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College Essays


If you're applying for admission to UNC Chapel Hill , you'll have to write a total of three essays as part of your application. Your UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essays are a great way to tell the admissions committee more about yourself while also showing your interest in UNC and your dedication to your education.

In this article, we'll break down what the UNC essay prompts are, what you should talk about in each, and offer tips for writing great UNC supplemental essays.

What Are the UNC Essay Prompts?

UNC Chapel Hill uses the Common Application for its admissions process. As a first-year applicant, you'll be required to write a total of three essays: one Common Application essay and two UNC-specific essays.

The UNC supplemental essays are two 200-250 word essays that respond to UNC-specific questions. There are a total of four UNC supplemental essays to choose from; you get to pick whichever two you would like to answer.

Here are the four UNC essay prompts:

  • Describe an aspect of your identity and how this has shaped your life experiences or impacted your daily interactions with others?
  • Describe a peer who is making a difference in your school or community. What actions has that peer taken? How has their work made a difference in your life?
  • If you could change one thing to better your community, what would it be? Please explain.
  • Former UNC-Chapel Hill employee, community service member, and civil rights activist Esphur Foster once said, “We are nothing without our history.” Her words are memorialized on the Northside Neighborhood Freedom Fighters monument. How does history shape who you are?

In the next section, we'll talk about how to answer each of the UNC supplemental essays.

UNC Supplemental Essays, Analyzed

Each of the four UNC essay prompts asks you to share about something in your life that the admissions committee wouldn't know from reading the rest of your application. The key to writing great UNC supplemental essays is to be personal and specific.

Let's take a look at what the admissions committee wants to know in each prompt.

Describe an aspect of your identity and how this has shaped your life experiences or impacted your daily interactions with others? (200-250 words)

To answer this prompt, you'll have to do three things. First, you need to identify a peer who's active in your community and making a difference. You can interpret the word “peer” loosely here if you want to. It could be someone your age or someone from your school, or just another person in your social group you’ve seen making a difference. 

No matter who you choose, you'll have to briefly explain who they are and what they're doing. This will help your readers contextualize why this person is important! And, as usual, it's even better if you can do this in a story format. Maybe you volunteered with someone from your dance class who also happens to be one of the most outspoken advocates for climate change in your city. Telling a story about your personal experience with them would take your essay to another level.

Finally, you need to be very specific about how the community builder you've chosen has impacted your life. While it's great if you have a close relationship with this person, you don't have to in order to write a great essay! Maybe your school’s student body president organized a group that cleans litter out of neighborhoods. While you don't know her personally, her group's hard work makes your life cleaner, and it helps people have more pride in their city.

Keep in mind that even though you're talking about another person, this essay should still showcase something about you. Pick a person who inspires you or shares your values, and explain why you think their work matters. Don't miss the chance to help admissions counselors get to know you better!


Describe an aspect of your identity (for example, your religion, culture, race, sexual or gender identity, affinity group, etc.). How has this aspect of your identity shaped your life experiences thus far? (200-250 words)

To answer this prompt, you're going to have to do a little introspection. The admissions counselors want you to write about one aspect of who you are , then explain how it has impacted your values, ideas, and experiences.

The good news (and maybe bad news?) is that there are tons of facets to your personality. The prompt gives you a few big areas you can focus on, but the trick is going to be to pick an element of your identity that you can tell a story about.

Let's say you identify as trans. That's probably a huge part of who you are! To write this essay, start by telling a story about how your trans identity has shaped you. Maybe you were elected homecoming queen after you transitioned, and it showed you how accepting yourself was the first step in being accepted by others. Whatever the case may be, using a story will be key to connecting with your audience.

And of course, don't forget to answer the second part of the prompt about how this part of your identity has shaped you as a person. Make sure you're making the connection for your reader! Don't just say you're the child of Palestinian immigrants. Explain how that has solidified your commitment to humanitarianism and economic equality.

If you could change one thing to better your community, what would it be? Please explain. (200-250 words)

While this prompt may seem serious, it doesn't have to be. You don't need to do in-depth research into your neighborhood and your city's politics, but you do need to pick a change that has personal meaning for you.

For instance, maybe you and your neighbors don't know each other well and you'd like to have a greater feeling of community with the people you live nearby. That reason has nothing to do with legislation, but would still make a big impact!

The key here is to identify the thing you would change, then explain why you would make that change. Going back to our example about neighborhood community, maybe the "why" is because it would help you support one another. Your neighbors could help each other with yard work, child care, and maybe even after school tutoring! By bringing people together, not only do you take some of the burden off of individuals, but it would form the bonds that help make neighborhoods happy, healthy, and safe places to live.

The last crucial detail you need to discuss in your response is how you would contribute to this change. Don't be afraid of dreaming big! You can easily integrate your explanation of how you’d contribute into your description of the change that you want to see. 

To the extent that you can, give concrete details about what you’d do to support this change . As much as this prompt is asking about your community, it’s even more interested in finding out how you perceive your role in your community--and whether you take that responsibility seriously. 

Former UNC-Chapel Hill employee, community service member, and civil rights activist Esphur Foster once said, “We are nothing without our history.” Her words are memorialized on the Northside Neighborhood Freedom Fighters monument. How does history shape who you are? (200-250 words)

This prompt is asking you to show your awareness of your place in the world beyond the things that are local to you, like your family, school, and hometown. Understanding how history has shaped who you are helps you be an ethical citizen and member of your communities--qualities that UNC is looking for in its applicants!

But “history” seems a little broad, right? The good news about that is that you can bring your own interpretation of the term “history” to your response here. You could look reflect on aspects of U.S. history, world history, or the history of a set of religious beliefs. You could write about something more personal, like your family history, or something pertaining to your academic interests, like the history of women in computer science!

The key here is to make sure you explain how a specific piece of history has shaped who you are --your identity and your views of the world. To do this effectively, you won’t be able to summarize the entire history of the United States or the legacies of second-wave feminism. You’ll have to incorporate one or two historical details into your story and dive deep into how they have shaped who you are. Because as the prompt says, we are nothing without our history!


3 Tips For Mastering Your UNC Essays

Hoping to write two amazing UNC supplemental essays? Follow these key tips to do so!

#1: Use Your Own Voice

The point of a college essay is for the admissions committee to have the chance to get to know you beyond what's featured in other parts of your application. Your admissions essays are your chance to become more than just a collection of statistics—to really come alive for your application readers.

Make sure that the person you're presenting in your college essays is yourself. Don't just write what you think the committee wants to hear or try to act like someone you're not—it will be really easy for the committee to tell you're lying.

If you lie or exaggerate, your essay will come across as insincere, which will at best diminish its effectiveness and at worst make the admissions committee think twice on accepting you. Stick to telling real stories about the person you really are, not who you think UNC wants you to be.

#2: Avoid Cliches and Overused Phrases

When writing your UNC essays, don't use cliches or overused quotes or phrases. The college admissions committee has probably seen numerous essays that state, "Be the change you want to see in the world." You can write something more original than that!

Each of the UNC essays asks you something specific about your experience or background. Your essay should be 100% you—you don't want the admissions committee to think, "Anyone could have written this essay."


#3: Check Your Work

Your UNC essays should be the strongest example of your work possible. Before you turn in your UNC Chapel Hill application, edit and proofread your essays.

Run your essays through a spelling and grammar check before you submit and ask someone else to read your essays. You can seek a second opinion on your work from a parent, teacher, or friend. Ask them whether your work represents you as a student and person. Have them check and make sure you haven't missed any small writing errors. Having a second opinion will help your work be the best it possibly can be.

