Monday, July 30, 2012

Why Student Aid Matters

The University recently launched a new website focusing on our commitment to financial aid. Tuition and fees at Carolina are among the lowest in the nation and we're one of only two top public universities that meet 100 percent of the demonstrated need of our undergraduates, so we have a long track record of keeping a UNC education affordable--and accessible to students from every background.

With the recent economic downturn, meeting the need of all students has become more of a challenge. More students need aid, but at the same time, funds are more limited. Discussions are happening around campus, the state, and the nation about how colleges and universities fund student aid, and to what degree tuition money should be used for this purpose. Student Body President Will Leimenstoll has an op-ed in the latest issue of the Daily Tar Heel on this subject.

Despite the challenge of the tough economic times, this University's commitment to excellence and access has not wavered.

We encourage you to read some of the students' stories on the new website. They reflect the heart, intelligence, and wide array of perspectives and backgrounds that make this community of students so great.

 Learn more about why student aid matters.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alumni Entrepreneurs Dish on Carolina Experience

New Media Campaigns founders Kris Jordan, Joel Sutherland, and Clay Schossow
Joel Sutherland '07 and Clay Schossow '08 are proud UNC grads and half of the founding members of New Media Campaigns (NMC), a web design and digital marketing start-up in Carrboro, NC. Joel and Clay have helped grow NMC into an award-winning company with clients all over the world. Their work has been profiled in Inc. magazine, and the founders were named on Bloomberg Businessweek’s list of America’s top 25 young entrepreneurs in 2010. The pair recently met with me to discuss the origin of NMC, the Entrepreneurship minor, the support of the UNC community, and what brought them to Carolina in the first place.

Joel and Clay are both Midwestern natives, from Nebraska and Ohio respectively, but were quickly charmed by Chapel Hill. After a summer visit Clay decided to apply Early Action (admittedly for the weather) while Joel was lured by the Morehead Scholarship and the University’s academic profile. Joel, a computer science major, was a part of the first class of the entrepreneurship minor and marvels at how the program has grown in the past few years. “Look at the course Chancellor Thorp is teaching, they have some heavy hitting speakers, I would definitely be in that lecture hall if I was a student” (full list of speakers for Intro to Entrepreneurship here).

While Joel was the sole E-minor of NMC’s founders, his partners found the program accessible as well. Clay, an advertising and political science major, described the E-minor as a supportive community of professionals and academics alike. “Professors were willing to meet with us in the early stages so we all felt included in the business development process.” Clay suggests students “talk to professors about something other than grades. Most professors relish the idea of talking about something that has real world implications as opposed to ‘Can you move my 89% from a B+ to an A-?’”

After working together loosely during a political campaign in 2005, Joel and Clay teamed up for the Carolina Challenge, a yearly business competition that awards substantial prize money to help winners launch their ventures. “Back then it seemed all a candidate had to do was ‘check the website box’--content development and user experience were not high on the priorities list,” Clay explained. “Even so, we saw campaigns pouring tens of thousands into web development, which likely wouldn’t be possible for lesser known candidates.” So they focused their Carolina Challenge idea on creating websites for small political campaigns. Clay continues: “During the 2004 campaign, you really saw the power of the internet as a fundraising tool. People were willing to give $5 to Howard Dean’s campaign for posting a picture of him eating a turkey sandwich in front of his laptop the same night Vice President Cheney hosted a $2,000 a plate fundraiser.” Turns out those small donations helped the presidential candidate raise $500,000 over 3 days, far exceeding the total from the pricey fundraiser. While their idea won the 2006 Carolina Challenge and was the precursor to NMC, their venture was not without missteps.

One of the first decisions they made was to try and partner with another web development group, which resulted in a $15,000 loss. “That was a tough lesson to learn,” Clay joked, “for a student $15,000 is a lot of Bojangles.” However, Joel, Clay and the rest of NMC recovered. Clay’s advice: “Go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? Your idea won’t work out? Big deal, you’re 21. Even if you decide not to continue as an entrepreneur you’ll be infinitely more marketable because of your experience. Just do what you do well."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Consider Philosophy at Carolina

Today, please welcome Professor Marc Lange, chair of the Philosophy Department, who is here to tell us more about studying philosophy at Carolina: 

Of the more than 150 philosophy majors at UNC, only a small handful had any acquaintance at all with philosophy before arriving in Chapel Hill. But having taken a philosophy class – perhaps on philosophy and sport, or philosophy of science, or morality and law – many students decide to take additional courses having the same level of excitement, intellectual vitality, and logical rigor that they enjoyed in their first philosophy course. Before they know it, they become philosophy majors (or minors). Then they have something in common with Steve Martin, Phil Jackson (the basketball coach), Susan Sarandon, Stephen Breyer (the Supreme Court justice), Ethan Coen, Aung San Suu Kyi (the Burmese dissident leader), George Soros (the billionaire), Alex Trebek (from TV’s Jeopardy), Bruce Lee, and Pearl Buck.

