Monday, December 7, 2009

MyUNC Updates

The system will also be down beginning Saturday, December 19 at 6 p.m. until Sunday, December 20 at - 6 a.m.

We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions, or if we may help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us at 919-966-3621 or through email.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Application Status Updates

As we continue to log application materials during this busy time of year, we are sorry that it may take 4-5 days for us to update your MyUNC portal to indicate that we have received your application. It may also take 4-6 weeks for us to update your "To-Do" list to confirm that we have received your application materials.

We apologize for any inconvenience; please continue to check your MyUNC portal for updates on the status of your application.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Two Carolina Students Win Rhodes Scholarships

Congratulations to Carolina students Libby Longino and Henry Spelman, who today were named Rhodes Scholars. To learn more about them, click here.

Over the last 25 years, Carolina students have earned more Rhodes Scholarships than students at any other state-supported university. Over the last five years, only four schools have produced more Rhodes Scholars than UNC: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Princeton.

We're proud of our two newest scholars--and proud to serve a school that attracts many great students who want to change the world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Follow-Up to Early Notification Deadline Applicants

Hi all. To all of our early notification deadline applicants, again we thank you. We appreciate the time, effort, and heart that it takes to complete a college application. And we are honored that you chose to apply to us.

Please be assured that if you submitted your application by our deadline (11:59 p.m. EST on November 2 for online applications or with a postmark of November 2 for applicants using our paper application), you will receive your decision by January 31.

Because we understand that transcripts, recommendation letters, and other materials arrive separately, please know that we do not expect all of these materials to arrive here by our deadline. Over the next few weeks, if we find that we are missing any item from your application, we will be in touch with you through email to let you know.

Please continue to check your MyUNC account regularly. If you still show an item in your to-do-list 6 weeks after you know it has been sent, please contact us at (919) 966-3621 or email us. And if your email address or other contact information changes from this point forward, please update them on your MyUNC portal immediately.

For more information and important updates, please visit our Application FAQs page.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thanks to All

I know that many of you have spent much of this weekend working on your application, and that even if you're pleased by what you've written, you may at times have felt as though you were engaged in lonely, thankless work. So I'm writing tonight, on the eve of our first deadline, to thank you for what you've done, and to promise that we will do our best to hear your voice in the words you've sent to us.

We have some work of our own to do now, and then we'll be in touch. In the meantime, please let us know if we may help you in any way.

Deadline clarification for first-year applicants

If you wish to be considered for our first deadline, your application must be submitted by November 2 at 11:59 PM EST. As long as your application is submitted by this time, the required application materials, such as your transcript and letter of recommendation, may be submitted later.

If you submit your application after November 2 at 11:59 PM EST, you will automatically be considered for our second deadline, which is January 15, 2010.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Online application

As we approach our November 2 deadline, you may experience delays when working on your application. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To-Do List FAQ

I requested that my transcript/recommendation letter (or other material) be sent weeks ago. It's still showing up as a missing item in my To-Do list.

As we approach our first deadline, please be aware that application submission is at its peak, and our records managers are very busy preparing all applications and materials for review. After an item is received by our office, it may take 4-6 weeks before it is matched with your application and removed from your To-Do List.

Please also be aware that if your application has been submitted (or postmarked if you are using our paper application) by November 2 you will be considered for our first deadline. Be sure to send the other required items as soon as possible. Over the next few weeks, if we find that we are missing any item from your application, we will be in touch with you through email to let you know.

If you still show an item in your to-do-list 4 weeks after you know it has been sent, please contact us at (919) 966-3621 or email us at And if your email address or other contact information changes after you submit your application, please update them on your MyUNC portal immediately.

We recognize that this time of year can be stressful, especially as you balance your college applications with busy senior schedules. We appreciate your patience with our new online system, and we are honored by your application to us. If there is anything we can do to help you, please do not hesitate to ask.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Visit from the Weinermobile

Senior Assistant Director Erin Breese looked out her window this afternoon and was surprised to see the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile parked in front of the Admissions Office.

Turns out the young man driving the Weinermobile is a recent grad from Penn State and he's cruising around Chapel Hill on his day off. He's been in the area for the State Fair and wanted to check out the campus while he's here.

Erin pulled out a handy campus map and told him all the sights he should see while he's here. He gave us Weiner Whistles and we snapped a few pictures.

I particularly like the license plate.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Technical Issues with the Online Application

If you are working on your online application and are receiving a reference number error, please know that we are aware of this issue and are working to resolve it.

We apologize for the inconvenience; please stay tuned to this blog for updates. If you have any questions, please call the help desk at (919) 962-help for assistance.

Update about Changing Deadline--Please Read

I selected Deadline 1, but meant to select Deadline 2. How can I change it?
Since you meant to choose regular notification deadline, just be sure to submit your application by January 15. There is no need to contact us. You will then receive your decision by the end of March.

I selected Deadline 2, but meant to select Deadline 1. How can I change it?
Since you meant to choose our early notification deadline, please be sure to submit your application by November 2. When you do submit your application, please notify us at to request that your deadline be changed. You will then receive your decision by the end of January.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One Week Until the First Deadline!

Our first deadline is this coming Monday, November 2. If you can get your application in next week, that'll be one less thing to stress about come January. Check out the post I wrote last year "Why Apply First Deadline" for a few good reasons to get that application in by Monday!

A few notes about first deadline applications:
  • First and most important: Only your application, application fee, and essays must be submitted by November 2. All other materials (your transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and counselor statement) may arrive after the deadline. It's helpful if you get them to us as soon as possible since we're not able to review your application until we have all required items, but it's okay if these items arrive in the weeks after the deadline.
  • It may take 4 to 6 weeks for us to process items that you submit. This is a conservative estimate--in all likelihood these items will get processed more quickly than that. But please have a little patience and allow us plenty of time to process the mountains of mail that we are receiving in our office. As I said above, these items do not need to be submitted by November 2, so don't stress!
  • Materials such as recommendation letters and transcripts that you mail in BEFORE you submit your application will not show up on your MyUNC portal until AFTER you submit your application. We don't match up these materials with your application until after you submit. So go ahead and submit your application when it's ready; you don't have to wait until the other items disappear from your checklist.
What other questions do you have? Please let us know!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Login FAQ

I’m trying to log in to MyUNC. The system requires my ONYEN or my UNC Guest ID. What does this mean?

The ONYEN (which stands for the “Only Name You’ll Ever Need”) is the username given to students once they are admitted. As a prospective student, your username is your UNC Guest ID, which is the personal email address you provided when you created your original account.

What if I have forgotten my password?

You may reset your password through the “Forgot Your Password?” prompt. Choose UNC Guest ID.

Friday, October 16, 2009

MyUNC will Be Down October 17 and October 24

Hi. As part of our planned maintenance, MyUNC (online application and portal system) will be down briefly on Saturday, October 17 from 10 p.m - 11: 30 p.m.

The system will be down again next weekend, starting Saturday, October 24 at 10 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Thank you for your patience; please don't hesitate to contact us through email or by phone at (919) 966-3621 if you have any questions.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Updated Application FAQs

I can’t find the Counselor Statement.
You may download the Counselor Statement here.

How do I submit a letter of recommendation?
While filling out your online application, you may specify the name and email of a recommender. Then, when you submit your application, we will send an email to your recommender with instructions on your behalf. Alternatively, if you want your teacher to submit a paper letter, you may download the Teacher Recommendation here.