Final Thoughts

Your UNC supplemental essays are your chance to show the admissions committee what makes you special and different from the other tens of thousands of students applying for admission at UNC.

In your essays, make sure you are authentic, well-spoken, and polished so you give the admissions committee the best possible understanding of who you are as a person.

What's Next?

Need more help with your scholarship search? Read our expert guide on how to find college scholarships .

Need help writing your Common App essay? Our tips will show you how to write a Common App essay guaranteed to make you stand out from other applicants!

How does UNC's selectivity compare with those of other top colleges? Get the answer in our guide to the most selective schools in the nation !

Want to write the perfect college application essay?   We can help.   Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will help you craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay to proudly submit to colleges.   Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now:

Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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Honors Theses

What this handout is about.

Writing a senior honors thesis, or any major research essay, can seem daunting at first. A thesis requires a reflective, multi-stage writing process. This handout will walk you through those stages. It is targeted at students in the humanities and social sciences, since their theses tend to involve more writing than projects in the hard sciences. Yet all thesis writers may find the organizational strategies helpful.


What is an honors thesis.

That depends quite a bit on your field of study. However, all honors theses have at least two things in common:

  • They are based on students’ original research.
  • They take the form of a written manuscript, which presents the findings of that research. In the humanities, theses average 50-75 pages in length and consist of two or more chapters. In the social sciences, the manuscript may be shorter, depending on whether the project involves more quantitative than qualitative research. In the hard sciences, the manuscript may be shorter still, often taking the form of a sophisticated laboratory report.

Who can write an honors thesis?

In general, students who are at the end of their junior year, have an overall 3.2 GPA, and meet their departmental requirements can write a senior thesis. For information about your eligibility, contact:

  • UNC Honors Program
  • Your departmental administrators of undergraduate studies/honors

Why write an honors thesis?

Satisfy your intellectual curiosity This is the most compelling reason to write a thesis. Whether it’s the short stories of Flannery O’Connor or the challenges of urban poverty, you’ve studied topics in college that really piqued your interest. Now’s your chance to follow your passions, explore further, and contribute some original ideas and research in your field.

Develop transferable skills Whether you choose to stay in your field of study or not, the process of developing and crafting a feasible research project will hone skills that will serve you well in almost any future job. After all, most jobs require some form of problem solving and oral and written communication. Writing an honors thesis requires that you:

  • ask smart questions
  • acquire the investigative instincts needed to find answers
  • navigate libraries, laboratories, archives, databases, and other research venues
  • develop the flexibility to redirect your research if your initial plan flops
  • master the art of time management
  • hone your argumentation skills
  • organize a lengthy piece of writing
  • polish your oral communication skills by presenting and defending your project to faculty and peers

Work closely with faculty mentors At large research universities like Carolina, you’ve likely taken classes where you barely got to know your instructor. Writing a thesis offers the opportunity to work one-on-one with a with faculty adviser. Such mentors can enrich your intellectual development and later serve as invaluable references for graduate school and employment.

Open windows into future professions An honors thesis will give you a taste of what it’s like to do research in your field. Even if you’re a sociology major, you may not really know what it’s like to be a sociologist. Writing a sociology thesis would open a window into that world. It also might help you decide whether to pursue that field in graduate school or in your future career.

How do you write an honors thesis?

Get an idea of what’s expected.

It’s a good idea to review some of the honors theses other students have submitted to get a sense of what an honors thesis might look like and what kinds of things might be appropriate topics. Look for examples from the previous year in the Carolina Digital Repository. You may also be able to find past theses collected in your major department or at the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library. Pay special attention to theses written by students who share your major.

Choose a topic

Ideally, you should start thinking about topics early in your junior year, so you can begin your research and writing quickly during your senior year. (Many departments require that you submit a proposal for an honors thesis project during the spring of your junior year.)

How should you choose a topic?

  • Read widely in the fields that interest you. Make a habit of browsing professional journals to survey the “hot” areas of research and to familiarize yourself with your field’s stylistic conventions. (You’ll find the most recent issues of the major professional journals in the periodicals reading room on the first floor of Davis Library).
  • Set up appointments to talk with faculty in your field. This is a good idea, since you’ll eventually need to select an advisor and a second reader. Faculty also can help you start narrowing down potential topics.
  • Look at honors theses from the past. The North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library holds UNC honors theses. To get a sense of the typical scope of a thesis, take a look at a sampling from your field.

What makes a good topic?

  • It’s fascinating. Above all, choose something that grips your imagination. If you don’t, the chances are good that you’ll struggle to finish.
  • It’s doable. Even if a topic interests you, it won’t work out unless you have access to the materials you need to research it. Also be sure that your topic is narrow enough. Let’s take an example: Say you’re interested in the efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and early 1980s. That’s a big topic that probably can’t be adequately covered in a single thesis. You need to find a case study within that larger topic. For example, maybe you’re particularly interested in the states that did not ratify the ERA. Of those states, perhaps you’ll select North Carolina, since you’ll have ready access to local research materials. And maybe you want to focus primarily on the ERA’s opponents. Beyond that, maybe you’re particularly interested in female opponents of the ERA. Now you’ve got a much more manageable topic: Women in North Carolina Who Opposed the ERA in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • It contains a question. There’s a big difference between having a topic and having a guiding research question. Taking the above topic, perhaps your main question is: Why did some women in North Carolina oppose the ERA? You will, of course, generate other questions: Who were the most outspoken opponents? White women? Middle-class women? How did they oppose the ERA? Public protests? Legislative petitions? etc. etc. Yet it’s good to start with a guiding question that will focus your research.

Goal-setting and time management

The senior year is an exceptionally busy time for college students. In addition to the usual load of courses and jobs, seniors have the daunting task of applying for jobs and/or graduate school. These demands are angst producing and time consuming If that scenario sounds familiar, don’t panic! Do start strategizing about how to make a time for your thesis. You may need to take a lighter course load or eliminate extracurricular activities. Even if the thesis is the only thing on your plate, you still need to make a systematic schedule for yourself. Most departments require that you take a class that guides you through the honors project, so deadlines likely will be set for you. Still, you should set your own goals for meeting those deadlines. Here are a few suggestions for goal setting and time management:

Start early. Keep in mind that many departments will require that you turn in your thesis sometime in early April, so don’t count on having the entire spring semester to finish your work. Ideally, you’ll start the research process the semester or summer before your senior year so that the writing process can begin early in the fall. Some goal-setting will be done for you if you are taking a required class that guides you through the honors project. But any substantive research project requires a clear timetable.

Set clear goals in making a timetable. Find out the final deadline for turning in your project to your department. Working backwards from that deadline, figure out how much time you can allow for the various stages of production.

Here is a sample timetable. Use it, however, with two caveats in mind:

  • The timetable for your thesis might look very different depending on your departmental requirements.
  • You may not wish to proceed through these stages in a linear fashion. You may want to revise chapter one before you write chapter two. Or you might want to write your introduction last, not first. This sample is designed simply to help you start thinking about how to customize your own schedule.

Sample timetable

Avoid falling into the trap of procrastination. Once you’ve set goals for yourself, stick to them! For some tips on how to do this, see our handout on procrastination .

