Carolina is a priceless gem, the birthplace of public higher education in America.
World-renowned teaching and research, passionate student activism, first-rate athletics, all
found at one of America’s most beautiful college campuses, has made Carolina a destination
for some of the world’s best and brightest. In 1789, the same year George Washington
became our nation’s founding president; the University of North Carolina was chartered.
Only four years later, Carolina became the first public university in the United States to open its doors. Now in its third century, Carolina has evolved from the nation’s first public
university to become a leading global university.
When I was looking at universities to apply to, I was searching for
schools whose public service mission was just as strong as its academic mission.
My college search came to an end the day I took my first step in the ‘Pit,’ the unofficial
center of campus and heart of student activism, and I witnessed firsthand
the student body’s enthusiasm and passion for public service, for not only thinking
Carolina recently opened the FedEx Global Education Center, a hub for international
studies, and in the fall of 2007 Carolina’s own Dr. Oliver Smithies demonstrated
Carolina’s global reach in winning the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. In 2003 UNC
became the first university to guarantee that its neediest students would graduate debtfree
when it established the Carolina Covenant. More than eighty colleges and universities
worldwide have followed suit and adopted similar initiatives.
I love UNC. I love the quad in the spring and the arboretum in the fall.
I love the Pit on a sunny day and Graham Memorial Lounge on a rainy one. I
love Roy all the time. But what makes UNC truly special is not our beautiful
campus, our distinguished reputation, or even our basketball team. It’s us—the
student body—who make UNC what it is. —Eve Marie Carson, 2008, Former Student Body President
While Carolina has earned a reputation as a global leader in higher education, the
university is first and foremost an institution of the people. With programs such as the
Carolina Covenant, UNC has strived to make a college education affordable and relevant to
all worthy students regardless of socioeconomic status. The university’s commitment to the
people of North Carolina and beyond is evident in not only the diversity of its student body
but in Carolina’s efforts through ground-breaking research to overcome society’s most
pressing challenges, from climate change to world hunger.
The Student Body
That commitment to solving the world’s most daunting problems originates with the
chancellor and the faculty, and permeates throughout the lifeblood of the university, the
student body. It is not uncommon at UNC for students to join their professors in patenting
an invention or publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. The Carolina environment fosters
scholarly breakthroughs that are both bold and entrepreneurial in spirit. UNC consistently
ranks among the top universities in the United States and is home to both a world-renowned
business school and journalism school. About eighty percent of Carolina students graduate
within five years after being exposed to a broad-based liberal arts education, completing a
rigorous study in their academic major, and often studying abroad for a semester or two.
To say that Carolina students are engaged would be an understatement. Whether
sleeping outside in the “Pit” to raise awareness of local homelessness or spending a summer
in rural India redeveloping contaminated land, Carolina students serve both locally
and globally to improve the lives of those less fortunate. When asked by former student body
president Eve Carson to sum up in a phrase what makes Carolina so special, former
Chancellor James Moeser replied, “Excellence with a heart.” This is the Carolina Way.
When not in class, the Pit, or the athletic field, you are likely to find Carolina students
enjoying one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation. While walking the
winding brick paths, sitting on the old stone walls, or relaxing in the grassy tree-lined quads
it’s easy to understand why they call this place the “southern part of heaven.” Rested atop
North Carolina’s rolling Piedmont hills in the college town of Chapel Hill, UNC students
enjoy crisp October nights blanketed in the red, orange, and yellow colors of fall. A few light
snowfalls are not unheard of during the winter, leaving a dusting of white across campus
from the Bell Tower to the historic Old Well. It’s not long until the chill of winter gives way
to the blossoming of spring and students can be found sunbathing, tossing a Frisbee, or
studying in the lush, green quads at the center of campus.