I selected Deadline 1, but meant to select Deadline 2. How can I change it?
Since you meant to choose regular notification deadline, just be sure to submit your application by January 15. There is no need to contact us. You will then receive your decision by the end of March.

I selected Deadline 2, but meant to select Deadline 1. How can I change it?
Since you meant to choose our early notification deadline, please be sure to submit your application by November 2. When you do submit your application, please notify us at to request that your deadline be changed. You will then receive your decision by the end of January.

Can I print out my application?
When you select the option to submit your application, you will be able to view a report of your application. When viewing the application report, please use your mouse to right-click on the application, and choose the option to “Print.” Once your application is submitted, it is no longer available for viewing or printing.

I had a problem paying with my credit card. May I pay by credit card?
We are sorry you experienced problems when paying your application fee. Please follow the steps below to pay your application fee online:
  1. Log back into your MyUNC account.
  2. Click on your “My Application…” link.
  3. Click Continue on the page that indicates you have attempted to pay your fee.
  4. Click the “Pay by Check” option. Note that the Credit Card option does not appear.
  5. To pay by credit card, close your current webpage and repeat steps 2 and 3
  6. The Credit Card payment option should be available now.

Where are the residency forms?
When you complete our online application, you will be prompted to answer a few simple questions that in most cases will fulfill our requirements for determining residency. If not, you will be prompted to select and complete an additional form.

How do I change my major?
You may change your major after you submit your application by contacting us by phone at (919) 966-3621 or emailing us at

Cake, Frosting, and Sprinkles

“Well, I know colleges are looking for well-rounded students…”

So begin many of our conversations about that ever-present and often-touted piece of the admissions puzzle: extracurricular activities.

As we’ve discussed on our blog, we read each application carefully and thoughtfully, one by one. Extra-curricular activities are an important part of the application, but so are the other parts (academics, essays, recommendations, and test scores).

Think of your college application as a cake. Your academics—courses, grades, and testing—are the cake itself; they’re the foundation for everything else on top. Your essays and recommendation letters are the frosting on the cake. Your extracurriculars are the sprinkles. Cake with sprinkles – any kind and any number of sprinkles – is a lovely thing: everything comes together for a great dessert experience. Now imagine you’ve just sat down to a bowl of nothing but sprinkles: it’s really exciting for the first few spoonfuls…but then you start missing the cake. Your activities need a solid foundation from the rest of your application so that they enhance your overall profile.

We are often asked what kinds of activities we want to see from students. To be honest, we’re not particular. It’s our goal to build a well-rounded class at Carolina: within the 3,960 students enrolling in our Fall 2009 class, we have musicians, artists, writers, scientists, activists, athletes, mathematicians, linguists, Eagle Scouts, competitive gymnasts, equestrians …the list goes on and on! Every student is bringing his or her own unique interests and passions to campus. That’s a big part of what makes Carolina such an exciting and interesting place.

We’re looking for persistence and leadership. We don’t expect you to be president of every club or captain of every sport AND work 25 hours a week to support your family (yes, work is an extra-curricular!). But we do want to see a commitment over time to those activities that are meaningful for you. We’re also trying to learn about the impact you’ve had in your school and your community. We want you to share your passion – whether it’s swimming or the oboe or volunteering – with us.

Brag about yourself and tell us about the amazing things you’re doing. When you’re listing your activities, we encourage you to emphasize those in which you believe that you made the most impact. Simply answer this question: “How would that club/team/store/troupe be different if I hadn’t been there?”

I’ll end with a story that might help you as you seek to describe your extracurricular activities. I met a student last fall and I asked her what she did outside of class. She said that she ran track. After a few more probing questions, I learned that she had been the only freshman on a team of seniors for the 4x100 meter relay and that they won the state championship that year. My advice for her – and for each of you – is summed up in three words:

“Lead with that.”

Melissa Kotacka
Assistant Director of Admissions

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

MyUNC Will Be Down Briefly This Weekend

Hi all! Wanted to give you a heads-up that MyUNC and the online application will be down for a scheduled maintenance from 6:00 pm on Saturday, Oct. 10 until 6:00 am on Sunday, Oct 11. Hopefully this will not inconvenience too many of you. If you have any questions or concerns, as always just let us know!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009


For all you aspiring math and science majors, have you ever considered teaching? Whether you teach for a couple years before returning to graduate school or pursue a lifelong career in teaching, you'll be serving your community in one of the most important ways there is.

So if you're planning to get a degree in math or science, take a look at the UNC-BEST program. In four years, you can get both a bachelor's degree in Biology, Geology, Mathematics, or Physics AND get your licensure to teach. The program aims to help meet the urgent demand for talented math and science teachers in secondary schools. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Application Tips Omnibus

Over the past year or two, we've posted several times with tips for the application, so I thought I'd repost the links here for those of you applying this year. I hope you'll find these helpful as you complete your applications. Please let us know what questions you have--and if you have suggestions for another "tips" post, let us know that too and we'll get right on it!

Should I Apply First Deadline or Second Deadline?
Three or Four Hints about Essays
Tips for the Activities Section


Friday, September 11, 2009

Welcome New Tar Heel Bloggers!

Over on the Tar Heel Blog, we have seven new students joining us this year. You can follow Ashton, Caitlin, Diana, Jacob, Noah, Steph, and Victoria as they blog about their experiences at Carolina. They come from all over the country and are interested in everything from linguistics to women's studies to biology. I really encourage you to ask them any questions you have--they will be a very helpful and enthusiastic resource for you as you learn more about Carolina and decide if this is the right place for you.

Our returning bloggers are also getting back into the swing of the new school year and filling us in on all the excitement of a new semester. So head on over and say hello to our student bloggers!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

MyUNC Will Be Down Briefly This Weekend

Please note that MyUNC and our online applications will be down for a scheduled maintenance outage from Saturday, Sept 12 at 6pm until Sunday, Sept 13 at 6am. We hope this will not affect many of you, but we apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or we may help in any way.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update on Test Scores--Please Read

Thank you for your patience as we continue to import test scores into our new administrative system. If you do not see your scores in your MyUNC account, please know that we may have received them but that they may not have been imported into our system yet. Please continue to check your MyUNC account throughout the month of September for updates on your scores.

As always, please contact us at (919) 966-3621 if you have any questions.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Three or Four Hints About Essays (Reposted)

We received this essay two years ago, 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 but tough-to-wade-through paragraphs. After reading it, we knew that this student liked his boat. But we didn’t know much else about him.

Now here's an excerpt 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? Here are three ideas about these two essays, and about essays in general.

1. Voice matters as much as content. Good essays sound as though they were written by real people — ideally, smart, curious, good-hearted people.

2. 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.

3. 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 two years ago. 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”: I wish I'd written those words. Wouldn’t we all want to teach this student? Wouldn’t we want to learn alongside her?

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

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

--Stephen Farmer

(Reposted, with a few changes, from October 2008.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Brief Outages in Credit Card System

Hello all! We wanted to let you know about a couple brief outages in our credit card system that will occur over the next two weeks. These are regular maintenance outages, and hopefully they will not inconvenience many of you. But in case you try to pay your application fee during one of these times, you will get a message indicating that the system is down and to please try again at a later time.