Consistent production

It’s a good idea to try to squeeze in a bit of thesis work every day—even if it’s just fifteen minutes of journaling or brainstorming about your topic. Or maybe you’ll spend that fifteen minutes taking notes on a book. The important thing is to accomplish a bit of active production (i.e., putting words on paper) for your thesis every day. That way, you develop good writing habits that will help you keep your project moving forward.

Make yourself accountable to someone other than yourself

Since most of you will be taking a required thesis seminar, you will have deadlines. Yet you might want to form a writing group or enlist a peer reader, some person or people who can help you stick to your goals. Moreover, if your advisor encourages you to work mostly independently, don’t be afraid to ask them to set up periodic meetings at which you’ll turn in installments of your project.

Brainstorming and freewriting

One of the biggest challenges of a lengthy writing project is keeping the creative juices flowing. Here’s where freewriting can help. Try keeping a small notebook handy where you jot down stray ideas that pop into your head. Or schedule time to freewrite. You may find that such exercises “free” you up to articulate your argument and generate new ideas. Here are some questions to stimulate freewriting.

Questions for basic brainstorming at the beginning of your project:

  • What do I already know about this topic?
  • Why do I care about this topic?
  • Why is this topic important to people other than myself
  • What more do I want to learn about this topic?
  • What is the main question that I am trying to answer?
  • Where can I look for additional information?
  • Who is my audience and how can I reach them?
  • How will my work inform my larger field of study?
  • What’s the main goal of my research project?

Questions for reflection throughout your project:

  • What’s my main argument? How has it changed since I began the project?
  • What’s the most important evidence that I have in support of my “big point”?
  • What questions do my sources not answer?
  • How does my case study inform or challenge my field writ large?
  • Does my project reinforce or contradict noted scholars in my field? How?
  • What is the most surprising finding of my research?
  • What is the most frustrating part of this project?
  • What is the most rewarding part of this project?
  • What will be my work’s most important contribution?

Research and note-taking

In conducting research, you will need to find both primary sources (“firsthand” sources that come directly from the period/events/people you are studying) and secondary sources (“secondhand” sources that are filtered through the interpretations of experts in your field.) The nature of your research will vary tremendously, depending on what field you’re in. For some general suggestions on finding sources, consult the UNC Libraries tutorials . Whatever the exact nature of the research you’re conducting, you’ll be taking lots of notes and should reflect critically on how you do that. Too often it’s assumed that the research phase of a project involves very little substantive writing (i.e., writing that involves thinking). We sit down with our research materials and plunder them for basic facts and useful quotations. That mechanical type of information-recording is important. But a more thoughtful type of writing and analytical thinking is also essential at this stage. Some general guidelines for note-taking:

First of all, develop a research system. There are lots of ways to take and organize your notes. Whether you choose to use note cards, computer databases, or notebooks, follow two cardinal rules:

  • Make careful distinctions between direct quotations and your paraphrasing! This is critical if you want to be sure to avoid accidentally plagiarizing someone else’s work. For more on this, see our handout on plagiarism .
  • Record full citations for each source. Don’t get lazy here! It will be far more difficult to find the proper citation later than to write it down now.

Keeping those rules in mind, here’s a template for the types of information that your note cards/legal pad sheets/computer files should include for each of your sources:

Abbreviated subject heading: Include two or three words to remind you of what this sources is about (this shorthand categorization is essential for the later sorting of your sources).

Complete bibliographic citation:

  • author, title, publisher, copyright date, and page numbers for published works
  • box and folder numbers and document descriptions for archival sources
  • complete web page title, author, address, and date accessed for online sources

Notes on facts, quotations, and arguments: Depending on the type of source you’re using, the content of your notes will vary. If, for example, you’re using US Census data, then you’ll mainly be writing down statistics and numbers. If you’re looking at someone else’s diary, you might jot down a number of quotations that illustrate the subject’s feelings and perspectives. If you’re looking at a secondary source, you’ll want to make note not just of factual information provided by the author but also of their key arguments.

Your interpretation of the source: This is the most important part of note-taking. Don’t just record facts. Go ahead and take a stab at interpreting them. As historians Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff insist, “A note is a thought.” So what do these thoughts entail? Ask yourself questions about the context and significance of each source.

Interpreting the context of a source:

  • Who wrote/created the source?
  • When, and under what circumstances, was it written/created?
  • Why was it written/created? What was the agenda behind the source?
  • How was it written/created?
  • If using a secondary source: How does it speak to other scholarship in the field?

Interpreting the significance of a source:

  • How does this source answer (or complicate) my guiding research questions?
  • Does it pose new questions for my project? What are they?
  • Does it challenge my fundamental argument? If so, how?
  • Given the source’s context, how reliable is it?

You don’t need to answer all of these questions for each source, but you should set a goal of engaging in at least one or two sentences of thoughtful, interpretative writing for each source. If you do so, you’ll make much easier the next task that awaits you: drafting.

The dread of drafting

Why do we often dread drafting? We dread drafting because it requires synthesis, one of the more difficult forms of thinking and interpretation. If you’ve been free-writing and taking thoughtful notes during the research phase of your project, then the drafting should be far less painful. Here are some tips on how to get started:

Sort your “evidence” or research into analytical categories:

  • Some people file note cards into categories.
  • The technologically-oriented among us take notes using computer database programs that have built-in sorting mechanisms.
  • Others cut and paste evidence into detailed outlines on their computer.
  • Still others stack books, notes, and photocopies into topically-arranged piles.There is not a single right way, but this step—in some form or fashion—is essential!

If you’ve been forcing yourself to put subject headings on your notes as you go along, you’ll have generated a number of important analytical categories. Now, you need to refine those categories and sort your evidence. Everyone has a different “sorting style.”

Formulate working arguments for your entire thesis and individual chapters. Once you’ve sorted your evidence, you need to spend some time thinking about your project’s “big picture.” You need to be able to answer two questions in specific terms:

  • What is the overall argument of my thesis?
  • What are the sub-arguments of each chapter and how do they relate to my main argument?

Keep in mind that “working arguments” may change after you start writing. But a senior thesis is big and potentially unwieldy. If you leave this business of argument to chance, you may end up with a tangle of ideas. See our handout on arguments and handout on thesis statements for some general advice on formulating arguments.

Divide your thesis into manageable chunks. The surest road to frustration at this stage is getting obsessed with the big picture. What? Didn’t we just say that you needed to focus on the big picture? Yes, by all means, yes. You do need to focus on the big picture in order to get a conceptual handle on your project, but you also need to break your thesis down into manageable chunks of writing. For example, take a small stack of note cards and flesh them out on paper. Or write through one point on a chapter outline. Those small bits of prose will add up quickly.

Just start! Even if it’s not at the beginning. Are you having trouble writing those first few pages of your chapter? Sometimes the introduction is the toughest place to start. You should have a rough idea of your overall argument before you begin writing one of the main chapters, but you might find it easier to start writing in the middle of a chapter of somewhere other than word one. Grab hold where you evidence is strongest and your ideas are clearest.

Keep up the momentum! Assuming the first draft won’t be your last draft, try to get your thoughts on paper without spending too much time fussing over minor stylistic concerns. At the drafting stage, it’s all about getting those ideas on paper. Once that task is done, you can turn your attention to revising.

