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The Requirements: 2 essays of 200-250 words each, 5 short responses of 25 words each
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community, Activity
UNC wants to accept students who will contribute to diversity on campus. When considering an aspect of your identity to expand upon, we recommend choosing one that has had the biggest impact on the way you experience and interact with the world. Ideally, the unique aspect you select should come with a couple anecdotes. Maybe you want to write about your gender identity and give admissions a glimpse into what it’s like to be a young trans person in 2022. Perhaps you embody #BlackGirlMagic and always take the opportunity to celebrate your heritage and community. Regardless of the part of your identity that you choose to address, be specific about how it impacts your worldview and experience in the world.
Who do you look up to and why? UNC wants to know about a peer you respect and admire for their work in the community. So, start by thinking about someone who makes a difference in your community. Who comes to mind? Perhaps for you, it’s your neighbor, who hosts pool parties every Sunday in the summer to bring the block together to bond over sharks and minos. What have these pool parties meant to you? Or, maybe you’ve never met the person you’d like to write about. Maybe you follow someone on Instagram who is constantly raising awareness and informing you (and their other followers) about issues impacting your community. Have these posts inspired you to call your state representatives to voice your frustrations and demand change? No matter who you choose, try not to spend too many words on their actions, and instead focus on how their work has made a difference in your life. It is you, after all, that UNC will be considering inviting to campus next fall.
Although you may be tempted to write the first thing that comes to mind (make it beachfront! free pizza Fridays! build a bowling alley!), admissions is looking for a serious response that addresses a current issue. The good news (for essay purposes, anyway) is that there’s no shortage of contemporary issues for you to address here, so the key is to pick the problem that is closest to your heart. Maybe you’re incredibly passionate about the environment and would love to create a clean energy initiative in your town. Perhaps you want to zoom out and interpret “where you live” as your country as a whole: do you envision living in a country where child hunger has been eradicated? Once you’ve pinpointed your goal, don’t forget to answer the “why” and “how would you contribute” parts of the question as well, and bonus points if you can show admissions that you’re already taking steps to make this change happen in your community. Are you organizing peaceful protests in your small Midwestern town to raise awareness about the impending dangers of global warming? Do you use your social media platforms to inform your peers about youth homelessness? Remember that UNC is looking to accept passionate students who are informed and eager to be part of the solution.
Admissions wants to know what has made you into the person you are today. Which stories do you carry with you and how does your background impact the way you interact with the world around you? What you focus on here can be reflective of larger cultural constructs or specific to your family or lineage. UNC is looking to add diverse perspectives to the melting pot that is their student body. Maybe your grandparents used to tell you stories about their experiences as refugees. How did those stories shape you or inspire you to work toward a more peaceful world? Perhaps you come from a long line of fierce women who worked hard so the next generation could have more opportunities. How do you honor those ancestors? What has influenced your identity? What do you believe and how will your worldview bring something of value to the community at UNC-Chapel Hill?
You’ve been limited to 25 words per prompt, so you’d better make every word count! It’s best to avoid generalities or gentle introductions and cut straight to the point. The more specific your words are, the more memorable your answers will be. If you can paint a funny picture or display a knack for wit, take the chance. Consider this to be an opportunity to fill in any blanks in your application. Anything that doesn’t feel like it merits a full essay can go here as a tweet, hot take, punchline, or elegantly worded sentence. Finally, for #5, we recommend writing down as many words as possible that come to mind before landing on your favorite. We’re sure there’s a lot to notice about you! 🙂