Thursday, September 29, 2011

On the Road This Week

Travel season continues and our recruiters are traveling far and wide. Here are a few highlights of where we’ll be in the coming week:

Along with UVa, Emory, and Notre Dame, we’re hosting receptions across the Midwest and Deep South next week. Sr. Assistant Director Dave Meredith will be in Memphis, Little Rock, New Orleans, Jackson, and Mobile. Associate Director Andrea Felder will be in Lexington, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Tulsa. Learn more and RSVP.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, Sr. Assistant Director Damon Toone will be in New York at the NACAC Long Island National College Fair.

We’ll be at three major CACRAO fairs this week:
  • Winston-Salem on Mon, Oct. 3. Assistant Directors Jazmin Garcia Smith and Kendra Lawrence will be at the Benton Convention Center from 5-8pm.
  • Fayetteville on Tues, Oct. 4. Assistant Director Melissa Kotacka and Admissions Representative Kellie Bennett will be at the Crown Coliseum from 4-8pm. 
  • Greensboro on Tues, Oct. 4. Assistant Director Jazmin Garcia Smith and I will be at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex from 5-8pm. (Now, I don’t normally do college fairs. I’m more of a behind-the-scenes communications person in the office. And I’m told these large CACRAO fairs can be crazy busy, so frankly, I'm a little nervous. I’ll be the blonde at the UNC table with the deer-in-the-headlights expression. Do come and say hello to me!)
And last but not least, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, we’re hosting a reception for prospective students at Greensboro Day School from 7-9pm. Assistant Director Kendra Lawrence will be there to answer all your questions about Carolina and applying for admission. Open to all. Please RSVP here.

As always, for the full list of our upcoming travels, visit Tar Heels in Your Town. We hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Consider Applying for a Global Gap Year Fellowship

Have you ever considered a gap year? More and more students in the U.S. are deciding to postpone college for one year in order to pursue travel, community service, work, or a mixture of the three. A year away from a traditional school setting allows students to gain life experience, become more independent, and re-energize before entering college. Many students choose to spend their gap year on service projects, either abroad or in their own communities, while others work to earn money for college. Most students choose to travel for at least part of their gap year.

This year, UNC will be selecting seven incoming first-year students for a Global Gap Year Fellowship. The fellowship provides $7,500 to each student for use toward a gap year that combines global travel with volunteer service. Current UNC students and the Campus Y help Gap Year Fellows prepare for their year abroad and integrate that experience into their education when they return to campus.

A group of current UNC students who took a gap year have formed a student organization called GAPPL -- the Gap Year People. Their website has lots of info and resources for students who are considering a gap year. They even have a whole section for parents--mostly dealing with how to talk them into it!

Conor Farese, a student who graduated from UNC this past spring, was very active in promoting gap years through GAPPL. During his gap year, Conor had an internship with a ceramicist in Florida, worked to earn money while living with relatives in Georgia, did a NOLS course in coastal sailing in Baja California, then traveled to Tanzania on a service trip. Just hearing about Conor's experiences during his gap year always gave me goose bumps. Read more about his experiences here.

Only students who are admitted under Early Action will be eligible for the Global Gap Year Fellowship, so that means if you're interested in the fellowship you need to submit your application for admission by October 15. In early February, we'll be sending all newly-admitted students information on how to apply for the fellowship.

So if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Our Newest Students

Our newest students are now a month into their lives at Carolina. It's high time we introduced them to you.

I wish we could help you know them as we're coming to know them -- as the lively people we see walking back and forth to class, or laughing with friends in the Pit, or hunkering down in one of our libraries, or playing pickup soccer at Hooker Fields.

If you visit us here in Chapel Hill -- and we hope you will -- you'll see them this way, too. But for right now, here's a brief profile of the class that just entered.

These numbers can't do justice to our students, for reasons that Julie has already suggested in her excellent post about GPA. But they'll help you get to know them a little better, at least until you come see us.

Until then, we wish you all the best.


Applied 23,753
Admitted 7,469 (31% of those applying; 52% of NC applicants, 18% of others)
Enrolled 4,025 (54% of those admitted; 66% of NC admits, 31% of others)

1st in high-school class 7% (of the 74% whose schools reported rank)
2nd in high-school class 6%
1st-10th in high-school class 43%
Top 10% in high-school class 80%
Top 20% in high-school class 95%

Average high-school GPA 4.5 (of the 91% whose schools reported 4.0 GPAs)
High-school GPA of 4.0+ 90%

25th-75th percentiles
--SAT Critical Reading 590-700
--SAT Math 610-710
--SAT Writing 590-690
--ACT Composite 28-32

U.S. citizens 96%
Permanent residents 2%
Non-resident aliens 2%
Women 58% / Men 42%
First-generation college 18%
Carolina Covenant Scholars 12%
States represented 40 (plus North Carolina and the District of Columbia)
North Carolina counties represented 95
Countries represented 21 (plus the United States)
Sons or daughters of UNC alumni 18%