Peter Elbow, in Writing With Power, suggests that writing is difficult because it requires two conflicting tasks: creating and criticizing. While these two tasks are intimately intertwined, the drafting stage focuses on creating, while revising requires criticizing. If you leave your revising to the last minute, then you’ve left out a crucial stage of the writing process. See our handout for some general tips on revising . The challenges of revising an honors thesis may include:

Juggling feedback from multiple readers

A senior thesis may mark the first time that you have had to juggle feedback from a wide range of readers:

  • your adviser
  • a second (and sometimes third) faculty reader
  • the professor and students in your honors thesis seminar

You may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of incorporating all this advice. Keep in mind that some advice is better than others. You will probably want to take most seriously the advice of your adviser since they carry the most weight in giving your project a stamp of approval. But sometimes your adviser may give you more advice than you can digest. If so, don’t be afraid to approach them—in a polite and cooperative spirit, of course—and ask for some help in prioritizing that advice. See our handout for some tips on getting and receiving feedback .

Refining your argument

It’s especially easy in writing a lengthy work to lose sight of your main ideas. So spend some time after you’ve drafted to go back and clarify your overall argument and the individual chapter arguments and make sure they match the evidence you present.

Organizing and reorganizing

Again, in writing a 50-75 page thesis, things can get jumbled. You may find it particularly helpful to make a “reverse outline” of each of your chapters. That will help you to see the big sections in your work and move things around so there’s a logical flow of ideas. See our handout on  organization  for more organizational suggestions and tips on making a reverse outline

Plugging in holes in your evidence

It’s unlikely that you anticipated everything you needed to look up before you drafted your thesis. Save some time at the revising stage to plug in the holes in your research. Make sure that you have both primary and secondary evidence to support and contextualize your main ideas.

Saving time for the small stuff

Even though your argument, evidence, and organization are most important, leave plenty of time to polish your prose. At this point, you’ve spent a very long time on your thesis. Don’t let minor blemishes (misspellings and incorrect grammar) distract your readers!

Formatting and final touches

You’re almost done! You’ve researched, drafted, and revised your thesis; now you need to take care of those pesky little formatting matters. An honors thesis should replicate—on a smaller scale—the appearance of a dissertation or master’s thesis. So, you need to include the “trappings” of a formal piece of academic work. For specific questions on formatting matters, check with your department to see if it has a style guide that you should use. For general formatting guidelines, consult the Graduate School’s Guide to Dissertations and Theses . Keeping in mind the caveat that you should always check with your department first about its stylistic guidelines, here’s a brief overview of the final “finishing touches” that you’ll need to put on your honors thesis:

  • Honors Thesis
  • Name of Department
  • University of North Carolina
  • These parts of the thesis will vary in format depending on whether your discipline uses MLA, APA, CBE, or Chicago (also known in its shortened version as Turabian) style. Whichever style you’re using, stick to the rules and be consistent. It might be helpful to buy an appropriate style guide. Or consult the UNC LibrariesYear Citations/footnotes and works cited/reference pages  citation tutorial
  • In addition, in the bottom left corner, you need to leave space for your adviser and faculty readers to sign their names. For example:

Approved by: _____________________

Adviser: Prof. Jane Doe

  • This is not a required component of an honors thesis. However, if you want to thank particular librarians, archivists, interviewees, and advisers, here’s the place to do it. You should include an acknowledgments page if you received a grant from the university or an outside agency that supported your research. It’s a good idea to acknowledge folks who helped you with a major project, but do not feel the need to go overboard with copious and flowery expressions of gratitude. You can—and should—always write additional thank-you notes to people who gave you assistance.
  • Formatted much like the table of contents.
  • You’ll need to save this until the end, because it needs to reflect your final pagination. Once you’ve made all changes to the body of the thesis, then type up your table of contents with the titles of each section aligned on the left and the page numbers on which those sections begin flush right.
  • Each page of your thesis needs a number, although not all page numbers are displayed. All pages that precede the first page of the main text (i.e., your introduction or chapter one) are numbered with small roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.). All pages thereafter use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.).
  • Your text should be double spaced (except, in some cases, long excerpts of quoted material), in a 12 point font and a standard font style (e.g., Times New Roman). An honors thesis isn’t the place to experiment with funky fonts—they won’t enhance your work, they’ll only distract your readers.
  • In general, leave a one-inch inch margin on all sides. However, for the copy of your thesis that will be bound by the library, you need to leave a 1.25-inch margin on the left.

How do I defend my honors thesis?

Graciously, enthusiastically, and confidently. The term defense is scary and misleading—it conjures up images of a military exercise or an athletic maneuver. An academic defense ideally shouldn’t be a combative scene but a congenial conversation about the work’s merits and weaknesses. That said, the defense probably won’t be like the average conversation that you have with your friends. You’ll be the center of attention. And you may get some challenging questions. Thus, it’s a good idea to spend some time preparing yourself. First of all, you’ll want to prepare 5-10 minutes of opening comments. Here’s a good time to preempt some criticisms by frankly acknowledging what you think your work’s greatest strengths and weaknesses are. Then you may be asked some typical questions:

  • What is the main argument of your thesis?
  • How does it fit in with the work of Ms. Famous Scholar?
  • Have you read the work of Mr. Important Author?

NOTE: Don’t get too flustered if you haven’t! Most scholars have their favorite authors and books and may bring one or more of them up, even if the person or book is only tangentially related to the topic at hand. Should you get this question, answer honestly and simply jot down the title or the author’s name for future reference. No one expects you to have read everything that’s out there.

  • Why did you choose this particular case study to explore your topic?
  • If you were to expand this project in graduate school, how would you do so?

Should you get some biting criticism of your work, try not to get defensive. Yes, this is a defense, but you’ll probably only fan the flames if you lose your cool. Keep in mind that all academic work has flaws or weaknesses, and you can be sure that your professors have received criticisms of their own work. It’s part of the academic enterprise. Accept criticism graciously and learn from it. If you receive criticism that is unfair, stand up for yourself confidently, but in a good spirit. Above all, try to have fun! A defense is a rare opportunity to have eminent scholars in your field focus on YOU and your ideas and work. And the defense marks the end of a long and arduous journey. You have every right to be proud of your accomplishments!

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Atchity, Kenneth. 1986. A Writer’s Time: A Guide to the Creative Process from Vision Through Revision . New York: W.W. Norton.

Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. 2012. The Modern Researcher , 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Elbow, Peter. 1998. Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process . New York: Oxford University Press.

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. 2014. “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing , 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

Lamott, Anne. 1994. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . New York: Pantheon.

Lasch, Christopher. 2002. Plain Style: A Guide to Written English. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Turabian, Kate. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, Dissertations , 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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  • Honors and Scholars Programs

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Honors & Scholars Programs

Carolina Elite is a group of specialized programs within the University of South Carolina designed for high-achieving students. Home to three invitation-only programs — Top Scholars, Honors College and Capstone Scholars — Carolina Elite is a distinguished academic opportunity like no other.

Carolina Elite Programs

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Top Scholars

Top Scholars are the university's most distinguished merit award recipients. They display extraordinary academic talent, exemplary character and remarkable leadership skills.

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South Carolina Honors College

The South Carolina Honors College is home to some of the nation's brightest students. The Honors College offers more than 600 courses per year, boasts its own residence hall specifically designed to foster collaboration and even offers its own degree.

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Capstone Scholars

The Capstone Scholars Program is a two-year educational enrichment program designed to provide opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Capstone Scholars live by the program motto: "Dream big, impact the community, leave a legacy!" 

Applying to Carolina Elite Programs

After you submit your general university application, you may receive an invitation to apply to the South Carolina Honors College and our Top Scholars Award program. If you’re not automatically invited, you may contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at [email protected] to request access to the Honors College application supplement.

