Myth: UNC does
and they do affect
Anyone can get an appoint- ment with a member of the admissions staff, but the
meeting is solely informational. The
admissions staffer will not take notes
and will not use the conversation in
any evaluative way. Farmer says students probably would be better
served by directing questions to the
undergraduates who lead campus
Farmer says interviewing each of
the 23,000 applicants would be
impossible. And it wouldn’t be fair to
the applicants who couldn’t afford
the time and expense to travel to
UNC. And finally, he says, admissions
staff members don’t believe a 15-
minute conversation should carry
much weight compared with the 12
years of work the student did to get
to that point.
prefers the SAT
to the ACT.
Last year, more than 2,000 applicants ubmitted ACT
scores only. Students who
are worried about which
test to take should pick
the one that plays to their
one makes you look better is the one we look
at,” Farmer says.
Myth: First-deadline applicants
have a better chance of getting in
than second-deadline applicants.
UNC has two separate admissions dead- lines — the beginning of November for notification by the end of January, and
Jan. 15 for notification by March 20. But students
who miss the early round or choose to wait so
that they can include their fall semester grades
should not worry that they’ve hurt their chances.
Farmer says that the purpose of the two
deadlines is to spread out the workload for the
admissions staff. Ideally, applicants in either pool
should have an equal chance of getting in. This
equilibrium is not always achieved: Sometimes
one pool will be stronger, making it harder for a
given student to get in. But cases like that are
errors, Farmer stresses, and not by design.
Myth: If students show
how much they love
UNC — by calling,
visiting or sending gifts
— they will have a better
chance of getting in.
Afew times every year, appli- cants will show their com- mitment to Carolina
through postcards, calls, baked goods
and other acts of zeal. But such
demonstrations will not affect
admissions office decisions. Farmer
says that applicants need only go that
route if it helps relieve their anxiety.
“If it makes them feel better, like
they are doing everything they can,
then do it. I’m completely sympathetic. It does them no harm.”
Myth: It is better to pad and protect your GPA
than to take tough courses and risk a slightly lower grade.
Admissions officers don’t just look at the grades on transcripts; they dig into what’s beneath them. They want to see that students took every opportunity to challenge themselves. In fact, Farmer says that insufficiently challenging course-
Anyone can get
work is the most likely explanation for those cases when someone just can’t understand
why he or she didn’t get into UNC. “You have to take hard classes and do well.”
And for those students scared that they will torpedo their chances by doing
poorly in a challenging class, Farmer can debunk a related myth, which is that a sin-
gle C will keep them out of Carolina. While this is very nearly true for out-of-state
applicants these days, Farmer says, “you don’t have to be perfect.”
but they’re solely
Farmer says students
Myth: Students who choose
be better served
by directing questions
who lead campus tours.
“undecided” for intended major
on their applications will hurt
Fully a third of applicants pick “undecided” for their intended major at UNC, and the admissions staff views those who don’t
with a healthy skepticism. They know from fol-
low-up research that most will change their
minds when they get to campus anyway.
So students need not worry if they’re feeling
undecided. “Most people are, and we’d be crazy
to hold it against them,” Farmer says. “We don’t
take that into account at all.”