Out-of-state students must be nominated by their high schools or apply early action for a chance to be referred by the UNC Office of Admissions.
Mazzocchi said she believes the nomination process is an integral part of candidate selection.
“It really gives us some extra insight on the student,” she said.
She said schools are good partners to help the program identify students with the holistic set of characteristics needed for the program.
“They try to distill the underlying characteristics of a person and not just look at their resume,” said Andrew Powell, student body president and Morehead-Cain scholar from Nashville, Tenn.
While the application process is strenuous, joining the nominating list is not.
“Pretty much any school that applies to be on the list is added, because we know they are committed to being a part of our program,” Mazzocchi said.
Powell said more nationwide recognition would encourage out-of-state students to apply.
Freshman Morehead-Cain scholar Niman Mann, also from Nashville, agreed.
“I’d never heard of the program but I researched it a bit after I was nominated,” she said. “I didn’t even realize the prestige of the program until I came to finals week.”
Both Mann and Powell said lack of national recognition for the scholarship hasn’t negatively impacted diversity.
“I think they do a remarkable job of recruiting people from all different places geographically, all different walks of life,” Powell said.
Mazzocchi said she is pleased with the program diversity but is always looking for diverse applicants.
Powell said the scholarship is one of the best.
“I really think that it’s the best educational opportunity you can get. I’ve absolutely had an incredible experience,” he said. “I would in full confidence tell a prospective student to take the Morehead-Cain over any Ivy League school or Oxford... or anywhere.”