Sept 4 from 3am until 7am
Sept 14 from 8am until 11am

Please let us know if you have any issues or have any questions. Thanks!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Online Transfer and Readmission Applications Are Now Available

Ready to apply for transfer admission or readmission to the University? Both of these applications are now available online.

The online transfer application for Fall 2010 admission is available through your MyUNC account. To access the application and apply, please either log in or create your MyUNC account. Please note that the junior/senior level transfer programs for Public Health and Education will not be available until October 1 (tentative date). If you are interested in transfer admission for Biostatistics, Health Policy and Management, Child Development and Family Studies, Elementary Education, and Middle Grades Education, please check back October 1.

If you are applying for readmission for Spring 2010, please do so through our existing Online Readmission Application. If you are applying for readmission for Fall 2010, to access the application and to apply, please log in or create your MyUNC account.

Please continue to check this site for updates to all applications, including the new online Part-Time Studies application, which we expect to be available in October.

As always, thank you for your patience as we implement our new student administrative system. If we may help you in any way, please contact us at (919) 966-3621.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update on Test Scores

Thank you for your patience as we continue to import test scores into our new administrative system. We plan to have all test scores submitted to us from August 2008 forward loaded very soon. Please continue to check your MyUNC account for your test scores.

As always, please contact our office at (919) 966-3621 if you have any questions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Checklist Error for Some Applicants

We just learned that some applicants have been clicking the "Checklist" feature only to receive an error message. We believe that this error is limited to those applicants with a university affiliation, such as hospital employees or returning students.

We apologize for any confusion that this error might have caused you. Please know that we are working on this issue and expect to have it resolved soon.

Again, thank you for your patience. If you have any questions, please call our office at (919) 966-3621.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Important Reminder About Your Account

Thank you for your patience as we implement our new student administrative system. As a reminder, in order to apply to us, it is necessary that you create an account. Even if you previously had a UNC Homepage, to maintain the integrity of our records, we still must ask you to create a new account.

We apologize for the inconvenience but we believe that our new system will greatly improve our communication with you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Online Application, it's Shiny and New!

How is the online first-year application going for you all? As you may or may not have noticed, we have a shiny new online application this year. It's part of a fancy new, University-wide computer system that will transform the way students interact with the University online--everything from completing their application to viewing their financial aid information to registering for classes. As one of my coworkers says, "It's slick." So far, I agree that it's pretty cool and I hope you all are finding the online application easy to use.

A couple questions have come up from students about the application:

Does it matter what major I choose as I create my application?
No. We only use that information to assign you an advisor if you are admitted and enroll here. It doesn't play any role whatsoever in our admissions decisions, so you can choose anything you like. And if you change your mind in two months (or two years) that's not a problem at all.

Why can't I start a transfer application?
So far, we only have the First-Year Application and the Nursing Application for Spring 2010 up. The regular Transfer Application for Fall 2010 will be available in September. In the meantime you can get a head-start on your essay (see below).

What other questions do you have? Let us know!


Transfer Essay Questions

We have finalized the essay questions for the Fall 2010 Transfer Application. The application itself won't be up for another few weeks, but now you can get a head-start on your essay. You'll need to choose one of the prompts below for a 500-word essay:
  1. People find many ways to express their inner world. Some write novels; others paint, perform, or debate; still others design elegant solutions to complex mathematical problems. How do you express your inner world, and how does the world around you respond?
  2. It’s easy to identify with the hero—the literary or historical figure who saves the day. Have you ever identified with a figure who wasn’t a hero—a villain or a scapegoat, a bench-warmer or a bit player? If so, tell us why this figure appealed to you—and if your opinion changed over time, tell us about that, too.
  3. After your long and happy life, your family must choose no more than a dozen words to adorn your headstone. What do you hope they choose, and why?
  4. If you have written an essay for another school’s application that you really like, feel free to use it as your 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).
You can also choose to submit an optional additional statement. We ask that you please limit your answer to about 250 words:
Is there anything else you would like to share with us regarding your background or interests that you didn’t have the opportunity to share elsewhere? Have you overcome exceptional difficulties or challenges? Have you participated in any programs or activities to help you prepare for college, such as Governor’s School, Project Uplift, Gear-Up, AVID, Upward Bound, LEAD, ROTC or Summer Ventures?


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Update on Online Nursing Application

Spring 2010 Nursing Applicants: Please note that when you are completing the online nursing application and entering your prerequisite courses, you are currently unable to edit the information you have added. We're working to address this issue and hope to have it resolved in the next few days. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Online Application and Account Registration Update

We're pleased to announce that our First-Year Application for Fall 2010 admission and our Nursing Application for Spring 2010 admission are both available online. The online Transfer, Part-Time Studies, and Readmission applications will be available in early September.

As we continue to implement ConnectCarolina, the University's new administrative system, a number of questions have arisen. We'll post our answers to these questions below.

I already have a UNC Homepage. Do I need to create a new account?
Yes. If you wish to apply, schedule a tour, or receive the latest news from Carolina, it is necessary that you create a new account with us.

I submitted my test scores to your office last year (or over the summer). Why are they not showing up in my account?
We apologize for any inconvenience, but your scores may not have been loaded into our system yet. Your scores should appear within the next two weeks.

When I created my new account, I accidentally entered the wrong email address in the first registration box. Is this now my username?
Yes. The email address that you provide to us when you register is your username.

How can my username (or email address) be changed?
For security reasons, we must ask you to change this information yourself. Please log in to your account using your current email address (username) and password. You may change this by selecting "Update Personal Information" and changing your personal email address.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to implement our new system. Please bookmark this page and check it frequently for the latest information from our office. If we may help you in any way, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pardon Our Dust

Next week will mark a turning point for our office and for the University, as we go live with a new administrative system called ConnectCarolina.

Eventually, ConnectCarolina will provide a consistent environment for online interaction with UNC-Chapel Hill. Prospective and current students will use it heavily, as will faculty and staff.

For now, prospective undergraduate students will be using the system to apply for admission, check the status of their applications, and register for campus tours and other events.

We hope the new system will make it easier for you to interact with us over the course of the coming year. We also hope you’ll bear with us as we work through any problems we might face.

Although we’ve built ConnectCarolina carefully and believe it’s ready to go, we know we’ll need to keep tinkering with it for months to come. So please pardon our dust -- and as always, please let us know how we may serve you better.

--Stephen Farmer

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Enrolling Students: Last Call for Final Transcripts!

We still have some enrolling students with outstanding documents that must be submitted by July 31. You will not be able to enroll without getting this information to us!
First-year students:
We must have an official transcript from your high school showing your final grades.

Transfer students:
If you were enrolled in a college or university during the Spring 2009 semester, we need to have an official transcript showing your final grades.

We also need your completed Community Standards Form. Please note that if you selected the option at the bottom of the form to complete a background check rather than have a school official sign the form, you are responsible for completing the background check. When we receive your signed Community Standards form, we will initiate the process and you will then receive an email from the background check company with full details about how to proceed. If you have not received this email, please call our office. (Well, first check your spam filter and then call our office!)
These documents are firm enrollment requirements, so you will not be allowed to begin classes without submitting them. If you are unsure about whether we have received these items, you can give our office a call at (919) 966-3621.

Let me know if you have questions. Thanks!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What's Your Life Goal?

