University of North Carolina

Students drink from the iconic “Old Well” for luck at Carolina.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the flagship college of a system of 17 schools.  With about 18,000 undergraduates, the Chapel Hill campus FEELS exactly how you would expect college to feel: it’s huge, campus is buzzing with activity and everyone is wearing Carolina blue clothing.

All students spend their first two years taking general education studies, and students can declare their major at the end of their sophomore year.  Introductory classes can be large, though courses with over fifty students have smaller meetings, called recitations, which can be led by either a professor or a TA.  Eighty percent of the classes have fewer than 50 students and the student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1.

North Carolina state law sets the level for the number of in-state students the University of North Carolina must accept – so 82% of the students are from in-state.  For those 18% out-of-state students, being a “legacy” – having a parent or grandparent who attended Carolina, helps.  For in-state students, it does not.  UNC Chapel Hill is looking for students who show passion about their interests.  They are not interested in students, says Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Damon Toone, in students who list their involvement in extra-curricular activities this way:  “Member, member, member, member, member.”  (He actually said it seven times.)  UNC does superscore, and will be happy to look at your AP scores if you send them, but they’re not required.

“Your essay is your interview on paper,” says Toone, because UNC Chapel Hill does not interview students.  “If you’re excited about what you do [and can show it in your essay], we’re going to be excited.”  Each of the 30,000 applications that Carolina receives is read at least twice, and each is voted upon by the Admissions Committee.

“The Pit” adjacent to the student center and bookstore buzzes with activity every day.

Forty percent of students go abroad, and a little less than one-fifth join fraternities and sororities.  The Greek system does not dominate student social life at the University of North Carolina.  With over 700 clubs and organizations, students have many options for their non-study time.  UNC offers almost 80 majors within 8 undergraduate colleges.

UNC Chapel Hill has a 97% freshman retention rate (which is very high) and an 80% 4-year graduation rate.  In post-graduation surveys, the school reports that 90% of graduates are either employed or in graduate school 6  months after graduation.

UNC Chapel Hill prides itself on being the oldest public institution of higher learning – they granted their first degrees in 1790.  UNC students are smart and involved, and show lots of school spirit.  It’s a great place for students who are looking for both!

Evelyn visited in 2013, and Michelle visited in 2022.  You can scroll through all of our photos from our visits to UNC Chapel Hill below.

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