  5. Carolina seeks students who are exceptionally curious. Tell us about a time when your curiosity led you someplace you weren’t expecting to go.
  6. Tell us about your best teacher ever—or your toughest, or your worst. What distinguished this teacher from the others you’ve known?
  7. If you have written an essay for another school’s application that you really like, feel free to use it as your longer essay for us. Please be sure to tell us (a) what essay you are answering and (b) why you think this essay represents you well (your explanation will not be included in the essay word count).
Last year, I posted my Top 10 Tips for Essays. Check it out.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wrapping Up the Waitlist

We are in the final stages of the final round as we finally finalize the new class of first-years and transfers. We really appreciate the patience of all the students who have remained on the waitlist, and for those of you who are still waiting, you should be hearing from us soon. (And when I say soon, I mean that the letters should be in the mail by Monday.)

It's always impossible to predict how many students we will be able to admit off the waitlist and this year was no different. We ended up offering admission to some waitlisted students in the first-year class, though we had almost no space in the transfer class.

Again, to our waitlisted students, we truly appreciate your continued interest and your patience. For those of you we didn't have space for, it's our loss and some other college's gain! We wish you the very best as you head off to your chosen college.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Admissions Blog!

Hi! We're giving the blog a facelift, switching blogging software, and generally updating things around the Tar Heel Blog.

Want to read archives from last year's blog? Visit our old site.