I spent much of last week on vacation with my family, which includes our dog Samwise, shown here in mid-retrieve.

On the ride home, our daughter told us about a conversation she’d recently had with two of her fourth-grade friends about something they called their “life goals.”

“Jenny’s life goal is to try mahi-mahi,” she said. When we asked her why mahi-mahi, she thought for a minute. “I don’t know,” she said finally. “Maybe because she’s never tasted it.”

She went on to tell us about John, whose life goal is either to get a minifridge or to become a garbage collector -- the latter, we were told, "because he just likes the stench."

People who work in admissions like to talk about "passion," which I suppose is our word for "life goal." It's not a word I'm fond of, mainly because students tend to hear it not as passion but as Passion -- something cosmic, final, and fantastic, rather than something familiar, provisional, and real.

We ask about your passion not so that we can weigh your aspirations, much less pass judgment upon them. Rather, we ask because we long to know who you are.

Whatever drives or intrigues you -- whether it's medicine or monetary theory, travelling or retrieving, gustation or refrigeration or sanitation -- is exactly what we hope you'll show us should you choose to apply to Carolina.

In the meantime, please know that we wish you all the best.

--Stephen Farmer

Why you should visit Carolina this summer

You may have visited us before; perhaps you've attended an athletic event or driven through campus. But have you experienced Carolina from the perspective of a student? Have you taken a tour of our beautiful residential campus? Have you visited a class? Or, have you simply taken a seat along the Pit -- our famous gathering place -- and observed the unique energy of our students?

Our students are some of the strongest and most diverse in the nation, and they'll happily tell you about the academic opportunities we offer that will prepare you to change the world. They also have their own opinions about just why you should visit us. In fact, we asked a few of them that very question:

“Carolina was the only in-state school where I applied. After scouring the east coast for a school that would fit my personality, I finally decided to take a tour at UNC. The minute I stepped foot on campus, I realized Carolina was exactly what I was trying to find. What sets Carolina apart from every other university is the vibrancy of its students. Carolina has some of the most inspiring and active individuals that you will ever meet.” -- Kelsey Farson

“As a high school senior, I knew that UNC would be the perfect niche in which my intellectual curiosities could flourish with the support of like-minded, gifted students from all over the world. But it took a visit to UNC’s breathtaking campus to know for sure that I wanted to make Carolina my new home. What really makes this place special, though, is not the university’s statistics, history or reputation. It’s those personal touches—invaluable relationships, boundless studying and exploring opportunities, and a sense of a connected and compassionate learning environment, which I’m a part of every day—that’s what brought me here, and that’s what will keep a piece of my heart in this place for the rest of my life.” -- Ben Anders

“When I was applying to colleges, I was almost positive I wanted to go to an out-of-state Ivy League, and UNC was actually the only in-state school I applied to. I thought I knew everything about the campus and about the people. I also thought I would have too many connections here, making a college a mere continuation of high school. When I came to visit, however, I discovered I was so wrong. I felt like I already went to school here. And that's when I knew it was a perfect fit.” -–Tori Stillwell

The summer is one of the best times to visit Carolina. The beautiful weather makes it impossible to stay inside and the campus is alive with inspiring students such as Kelsey, Ben, and Tori. They are eager to meet you and chat with you more about Carolina. Schedule your campus visit today. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Want to Join Tar Heel Blog?

We're searching for a few good writers to join us over on Tar Heel Blog. We're losing our dear Katie, who has shared her thoughts on the blog and helped prospective students learn more about Carolina for four years. She graduated in May and is now preparing for an exciting new job in Singapore. We wish her the very best.

We'll probably be bringing a handful of new bloggers on board as we want to continue expanding the Tar Heel Blog and get lots of new perspectives on life at Carolina.

So are you interested? If so, fill out the short form below! Please also email a brief writing sample to me at The writing sample can be one of your college essays or any other short piece that you feel is a good representation of your writing.

***Update: Thanks so much to everyone who applied this year to join the Tar Heel Blog! We've now chosen our new bloggers for the year. Thanks!***

Thursday, June 11, 2009

UNC Homepages Will Be Down July 1 until August

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions will be migrating to a new information system between July 1 and early August. As a result, students’ personal UNC homepages will be unavailable during this time.

We expect to post our new online application once the migration is completed. In the meantime, if you’d like to get an early start, please see our essay prompts.

During the migration, if you’d like to register for a campus tour, please see our Visit page. If you registered for a campus tour before July 1, you do not need to register again.

Thank you for your patience as we bring up our new system. As always, if we may help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

--Stephen Farmer

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Choosing Senior Year Courses

Now that we've wrapped up our work on the class that will enter this fall, we're turning our attention in earnest to the classes that will follow. If you're thinking about applying next year, I hope you've already seen our essay questions, and I wish you luck with them. And if you're still debating which classes you should take, I hope what follows will be helpful.

We generally like to see students take at least one course in each of the five core academic disciplines--English, math, foreign language, lab science, and social science--right through to the end of their senior year. We also like to see students taking the top course offered in most of these disciplines--say, at least four out of the five--by the time they're seniors.

We think this way not because this is a formula that every student must rigidly follow, but because this kind of curriculum comes closer than any other to the kind our students pursue in their first two years at Carolina. And since one purpose of admission is to make a good match between student and school, it makes sense to us to take into account the courses our candidates are taking in high school, and whether those courses match well with the courses we expect students to take at Carolina.

Again, this is general guidance--not a formula, and not a guarantee of any particular outcome, good or bad. Great students may have good and thoughtful reasons for doing something different--and if that's the case, we'd love to hear about those reasons through the applications these students eventually submit.

Good luck this summer, and beyond. And please let us know if we may help you in any way.

--Stephen Farmer

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Transfer Waitlist

Thanks for everyone's patience as we've finalized the transfer waiting list. As I shared earlier this week, we had a very strong response from our admitted students, so unfortunately there have been very few spaces to offer to our waitlisted candidates.

We plan to post final decisions on your homepages by the end of the day tomorrow (Thursday, 6/4). Your official letters will arrive within a day or two after that. In all, we were only able to admit about 15 students from the waitlist. We are keeping about 10 students on the waitlist in the case that additional spaces open up in the next couple weeks. All students will have a decision no later than June 30.

Again, I'm sorry that we've had to disappoint so many of you. We had every hope of having space in the class for you, but we've just had so many talented students interested in Carolina this year. Please let us know how we can help as you move forward with your college careers, and let me know what questions you have.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Final 2010 Essay Questions

Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite essay questions. We've now finalized the seven essay prompts for the 2010 First-Year Application. So now you can spend your entire summer vacation crafting your essays if you like. The rest of the application will be available by mid-August.

Below are the new essay prompts. You'll respond to two of the prompts below. One of your essays should be short (about 250 words), and one essay should be longer(about 500 words).
  1. People find many ways to express their inner world. Some write novels; others paint, perform, or debate; still others design elegant solutions to complex mathematical problems. How do you express your inner world, and how does the world around you respond?
  2. It’s easy to identify with the hero—the literary or historical figure who saves the day. Have you ever identified with a figure who wasn’t a hero—a villain or a scapegoat, a bench-warmer or a bit player? If so, tell us why this figure appealed to you—and if your opinion changed over time, tell us about that, too.
  3. Carolina students conduct original research and work to solve problems in almost every imaginable field. If you could spend a semester researching a specific topic or problem, what would you choose and why?
  4. After your long and happy life, your family must choose no more than a dozen words to adorn your headstone. What do you hope they choose, and why?
  5. 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?
  6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? What’s the best you’ve ever given?
  7. If you have written an essay for another school’s application that you really like, feel free to use it as your short or long 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).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Update for Waitlisted Transfers

I wanted to post a quick update for our waitlisted transfers before leaving for the weekend, though I'm afraid that I don't have specific numbers, or much further information than I have already posted in some previous comments.

