The blossoming weather of springtime is bringing prospective students to UNC in droves, but unsightly construction projects around campus could be driving them away.
The University has 24 ongoing construction projects, and four of them — the Pit Sidewalk Improvements Project, the Wilson Library Roof Replacement project, the Carolina Union Auditorium Renovation and the Davis Library Life and Safety Improvements — are where students are most likely to tour, although not all are clearly visible.
Esther Carlson, a former senior content writer for ARC Facilities, a business that provides information on higher education, said prospective students visiting college campuses are looking for facilities that impress.
“Having curb appeal is sort of like a status symbol for people who want to attend a college,” Carlson said. “They want to feel proud that they’re attending the campus.”
With decreasing enrollment numbers nationwide, universities are generally competing to attract students from a smaller pool of applicants. According to a study by National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, in spring 2018, enrollment at North Carolina universities for undergraduate and graduate degrees decreased by 0.5 percent compared to spring 2017.
Enrollment in four-year public universities for students seeking a bachelor's degree increased by 0.5 percent compared to spring 2017, which did not match the 0.8 percent increase from spring 2016 to spring 2017.
Despite these trends, UNC received a record 43,472 first-year applications in 2018, a six percent increase from applicants in 2017.
For admitted applicants visiting campus on admitted student day on March 30, the construction was not an issue.
“I don’t think it’s really impacted my perception of campus at all,” said Patrick Nixon, an Enloe Magnet High School senior. “It’s still beautiful as it is, no matter what construction is going on.”