You are automatically considered for Capstone Scholars when you apply for freshman admission. No separate application materials are required for review. 

Required Materials

The following materials are required for admission consideration to the South Carolina Honors College and Top Scholars Award program.

You'll provide your high school courses/grades for your senior year only, choose your first and second-choice  majors , complete the essay, and list your extracurricular activities, honors and awards. You will also decide whether you want us to consider your ACT/SAT scores in the review process.

All information submitted with your application will be used to determine admission and merit-based scholarship award decisions. For more information on the freshman application visit our freshman application page.

We recommend submitting your general USC Application or Common App by the Oct. 15 Early Action deadline if applying to the Honors College. This will allow you more time to complete the application and essays.

Regardless of which application you select, you must pay the non-refundable $65 application fee or use an ACT, College Board, NACAC, SCOIR, or Common App application fee waiver, if eligible.

If you have an application fee waiver, upload it on the payment page before submitting the application.

Upload a legible unofficial copy of your high school transcript in JPG or PDF format. After you submit the application, we’ll review your uploaded transcript and let you know if we need an official one. The unofficial transcript must list grades through the end of your junior year and include your full name and high school name. Do not send an official high school transcript to the admissions office unless it is requested.

If you already graduated from high school, request to have your official transcript sent to USC’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Don't forget to list your senior year courses and credits on the application. You must list the exact amount of credit (full, half, trimester) for each course. You will also need to list all dual enrollment courses you are taking.

We are test-optional for the spring, summer and fall 2024 terms. This means you are not required to submit SAT and/or ACT scores for admission to the University, South Carolina Honors College admission, or merit scholarship consideration. You will select “Yes” or “No” on the general application to indicate whether you want us to review your test scores as part of the admission process.

If you choose to report your scores on the general application, enter the highest scores for the ACT composite and/or the SAT total. If you took either test more than once, we will super score using all tests taken. 

USC’s deadline for receipt of test scores is based on the credential deadline associated with your application type. If test scores are received by the credentials deadline, your application will be considered on a space-available basis. We require official scores only if you enroll in USC. Our SAT code is 5818 and our ACT code is 3880.

Review  frequently asked questions  about USC's test-optional policy. 

Students should answer a “yes/no” question on the general application to indicate their interest in applying to the South Carolina Honors College. The separate Honors College application supplement will be added to the USC Admissions Portal approximately 48 hours after submitting the freshman application. Students will receive an email from our office once the application supplement is available.

Students who originally answered “no” on the freshman application and change their minds may email [email protected] to request access to the Honors College application supplement.

Personal interest statement : Share why you are specifically interested in joining the South Carolina Honors College. Consider the unique opportunities and resources the Honors College provides and how they align with your academic and personal goals. Discuss how you envision yourself contributing to and benefiting from the collaborative and engaging community that makes up the South Carolina Honors College. (150-300 words)

Thinking essay: The South Carolina Honors College seeks students who embody a deep intellectual curiosity and a passion for knowledge. Reflect on a specific academic experience or pursuit that has sparked your intellectual curiosity and had a significant impact on your personal growth. Describe how this experience has influenced your perspective, challenged your assumptions, or shaped your aspirations. Furthermore, explain how this intellectual curiosity drives you to explore new ideas, engage in critical thinking, and contribute to a diverse and vibrant intellectual community at the South Carolina Honors College. Provide concrete examples to support your reflections and convey the depth of your intellectual engagement.  (500-1000 words)

Doing essay: Describe one of your most significant or personally meaningful leadership and involvement experiences outside the classroom. Reflect on your participation in an extracurricular activity, community service, club, organization, or any other initiative that has shaped your character and influenced your personal growth. Discuss the specific roles and responsibilities you undertook, the challenges you faced, and the lessons you learned through these experiences. How has this experience contributed to your development as a leader and helped you cultivate important skills such as collaboration, communication, and problem-solving? Please provide a specific example and anecdotes that showcase your passion, dedication, and capacity for growth, demonstrating how this outside-the-classroom experience has prepared you for meaningful contributions to the South Carolina Honors College community. (500-1000 words)

A letter of recommendation is required by the Dec. 1 credentials deadline. There are two ways to submit the letter:

  • Your high school counselor can submit the letter on your behalf via a secure electronic service (including the Common App, Scoir and Naviance).  This is our preferred method. 
  • Your recommender may email the letter to [email protected] .

Helpful Hints:

  • Ask someone who knows you best to write on your behalf. Recommenders can include teachers, school counselors, coaches, community leaders and even employers.
  • Only one letter of recommendation will be considered during the review process.
  • Please ask your recommender to only submit your letter once.

Important Dates

October 15 deadline

Early Action Application Deadline

Apply by Oct. 15 and have a complete application filed by Nov. 1 to get an early admissions decision.

November 15 deadline

Honors College Supplement Deadline

Apply by Nov. 15  to be considered for Top Scholars awards and the South Carolina Honors College.

December 1

Application Credentials Deadline

Send in all required materials by Dec. 1 to complete your application for admission.

Honors College admission notifications will be issued by mid-February. Official notifications are sent via email. If you are named a Top Scholar Candidate, you will be invited to participate in a mandatory interview weekend. Interviews will take place February 17-19 for S.C. residents and February 24-26 for nonresidents. Notifications for these awards will be mailed in late January. Capstone Scholars invitations are released in March.

Application Review

The South Carolina Honors College and Top Scholar review is a holistic process that evaluates aspects from the student's application including, but not limited to, academic achievement, leadership potential, a commitment to serving others, intellectual curiosity, high school course rigor, interest in the university and a letter of recommendation.

Academic Profile

These ranges reflect the middle 50% of students who were admitted in 2023 and give you a general idea of where you fall within each academic range.

* Class rank ranges only include students whose high school provides a ranking. **Test score ranges only include students who   chose to have their test scores considered in   the admission and scholarship process.

After You Apply

You can check your application status on your   USC Admissions Portal . You can also request changes to your application. Once we've made a decision on your application, you will receive an email instructing you to check your portal.

USC Admissions Portal

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Connect with an Honors Ambassador

Honors Ambassadors love to answer questions about life at the Honors College!

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Carolina Elite Brochure 

Download our Carolina Elite brochure to learn more about our programs.

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Connect with Us

Have questions about Carolina Elite? Let the admissions office help you!

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

Albert Dorman Honors College

Tips for Writing an Honors College Essay

Writing an Honors College Essay (Max. 400 words)

A college essay is a chance for you to tell us what all your records cannot: who you really are, how you think, and how well you write. It is not an invitation to tell a story, write a novel, or write about other people's experiences. The main point of your essay is to tell us what you have to offer and how you will take advantage of what we have to offer .

  • Write an essay that addresses the topic specified  on the application form. A general essay about yourself or an experience you had is not acceptable.
  • Do not write your essay as if it were a novel. "The baby cried until it had to be comforted by its mother;" "I could not believe as I walked into my first class that this was the beginning of my engineering career." These tell us nothing about yourself. Regardless of what you may have been told in school, write a straightforward descriptive essay that directly addresses the question asked.
  • Avoid clichéd, generic, and predictable writing, such as "I want to help people." This is particularly applicable to essays for accelerated program candidates.
  • Do not quote our own description of our program. We know what we have to offer; we are interested in knowing what you have to offer and how you will use what we offer . Tell us about your interests and why the Albert Dorman Honors College is the right place for you.

What are your chances of acceptance?

Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.