For students at Carolina education has no boundaries and no limits. The college
experience is less about prerequisites, blue books, and double-majors, and more about
curiosity, engagement, and progress. For those of you looking to spend all of your college
years in a dorm room, a lecture hall, or a library, Carolina may not be right for you. Carolina
students, faculty, and administrators live life in the fast lane and are engaged around the
world. In sum, Carolina is about breaking down old barriers, discovering new truths, and
never settling for anything less than “excellence with a heart.”
Attending Carolina is not an experience; it’s an
adventure. Each fall thousands of students from
across the country begin their journey from admitted
applicant to engaged and impassioned Tar Heel.
Carolina students tackle some of the world’s most
pressing problems through research and debate, service
and engagement, leadership and compassion.
Always pushing full-throttle, Carolina students are
active inside and out, in the classroom and in the lab,
on the athletic field, and in the community.
Students at Carolina receive a world-class education,
experience collegiate athletics at its finest,
and form relationships with classmates who make up
one of the most diverse student bodies in the country.
As the nation’s first public university, Carolina
remains committed to being the university “of the
people” and therefore educates students from all
walks of life at a rate affordable to all those who qualify for admission.
Carolina provides not only an education but rich experiences, unforgettable memories,
and life-long friendships. At Carolina expect not only a quintessential college experience
but a wild ride full of late night study sessions and even later nights on Franklin
Street. Expect to be not only a listener but a debater, not only a thinker but a doer, not only
an activist but a leader paving the way for the millions of Tar Heels who have yet to reach
the “shining light on the hill” we call Carolina.
Recognized as a “public ivy,” Carolina ensures that all of its students receive a wellrounded
education exposing students to both the hard sciences and humanities. At
Carolina it’s not unheard of for Physics majors to discover an appreciation for Bach and
Handel while Business majors develop an understanding of evolutionary biology. The new general education curriculum, “Making Connections,” was implemented at Carolina in the
fall of 2006. The curriculum strives to cultivate the range of skills, knowledge, values, and
habits that will enable graduates to excel in the rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected
Carolina students do more than sit in lecture theaters and take notes.
Undergraduate students are encouraged and even expected to participate in faculty
research or projects of their own design. Fortunately, Carolina’s fourteen-to-one studentfaculty
ratio overall means professors are readily available to mentor their students in
research. Recently, with the assistance of leaders in student government the Office of
Undergraduate Research created the Carolina Research Scholars Program (CRSP).
Participants in CRSP who successfully meet the program’s requirements will be recognized
for their contributions to UNC’s intellectual and cultural climate with a designation on
their transcript appropriately termed “Carolina Research Scholar.”
As a sophomore, I took an honors seminar called Morality and Law with
Professor Gerald Postema and then became involved in undergraduate research
through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) from UNC’s
Office of Undergraduate Research. Since then, I have continued my research via
independent study and other research grants and spent this past summer in
South Africa conducting interviews with agents involved in the South African
Truth and Reconciliation Commission. —Diana Gergel, 2009, History and Political Science
If you were expecting to spend your entire first year of college in large 300-person lecture
halls you will be surprised to learn that Carolina provides students with the opportunity
to connect with faculty by offering dozens of intimate, engaging courses called First-Year
Seminars. The classes typically are limited to twenty students or fewer and are available to
only first-year students, so you won’t have to compete with juniors and seniors for a spot.
The seminars are taught by the university’s most distinguished researchers and most skillful
teachers, and focus on advanced, emergent, and stimulating topics ranging from
“Biologists as Entrepreneurs” to “The Economics of Sports.” You can check out more online
Most first-year seminars fulfill course requirements in general education, which is composed
of a host of courses students must take in the College of Arts and Sciences. All
students spend their first two years in the General College where they must fulfill a number
of requirements such as English Composition and Rhetoric, Foreign Language,
Quantitative Reasoning, Lifetime Fitness, Physical and Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral
Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts, and a Connections requirement. The courses offered
within each requirement are broad and diverse allowing each student the freedom to pursue
his or her own unique path of study.
