“The area we have to grow in is these
high-ability students,” said Kyle Brazile, an
admissions recruiter, “getting them to campus, showing them what’s possible and
keeping them from going out of state.”
(The best North Carolina students who
don’t go to Carolina go to Duke, Davidson, Wake Forest or out of state — rarely to
another UNC System school. Sixty-one
percent of the state’s top students who
apply to UNC have as their first or second
choice a school outside the state.)
For the past two years, Kenan-Flagler
Business School has offered some admitted
students guaranteed admission as a way to
get those with a stated interest in business
to say yes to Carolina. The normal process
entails application during the sophomore
year. To maintain the guarantee, a student
has to complete nine business-related
courses in the first two years and keep a
3.0 grade point average. The program
accounts for about 15 of the 330 students
admitted each year.
Most who got the guarantee say it was a
factor in attracting them to UNC, said
David Ravenscraft, Fulton Global Business
Distinguished professor. “I think we’re
satisfied this is the way to go,” he said.
Farmer said he expects other
professional schools will follow
suit, pointing out that this is one
enticement that “costs us
Michael Kennedy ’ 79,
vice chair of the UNC
Board of Visitors, was
approached by stu-
dent body President J.J. Raynor and trustee
John Ellison ’ 69 about the problem of losing top high school students to other universities. This started a pilot project in
Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and
Kennedy’s hometown of Atlanta to target
applicants with phone calls from prominent
alumni in those cities.
“We are establishing a relationship with
the top-performing students and their parents to guide them through the admissions
process,” Kennedy said, “introducing them
to the school in a much more human way.”
Recently the project, which includes
some 35 Board of Visitors members, held
meetings with the prospects in those cities.
Current students fanned out to talk about
the honors program, small classes and
opportunities for undergraduate research.
If real estate is location, location, location, recruitment is students, students, students.
As Farmer said, he can talk to a student
all day and not have the impact Raynor
can have in a short conversation.
Two years ago, admissions began a “
student for a day” program in which applicants — picked from the top of the test
scores, class rank and other measures —
shadow current students, following them to
class and through their extracurricular and
An inquirer or applicant who cold-calls the admissions office is likely to get
a student working in the office.
Part of what admissions does is try
to replace a North Carolina prospect’s
“I already know Carolina” mentality
The first priority
among those with a lot
of good choices is not
the spring blooms in
or kegs or what goes on
in the Smith Center,
and it isn’t the abundance
of lab space or how
good the professors are.
It is this: How good
are the students sitting
next to me in class?
And they like the idea that
people better than you
make you better.