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why honors carolina essay

Strong UNC Chapel Hill Essay Example

UNC Chapel Hill is a pretty selective school, especially for out-of-state students, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share an essay a real student has submitted to UNC Chapel Hill. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our UNC Chapel Hill es say breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

Prompt: If you could change one thing about where you live, what would it be and why? (200-250 words).

Sitting behind the loaded plates on our dinner table, I predicted my mom’s first question with 100% accuracy: “So, how did you do on the trigonometry test today?” Notorious for failing math classes, my brother paused from chewing his chicken wing. 

I knew he’d be in trouble. 

Indeed, after hearing his grade, my mom scolded: “Look at our neighbor’s kid; then look at you! She never gets anything below a 90!”

There it is again: “the neighbor’s kid,” a Chinese concept that I wish would serve a different purpose. Upon learning about their children’s unsatisfactory academic performance, Chinese parents often bring up a so-called perfect neighbor’s kid for comparison. It saddens me to see individuals raised under the shadow of “the neighbor’s kid” not able to simply enjoy exploring knowledge. They toil through years of schooling for good grades and a prestigious college’s acceptance letter at the cost of their mental well-being. Worse, some measure their self-worth by grades alone: my brother believes he’s not good enough, despite all his admirable traits outside of academics. 

Instead of “the neighbor’s kid who got a good grade” at the dinner table, I suggested my parents discuss “the neighbor’s kid who sells bracelets to raise money for charity”  or “who had a hot discussion with the teacher about whether animals have consciousness.” I look forward to a more vibrant and colorful dinner conversation, where families talk about their roses and thorns of the day, rather than a neighbor’s kid defined by numbers.

What the Essay Did Well

This essay does a great job of opening with a strong anecdote and seamlessly transitioning the anecdote into an answer to the prompt. The reader feels the suspense of sitting at the dinner table with the student and their family waiting for the response to their mom’s question, and might even relate to hearing the student’s parents complain about their grade. It’s a simple and quick story, but everyone can find something in it they relate to, which makes the reader want to keep reading.

The essay was also successful at transitioning from a personal anecdote to a broader topic that addresses the prompt. The anecdote is connected to the larger issue the student has with their home environment and provides context for their reasoning that growing up surrounded by this mentality is harmful. The use of the anecdote bolsters the entire essay by perfectly setting up the student’s response to the prompt, rather than being an out-of-place inclusion to add some empathy or imagery, which is a common mistake with anecdotes.

Another positive aspect of this essay is how the student’s passion for the issue shines through. The reader learns a good deal about the student’s family life and familiarity with the “the neighbor’s kid.” The student’s expressed sadness and disapproval at not being able to enjoy learning because the immense amount of stress their parents place on them to get good grades is evident when they said, “ They toil through years of schooling for good grades and a prestigious college’s acceptance letter at the cost of their mental well-being.” The inclusion of the student’s brother also shows how close this issue is to the student’s heart because they are watching stereotypes harm someone they love. The details and direct language included provide strong evidence for why the student wants to change this aspect of where they live, which is the most important part of the prompt to address.

What Could Be Improved

For the most part, this is a great essay. The one thing that could be improved is the last paragraph that explains what the student wants to change. As far as the reader knows, the suggestions the student makes to discuss “the neighbor’s kid who sells bracelets” or “the neighbor’s kid who had a hot discussion with the teacher” are random topics the student chose to contrast with the idea of valuing a kid for a numerical grade. Since these appear as random topics, it distracts from other qualities the student and their brother might possess and want to showcase to their parents.

In an essay that is focused on changing the norm of equating worth with a grade, it would reveal more about what the student wants to be recognized for if they mentioned topics of conversation that related back to their interests. For example, if the student liked to ice skate and play the trumpet they could say: “Instead of the dreaded question about my grades, my parents would ask about how my axel is coming along or what new song I’m considering for the winter concert.” An ending more like this, that discusses the student’s interests rather than randomly mentioning other students, still achieves the same goal of the student not wanting to solely be measured by a number, but conveys the idea while also providing more insight into the student and what they value.

Where to Get Your UNC Chapel Hill  Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your UNC Chapel Hill essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

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The Morning

The new great-power politics.

How an emerging alliance is shaping the world.

In a photograph shot from below, the silhouettes of men, one holding a weapon, against a bright blue sky.

By David Leonhardt

The Houthis, the Iran-backed militia that controls much of Yemen, have disrupted the global economy by firing on commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea. But the Houthis have made some exceptions: Ships from China and Russia are allowed to pass without being attacked, according to Bloomberg.

This policy, formalized with a diplomatic agreement last month , is the latest sign that the world has entered a new period of great power politics. On one side is the largely democratic alliance — including the United States, Japan, South Korea and Western Europe — that has dominated global affairs since the demise of the Soviet Union. On the other side are China, Russia, Iran and North Korea as well as Iran-backed groups like the Houthis.

These authoritarian powers “are more and more aligned,” Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, the Western alliance, told the BBC this week . “They support each other more and more, in very practical ways.”

In today’s newsletter, I’ll explain how the emerging alliance is shaping the world and why experts are anxious about the future.

Money, weapons and propaganda

Over the past decade, the emerging anti-democratic alliance has become bolder and more coordinated. Among the examples:

In the Ukraine war, China, Iran and North Korea have supplied crucial help to Russia. Iran and North Korea have sent weapons. And China has allowed Russia’s economy to overcome tough sanctions , as my colleague Ana Swanson has detailed. This economic aid offers military benefits, too: China is helping Russia rebuild its military-industrial base after two years of war.

China and Russia also act as military allies beyond Ukraine. “China and Russia are pursuing the joint development of helicopters, conventional attack submarines, missiles and missile-launch early warning systems,” Hal Brands of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies recently wrote in Foreign Affairs.

Iran and North Korea resumed their collaboration on missile technology during the Trump administration, according to the U.N. North Korea already has nuclear weapons, and Iran seems to want them.

During the war in Gaza, Chinese and Russian groups have filled social media with posts supporting Hamas (which, like the Houthis, relies on Iranian support). Many include antisemitic tropes, such as Jewish control of the U.S. “The reason why China chose this moment to take a decisively anti-Israel position is because China regards Israel as a close ally of the West,” Miles Yu of the Hudson Institute told Congress .

The Houthis have praised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a global turning point. Ali al-Qahoum, a Houthi leader, said that the invasion had weakened “unipolarity” — a reference to American power — and promoted “multipolarity.”

Very different values

Al-Qahoum’s line underscores the larger goal of the China-led alliance. Above all, it wants to reduce American influence and allow regional powers to assert their will. China might then be able to take over Taiwan. Russia could again dominate parts of Eastern Europe. Iran could contest Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, for sway over the Middle East. ( These Times maps , by Alissa Rubin and Lazaro Gamio, explain Iran’s ambitions.)

The countries in the anti-U.S. alliance, Brands wrote, aim “to reorder their regions and, thereby, reorder the world.” As Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister, told Congress yesterday during a visit to Washington, “The international order that the U.S. worked for generations to build is facing new challenges, challenges from those with values and principles very different from ours.”

These other countries obviously have their differences: Iran, for instance, is an Islamic theocracy, while China and Russia have oppressed their own Muslim populations. But the countries nonetheless have overlapping worldviews.

All have authoritarian governments. All have patriarchal societies, with few women in senior roles. All restrict L.G.B.T. rights. None permit a free press. All imprison people, or worse, for criticizing the regime. The countries celebrate their hostility to liberal democracy and want to forge a world with less of it.