Students also can place out of some courses or use selected Advanced Placement and
International Baccalaureate tests to earn credit. General College credits typically are
earned during students’ first two years, though some upper-level general education requirements
are required during junior and senior years. To meet the requirements of the General
College and complete their major on time, students typically carry a manageable course
load of twelve to fifteen hours. Full-time students must obtain special permission to carry
fewer than twelve hours or more than seventeen.
UNC offers seventy-one undergraduate majors in
nine professional schools. Students typically
declare a major heading into their junior year, though
students who enter Carolina with college credit,
place out of courses, or carry especially heavy loads
may begin working on a major earlier. When declaring
a major, undergraduates either remain in the College
of Arts and Sciences or enter one of four professional
schools (dentistry or medicine), as well as Kenan-
Flagler Business School or the schools of education,
information and library science, journalism and mass communication, nursing and public
health. Students can double-major at Carolina or can pursue a major and two minors.
Top ten majors (in order of descending
- Business Administration
- Journalism and Mass Communication
- Political Science
- Communication Studies
- International Studies
Over the past few years Carolina has made efforts to be recognized around the world as
a leading global university. Today, Carolina offers its students the chance to choose
from fifty-two different languages and take classes ranging from Mandarin to Swahili. Also,
more and more students are taking advantage of the increased opportunities to study
abroad or earn joint degrees with highly regarded institutions around the world. The new
FedEx Global Education Center has brought international studies, resources for study
abroad, and international research centers all under one roof.
For many Carolina students learning about another country or culture in the classroom
is not enough. Fortunately, UNC has a strong study abroad program that enables students
to tailor foreign experience to their academic pursuits and personal interests.
Students can choose from more than 300 credit-bearing programs in seventy countries and
can opt for a semester, a year, or a summer session abroad. UNC students have participated
in programs all over the world, including China, Jordan, Spain, Cuba, South Africa, and New
Zealand. Numerous programs provide internships and service learning opportunities abroad
as well as specialized courses taught by UNC faculty or courses taught at a local university.
Carolina has one of the highest percentages among all U.S. public universities of
undergraduate students studying abroad before they graduate—thirty five percent. Many
students who did not study abroad while at Carolina have pursued international careers
and fellowships following graduation from UNC. For instance, a total of 1,054 Carolina
alumni have served in the Peace Corps.
Ranked one of the eight best in the country, the Honors program enables all Carolina
students to choose from more than 120 honors courses in 30 disciplines. Accepted
applicants are automatically considered for Carolina’s Honors Program, which admits
around two-hundred incoming freshmen each year. In choosing these students, the Honors
Program considers performance on standardized tests (SAT or ACT) as well as high school
course selection and grades. If not selected, there are opportunities during the first two
years of college to apply to join the Honors Program. Also, students not in the Honors
Program may enroll in Honors classes, and although students in the program get first shot
at the classes, honors classes rarely fill up before they open to general enrollment. Students
not in the program can still graduate with honors by maintaining a high grade point average,
usually higher than a 3.2 but determined by individual departments, and by completing
an Honors thesis senior year.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Now that you are convinced you have Tar Heel fever and want to spend the next four
years of your life in Chapel Hill, it’s time to send in your application. Carolina’s admissions
process is competitive. Carolina receives freshman applications from roughly 20,000 wellqualified
students every year from all parts of North Carolina, the nation, and the world.
From this large group of applicants, Carolina chooses a small number of the most competitive
students, aiming to enroll a class of roughly 3,900.
For those of you who are not Tar Heel Born or Tar Heel Bred and are instead applying
from outside North Carolina, admission to Carolina is even more competitive. Out-of-state
enrollment is limited to eighteen percent of the undergraduate class, or about 650 of the
freshman spots any given year. Out of the approximately 20,000 students who apply every year
for freshman admission at Carolina, almost 11,000 of these students are considered out-ofstate
for admission purposes. Approximately 2,400 of these students receive admission offers
making an out-of-state offer to attend Carolina one of the toughest to come by in the country.
