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Any opinions on Chapel Hill social atomosphere?

Hi everyone! I would like to thank y'all first and foremost for taking the time to read my post, and I am hopeful that anyone who sees this may respond to give me some insight on the social life at Chapel Hill.

I have lived in NC all of my life and it has kind of been expected to go to this school because I would be a 3rd generation "legacy" (or whatever it is called) following my mom, and her dad. Despite them both going to that school, neither of them talk about their attendance much because they are relatively private people; however, one of my other family members that has attended (relation through marriage) said she thought the campus was too "uppity" and that the large size of the school made it hard for her to feel welcome, safe, and at home. Despite that opinion, both my mother and grandfather said they have both have good experiences, despite not elaborating on them.

To my point, my apologies for going off on a tangent, what is the social life like at Chapel Hill? I know much of the accepted students are in state (roughly 80% I believe), and that it is a more liberal-based beliefs campus due to its location surrounding the prominent advancement with the research triangle, but how is the social scene itself? I am not someone who intends to party every weekend, in fact I'd prefer not to do that because I don't want to get behind on my studies, but I am a very extroverted and social person and, from what I have heard so far, I have been led to believe there will not be many opportunities for socializing. I really hope this is not the case because this has been my dream school since I was a young girl, but if I am not able to socialize to a certain extent I will be bored out of my mind!

Please let me know if any of you readers are current or past students that are able to remark on the experience, or just let me know if you are generally more informed. Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my post!
12 replies
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Replies to: Any opinions on Chapel Hill social atomosphere?

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7757 replies82 threads Senior Member
    from what I have heard so far, I have been led to believe there will not be many opportunities for socializing

    Is this an honest post or a prank?

    In general, when other people give you their opinion on something it is helpful to consider the source: do you like the relative (by marriage) who doesn't like Chapel Hill? are you two similar in how you see things?

    There are nearly 20,000 students at Chapel Hill and many 'social scenes'. My collegekids primary school had 20 kids in each *grade* , and that was still enough kids to have more than one 'social scene'. If you can't find a group of people that you enjoy socializing with - and activities to do with them- you aren't trying.
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  • cheerygal2020cheerygal2020 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you for your response, but no this is not a prank. I did not word what I meant correctly as I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities for social events and socializing. The relations are all fine, to your point, I just do not hear much about the social life on the UNC-CH campus from any of my relatives. What I meant, and what I mentioned earlier in my thread, was the question of is the social scene at Chapel Hill specifically “uppity” or diverse?
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  • SatanFlower69SatanFlower69 314 replies5 threads Member
    edited March 6
    @cheerygal2020 honestly, CC is a decent resource for a lot of information but you may want to check out the options below for your specific question. I've found these to be far more helpful for learning about the social atmosphere, particularly Unigo since all reviews are based on actual student perspectives. Hope this helps!

    Instagram - uncchapelhill, uncadmissions (school mascot rameses_unc sent a follow request)
    Unigo
    Reddit
    YouTube Campus Videos

    Edit: Realized I never actually answered your question. Apologies, its early here and I've yet to get coffee. :smiley: UNC CH seems to be an academically challenging atmosphere with a nice balance of socializing opportunities and student organizations. Definitely seems more casual than uppity, maybe preppy would be a better substitute for uppity. Of course the best way to get a feel for the campus vibe is to visit if you're able.
    edited March 6
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7757 replies82 threads Senior Member
    edited March 6
    There are absolutely people at CH who could be described as 'uppity', but IMO they are a very small minority. With 20,000 people, there is just about every stripe of human, and the ways of socializing are just as diverse.

    One thing that might not be obvious is the ways that college social life is different than HS. It is typical to start with a group of people that you are friendly with from your dorm, and over time develop other pods of friends from your favorite ECs/activities and your classes/study groups. As you move up in your major, you are likely to have a pod of friends there as well. There is a lot of movement of friend groups, especially in first year, as people get more confident, get more involved in more activities, etc.

    What socializing looks like reflects you and what you like to do. If you want the stereotypical frat-style partying, it's there. If you prefer socializing while being active, that's there. If you prefer video gaming the night away, that's there. If you prefer socializing while being entertained (movies, plays, concerts- of all types), that's there. If you like a mix, you can do that too.

    I know somebody who became a life master at Bridge at CH and another who drank her way through it (btw, she regrets that now). I know somebody who started out as a math major, made a ton of friends in the math department, then changed to social work and ended up dating and marrying a fellow student (who became a lawyer) she met at a swing dancing event that she went to only b/c her roommate pushed her into it. Because- and this is the key point: there is no "one" social scene at CH.

    Fwiw, your relative's experience of CH will not really be relevant to yours: the school has changed too much. It is a much more diverse school- in terms of wealth, race, etc- than it was then (it still has a ways to go, but the progress is substantial and real). Although by law only 18% of students are from OOS, that 18% has made a difference in broadening the community.