What’s next?

One possibility is that the world is entering a new cold war, with two broad alliances competing for power. Sometimes, this competition may lead to actual wars, in which the two alliances support opposite sides — but both take steps to avoid escalation. That describes the situation in Ukraine.

Another possibility is even more alarming: a global war. Noah Smith, writing in his Substack newsletter this week, argued that the chances of such an outcome were higher than many Americans recognized. This war could start either with a major event, such as a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, or almost accidentally.

Imagine if the Houthis killed many Americans in a Red Sea attack or a Russian missile somehow did so in Europe. Experts are especially worried about China’s harassment of Philippine ships in the South China Sea. In a White House meeting yesterday, President Biden discussed the threat with the leaders of the Philippines and Japan.

One problem, as Jim Sciutto of CNN pointed out in his new book, “The Return of Great Powers,” is that the guardrails that helped prevent a past world war seem weaker today. China and the U.S. don’t always communicate as well as Soviet and American officials once did, and proxy forces like the Houthis don’t always heed their sponsors.

The past several decades have included many agonizing problems around the world. Overall, though, it has been a remarkably peaceful period. Global deaths from armed conflicts have fallen to near their lowest levels in six centuries , and global poverty has plummeted . The future looks more frightening.

Related: The U.S. dispatched a top military commander to Israel, a reflection of concerns that Iran could soon retaliate for Israel’s killing of officials who worked with the Houthis and Hamas.


O.j. simpson.

O.J. Simpson — the football star who was acquitted of murder in a trial that mesmerized the nation — died at 76. Read his Times obituary .

Though extensive evidence pointed to his guilt, Simpson ended the trial as a free man. Los Angeles residents recalled yesterday how the verdict split the city .

The trial made household names of its prosecutors, defense lawyers and witnesses — the beginning of fame for the Kardashians . Here is what’s happened to the major figures .

Simpson was an earthquake, and we’re still living with his aftershocks: Read Wesley Morris’s essay about him .

2024 Election

Speaker Mike Johnson will meet with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago today. His House position is under threat from Marjorie Taylor Greene.

John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, said he would not vote for Trump . He plans to write in Dick Cheney’s name.

A Times/Siena College poll asked voters to describe their feelings about the 2024 election in one word. “Anxious,” “Disappointed” and “Hopeful” topped the list.

The Biden campaign’s message on abortion? “Trump did this.”

More on Politics

Senator Robert Menendez’s corruption trial will begin next month . His wife, Nadine, will face trial later.

A liberal justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court will not seek re-election next year, threatening the majority that liberals won last year.

Georgia’s lieutenant governor faces an investigation for serving as a fake Trump elector in 2020.

Israel-Hamas War

When Hamas attacked a music festival on Oct. 7, many attendees were high on psychedelics. That has given Israeli researchers a chance to study how drugs affect trauma .

International criticism of Israel has put a spotlight on nations that send it weapons. Read a list of the biggest suppliers .

America’s pro-Palestinian movement has grown into a powerful, if disjointed, political force. Democrats feel the pressure .

South Korea’s opposition party gained seats in elections, putting new constraints on President Yoon Suk Yeol at home.

Civil war in Myanmar has pushed half the population into poverty , CNN reports.

Mistral, a French start-up considered a promising challenger to OpenAI and Google, is getting support from European leaders .

Axios’s C.E.O. said A.I. would “eviscerate the weak, the ordinary, the unprepared in media.” He’s changed the company’s strategy to increase live events.

Other Big Stories

Three men stranded on a remote Pacific island for more than a week were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after spelling out “HELP” on a beach using palm leaves.

Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter was charged with stealing $16 million from him to gamble.

A Texas surgeon is accused of secretly denying patients liver transplants by tampering with a government database .

J.D. Vance , a Republican senator from Ohio, says that his party is not against helping Ukraine — but that Ukraine is asking for more help than the West can provide .

Here are columns by David Brooks in praise of middle managers , Michelle Goldberg on the movie “Civil War” and Maureen Dowd on O.J. Simpson and jealousy .


Church and shore: Can a Christian community close the beach on Sunday mornings?

Terrance: The joys and challenges of caring for a pet octopus.

Costco: The store began stocking gold bars last fall. It now sells up to $200 million in gold and silver each month.

Tracing history: In South Carolina, a community project is giving Black residents clues about their ancestry .

Lives Lived: Thomas Gumbleton clashed with fellow Catholic bishops over his support for liberal causes. He died at 94 . Half a world away, Nijole Sadunaite, a Lithuanian nun, clashed with the K.G.B. over her support for democracy and religious freedom. She died at 85 .

College basketball: Kentucky is finalizing a deal to hire Mark Pope, a former Kentucky player, from B.Y.U. as its next head coach.

Golf: Bryson DeChambeau leads the Masters after a first-round 65.

N.F.L.: Tom Brady, now 46, says he is open to playing again .


Archaeologists at Pompeii have uncovered a formal dining room that offers a glimpse of how some of the lost town’s wealthier people lived, or at least the art they looked at as they ate.

The walls were black to hide stains from candle smoke, experts said, and were divided into panels decorated with portraits of couples associated with the Trojan War. See images of the site and the paintings .

More on culture

Aleksei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, wrote a memoir before his death. Knopf will publish it in the U.S., under the title “Patriot.”

Late night hosts joked about Trump’s criminal trial .


Make a pimento cheese sandwich in honor of the Masters.

Visit Times readers’ favorite restaurants in New York City.

Plan your Mother’s Day gift .

Use better cleaning cloths .

Play a video game set in postapocalyptic Australia.

Take our news quiz .

Here is today’s Spelling Bee . Yesterday’s pangram was brickbat .

And here are today’s Mini Crossword , Wordle , Sudoku , Connections and Strands .

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. Donald Dimmock, who died last month at 79, never appeared in pages of The Times. But he was an essential part of the paper for over three decades. His job: keeping the lights (and the giant printing presses) on. Read about his life .

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox . Reach our team at [email protected] .

David Leonhardt runs The Morning , The Times’s flagship daily newsletter. Since joining The Times in 1999, he has been an economics columnist, opinion columnist, head of the Washington bureau and founding editor of the Upshot section, among other roles. More about David Leonhardt

why honors carolina essay

Coastal Carolina University | Coastal

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Want to see your chances of admission at Coastal Carolina University | Coastal?

We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.

Coastal Carolina University | Coastal’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Extracurricular short response.

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.

Why This College Short Response

Why are you interested in Coastal Carolina University?

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

Honors Carolina | Come Here. Go Anywhere.

  • Program Requirements
  • Honors Carolina Laureate
  • Fall 2024 Honors First Year Seminars & Launches
  • Fall 2024 Honors Courses
  • Spring 2024 Honors First Year Seminars & Launches
  • Spring 2024 Honors Courses
  • Fall 2023 Honors First Year Seminars & Launches
  • Fall 2023 Honors Courses
  • Spring 2023 Honors First Year Seminars & Launches
  • Spring 2023 Honors Courses
  • Dunlevie Honors Colloquia
  • Honors Contract
  • Interdisciplinary Minor in Medicine, Literature, and Culture
  • Spring 2024 Courses

Honors Carolina has high standards for students who join our program. Students who meet these requirements before graduation will be designated an Honors Carolina Laureate in the commencement bulletin and on their academic transcripts.