Fortunately, Carolina has a large and experienced staff that pores over applications,
reading each application one by one. The admissions staff seeks students who excel not
only academically but also in the arts, in athletics, in leadership, service, citizenship, and
character. Now that you have a better idea of what you’re up against, here’s a rough guide
on what it takes to get one of those thick envelopes containing your acceptance materials.
There is no single profile of an admitted Carolina student. However, if you want to earn
an admissions offer from Carolina, a record of high academic achievement is a must.
UNC requires that students complete specific high school course units as follows:
• four units of English;
• at least four units of college preparatory mathematics (two algebra, one geometry, and
a higher level mathematics course for which algebra II is a prerequisite);*
• at least two units of a single foreign language;
• three units in science, including at least one unit in a life or biological science and at
least one unit in a physical science, and including at least one laboratory course;
• two units of social science, including United States history
In order to make yourself a competitive applicant, it is recommended that you enroll
in course levels beyond these minimum requirements. To be considered for admission, the
university also requires that students have pursued college-preparatory work in high school, and the Admissions Office recommends that students take as many Advanced
Placement or International Baccalaureate courses as possible. Carolina requires a high
school diploma from an accredited institution and will not accept a GED or high school
equivalency degree for freshman admissions.
In evaluating each applicant the Admissions Office also looks at test scores and class
rank. Five students with perfect 1600s were among the 3,865 incoming freshmen in 2008.
That class, on average, posted an SAT score of 1301, with out-of-state students averaging
1341 and in-state students averaging 1293. Students with an SAT under 1100 often are admitted because they have demonstrated outstanding ability in an area outside of testing.
While the average SAT scores and class rank of the admitted class have been consistently
rising, it is important to remember that admissions officers at Carolina don’t base their
decisions on test scores and grade point average alone. Carolina is unique from any other university
in the country due to the energy, activism, and diversity of its student body. Leadership
and public service exemplified in extracurricular activities, strong references, and a compelling
essay will go a long way in convincing admissions officers you belong in Carolina blue.
Carolina is consistently named a best bargain in national publications, meaning it
offers an excellent education for a comparatively low price. While most Carolina students
argue they get the best bang for their buck, a Carolina education would still be too costly
for some students if financial aid and scholarships were not readily available. Fortunately,
UNC is committed to meeting one hundred percent of students’ demonstrated financial
need in order to ensure that every qualified student has a shot at a Carolina education,
regardless of their finances. The university does so with a combination of scholarships,
loans, and federal, state, and university grants, and private gifts.
Students who apply for admission are automatically considered for merit-based
scholarships. If you wish, you may provide supplemental material for the Robertson
Scholarship. UNC also sponsors National Merit Scholars; if you’re a National Merit Finalist,
you’ll need to indicate UNC-Chapel Hill as your first choice in order to qualify. For more
information on two of Carolina’s most prestigious privately funded merit scholarships, the
Morehead-Cain and Robertson Scholarship, please visit http://www.robertsonscholars.org or http://www.moreheadfoundation.org. To apply for need-based aid, submit the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), and the CSS/PROFILE no later than March 1.
Both forms are available online on the FASFA and College Board Web sites.
More information about aid at Carolina can be obtained on the Web site for the Office
of Scholarships and Student Aid at http://studentaid.unc.edu/studentaid. You can also contact
the student aid staff Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. at (919) 962-8396. The
staff is eager to answer your questions and the office’s director, who was a first-generation
college student, is a national leader in the effort to increase access for students with financial
Carolina set the bar high for universities across the country aiming to provide qualified
low-income students with a debt-free education with the establishment in 2003 of the
Carolina Covenant. The Carolina Covenant is Carolina’s promise that its neediest students
graduate without the heavy burden of loans. The Covenant funds the full financial need of
each scholar for four years with a combination of scholarships, grants, and work-study jobs.