Right now, it's looking like we will take only a very small number of students off the transfer waiting list (I know this raises questions, and I wish I could give you a specific number, but the truth is we just don't know yet.) The response from our admitted transfer students, like our first-year students, has been very strong and there just will not be a lot of space in the class.

We hope to resolve the majority of the transfer waitlist within the next week so that as many of you as possible will have a final decision. Most likely, though, we will not be able to post these decisions online or print letters before the end of next week at the earliest.

I will post more information as I have it. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome to our new website!

If you’ve visited the Admissions website before today, you might notice that it's been completely revamped. This work has been an exciting endeavor for us, and we hope that you like our “new look.” Many of you helped shape our new site by responding to a special poll we posted on this blog earlier in the year asking for your opinions. We thank you for your input, and we hope that you'll continue to help us refine it over the next year.

While the site includes many new features—such as improved navigation for prospective and admitted students and the “Ask Admissions” tool—the most prominent change is the spotlight we’ve placed on Carolina’s strongest asset: our talented and diverse student body. From the homepage to the interior pages, you’ll have the opportunity to experience Carolina through the faces and words of our students themselves. We encourage you to visit our new and improved “Life” section for a firsthand glimpse at some of Carolina’s most accomplished and passionate students. And stay tuned for more because we hope to add video clips of these same students over the summer.

And whether you like to “scroll” or “click,” you’ll also be able to continue to check up on some familiar faces, specifically the students who post on Tar Heel Blog, from any of the main pages. (For example, select “Tar Heel Blog” from the prospective or admitted student scroll-down menus). We also hope you will continue to visit us for the latest news from our office, which we’ll continue to post on the Admissions Blog.

While our look may have changed, please know that our commitment to you remains the same. In all that we do, we want to continue to serve you. We want to help you get to know us by telling you the truth about Carolina and answering any questions you may have, no matter where you are in your college journey. Please continue to post on the blog, or email or call us with your questions.

We hope you enjoy our new look, and that you continue to keep in touch with us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First-Year Waitlist Update

Many of you who were waiting patiently on our waiting list have now received a final answer, and I wanted to provide some context and a little more information. First off, thanks so much to all of you who have waited patiently on the waiting list. We truly appreciate how you have stuck with us through the spring, and I'm so sorry that we can't give you better news.

The response from the students we admitted this year has been extremely strong, so I am sorry to share the news that we have admitted very, very few students from the waiting list. I know this is disappointing news for all of you, and I am so sorry to have to give it.

Please know that the very fact that we placed you on our waiting list is evidence of our high regard for your abilities and potential, and also of our wish that we had room in the class for every single one of you. Unfortunately we have a limited number of spaces, and we believe we have filled them.

The majority of our waitlisted students now have a final decision on their homepage (as of late Tuesday afternoon). We wanted to go ahead and release the bulk of our waitlist as we anticipate having so little space in the class this year. We want you all to have the closure that you need as soon as possible.

We are keeping a small group of students on the waitlist in the event that additional spaces open up over the next month, though there will probably be very few spaces given how tight the class is this year. If a waitlist letter reappeared on your homepage, you are in this group of students. We promise to let you know your final decision by June 30, if not before.

I wish you all the very best as you embark on your college careers. If you still have your heart set on Carolina, please feel free to contact us about how you might prepare yourself for transfer admission next year. We are here to help. I also apologize for the lack of information lately on the blog. Waiting lists are such difficult things to predict, and I wanted to be sure I had reliable information. I wanted to be able to provide some definitive answers for you. I'm sorry for any extra anxiety it may have caused.

Please let me know what questions you have.


P.S. For those of you who are waiting patiently on the transfer waiting list, I’ll have to ask a little more patience from you. I’ll update you as soon as I have some reliable information, probably by the end of the week. Thanks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Enrolling Transfers: Chat Online with Current Students!

A special committee of the Student Government has put together a new program for enrolling transfer students. Current UNC students will be available online to chat with new students about campus life, academics, and more. The program starts today and will run through the summer. Go online to get your questions answered and meet some of your new fellow students at Carolina! Here is the information from their website with full details and how to log on:
A pilot program for new students begins Friday, May 1st. Student leaders across Carolina will operate an AIM screen-name, UNCTransfers, to answer the questions of newly accepted students about student life, professors, restaurants, childcare, parking, and brick-tripping finesse.

It is staffed 7 days a week:
Sunday through Thursday 1-7 pm
Friday and Saturday 1-5 pm.
Log on and get plugged in!

De-stressing During Exam Time...

I think the Library Flash Mob Rave is becoming an exam-time tradition.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

First-Years: Enrollment Deadline is Tomorrow!

The enrollment deadline for admitted first-year students is tomorrow, May 1. You'll need to enroll online by 5:00 pm (Eastern Time) on Friday, or postmark your paper reply form by May 1.

Choosing a college can be a complicated decision and every student goes through this decision-making process in his or her own way. I hope each of you feels happy and confident with the choice you're making, and excited about your plans for next year. Of course, we hope you'll choose Carolina because we know that you'll do amazing things here, things we haven't even imagined. Over on the Tar Heel Blog, our student bloggers have been posting about their own college decisions. Katie writes that she visited four times before making up her mind--even visiting once in the rain to be sure it wasn't just the beautiful scenery that was drawing her to Carolina! Check out how a few of our current students made the decision, and why they're happy they did.

Any last-minute questions? Ask them now!

**Update: I'm sorry all, please note that you will only be able to enroll online until 5:00 pm today (Friday, May 1). I had originally posted that you could enroll until midnight, I apologize for the error!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2010 Essay Questions

We're contemplating essay questions for next year's application, and we'd love your feedback! Which questions do you like? Which would help inspire you to write a great essay? Comments and suggestions are also very welcome.

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting the Fall 2010 first-year application, the online application will be up in mid-August. At that time, you'll also be able to request a paper application or download a PDF from our website.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Update: Transfers

Hi all!

A few updates on transfer decisions, as we've been getting a number of calls this morning from students. I've posted some questions and answers in the next post (below) for admitted students.

The application numbers I posted on Thursday were only for transfer applicants to the College of Arts and Sciences, so I'm sorry if that caused any confusion. When we include students applying to the professional schools, we had 3,683 applications in all. We have currently admitted about 1,120. We also kept a moderately-sized waitlist, so it's possible that we'll make additional offers of admission this summer. This year we saw a fairly substantial increase in the number of applicants, about 17% more than last year. Consequently, the competition was quite stiff, and we had to turn away many students that we know would have made great additions to our community. Overall, the average GPA for our admitted transfer students was about 3.4, and the average SAT was 1238. PLEASE keep in mind, though, that our review is a holisitic one, and we consider everything we know about a student as we make decisions. Those numbers don't tell the whole story of any student. We read your applications cover-to-cover multiple times, and in the end, we had to make many difficult decisions because we had so many talented applicants.

