Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A New Year...and Common App FAQs

It’s the first week of classes and campus is bustling. I walked by the Old Well on my way back from lunch yesterday and there was a whole line of students getting ready to take their lucky first sip from the fountain. (It’s a tradition on the first day of classes: drink from the Old Well for good luck all year. I went ahead and took a sip too. It couldn’t hurt, right?)

Here in the admissions office, with our new first-year class settled onto campus, we’re turning our attention toward the prospective students of the class of 2016. If you’re a rising senior getting ready to apply to Carolina, hello! We’re excited to work with you this year and we’re looking forward to receiving your application and learning more about you.

For those of you who are new to the blog, let me introduce myself. I’m Julie Tucker, an Assistant Director here in the Admissions Office. I, with the help of several of my fellow admissions counselors, have the great pleasure of posting what we hope is helpful information here on the blog, and we do our best to respond to all of the questions and comments that you post. I don’t always know the answers to your questions but I have gotten pretty good at scouting them out. This usually involves me pestering my coworkers. Luckily they are quite patient with me.

We’re already getting a number of questions from students who have started working on their applications, so I thought I’d share some FAQs. If you have additional questions, please let us know in the comments. (Please do read through all the FAQs and comments before you post your question though. You can also look for the answer to your question in Ask Admissions. You may well find the answer is already online!)

Should I apply through the Common Application or through the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC)?
You can choose whichever is more convenient for you. The questions and requirements are the same, so it does not matter to us which you choose. You’ll want to find out whether the other colleges you’re planning to apply to accept either of these applications, as that may help you decide which application to complete.

(If you’re a transfer applicant, check out our Transfer page to find out which application you should use.)

What are the deadlines?
Our deadlines have changed a bit this year, so view our deadlines here. Not sure which deadline to choose? Check out this post, where I wrote about the difference between our two deadlines.

How do I submit my supplemental materials?
When you complete either the Common Application or the CFNC application online, the instructions will give you full details on how to submit your counselor statement, teacher recommendation, and transcript.

If you’re applying through the Common Application, you’ll indicate on the application which teacher(s) and counselor will submit materials on your behalf. You’ll enter their email contact information, and the Common App will send them instructions on how to submit the materials. They’ll submit the information directly to the Common App, so they’ll only have to upload it once no matter how many schools you apply to. You’ll want to touch base with your teacher and counselor to make sure they’ve gotten the email from the Common App, and they are all set to submit the materials.

If you’re submitting a CFNC application, you’ll need to ask your teacher and counselor to submit these materials directly to us. Your teacher may submit the letter of recommendation by email ( or by mail. Your counselor may submit your Counselor Statement and official transcript through a secure electronic delivery service (Docufide or Naviance), or they may be mailed to us. Talk to your counselor to find out which method he/she prefers.

How many letters of recommendation should I send?
We only require one letter and generally find one letter to be sufficient. However, if you’d like to submit additional letters, you’re welcome to do so.

Can I submit additional materials (resume, etc?)
You’re welcome to submit additional materials by sending them directly to us by email ( or by mail. Keep in mind these materials can’t be returned and we can’t view any multimedia materials submitted by mail (CDs, DVDs, bulky portfolios, etc). If you’d like to share artwork or multimedia work, the best method is to display it online through a website, blog, or online portfolio. You can then include the URL in your application.

Whenever you submit materials to us by mail or email, it’s very helpful if you include your full name and date of birth, so we can easily match it to your application.

How many essays are required?
Check out this post for a full listing of our essay prompts. You’ll choose one prompt from the Common App, and one prompt from our supplemental form. (If you are applying through CFNC, all of these prompts are listed on the main CFNC application, and you’ll choose two.)

When will you receive my application?
Whether you apply through the Common App or CFNC, we won’t receive any of your application information until 1-2 weeks after you submit your application online. After we receive your application, we’ll send you an email with instructions on how to set up your MyUNC account. You’ll be able to track the status of your application and, when the time comes, view your decision through MyUNC.

What do I do if I have technical problems as I complete the Common App?
The Common App has a huge online help database called the Knowledge Base. It is full of helpful information. If you don’t find the answer to your question there, you can contact them online for more help.

What other questions do you have? Please let us know!