Carolina graduated its first class of Covenant Scholars in May 2008. To be considered for
the Covenant, fill out the standard financial aid forms. Students whose parents’ adjusted
gross income does not exceed two-hundred percent of federal poverty guidelines (based on
family size) will automatically qualify for the Covenant. You can find out more and view profiles
of Covenant recipients online at http://www.unc.edu/carolinacovenant.
Student Financial Aid Details
Walk around Carolina’s campus on a warm April afternoon and you’re likely to see
dozens of students reading while lounging in the soft grass of Polk Place. Walk a little further
to the Pit, the heart of campus, and you will see hundreds of students recruiting members
for their student organization, passing out fliers for upcoming events, raising money
for world hunger, or just chatting with friends between classes. Located between the student
union, the main dining hall, the campus bookstore, and two libraries, the Pit is an
ideal place to take a break, chat with friends, publicize a campus event, or just see what’s
going on at Carolina.
Once class has ended and the sun has set, students can be found walking along the
sidewalks of Franklin Street, the main thoroughfare in Chapel Hill, which borders the campus
on the north. While the Pit may be considered the center of campus society, Franklin
Street is without a doubt the heart of town and campus social life. Whether it’s grabbing a
bite to eat at one of the dozens of restaurants or taking in the sights while perched on the
balcony of Top of the Hill restaurant and brewery, students come to Franklin Street to kick
back and have a good time.
At Carolina students often take their involvement in student organizations as seriously
as they do their studies. Carolina has more than 600 officially recognized student organizations,
and if you still can’t find one that fits your interests, it’s easy to start your own.
Social and political organizations such as the Young Democrats, College Republicans, and
the Black Student Movement are very active on campus and sponsor events and initiatives
open to all students throughout the year.
It was a big jump to Carolina from my all-girls high school of just 450
students. But I can honestly say that this was never an issue for me. Within
weeks of my arrival as a freshman, so many other students, many of them upperclassmen,
reached out to me. There is also such a wide variety of incredible
groups to join that you often find yourself making lifelong friends even as you
are working together for an important cause. —Monique Newton, 2009, Journalism & News Editorial The Campus Y, an organization that works to promote social justice, and UNC’s independent
student government are two of the largest student groups. Student Body President
elections, held every February, are often fiercely contested and candidates and their campaign
teams have been known to pull out all the stops to earn the student body’s support.
While Carolina is known for the political activism of its students, groups such as CHiPs, specializing
in improv comedy, and the Clef Hangers, an esteemed group of male a capella
singers, have entertained generations of Tar Heels.
Carolina’s politically active campus wouldn’t be what it is today if it were not for the vigorous
student press, namely, The Daily Tar Heel, covering every action and reaction on
campus. The campus’s award-winning, independent student newspaper, commonly referred
to as the DTH, circulates 20,000 free copies each publishing day making it one of the largest
college dailies in the country. It has produced storied alums such as author Thomas Wolfe
and Charles Kuralt of CBS. Carolina also has several publications funded through student
fees, including Blue and White magazine, The Carolina Review, and BOUNCE, Carolina’s
satirical magazine. The journalism school also produces a mostly student-run, award-winning
television broadcast program called Carolina Week.
When students aren’t in class, chatting in the Pit, or eating on Franklin Street you may
find them hammering nails with UNC’s Habitat for Humanity chapter or tutoring
local children with one of the Campus Y’s many active committees. The APPLES Service-
Learning and the Public Service Scholars programs provide students with the opportunity
to take courses that require off-campus community service and integrate what they learn
in the classroom with the experiences students have while serving the community.
Carolina’s largest annual student fund-raiser, Dance Marathon, is a twenty-four-hour dance
marathon. In 2008, 1,000 dancers raised $321,938 for the N.C. Children’s Hospital; both of
these were records. The marathon involves hundreds of students from across campus, and
many fund-raisers are held throughout the year by members of the Greek Community.
