Four years ago, about this time, I was accepted to UNC and was lucky enough to receive a full-ride, out-of-state merit scholarship. I came to this site a lot to ask questions about Carolina, scholarship day, and what all of the different scholarships entailed. There were some great people who helped me out. Now I'm one semester away from graduating as a Tar Heel and I'd like to return the favor.
If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them!
kitesurfer, are you IS? UNC gives 'distinguished scholarships' for some of the top in state students who aren't invited to scholarship day. I don't know how many they give out, but I got one, and at least two other people from my school did as well (I'm from Wake county). I think they give out a pretty good number, and it's 2500 a year.
I can't answer any questions about scholarship day, but I'm pretty positive that they choose those invited based on essays. Partly on grades of course, but mainly on essays. And since about 7% are in the honors program, that seems about right for the % of students with merit-aid.
I'll have to go with whatever admissions says about the percentages of students receiving merit aid, because that's a little outside my area of expertise.
I am a Carolina Scholar, and there are probably around forty of us selected in each class. There are also Robinsons and Pogues in the Scholar's program as well, but we don't really interact with them in a group setting as much so I can't give you exact numbers for those programs. Throw in the Robertsons and the Moreheads and you are looking at a good number of named scholarships aside from the smaller ones without official programs.
I also cannot tell you for sure what admissions is looking for in an application. Good stats are obviously key, but as far as I can tell, your personal statement is super important. It needs to stand out to them in some way. The reader for my region specifically said that my essay stuck out to him and he commented on it when he called to invite me to scholarship day. Put thought and time into your essay. It's the only thing that makes you human to the admissions readers!
As for my stats, I had around a 4.5 GPA and around a 2300 SAT. Keep in mind I was out of state, but all of the instate scholars are just as top notch as the out of state ones.
As for % honors versus % receiving merit aid, I'm pretty sure that's a coincidence. I believe everyone who is invited to scholarship day is also invited to the honors program, but not necessarily the other way around as well. The Scholars Program and the Honors Program have always seemed rather separate to me.
Also the Honors program is very open. Even if students are not invited upon arrival, they can apply to be a part of the program soon after.
I'm not sure if UNC still has a separate application from the common app, but when I was applying it did. I chose the "I'll write about another topic" essay option and just used my common app essay. For that one I wrote about a person who has influenced me (my Dad) and talked about doing yard work with him.
Really, you don't have to write about broad concepts and the meaning of life. You just have to take something important to you, explain why it's important, and how it will shape your future.
I received my final scholarship decision at the very beginning of February. Working backwards, that means I attended the January Scholarship Day and probably was invited to Scholarship Day in late December or early January. I do remember I applied early action.
There are two scholarship days, one for EA and one for regular decision (I think it will be in March or April?). You certain hear about large merit aids awards before your financial aid packet comes in, although it is possible to received a smaller merit award and only find out about it in your final packet I think.
Hey, so I am in-state and applied EA as well; I searched on the site for dates for the upcoming scholarship day/weekend but couldn't locate that. Do you remember when that was for you and I realize that that was a long time ago. I am making a calendar with all these dates so I can be prepared ahead of time in case it comes to needing to go here/there, etc..
And, what happens on scholarship day?
thanks so much for all your help, I really appreciate it,
I'm sorry, but I really have no idea about the dates, especially if there is only one date now, as mentioned above. Generally, the program sends current scholars invitations to attend as guides and to answer questions (we get a sweet free meal!) so I could let you know when I hear about that, but honestly, invitees would hear well before I would, probably about a month before the event.
Basically, students who are invited are given a reading of some sort (mine was maybe on the value of higher education?) to prepare for a discussion. In the morning of Scholarship day, students are placed into small groups who then meet with a professor to discuss the article. It is pretty low stress and is typical for what a discussion in a college class is like. During this time there may or may not be an admissions staff member taking notes and I believe the professor is also taking notice of how you interact in a group.
Then you get a nice lunch with Q&A with current scholars, followed by a timed essay on the subject of your discussion (again, low stress). After that, there's dessert and a tour if you want it. There are also sessions for your parents while students are off doing their thing, on financial aid and the honors program and all that.
When I was an applicant, I was certainly nervous, but being on the other side of it for the last three years, admissions really does everything they can to make it low stress. Basically, if you are invited, you are already looking good for a scholarship. My impression is that maybe they determine who gets what award with the help of additional information collected at scholarship day.
Again, I'm no expert (not an insider, haha), but this is how I've understood it.