Native American 2%
Asian/Asian American 12%
Black/African American 11%
Hispanic/Latina/Latino 7%
Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander Less than 1%

Applied 2,848
Admitted 1,048 (37% of those applying; 28% of sophomores, 45% of juniors)
Enrolled 680 (65% of those admitted)

Average college GPA 3.6
Average SAT (Critical Reading and Math) -- sophomores only 1247

U.S. citizens 84%
Permanent residents 5%
Non-resident aliens 11%
Women 51% / Men 49%
First-generation college 24%
Carolina Covenant Scholars 12%
Non-traditionally aged 26%
From North Carolina community colleges 25%
Carolina Transfer Student Excellence Program (C-STEP) 5%

Native American 2%
Asian/Asian American 16%
Black/African American 8%
Hispanic/Latino/Latina 9%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander Less than 1%

On the Road This Week

Fall is travel time for our recruiters and this week many of them will be out on the road talking with students around the state, country, and world. Here are some highlights of our travels this week. For the full list, visit Tar Heels in Your Town.
  • CHARLOTTE: Sat, Sept. 24: Assistant Director Patty Baum will be at the Charlotte Hispanic College Fair at Garinger High School. 
  • NEW YORK: Sun, Sept 25: Sr Assistant Director Damon Toone will be at the Fall College EXPO at SUNY College at Old Westbury.
  • LONDON: Week of 9/25: Associate Director Andrea Felder will be visiting schools in and around London, and will be representing UNC at the USA College Day Fair at Kensington Town Hall on Sunday, Oct. 1. 
  • NEW ORLEANS: Mon, Sept. 26: Assistant Director Melissa Kotacka will be at the NACAC New Orleans National College Fair.
  • GREENVILLE, NC: Thurs, Sept. 29: Admissions Representative Mollie Throneburg will be at the CACRAO College Fair at Greenville Convention Center 6:30-8:30 pm.
Come out and meet us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Your GPA Doesn't Tell Us

GPA is a tricky number. When a student tells me what her high-school GPA is, I respond with a blank stare. I usually just make a non-committal noise in my throat and say, “OK. Now tell me what kind of courses you’re taking and what kind of grades you’re getting.” As a college admissions counselor, GPA tells me almost nothing because GPAs vary wildly from school to school. Some schools use a 4.0 scale; others use a 100-point scale. Some schools weight both Honors and AP courses; others don’t weight any courses at all. Some schools offer every AP and IB course ever invented; others offer none. So GPA is, from our point of view, pretty much useless.

When we review your application for admission, we don’t look at your GPA. And we don’t try to re-calculate it or do any kind of crazy mathematical voodoo to it. Instead we look carefully at your transcript. We look at the courses you have taken over your four years of high school, while also considering what kinds of courses your school offers. We look at the grades you’ve gotten, taking note of any trends. Maybe math is your downfall and all of your math grades are slightly lower than your other grades. Well, I can certainly sympathize with that. Math was never my strong suit either. Maybe you have one blip of a C in World Geography. Not the end of the world. Maybe you had a rocky start to high school but your grades have steadily improved over the last couple years. We love to see that.

Your transcript tells us so much more than your GPA ever could. And, as we’re doing with the rest of your application, we’re trying to see beyond the numbers to have as full an understanding as possible of your past accomplishments and your future potential. The big picture of who you are and who you’re going to become, that’s what we're trying to understand. And one number can’t even begin to tell us that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prof Kevin Guskiewicz Wins "Genius Grant"

Kevin Guskiewicz, the chair of the department of Exercise and Sports Sciences, has been awarded one of this year's 22 MacArthur fellowships, informally known as "Genius Grants." The $500,000 grant is intended to give recipients "unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore." Guskiewicz's research focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sports-related brain injuries. CNN has a great story about Dr. Guskiewicz's research, including how he came to specialize in the study of concussions and other sports-related injuries.

Update: Watch Dr. Guskiewicz discuss his work in a video from the MacArthur Foundation.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Poll: What Would You Like to See on Campus?

We’re always brainstorming new ways to connect prospective students to the community here at Carolina. We know how hard it can be to get a good feel for a college and figure out whether it might be the right fit for you. Many students only get to come to campus for a brief visit, often during a whirlwind summer tour of colleges. And it’s really hard to squeeze everything we’d like to show you into a 3-hour visit. We do our best, though, and our daily tour and information session aims to give you a good overview of the school. Most importantly, you get to spend time touring campus with a current student who can give you a first-hand perspective of Carolina.