The Carolina Greek Community is active both socially and in the local community sponsoring
fund-raisers, charity auctions, and other service projects each year. Fraternities
and sororities also sponsor various 5Ks and are well known for hosting several large parties thrown on the last day of classes. The Greek system, composed of fifty-four different Greek
organizations and 2,800 undergraduate students, draws about fourteen percent of Carolina
students. From mixers to semiformals, fraternities and sororities provide students with a
great way to socialize and meet new people. However, you don’t have to go Greek in order
to maintain an active and exciting social life at Carolina.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Imagine running with a few thousand other Tar Heels from your Hinton James residence
hall past Kenan stadium, through Polk Place, past the Old Well, and finally to Franklin
Street. You are quickly joined by tens of thousands of other screaming Carolina fans in the
singing of “Hark the Sound,” Carolina’s Alma Mater. Make it into Carolina and what you
have just imagined is likely to become reality following a Carolina victory over Duke in
men’s basketball. The Tar Heel Nation lives, breathes, and dreams basketball. Led by Hall
of Fame Coach Roy Williams, the Tar Heels run an exciting up-tempo offense, which helps
create an electric atmosphere while playing at home in the always intimidating Dean E.
Smith Center, widely known as the Dean Dome.
With basketball season lasting only a few months out of the year students are fortunate
to have a host of other sports to cheer for and play. UNC teams compete in the Atlantic
Coast Conference in twenty-eight varsity sports. While the men’s soccer team recently competed
for a National Championship and the football team has recently secured a top-ten
recruiting class, it would be hard for these teams to match the success of the women’s soccer
and field hockey teams. The women’s field hockey team has appeared in the NCAA tournament
for twenty-five consecutive years while the women’s soccer team, led by Hall of
Fame Coach Anson Dorrance, has won nineteen national titles and developed athletes such
as soccer celebrity Mia Hamm. The program has one of the most devoted followings of any
Tar Heel team, leading the nation in women’s soccer attendance five times since 1998.
For those students itching to get out on the soccer field, track, or back into the swimming
pool, but are not up to meeting the demands of a varsity team, you are in luck because
Carolina has dozens of intramural and club sports teams, including the highly competitive
men’s and women’s club rowing and soccer teams. For those athletes who played competitive
sports in high school and enjoy traveling, UNC’s club teams offer a wealth of opportunities.
Club teams typically have routine practice schedules and are relatively well funded
through student fees and fund-raisers. However, for those students who aren’t big fans of practice, intramural sports provide additional options. The campus offers numerous wellmaintained
intramural fields, tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts, ropes courses, a golf
course, miles of paths and trails, two pools, and state-of-the-art workout facilities.
While the more than 250,000 living Carolina alumni are no longer students at UNC,
they’re Tar Heels for a lifetime. After graduating from Carolina, Tar Heels often look for the
next opportunity to learn and grow, whether it’s through graduate school at internationally
acclaimed universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, or Carolina’s own graduate programs.
Other students choose to enter the working world and join world-renowned
organizations such as SAS, Goldman Sachs, and the National Institute of Health. Fortythree
Carolina graduates have gone on to win Rhodes Scholarships, and in 2007, thirtyseven
graduates joined the ranks of Teach for America, making Carolina the sixth largest
source of graduates chosen by the organization.
- Mia Hamm, 1994, World-Famous
Women’s Soccer Player
- Charles Kuralt, 1965, Beloved CBS
- James K. Polk, 1818, Only Alumnus to
Serve as U.S. President
- Hugh McColl, 1957, Retired Chairman
and CEO of Bank of America
- Michael Jordan, 1986, Perhaps the
Greatest Basketball Player Ever
- Thomas Wolfe, 1920, Author of “Look
- Andy Griffith, 1949, TV Actor,
Comedian, Producer, and Grammywinning
- David Brinkley, 1992, Distinguished
m Marion Jones, 1997, Olympic Track
- Davis Love III, 1993, PGA Tour