Did you know that in the past decade, the number of philosophy majors at four-year U.S. colleges and universities has grown 46 percent – a higher rate than history or psychology? Perhaps students tend to major in philosophy in uncertain times like ours. Did you know that philosophy majors are admitted to medical school at a higher rate than almost any other major (far outpacing biology majors, for instance)? That in every recent year, philosophy majors had higher average LSAT scores than political science majors? Of course, it doesn’t follow from any of these facts that you will improve your LSAT scores or your chances of admission to medical school by becoming a philosophy major. (You probably already had this thought. It involves drawing just the kind of important distinction that philosophers pounce upon!) Of course, the main reason that philosophy majors would give for majoring in philosophy is simply that they love it.

But there are other relevant considerations. UNC’s philosophy department has won more teaching awards for its size than any other UNC department. We have long been ranked as one of the top ten U.S. philosophy departments. We have lots of small classes and faculty who love to teach them. We also have an active undergraduate philosophy club, a popular minor in “PPE” (philosophy, politics, and economics), a variety of exciting courses (from “The Philosophy of Comedy” to “Reason, Religion, and Reality in the Copernican Revolution”), and the Parr Center for Ethics (which sponsors our award-winning interscholastic Ethics Bowl team) – as well as our “Take a Philosopher to Lunch” program.

I hope to see you around Caldwell Hall.

Marc Lange
Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor
Philosophy Department Chair

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Checking in with our May 2011 Graduates

Each year, University Career Services releases a First Destination Survey, which checks in with the previous year's graduates to find out what they're doing six months after graduation. The results for our May 2011 class have recently been released, and we've posted some highlights of the survey on our website. Check it out.

Despite a tough job market, about 65% of the May 2011 class reported working either full-time or part-time six months after graduation, while about 28% were pursuing further education. Among the jobs reported, we have a zookeeper (bio major), a legislative correspondent for U.S. Congress (business), a Peace Corps member (global studies), and more. Many of our students are now serving through Teach for America. In fact, we're 4th among schools our size in the number of students joining Teach for America, with 80 of our graduates joining the program in 2011.  

Learn more.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Consider Political Science at Carolina

Today, Hollie Mann from the Political Science department is here to tell us more about studying political science at Carolina.  Welcome Dr. Mann!

Hollie Mann
This is an exciting time to be a Political Science major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are the third largest major at UNC and it’s no wonder! With a presidential election just around the corner, the recent Supreme Court ruling on health care, a North Carolina gubernatorial election that could radically reshape public education, social services, and the tax structure for years to come, more and more students are choosing to enter the field of Political Science.

There are many reasons to choose Political Science as a major. As a field of study, Political Science helps us to understand how and why we choose certain subjects to deliberate about collectively. Perhaps more importantly, it gives us a clear picture of how policy is formulated, executed, and evaluated using certain moral, economic, and pragmatic standards. In the increasingly complex political and media environments in which we live, becoming a sharp consumer of political information is absolutely critical for making informed decisions.

Some of our students go on to careers in politics, running campaigns and advising candidates, or even becoming candidates themselves and eventually holding office. Those who prefer a more behind-the-scenes career in politics often become analysts for research institutes and think-tanks. Some go into the non-profit sector, working on issues of social justice and political equality, while others choose to continue their studies by entering graduate school. Business, finance, and law are common fields for our majors, demonstrating that a Political Science degree is useful for a range of future vocations and professions. Professionally, whether it’s finance, marketing, or the academy, employers want to hire interesting and well-informed workers, people who are able to speak knowledgeably about political and social issues, and who see themselves as active citizens shaping the complex world in which we live.

The field of Political Science is divided into four subfields—American, Comparative, International Relations, and Theory—and here at UNC students have an opportunity to craft their majors in such a way that they can focus on any one of these, if they desire, while still receiving a rich and a well-rounded education in the field as a whole.

