Unc Essay Prompts 2016

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.

Due to its popularity among in-state and out-of-state students, the University of North Carolina is one of the most competitive public universities in the US.

The University of North Carolina is the oldest public university in the United States. With 17 campuses all over the state, UNC has its main campus at Chapel Hill and over 176,000 students statewide.

UNC Chapel Hill is recognized as one of the 8 public Ivy League universities because of its academic excellence. Among the academic programs they offer, UNC Chapel Hill’s undergraduate business is particularly strong and attractive to prospective students. They also offer students who demonstrate academic success programs like the Gap Year Global Fellowship and the Morehead-Caine Scholarship.

On top of UNC’s strong academic programs, they also have a strong sense of community, which stems from having Division I sports, specifically football and basketball. There’s no way you’ll graduate without supporting the Tar Heels at least once at the stadium or court.

Want to become a UNC Tar Heel? UNC’s application requires 2 additional supplemental short essays:

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

Essay Prompt #1: 

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

TIP: Choose someone who has made an influence in your life. This person doesn’t have be someone you’re close to or know very well, but he or she should have worked with you, disagreed with you or challenged you to an idea or belief. How did it come about? How was it resolved? 

Essay Prompt #2: 

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

TIP: How do you want to influence your community or your neighborhood? Is there something you wish was different? Is there something missing that could have improved the quality of life for you and others around you? Choose something that you feel strongly about because you felt a gap in opportunity or fairness from when you were growing up, or for the benefit for the people you care about. 

Essay Prompt #3: 

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

TIP: This almost seems to good to be true! Remember your college application isn’t just one essay or one test score; it is a collection of all your application materials. So, if you choose this essay prompt, make sure you look at your application holistically and ask yourself is there anything else missing that you have to include in order for them to know who you are as a student and as a person. If there is, that’s your topic! 

Essay Prompt #4: 

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

TIP: This is a slightly different way of asking “Why UNC?”. How does your background, perspective, belief or experience relate to the community at UNC? You need to know a little bit about UNC’s culture and student body to answer that question. So, ask a few UNC students or use our advice search tool to find out more about UNC and how you can be a contributing member of UNC’s student body and future alumni network. 


Interested in reading successful essay examples that got students accepted into UNC? Unlock all of them in one go with our curated package.

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About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

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