For those of you who have been placed on the waitlist, we're sorry to extend the suspense. You can accept a position on the waitlist by following the instructions in the decision letter on your homepage. If we're able to admit students off the waitlist, we'll only do so after the May 11 enrollment deadline. We'll review the entire waitlist as a group. We may make several waves of offers, and we probably won't be able to make any offers before the end of May. We'll let everyone know the final decision on their application by June 30.

What else can you do? I'm sorry to say not much. We just need time to see how many students respond to our offer of admission, and how many additional spaces may open up. At the end of your semester, please send us a transcript that will show the final grades of any courses you're currently enrolled in. That's all the information we need.

No decision yet?
It seems from the comments that there are a number of transfer students who aren't seeing their decision online yet. If that's the case, please don't panic. It's not bad news, it just means that we don't have your decision ready yet. It's possible that some of your materials were submitted late, or we just needed additional information before we could make a decision on your application. If you applied to one of the professional schools (Nursing, Education, Dental Hygiene, etc), your letters may arrive at a different time than the bulk of our transfer applicants who apply to the College of Arts and Sciences.

If your decision isn't up yet, please be patient as we continue our work of reading your application. If you are concerned that we may not have received all of your application materials, you can give our office a call to check on the status of your application.


Admitted Transfer Q&A

Hi all! We're getting lots of questions via blog comments, email, and phone, so here are some of the most frequently-asked questions, and the answers!

When will I get my decision letter in the mail?
It should be arriving any day now, if you haven't already gotten it. The package will also include a handy brochure that will tell you everything you need to know about orientation, housing, all that good stuff. There's also a list of Next Steps that will help guide you through enrolling and arranging housing, etc.

When's the enrollment deadline?
May 11

When will I receive the official evaluation of my transfer credits?
You'll receive a letter containing your official evaluation by the end of the month (probably sooner for most of you).

When will I receive my financial aid package?
Within the next two weeks. Check out the letter from financial aid that arrives with your admission letter in the mail. It has important information about how to create your ONYEN, get an email address, and check your financial aid status online.

Can I defer the enrollment deposit and still apply for housing?
Yes. You'll need to select that option when you reply to our offer either online or by mail. Once we receive and process your reply, you will be able to apply for housing and register for orientation. Please note that there is no housing deposit required, but there is a cancellation penalty if you withdraw your housing application. There should be plenty of housing for all the transfer students who wish to live on campus, so don't worry about rushing to apply. There is plenty of time to fill out the application.

When will I be able to register for classes?
Once your enrollment deposit has been processed, the Advising office will assign you an advisor and it's highly recommended that you speak with this advisor either on the phone or in person before registering. The Office of Academic Advising has a great Transfer Guide that is extremely helpful. This will walk you through how advisors will be assigned, how you can register for classes, the curriculum, and graduation requirements. You'll want to register for classes before TSOP, but keep in mind that you can always tweak your schedule during the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester.

What will Transfer orientation (TSOP) be like?
Transfer orientation is a one-day program offered on two different dates during the summer. You'll get to meet students, tour campus, talk to advisors, and learn about housing, study abroad, research opportunities and more. Orientation is not required for transfer students, but I definitely recommend it as it's a great way to get to know campus.

What other questions do you have? Post them in the comments, and we'll respond asap. Thanks!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thank you transfer applicants

Transfer decisions will be up by the end of the day, but I first wanted to thank you all for applying. We are honored by every application we receive, and we work so hard to ensure that each applicant receives a thoughtful, thorough review. We read your essays and your stories. We study your academic record and the path you've traveled. We truly enjoy getting to know you through your application.

And while we love admitting transfer students for the unique perspectives they bring to our community, we are faced with the reality that we have many more qualified applicants than spaces to offer to transfer students. And this year, the competition for those spaces was stronger than ever. We received just under 3,000 applications, which was an increase over last year by 17%. We'll admit around 950 of those students. The applicant pool was exceptionally strong this year, and we had to make many, many, many tough decisions.

What questions do you have? How can we help? Our office is closed tomorrow for the Spring holiday, so please post your questions here and we'll respond to them as soon as we can.

Thanks again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

National Champions!

(photo courtesy of the Daily Tar Heel)
This is a very happy campus today. Check out the Daily Tar Heel for photos and videos of the game and all the celebrations. You can also see a very cool panoramic photo from the News and Observer. They're reporting that about 45,000 people gathered on Franklin Street to celebrate the victory. One of the more impressive displays of Carolina spirit! Go Heels!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Transfer Decisions will be up April 9

Decisions will be available on your homepage by 5:00 pm (Eastern Time) on Thursday, April 9. Your official letters will arrive in the mail within a few days of that.

We are honored by every single application we receive, and we strive to give each one as thoughtful and as thorough a review as we can. I think we all really enjoy reading transfer applications--the diversity of your backgrounds and experiences is tremendous and we recognize how much your unique perspectives can contribute to our community.

Thank you! Please let us know if you have questions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Q&A: Admitted Students

This comment stream will be dedicated to admitted student questions. Have questions about Explore Carolina or other admitted student events? Questions about housing, orientation, laptops? Just want to say hey to other admitted students? Go crazy. I hope you'll also visit our Tar Heel Blog, where 12 current students post about their experiences here. They love getting comments and are happy to answer any questions you have. Get to know some of your fellow Tar Heels!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Q&A: Waitlist

Each year we ask a group of applicants to accept a position on our waitlist in the case that we have additional places in the class. If you've been offered a position on the waitlist, then congratulations. I know it's not the answer that you were hoping for, but it is evidence of our high regard for your abilities and potential. You are a student that we would love to have here, and we believe you would make many positive contributions to our community. Unfortunately, each year it seems there are more qualified students than we have room for in the first-year class.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the waitlist, but if you have additional questions, please use the comment stream and we'll respond asap!

How do I accept a position on the waitlist?
All you need to do is click the link that has appeared on your homepage (no later than May 7). There's nothing else you need to do. If you still haven't heard from us by the end of your school year, you can submit your final transcript. You also should begin making plans to enroll at another college. If we are able to offer admission to students off the waitlist, we will not do so before mid-May. You need to have other options available to you.

How do you make decisions about admission from the waitlist?
Usually about half of the students we offer a spot on the waitlist accept a position. After the May 1 enrollment deadline, we decide how many (if any) places we have left in the class. At that point we review all the waitlist applicants as a group. We may make several waves of offers through May and June to fill out the class. All students will know their final decision by June 30.

Statistics, please!
In the previous post we got a lot of requests for statistics. As Erin posted in a previous comment, we admitted about 200 of our first-deadline deferred students; about 1680 were waitlisted. Overall, we offered waitlist positions to about 1,200 North Carolina students and about 1,280 out-of-state students. We received just over 23,000 applications in all, which was an increase of almost 8% over last year.

Last year, we waitlisted 2,328 students. 1,420 accepted a place on the waitlist, and 453 were admitted. In 2007, we waitlisted 2,063 students. 1,240 accepted a place on the waitlist, and 226 were admitted. It really does vary quite a bit from year to year, which means you should take these statistics with a grain of salt. And like most colleges around the country, we're still waiting to see how much of an effect the economy has on students' decisions.

