Hey, I also got a likely letter and a Distinguished Scholarship but no Honors invite (I emailed them about it too). It's nice to know that there are other people in the same boat.
I think that UNC should restrict likely letters, Board of Visitors invitations, and other such forms of flattery to students who have been chosen for the Honors program. It feels sort of meaningless to hear UNC call me "one of their top applicants" if they didn't think I was good enough for a spot in the Honors program.
I looked into it earlier. By looking at the admissions blogs, it seems that 600 students are identified by admissions to be considered by the honors committee made up of professors. I suspect all 600 are sent likely letters (don't know this for sure). Of those 600, the honors committee selects 300 to be invited to the honors college. Admissions/honors committee are separate. In fact, the honors committee sends out the invitations to honors. Admissions may look at different criteria (maybe more on stats?) for awarding scholarships.
If you figure MC and Robertson finalists (not just award winners) probably get into honors, there aren't that many spots left. Most say it's not difficult to take honors classes and apply later on. I know several who choose to leave honors. It's not set in stone.
But if they only give out a couple hundred scholarships each year, you would think that they would qualified enough to make it into the 300 honors spots. (PS- the Morehead and Robertson are independent of the school)
I'm sorry to all of you without the Honors invite, but congratulations on the scholarship! If it helps at all I was invited to Honors with no likely letter and no scholarship, so the opposite happens too.
Ok, sorry for the confusion. I didn't know the distinguished scholarships were something different from all the scholarships that I mentioned. That might not get you into the Honors Program.
Again, I would like to emphasize that being in the Honors Program should not be the deciding factor for coming to UNC. I can't tell people that enough. I was not accepted to the Honors Program and was more than a little bitter about it, but came here anyway and now I can't imagine myself anywhere else.