Program requirements vary based on when and how a student is admitted into Honors Carolina. The list below reflects the requirements for various student cohorts selected during the current academic year. Students admitted previously should refer to the Honors Carolina Laureate Status Update Report  emailed by our office several times throughout the year.

Students selected for Honors Carolina at the time of their admission to the University

All course requirements below require a passing grade, first year requirements.

HNRS 101: College, Careers & Honors Carolina Life, Part I

  • Fulfills the College Thriving First Year Foundations Requirement
  • Fall semester only
  • 1.5 honors credit hours

One Honors First Year Seminar or Honors First Year Launch

  • Fulfills the First Year Seminars & Launches First Year Foundations Requirement
  • Fall or Spring semester
  • 3-4 honors credit hours

One Honors Course

  • 1-4 honors credit hours


HNRS 201: College, Careers & Honors Carolina Life, Part II

  • Spring semester of second year only

27 Honors Credit Hours

  • Cumulative total of honors credit hours earned by graduation
  • Includes all credit hours above, plus credits from additional honors courses and/or honors course equivalents

3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average

  • Must be maintained each semester through graduation

Students who apply to Honors Carolina and are selected in the spring semester of their first year

Requirements for semester of admission.

HNRS 101 Online Module

  • Module must be completed by the last day of class

21 Honors Credit Hours

  • Includes HNRS 101 module and HNRS 201 class credit hours, plus an additional 18 honors credit hours earned through enrollment in honors courses and/or completion of honors course equivalents

Students who apply to Honors Carolina and are selected in the fall semester of their second year (or their first semester as a transfer student)

  • Spring semester following semester of admission

18 Honors Credit Hours

  • Includes HNRS 101 module and HNRS 201 class credit hours, plus an additional 15 honors credit hours earned through enrollment in honors courses and/or completion of honors course equivalents

If a student’s GPA drops below 3.000, they will be placed on probation for one semester. If the student’s GPA remains below 3.000, they will be removed from the program. Please note that we are unable to extend a probationary semester to students entering their final semester with a cumulative GPA below 3.000; in those cases, students will be removed from the program at the time our office runs the Honors Carolina Laureate Status Update report prior to their final semester.


why honors carolina essay


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  1. Info for High School Students

    While there is no set formula of grades, test scores, and class rank that guarantees an invitation to join Honors Carolina, the following statistics provide some measure of the academic success our students demonstrated in high school. Average High School Class Rank: Top 3-4%. Average SAT Score: 1450. Decisions are final and ineligible for ...

  2. Honors Carolina Admissions : r/UNC

    as someone who got rejected from honors carolina with great traditional stats (36 act and a 4.6 gpa) i'd say it's pretty damn competitive and is probably more based on your essay (i definitely didn't put as much work and thought into mine as i should've). i went to a high school where a lot of people got into unc, but very few out of those people made it to honors carolina

  3. How to Write the UNC Chapel Hill Essays 2023-2024

    In order to stand out from the crowd, you will need to write exceptional essays that blow the admissions committee away. This year, UNC Chapel Hill requires all applicants to submit two short responses under 250 words. Students interested in going abroad through the Global Fellowship program will be required to submit an additional essay.

  4. Is Honors Carolina worth it? : r/UNC

    Nope, absolutely not worth it one bit. Not really that much more difficult, you just have to apply yourself more in classes because they're smaller. Yes, there's no reason not to and there aren't any drawbacks imo.

  5. 3 Tips for Writing Stellar UNC Chapel Hill Supplement Essays

    As a first-year applicant, you'll be required to write a total of three essays: one Common Application essay and two UNC-specific essays. The UNC supplemental essays are two 200-250 word essays that respond to UNC-specific questions. There are a total of four UNC supplemental essays to choose from; you get to pick whichever two you would like ...

  6. Home

    More About Us. Honors Carolina connects exceptional students who share a passion for learning with renowned faculty who love teaching. The program opens the door to everything one of the world's top public research universities has to offer. Study in cities around the globe. Work with faculty mentors on ground-breaking research.

  7. How to Write the UNC Chapel Hill Essays 2020-2021

    Its admitted class from the 2019-2020 cycle includes 4,067 students from North Carolina and 935 out-of-state students. The average SAT score from out of state was from 1360-1500. Out of the North Carolina applicants, 41% were accepted—compared to only 13% of out-of-state applicants who were accepted. UNC at Chapel Hill is one of the country ...

  8. How to Write the North Carolina State University Essays 2023-2024

    Section 1: Describe the challenge. Give a fairly brief overview of the challenge here. If you can, try to move away from the more traditional essay structures. Maybe discuss a challenge you're currently overcoming, one that spans multiple activities or events, or one that you can write about in a narrative style.

  9. Honors Theses

    Writing a senior honors thesis, or any major research essay, can seem daunting at first. A thesis requires a reflective, multi-stage writing process. This handout will walk you through those stages. It is targeted at students in the humanities and social sciences, since their theses tend to involve more writing than projects in the hard sciences.

  10. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so.

  11. Honors & Scholars Programs

    Thinking essay: The South Carolina Honors College seeks students who embody a deep intellectual curiosity and a passion for knowledge. Reflect on a specific academic experience or pursuit that has sparked your intellectual curiosity and had a significant impact on your personal growth.

  12. Info for Current UNC Students

    Students who are not invited to join Honors Carolina as incoming students may apply to join the program in January of their first year by completing an online application. The application must include a recommendation for admission from a UNC faculty member with whom you have studied. Online Application Form (available Friday, January 3, 2025)

  13. Tips for Writing an Honors College Essay

    Regardless of what you may have been told in school, write a straightforward descriptive essay that directly addresses the question asked. Avoid clichéd, generic, and predictable writing, such as "I want to help people." This is particularly applicable to essays for accelerated program candidates. Do not quote our own description of our program.

  14. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    Required. 250 Words. Please describe why you are interested in attending UNC Charlotte. Your statement lets us get to know you beyond your coursework and test scores. Your response will distinguish you from other qualified candidates within the applicant pool. Read our essay guide to get started. Submit your essay for free peer review to refine ...

  15. How to Write the University of South Carolina Essays 2019-2020

    The best way for you to write this essay is to tell a story. Show your readers who depends on you and how they depend on you. Pick a snapshot in time and paint a picture with descriptive details and imagery. Try not to say "This person depends on me because…".

  16. University of North Carolina at Wilmington

    Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so.

  17. Strong UNC Chapel Hill Essay Example

    UNC Chapel Hill is a pretty selective school, especially for out-of-state students, so it's important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we'll share an essay a real student has submitted to UNC Chapel Hill. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

  18. Prospective Students

    The Company You Keep. Honors Carolina students possess the intellectual curiosity, ambition, and desire to embrace challenges and solve problems. While numbers alone cannot accurately describe Honors Carolina students, the following statistics provide some measure of the company you will keep. Average High School Class Rank: Top 5%.

  19. The New Great-Power Politics

    Simpson was an earthquake, and we're still living with his aftershocks: Read Wesley Morris's essay about him. 2024 Election. Speaker Mike Johnson will meet with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago ...

  20. Coastal Carolina University

    250 Words. Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. Read our essay guide to get started. Submit your essay for free peer review to refine and perfect it.

  21. Program Requirements

    OTHER REQUIREMENTS. HNRS 201: College, Careers & Honors Carolina Life, Part II. Spring semester of second year only. 1.5 honors credit hours. 27 Honors Credit Hours. Cumulative total of honors credit hours earned by graduation. Includes all credit hours above, plus credits from additional honors courses and/or honors course equivalents.