But there really is so much more to see. So this fall, we’re piloting some special visit programs that combine our information session and tour with a more in-depth look at one specific aspect of Carolina:
  • Internship and Career Planning Visit: Meet with University Career Services to learn where our graduates find jobs and graduate study, and how the University helps them get there. 
  • Science Visit: Tour campus laboratories and learn about some of the science and entrepreneurship opportunities here. 
  • Business Visit: Tour the Kenan-Flagler Business School, including state-of-the-art facilities such as the capital markets lab. 
All of these visit programs also include our admissions information session and student-led tour.

Even if you can’t visit this fall, we’d still love to know if these are the types of programs that you would find interesting. So, give us your opinion!

Any other ideas about how we can help you get to know Carolina? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meet Us Out West!

We're heading west! Together with the University of Virginia and Emory University, we'll be hosting receptions this week in five western cities: Phoenix, Tuscon, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Denver. You'll have a chance to speak with admissions counselors from all three schools and learn more about us.

Learn more and register online.

Want to know where else we're traveling this fall? Check out Tar Heels in Your Town. We hope to see you soon in your hometown!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You’re Not Just Applying for Admission…

When you apply to Carolina, we’re not just reviewing your application for admission. We also use the information you submit in your application to consider you for a number of exciting opportunities, including merit scholarships, the Honors Program, summer fellowships, assured admission to the Business and Journalism Schools, and more. Some of these opportunities involve scholarship money, some don’t. But all of them connect you to an exciting aspect of the intellectual life at Carolina from the first day you step on campus. The great news is that you don’t have to submit any additional applications or information to be considered for all these great opportunities:

Merit Scholarships 
Last year, Carolina awarded $2.8 million in merit scholarships. We encourage first-year students to apply by the Early Action deadline of October 15 for fullest consideration for merit scholarships. Learn more about the different scholarships we offer.

Honors Program 
About 260 first-year students are invited to join the Honors Program each year. Honors students have priority registration for Honors courses, which are seminar-style classes that emphasize discussion, debate, and interaction between students and professor. The Honors program also sponsors lecture series as well as Honors study abroad and research fellowship programs.

Summer Fellowships
Last year, we started two new programs that provide students with a $5,000 award for summer study during their time at Carolina. Summer Study Abroad Fellowships allow students to use the award toward one of 81 study abroad programs in 37 countries. Carolina Summer Research Fellowships award $5,000 to students for use toward a research project of their own design.

Carolina Research Scholars Program 
Carolina Research Scholars brings together students from across the academic disciplines who are engaged in undergraduate research. First-year students who are chosen for entry into the program receive special advising that helps them navigate the research community at Carolina and network with fellow researchers.

First Year Fellows Program 
First Year Fellows connects students with the exciting opportunities and resources available at Carolina through special lectures, discussions, and excursions. Fellows are also guaranteed a seat in one of their top-choice First Year Seminars.

Assured Admission Programs 
Most students apply to the Business School or the School of Journalism and Mass Communication during their sophomore year at Carolina. Each year, though, we offer a group of new first-year students assured admission to each of these programs. Assured admission students also benefit from special coursework and advising in their first two years, allowing them to begin pursuing journalism or business study from their first semester.Learn more about assured admission to the School of Journalism and the Business School.

So how do we select students for these opportunities? As the admissions committee reads your application, they'll also be considering you for all of the above programs. They'll be looking for the same things we look for in all of our candidates: intellect, curiosity, creativity, leadership, kindness, courage, and diversity of background and experience. Your essays and letters of recommendation are important as they help us understand who you are as a person and how you will contribute here. We want students who will not only take advantage of the opportunities here at Carolina, but who will also make new opportunities both for themselves and their fellow students.

Faculty committees make the final selection of merit scholarship and Honors candidates. For the remaining programs listed above, we survey finalists to find out which programs are of most interest to them, and then match students to one of their top choices. So if you're chosen as a finalist, you'll be able to tell us which program is the best match for you.

Ready to apply? Get started!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

500 Awesome Things About Carolina

Tar Heel Blogger Julia has started a new blog project called "500 Awesome Things About Carolina." Above is a photo of her Awesome Thing #496: the Sunset Serenade, which is a yearly concert given by the a cappella groups during Week of Welcome. Julia is a sophomore here, and plans to count down 500 of her favorite things about Carolina by the time she graduates. So head on over and check it out. Julia, along with the rest of our student bloggers, loves hearing from prospective students in the comments or through email, so be sure to reach out to them if you have any questions about life at Carolina.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

2011 UNC Graduate Selected as State Policy Fellow

2011 Carolina graduate Francinia McKeithan has been selected to serve as a 2011 State Policy Fellow along with four other top graduates from around the country.

The highly competitive State Policy Fellowship Program aims to analyze the impact of budget and policy choices on low-income people. The program has received more than 600 applicants in its first two years.

McKeithan will work as a research and policy analyst at an independent think tank in the program’s second year.

Read more.