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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 UNC Supplemental Essay Prompts 

By Ginny Howey

Ginny Howey is a former content writer at Scholarships360. Ginny graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2022 with a degree in Media and Journalism (Advertising/PR focus) and minors in Entrepreneurship and Spanish. Ginny’s professional experience includes two summers as a writer intern at global creative consultancy BCG BrightHouse. More recently, Ginny worked as a content marketing intern for Durham-based software engineering bootcamp Momentum, where she gained SEO skills. She has also written freelance articles on emerging tech for A.I. startup Resultid.

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and Cece Gilmore

Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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Updated: February 7th, 2024
How to Respond to the 2023/2024 UNC Supplemental Essay Prompts 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the country’s oldest state university. Apart from its star-studded basketball program, UNC Chapel Hill is known for offering top-notch academics. If you want to become part of the next class of Tarheels, focus on crushing your UNC supplemental essays. Your responses should convey your distinct voice and why you are a great fit for the school. Keep reading to learn more about how to best respond to the prompts! 

The UNC supplemental essay prompts

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wants to know how you’d contribute to the campus community. They ask that you respond to the following two prompts in up to 250 words each. 

Prompt #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.

Ultimately, this question is asking you to discuss any community service you have done. This could include a wide array of activities ranging from typical community service such as picking up litter around your neighborhood to starting a club at your high school. This prompt also specifies that it can be any type of community that you have engaged in, so feel free to get creative! Some examples of communities can be your high school, your neighborhood, a place of worship or a sports team. Think about any group you have aided and what exactly you did in order to help them. Be sure to pick a story, anecdote or memory that paints you in a positive light and reveals a lot about you as a person! Remember, ultimately UNC asked this question in order to know more about you and your personality so be sure to have it shine through in this response! Once you have described your story and how it impacted your community, take it one step further by detailing how you hope to change your future UNC community in a similar fashion. For example, if you discuss starting a recycling club at your high school, you can end your response with detailing how you hope to start a similar club at UNC to help reduce the environmental impact the university will have. Connecting back to UNC will give you some bonus points with the UNC admissions officer reading over your response! Overall, be sure that you are painting a picture in your response rather than just stating your contributions to a community. 

Questions to consider

  • What have you done or participated in in order to benefit your community?
  • What do you hope to bring to UNC to help better the UNC community?
  • How did helping your community make you feel? Would you do that action again? 

Prompt #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.

Upon first glance of this prompt, it seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into why you selected your major and what you are passionate about within that field! However, it is encouraged to discuss your major but it is not required! Rather, you can discuss an interest beyond your major. Ultimately, it is a personal preference on what you decide to write about! When selecting a topic to write about, you should try to be as specific as possible. Do not just say “psychology” rather say “developmental psychology, specifically nature vs nurture in children.” Being specific allows you to truly showcase your passion and can allow you to discuss specific UNC classes, clubs and professors that relate to this specific niche interest in a field. Remember, one of the best ways to describe your passion for a subject is through a story! So, provide a natural and captivating response that details your passion through a narrative. Once you complete this narrative, you should then be connecting back to UNC. Try to choose 1-2 UNC resources you are interested in taking advantage of such as a specific club, research lab or professor’s class that connect to your academic interest. 

Questions to consider

  • What are you academically passionate about? What are you hoping to major in in college? 
  • Why are you interested in this field of study? Is there a personal connection? 
  • What resources are available that you are excited about at UNC? 

Final pointers for acing the UNC supplemental essays

To know which essays to choose, consider brainstorming bullet points for each question. Strive to share compelling personal anecdotes and also reveal key pieces of your identity not shared elsewhere in your application. With these tips, you should have a great start on nailing your UNC-CH supplemental essays! 

Additional resources

Once you have completed your UNC supplemental essays and revised them to tell your stories succinctly, read up on how to choose a college. Supplemental essays are just one component of the college application process. Scholarships360 has plenty of resources to help with other aspects, such as our articles on everything you need to know about work study  and navigating different types of student loans.  While you are applying to colleges (and before and after too!), make sure that you apply for all the scholarships you are eligible for! 

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Frequently asked questions about writing the UNC supplemental essays

How important are the UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essays?

The UNC supplemental essays are an extremely important aspect of admission. In addition, your essay responses will be evaluated for possible selection for scholarships and other special opportunities as well. So, try your hardest and submit the best possible essays you can for UNC! 

When are the application deadlines for UNC Chapel Hill?

Application deadlines for UNC can vary depending on whether you’re applying for Early Decision or Regular Decision. Make sure to check the university’s official website for the most up-to-date information! 

Can I get creative with my UNC Chapel Hill supplemental essay answers?

Yes! Creativity can make your essay memorable, but it’s also important to not overshadow your content with excessive flair. Rather, make sure your creativity enhances the substance of your response.

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