What is the new transfer-guarantee program?
This year, we will be offering a pilot program that will guarantee sophomore transfer admission to a small group of students who accept a position on the waitlist, but who we are not able to admit into the first-year class. The Daily Tar Heel recently reported on the program. Students who are chosen for the program will be notified this summer. The program was only recently approved by the faculty, so I'll be sure to share more details about the program as we have them.

Other questions?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Decisions will be posted Friday afternoon

Decisions will show up on your homepage by 5:00pm, and your letters should arrive by early next week. We ask that you please be patient as you log onto your homepage. During these busiest times for the homepage system, our servers can run a bit slowly.

Please also note that all decisions from first deadline have been taken down from homepages as we prepare to post everyone's decisions on Friday. For those of you who were deferred after first deadline, your defer letter has disappeared and will be replaced with a new letter on Friday.

We are honored by every application that we receive, and we work very hard to ensure that each one receives a full and fair consideration. We have to disappoint many students, and for that we are truly sorry. But we want you to know how grateful we are for each and every student who shows an interest in Carolina. So thank you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Wednesday night I ventured over to Carroll Hall to hear the famed Mark Strand give a free public reading of some of his poetry. I figured it isn't every day I get the opportunity to hear a former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner.

Strand will be this year’s Morgan Writer-in-Residence at UNC. The Morgan Writer-in-Residence Program was established in 1993 to bring writers of distinction to UNC. I read up on the Morgan Writer-in-Residence program and found out that previous writers-in-resident have included Alice McDermott, Annie Dillard, Rita Dove, Robert Hass, Tim O’Brien and Robert Pinsky.

I arrived with my good friend Drew Bird, a medical resident at Duke Hospital and siddled up to the front of the auditorium looking to snatch the best seat possible. There were several rows carefully partitioned off for the distinguished guests that had come to hear the night's reading. I looked for where the commoners were offered seating and was delighted when I found a few openings on the third row. I settled in and waited for this distinguised giant of the world of poetry to take the stage.

When I first laid eyes upon him, I was taken aback by how tall he was. As he walked to the podium his long strides took him there in half the time it would have for most of the room. He peered at us from behind his glasses. He was very comfortable. Without much fanfare or preface, he began to read. I found it difficult to appreciate his poetry by merely hearing it. I don't doubt it is of the utmost quality. However, I found myself wishing I could read it simultaneously while listening to it. I wondered if I was the only one who felt that way. I looked around the room and found most everyone perched on the edge of their seat, wistfully eyeing this metaphorical and physical giant, absorbing his measured voice the way one would listen to God Himself. I felt awkward. Why wasn't I enjoying this as much as others?

I ended up enjoying the question and answer portion far more than his readings. He was asked "do you know what you are going to say before you say it?" He replied that he only starts with a word, or a theme, and then develops it into presentable prose. I have found myself employing the same technique. Hmm... maybe I'm on track to being a U.S. poet Laureate some day. He answered a few more questions (I was quite astounded at how well-read many of our students were in the audience... they not only knew Mark Strand's poetry but who had influenced Mark Strand's poetry!) Incredible.

After a rousing applause, Drew and I decided not to wait in line to speak with him, but called it a night and left. However, when I got home, I found myself strikingly moved to write some myself. So I fired up the lap top and found an old poem I wrote 10 years ago. The rest of the evening was spent lost in a world I had created some 10 years ago. That was a good night....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Transfer Applications Due Monday!

Hello! Sorry for my long absence, but it's been a busy few weeks in the Admissions Office. We are just about finished reading first-year applications, though it will be a couple more weeks before we are able to finalize decisions on our second-deadline and deferred candidates. I'm sorry that I don't have any more news for those of you that are awaiting decisions, but grant us a little more time and we'll be sure to let you all know as soon as we can. I can tell you that we are on schedule for releasing second deadline decisions, so you will certainly hear from us no later than March 20.

The application deadline for transfer admission is right around the corner--12:00 midnight EST this Monday, March 2. Each year we admit around 900 transfer students to join the sophomore and junior classes. I really enjoy reading transfer applications and it's always a great way to end our reading season. Transfer students tend to have such interesting stories--many are non-traditional students going back to school after a long break, some have been in the military or workforce, some are taking a second crack at admission to Carolina having been denied the first time around, while others have just decided that they're ready for a change and Carolina offers them opportunities they'd like to take advantage of. We love this diversity and we know it enriches our campus with a multitude of fresh perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences.

Also coming up is the March 1 financial aid deadline! This is an extremely important deadline for both first-year and transfer applicants. You'll need to complete both the FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE by March 1 to receive full consideration for aid. Visit the Student Aid office to learn more.

Please let us know what questions you have!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Math Placement Tests

We’ve had quite a few questions recently from admitted students about the Math 2 subject test. As you read in the admitted student guide that came with your letter of admission, we strongly encourage you to take the Math SAT 2 subject test before orientation. All of the majors at Carolina require a quantitative reasoning course and many of these courses require a math placement score, though there are a few that do not. It's best to have a placement score on file in case the major you choose has specific math requirements.

An AP Calculus score is a fine substitute for the Math 2 test, however we don’t receive those scores until late summer, so you may not be able to register for the math course you want during your CTOPS orientation session.

If you already have an AP Calc score--for instance, if you took the exam junior year--you can use that score for placement at CTOPS. Just be sure to have the official scores sent to UNC-CH. (Keep in mind that you can only get math placement from the AP Calc test with a score of 2 or better.)

If you are unable to take the Math 2 subject test before CTOPS, no need to panic though! Although it may limit your ability to register for a math course during CTOPS, you can always take the test later (or wait for your AP scores in late summer). Depending on when you take the test, you can either register late for a first-semester course, or wait until second semester to take the course that requires a placement score.

Hope this clears up some of the confusion, but please let us know if you have further questions.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More snow!

More snow pictures. Because this doesn't happen every day here!

I'm not sure what hill they were bound for, but they seem properly equipped with sleds. I saw a number of less-prepared students toting cardboard boxes and cafeteria trays.

I like the creative usage of dining hall materials here.

Old Well, beautiful in the snow

And our own tour guide Awika, braving the snow with a group of visitors on a campus tour. We had a number of visitors this morning--and some of them stayed after the information session to watch the Inauguration and President Obama's address with us on the big-screen televisions in our lobby.

Happy Inauguration Day! For those of you in North Carolina, I hope you are spending it playing in the snow or cuddled up in front of a fire!


It's snowing here in Chapel Hill. The campus, always beautiful, is blanketed in a gorgeous white covering. Classes are still on, and our office is still open. We are slightly understaffed, so please be patient if you give us a call. For those of you in the area, enjoy your snow day!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why We Care About Schedule Changes--And Why You Should, Too

Each year around this time--just after we've posted first-deadline decisions--we start hearing from students who want to change their senior schedules.

We completely understand why students who’ve just been admitted to Carolina may want to celebrate by lightening their load. But we think that these schedule changes are generally a bad idea, for three reasons.

First—if you’ll excuse the analogy—getting ready for college is very much like getting ready for the Olympics: if you want to do your best, you have to keep training. If Michael Phelps had stopped swimming eight months before Beijing, he probably would have still made it to the end of the pool. But he’d also probably be eight medals shy of where he is today.

