‘I Think It Fits Me’
Shadow Days gives prospective students a peek at life at UNC
Ronak Desai says he is a
sports fanatic with a head
for business, so Carolina has a
lot he is looking for in a university.
But the high school junior
from Georgia is exploring
many options, which is one
reason he wanted to attend
the GAA’s Order of the Bell
Tower Shadow Day in April.
Shadow Day was started in
2001 as a way to reach out to
students from parts of the
state or country that usually
Sophomore Chelsea Phillips showed Georgia high school student Ronak Desai around
campus on OBT Shadow Day.
aren’t heavily recruited. The
OBT serves as the student arm of the GAA
and as the official student ambassadors to
After a short admissions presentation by
Kendra Lawrence ’ 95, assistant director of
undergraduate admissions, Desai and the
nine other high school students who
attended were paired with an OBT member to shadow around campus.
It was a great day for them to get the
chance to follow a college student around
just two days removed from the men’s basketball team winning the national championship. Campus was abuzz with activity and
splashed with more Carolina blue than usual.
“I thought this would be better than a
normal college tour experience where they
just feed you information,” Desai said. “I
wanted the student experience, so I could
get the truth and have more freedom.”
Desai had plenty he wanted to know. He
asked his ambassador, sophomore Chelsea
Phillips, where the best libraries for studying
were, where she “chills out” between classes
and how important Greek life is to the
Phillips replied candidly but made it
clear that each student has a different personal experience and the best part about
attending UNC is finding your own niche.
She gave Desai a quick tour around campus, and Desai laughed at the creative
places students find to nap between classes.
He was especially interested in seeing the
inside of Wilson Library. After the tour,
Desai went to a Spanish class with Phillips.
Meanwhile, the 13 parents who participated met their students’ OBT hosts for the
day, followed by a session with Lawrence on
admissions, had free time to explore
Franklin Street, had a roundtable lunch with
other parents and then heard professors’
perspectives on UNC. The two groups
reconvened for a joint session on study
abroad then split again, parents for a guided
tour and the students to hear from a panel
of current students.
Desai said he was grateful for his inside
look at student life at Carolina and thinks
it’s very possible he’ll be back.
“I definitely want to go to UNC more
after I’ve seen it,” Desai said. “Everything is
so up-to-date, and I love the feel of a big
school. I think it fits me.”
Return on Investment
The Order of the Bell Tower will
track the students who attended Shadow
Day to see if they apply and are admitted
to UNC. If they are admitted, they will
be given a chance to apply for a scholarship named for Angie McKinney
Jones ’01, Shadow Day founder. The
winner gets a one-time $500 scholarship and an automatic interview to be a
member of the group.
a benefit for life
research and creative activity, is a
benefit of life
membership in the
look for it three
times a year — in January, May and
September —with your copy of the
Carolina Alumni Review.
Endeavors is published by the
University’s Office of Research and
— Beth Mechum
ONLINE: To learn more about the Order of the
Bell Tower, visit
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