Unc Common App Essay

At #5 on the U.S. News and World Report’s Top Public Schools rankings and #30 on the National Universities rankings, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has long been considered the best of the 17-member University of Carolina school system and one of the finest public institutions in the nation.


With more than 70 majors and minors ranging from Real Estate to Speech and Hearing Sciences, UNC’s dynamic academic program provides “Tar Heels” opportunities to study subjects that are not always offered at other colleges. Though first-year students may only apply to the College of Arts and Sciences, upon completing a year of study, students may apply to the undergraduate programs of UNC Chapel Hill’s graduate schools, such as the Kenan-Flagler School of Business.


Though in 2016 the overall acceptance rate was 26%, nearly half (49%) of North Carolina candidates were admitted, compared to 15% of out-of-state applicants. The estimated average SAT score is approximately 1385, and most first-year Tar Heels earned high school GPAs above 4.0.


Some quick facts about UNC’s student life: Each year, the intense North Carolina-Duke rivalry in basketball culminates in the final game of the season in a game played in either the Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke) or the Dean E. Smith Center. Both are dominating forces in the Atlantic Coast Conference; in fact, the two universities hold more than half of basketball championship titles between them.


The Daily Tar Heel, the 88 years-old independent student newspaper, has accumulated numerous accolades throughout its history, including the National Pacemaker Award. The student-run radio station WXYC is notable for orchestrating the first Internet broadcast.


Have the charms of UNC moved you to apply? Do the overwhelmingly low acceptance rates have you hesitating? Never fear, here at CollegeVine, we have compiled a few tips and tricks to help you write your best essays for UNC Chapel Hill.


If you need more help on your application essays, CollegeVine is here to help with our Application Guidance program that includes essay editing.


UNC Chapel Hill Application at a Glance

The university requires all prospective students to submit two 200-250 word essays (out of four prompts) in addition to completing the Common Application and its accompanying personal statement.

UNC 2017-2018 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: Choose two out of four prompts. 200-250 words each.

Supplemental Essay Type(s):Oddball, Why

University of North Carolina’s supplement will provide you with four prompts, and you will choose two. Each response will be limited to 200-250 words.

1. Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life.

This is a tricky one off the bat. Writing about other people with the intent of saying something about yourself is always hard — what’s the right balance? Start by identifying someone who has ultimately brought out the best in you, inspired an epiphany or changed something about the way you live your life or view the world. This essay is short, so spend maybe one or two lines contextualizing the peer of your choice. How did you meet him or her and what is your relationship? The bulk of the essay, however, should be spent explaining your relationship and how this person has made his or her mark on you (and vice versa)! Maybe you have a friend who helped you discover your talent for music, a classmate who tutored you in math so you could make the honor roll, a neighbor who drives you to school and gives you advice that you cherish. Did listening to the family problems of a close friend lend you perspective that has helped you navigate your own challenges? You can take this in many different directions, just make sure, at the end of the day, this essay is really about you and not the peer you choose to highlight. (It’s YOUR application, after all!)

2. What do you hope will change about the place where you live?

University of North Carolina wants to accept applicants who aim to make a lasting impact on the world. Are you the kind of person who not only identifies the inefficient processes and injustices around you, but also aims to fix them? “The place where you live” can be interpreted narrowly or loosely. Do you wish there was a community garden in your neighborhood to encourage sustainable living? Do you hope that the US government as a whole will offer better resources for the elderly? Think about something that troubles you and, if at all possible, relate it to something that interests you, academically or in an extracurricular capacity. Remember, the subject you highlight is meant to communicate something important about you to admissions — think carefully about what you want to highlight that will give them insight into your passions, interests and motivations.

3. What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want us to know?

This is an amazing prompt because it offers you an incredible amount of freedom. It can also be incredibly challenging (like the Common and Coalition App’s “Topic of your choice” prompts) in that it almost provides you with too much choice. You might be thinking, “Where do I start?” We don’t blame you. What ideas did you cast aside when brainstorming for your personal statement? Have you had an experience that isn’t represented anywhere on your application as of yet that admissions might find interesting? Maybe your sophomore trip to Eastern Asia inspired you to declare an International Relations major or your experience as the only boy in a family of seven girls affected the way you see yourself, gender politics, and the world around you. And if the openness of this prompt leaves you flummoxed — don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Take a peek at your other three options and see if they provide a helpful course of inspiration.

4. What about your background, or what perspective, belief, or experience, will help you contribute to the education of your classmates at UNC?

This question closely resembles prompt #1 of the Common Application. Where do you come from? What has shaped you as a person, and how has that made your perspective unique? What you focus on here can be cultural, academic or even rooted in a singular experience that changed your perspective. What do you believe and how will your worldview bring something of value to the community at UNC? Admissions is looking to add diverse perspectives to the melting pot that is their student body. Is there anything you can teach your classmates about your hometown, traditions, culture, cuisine, orientation, identity, race, or ethnicity that they might not already know? Also consider why your particular background or experience will be useful in an academic setting. How will it help inspire and/or inform others. If you can find a meeting place for all of those threads, this prompt may be for you.

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