Second, changing schedules after you’ve been admitted isn’t fair to the 8,807 students who haven’t been admitted. When we read applications, strength of curriculum weighs heavily in our decisions. When admitted students decide to drop a course or two, they undermine one of the main reasons why we offered them admission in the first place.

Which leads to Third: when admitted students change their schedules without first receiving permission from us, they run the risk of having their admission revoked.

Not all schedule changes are equal. Shifting from Basketweaving to Knitting is one thing; dropping AP Calculus is another. Regardless, students who’ve been admitted, or students who have an application that we’re still considering, need to write to us before they make the change, so that we can help them sort out the possible consequences.

If you’re considering changing your schedule for the upcoming semester, please email us at Include your original schedule, what you’re adding/dropping, and a brief explanation for the change. We promise to get back to you within two business days.

--Stephen Farmer

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Final Application Deadline Extended

This week has been a busy one for the UNC Homepage system. Many, many students logging in simultaneously has put it through quite a workout. We apologize for those of you who had delays logging in to see your decisions yesterday, not to mention those of you who were putting the final touches on your second deadline applications in order to meet today's deadline.

To accommodate those of you who have not yet submitted your applications, we have decided to extend the deadline until Tuesday, January 20 at 8am EST. Hopefully this will reduce some of the stress of finishing up, and let you complete and submit your applications with confidence.

We really appreciate everyone's patience during this busy time. Thank you!


FAQs for Deferred and Admitted Students

I thought I'd give the answers to some of the questions that popped up in the last post's comment stream, as I am sure there are many other people who have similar questions!

For deferred students:

First off, sorry to extend your wait. We hate to do it, but we just need more time with your applications. We need to see what our second deadline brings and how our entire pool of applicants shapes up. We really appreciate you hanging in with us.

This morning we posted a full FAQ for deferred students. Here are the highlights:

How do I submit my first semester grades?
In about a week, we'll send you an email which will give you all the directions. A new link will appear on your homepage that will allow you to self-report your mid-year grades. Please do not ask your counselor to report these grades and do not send them by email or mail. Just enter them on your homepage--it's very easy.

Is there anything else I can do to help my chances?
Submit your grades, and you really don't need to do anything else. There's no need to send additional letters or other materials. We have all the information that we need, we just need more time to consider it all within the context of our entire applicant pool. If you take the SAT or ACT again, just ask the testing center to send us the scores.

How many students were deferred?
This year we deferred the decisions of 2,429 applicants, or 18% of the 13,692 who applied.

What are my chances of being admitted?
This is very very difficult to predict. Every year is different and it depends on a number of factors. But to give you some idea of what's happened in the past, last year we deferred 2,286 applicants and were able to eventually offer admission to 328. The year before, we deferred the decisions of 2,206 students and were able to admit 316.

For admitted students:

When do we hear about the Honors Program?
Invitations to the Honors Program will go out in early February.

When we will hear about financial aid?
The priority deadline for financial aid is March 1, and the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid will begin notifying students of award packages in April.

Can I register for housing even if I have not decided yet whether I will attend Carolina?
The Housing Office is not requiring a housing deposit this year. You just need to apply online--and you can apply as soon as your enrollment and $100 enrollment deposit have been processed (it takes about a week if you pay online, a little longer if you send a check). However, although there is no deposit for housing, you will be charged a $200 cancellation fee if you cancel your housing application. So if you are unsure about whether you will enroll, I would recommend waiting on housing. So long as you submit your housing application by May 15, you will be included with the first group of students to be assigned housing.

Let me know if you have additional questions!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Next Steps

As many of you already know, we're posting first-deadline decisions today at 4 pm. This simple act--turning a switch, really--will be the culmination of three months of intensive effort on the part of the staff here in Jackson Hall. More important, it will be the culmination of nearly thirteen years of work on the part of our candidates, who have in some ways been preparing for this moment from the time they entered kindergarten.

To those who've been admitted: we congratulate you and hope you'll choose to join us. If you're undecided, we hope you'll visit, so that you can see Chapel Hill with your own eyes and make a thoughtful and well-informed choice.

To those who haven't: we're sorry we couldn't give you the news you'd hoped for and in a better world would have received. If your heart is truly set on Carolina, we hope you'll work closely with us towards your admission after one or two years elsewhere.

To all: thank you for how hard you've worked and how patient you've been, and thank you for letting us get to know you through your applications. I promise you we haven't taken lightly--not for a minute, not for a second--the trust you've placed in us.

Whether your news is good or bad, we wish you every success, and we hope you will call on us if we may help you in any way.

--Stephen Farmer

Monday, January 12, 2009

4 p.m. on Wednesday

As of a few minutes ago, we’ve confirmed that we’re on track to release decisions online at 4 pm on Wednesday, January 14.

If you applied first deadline and completed your application in good order, you’ll be able to log onto your UNC homepage and view a facsimile of your decision letter. Official letters should start arriving by U.S. mail on Thursday, January 15. Please note that, to protect the privacy of our candidates, we can’t release decisions by telephone or by email.

We know that each of these decisions will shape the life of someone who lives and breathes. We also know that each of these someones is infinitely more interesting, complicated, and promising than we can imagine.

If choosing among such wonderful students is a humbling and terrifying challenge, it is also a great privilege. So thank you, candidates, for giving us this opportunity; for trusting us enough to let us glimpse your great potential; and for bearing with us over the course of the last two weeks, when the tension has understandably been high.

--Stephen Farmer

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Poetry of Admissions

This is a tough week for our candidates, as anyone who’s followed this blog already knows. First-deadline students are sweating out their decisions, which should arrive on or around January 15. Second-deadline students are sweating out their applications, which are due on the same day.

It’s probably na├»ve to think that we can do anything to relieve the stress that everyone’s feeling. But maybe we can at least distract ourselves—and since the subject of poetry already came up in my previous entry, maybe that’s as good a place as any to start.

Do you know of any poems that remind you of college admissions—that evoke the experience of searching for a school, writing an application, waiting for a decision? In my last post I mentioned “A Psalm of Life,” the overwrought poem by Longfellow that made such an impression on me in middle school. Can you think of any others?

How about the opening words of Roethke’s “Open House”—

My secrets cry aloud.
I have no need for tongue.
My heart keeps open house,
My doors are widely swung.

—which seem to capture pretty well the same longing to be known fully and fairly that applicants often seem to feel?

Or how about the last stanza of Yeats’s “Under Ben Bulben”—

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!

—which some have read as a bracing expression of stoic resignation—the knowing peace that can come when we realize that our fate is out of our hands?

I’m sure others can think of better examples than these; why don’t you give it a try? At the least, we’ll have all gotten ourselves a few minutes closer to January 15.

Best wishes to all.

--Stephen Farmer

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I’ve heard there are various rumors going around about when we’ll post our first-deadline decisions online. Depending on the rumor, we’re set to post yesterday, today, or tomorrow, or maybe this Friday, January 9, at 4 or 5 or 6 pm.

These rumors are completely understandable, but they’re all off base. While it’s true that we’ve been able to finish our work a week or two early in each of the last four years, this year we’re only running right on schedule. We plan to let everyone know on or around Thursday, January 15, as we originally promised.

Please know that we don’t take lightly the anxiety that our candidates are feeling. I promise we won’t take a minute more than we need.

--Stephen Farmer