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.