For more information on the major, including affiliated centers and workshops, please visit the UNC Political Science homepage, and consider contacting our department advisor, Dr. Hollie Mann. And stay tuned for more information on our Fall Undergraduate Speaker Series on the 2012 elections!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Year's Global Gap Year Fellows!

The Campus Y has announced the seven students selected for the Global Gap Year Fellowship, a $7,500 award which funds a gap year focusing on international service. The Fellowship also provides mentoring and support as Fellows plan their gap year and transition back to Carolina upon their return.

This year's Fellows are planning to travel all over the world, from Ecuador to India to Kenya. Check out the press release for more about these students and their plans.

 If you're a student planning to apply for Fall 2013 admission, we encourage you to apply for the Global Gap Year Fellowship! You'll need to apply by our Early Action deadline of October 15, 2012 in order to be considered. Learn more.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meet Suzanne Jasmine, Director of Career Peers

Today Gary Alan Miller, Assistant Director at University Career Services, introduces us to Suzanne Jasmine, student director of the Career Peers program.

Gary: First, say a few words about the Career Peers, for those who don’t know about the program.
Suzanne: Career Peers is a group of UNC students who works with University Career Services. Our goal is to reach out to other students through their peer networks and help those students discover what UCS can do for them. The Career Peers also engage in personal career and leadership development through the program.

What do you think students need to know about UCS that they don’t know?
University Career Services has many resources not related to a career search. In particular, I wish more students knew about the career exploration tools that UCS has as well as the self-assessments that students can take to discover their strengths and interests.

Why should a first-year student see someone at UCSJ? How could they benefit?
First-year students really benefit from career exploration as they start to determine their academic path and hopefully their career path. It's very beneficial to have a career path in mind during your four years of college because you can gain hands-on experience in that industry through internships and volunteer experiences. First-year students can also benefit from resume and interviewing help because they will need strong resumes and interviewing skills for part-time jobs, internships, student organizations, pre-professional schools, etc.

What has surprised you the most about UCS or the staff over the past few years of interacting with us?
The counselors at UCS have so many resources that they have compiled over the years. I love to meet with different counselors because each of them will recommend different websites or handouts to explore once your meeting with them is over. The office in general has more programs than I originally knew about as well, so I encourage students to at least go online and see what is offered.

What UCS service or resource have you benefited from the most, personally?
It's very difficult to pick only one resource, but I think I have benefited the most from the networking that UCS does. I have met employers at career fairs and networking nights and have received job and internship offers from both. UCS does a phenomenal job bringing local and national employers in, and I believe making a personal connection with a company is the best way to secure a position.

For more information about Career Peers or University Career Services, feel free to contact Gary Miller.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Transfer Credit Now Awarded for Military Leadership Training

An ROTC student on Polk Place.
Photo by Dan Sears, UNC-Chapel Hill
If you've served in the military and taken leadership training, you may be eligible for transfer credit when you enroll at Carolina. In an effort to better serve the men and women who have served our country in the military, the University is now able to award some transfer credit for educational training completed while enlisted.

We've traditionally awarded credit for the LFIT (physical fitness) requirement to students who have previously served in the military, but now additional credit is available to students who completed certain leadership courses. A full listing of the transfer equivalencies is available here. Credit is available for courses in our departments of Aerospace Studies, Military Science, and Naval Science.

To have the credit awarded, be sure we receive an official military (ACE, AARTS or SMARTS) transcript listing the completed coursework. If you're a current student, you can email us at to request the credit be awarded. If you're a new student (enrolling in Fall 2013 or later), we'll award the credit automatically so long as we receive the official transcript.

To learn more about resources to help veterans transition to life at Carolina, visit our Information for Veterans page. And please let us know if you have any questions.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Presenting: Ask Admissions

After weeks of testing we are ready to unveil (drumroll mouse scroll, please) our new and improved custom search Ask Admissions. Yes, the excitement is contagious ... don’t be alarmed.

Our search features “Quick Links" and "Quick Answers” based on your most frequently queried items as well as hundreds of custom answers.

Even with all of our work testing links and squashing programming bugs, we could use a few more proofreaders. We invite you to review Ask Admissions and alert us at of any glitches you encounter. When reporting, please copy the url of the offending result(s) and send them our way. Thanks for your help and please don't forget to rate your answers.

Go Heels! Special thanks to our internal testers: Ashley, Frank, Arbra, Erin and Julie : )