    Are you anxious about committing?
    edited March 6
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7700 replies7 threads Senior Member
    There are many opportunities to socialize:

    If you want to attend an off campus party, you can. If you never want to see one, you won’t.

    A big part of the social scene are the clubs and volunteer experiences. You will find peers with common interests and can develop close friendships that lead to social outings.

    Franklin Street is very social and lots of students go out to local restaurants.

    IMO the size of the school does not prevent students from feeling at home. The professors are very welcoming, as is the entire community. That being said, if you want an LAC then you might not feel comfortable at a larger school.

    Can you elaborate on the word “uppity”? Do you mean snobbiness due to material objects and money? Do you mean that the students act superior in some way because of academics? I would not describe the school as “uppity.”




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  • cheerygal2020cheerygal2020 4 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 6
    Thank you so much!! @SatanFlower69 I think "preppy" might be the better term haha!
    edited March 6
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  • cheerygal2020cheerygal2020 4 replies1 threads New Member
    @collegemom3717 Yes ma'am, I am a little anxious about committing. I have 5 acceptances so far and, while I've been easily able to cross 2 off my list, I am heavily weighing between 3 others. Of course, Chapel Hill is one, but I also have been accepted into Clemson and the ECU Honors College. Clemson has a really nice familial atmosphere that I love, but OOS tuition is a bit of an obstacle, whereas ECU Honors College has given me a substantial scholarship to attend, but I am worrisome about going there because I am on the track to medical school, and I do not want the "party school" label of ECU to weigh on that, but I am also not informed enough to know if that will make a difference. Thank you for commenting again and asking!
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  • cheerygal2020cheerygal2020 4 replies1 threads New Member
    @twogirls I have heard about the social scene being somewhat preppy (as @SatanFlower69 said) in the terms of academics. If I am being totally honest, I am not the most genius individual. Sure, I'm in all AP and Honors Classes, but I am a socialite and also a cheerleader so I am often labeled as "ditzy". Also, the blonde hair does not help with the stereotype either haha! I am hoping that once students get to college, they will grow out of those behaviors, but from what I have heard about the intelligence level of students at UNC-CH I am worried that if everyone knows or believes they are smarter than me due to my social personality that I will be subjected to the same treatment as I have been in high school. Thank you so much for replying BTW!!
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  • SatanFlower69SatanFlower69 314 replies5 threads Member
    edited March 6
    @cheerygal2020 if it helps out of the universities I've been comparing these last couple months - UNC CH, Duke, U of Richmond and Vanderbilt. UNC CH *appears* to be the least majority preppy on the list based on the students descriptions. With a higher ethnic, socioeconomic, political and religious diversity. I wouldn't give that or intelligence concerns a second thought. You've already been accepted, you're more than capable and will be successful no matter where you go. Congrats!
    edited March 6
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7757 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Good news: College really isn't HS! You will find other students like you in whichever college you pick: young women who enjoy being social but also want to get top marks; who are pretty and blond on the outside, but also smart, strong and determined on the inside.

    For med school applications the most important things are GPA, MCAT and money. No debt for undergrad will make med school debt much more manageable (still hard though). GPA (both overall and in the core pre-med requirements) is the biggest criteria. ECU's party school rep won't hurt you in the slightest- as long as your grades are there!

    So, go where you can shine, get the grades and graduate with no (or little) debt.
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  • fancypants2019fancypants2019 63 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Chapel Hill is a progressive school with people with all types of beliefs and backgrounds. No matter what you feel you will find people like you. I find Carolina the perfect mix between prestige academics, sports domination and social life.
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  • HeelsdudeHeelsdude 2 replies1 threads New Member
    My son is a Jr at UNC (and I attended many years ago and yes it appears to have changed a lot so your relatives experience is likely not going to be yours). He's a Chem/Bio major looking to go to med school. He is in a fraternity and has a social "pod" outside the fraternity also (one of the christian organizations) as well as a friend group from his freshman dorm year. As others have said - with 20,000+ people on campus there's something for everyone. if you are outgoing, you'll find yours. My son would not classify the student body as "uppity" at all. There is of course an "uppity" "group", but plenty/overwhelming majority are not.

    That said - if you really want med school - plan on studying more than you likely are thinking right now. He's a bright young man, driven, and comes from a competitive private high school and he had a bunch of college credits coming in. He's done very well, but he's had to work his tail off. The kids on that med school track are very serious about academics and you'll be "competing" with them. Go for it if you want - but be sure it's what you want because it takes a good deal of sacrifice (unless you are otherworldly smart).

    I'm biased as a UNC alum, and admittedly don't know much about the ECU Honors program, but I'd be hard pressed to imagine that's a more attractive "resume" for med school than getting top grades in a competitive major at UNC. Just my 2 cents.

    Enjoy your 4 years - it goes by fast !
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