UNC Chapel Hill Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts and Advice

July 28, 2023

Those hoping to enter the Tar Heel Class of 2026 faced tougher competition than at any previous time in UNC Chapel Hill history. To quantify this assertion, there were 57,219 first-year applicants for the Class of 2026 and the overall acceptance rate was just 16.8%–less than half the figure seen two decades ago. North Carolinians continue to enjoy a sizable advantage. In fact, in-state applicants were accepted at roughly a 40% clip while out-of-state applicants experienced just a 10% admit rate. The mid-50% SAT range for North Carolinians was 1340-1500 while the range for out-of-staters was a more intimidating 1400-1540. For all applicants, the UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essays will be of great importance.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into UNC–Chapel Hill for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

If you want to have your strongest shot at one day donning the Carolina blue and white, you’ll need to find ways to stand out on your application. Through its two short answer prompts, the UNC-Chapel Hill supplemental section still affords an opportunity to showcase what makes you uniquely qualified for admission. Below are the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill’s supplemental prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address each one.

UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essays: Short answer prompts 2023-24

You’ll respond to each of the following two prompts in 200-250 words:

1) Discuss one of your personal qualities and share a story, anecdote, or memory of how it helped you make a positive impact on a community. This could be your current community or another community you have engaged.

This essay starts with an invitation to share a personal quality that you feel is essential for the admissions committee to know about. Next, you need to take that personal quality, situate it in a true story that involves the larger world, and explain how you made a positive impact on others. You may wish to “work backward” on this one. Think about how you positively helped a community in your life and then try to nail down which quality of yours ultimately had the most impact. This way, the audience will be able to clearly see your favorable quality in action versus you just explaining that you are empathetic, versatile, loyal, trustworthy, resilient, etc.

Additionally, as you consider your approach to this essay, it’s important to look at “community” as a broadly defined concept. Community can encompass anything from your high school, your neighborhood, a place of worship, your family, or even a club or sports team. Some words of warning with this one: this doesn’t need to be a grandiose vision. For example, you single-handedly solved the climate crisis and eliminated global poverty. You don’t have to be the lone hero in this tale!

UNC Supplemental Essays (Continued)

2) Discuss an academic topic that you’re excited to explore and learn more about in college. Why does this topic interest you? Topics could be a specific course of study, research interests, or any other area related to your academic experience in college.

Here, Chapel Hill is asking you to share your story of how you became interested in your selected discipline. You can structure the narrative of this essay as a soup to nuts chronicling of your entire journey toward your discipline of interest. Contrarily, you could share one or two vignettes that illustrate your burgeoning passion for engineering, history, French, computer science, business, psychology, etc. As you begin the prewriting phase, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your first strong memory relating to your future area of study?
  • What fills you with wonder?
  • What books have you read on the subject?
  • Do you consume podcasts or documentaries related to your passions?
  • Have certain online or print publications helped to fuel your interests?
  • What subtopics of your prospective discipline most intrigue you?
  • Did a teacher excite you about this topic or was it a parent/relative or outside mentor?

How important are the UNC Chapel Hill supplemental Essays?

There are eight factors that UNC Chapel Hill considers as “very important” and the essays are among them. In addition to the essays, UNC-Chapel Hill gives the greatest consideration to the rigor of one’s academic record, standardized test scores, recommendations, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, and state residency.

UNC Chapel Hill Supplemental Essays – Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

Lastly, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your UNC supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote today.