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Although the COVID-19 pandemic has tainted the last year of high school for many, the anticipation of college acceptances has remained the same. On Wednesday, thousands of UNC applicants received exciting news — a letter of acceptance waiting in their MyCarolina portals.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions sent out letters of acceptance to just over 8,000 students on Jan. 27, officially welcoming the first of UNC’s class of 2025. 

Michael Davis, associate director of admissions, said the preliminary admittance rate for this year is 47 percent for in-state students and 13 percent for out-of-state students. Davis said these numbers are likely to change as students who were placed on the waitlist are accepted as well. 

In this year’s application, students were given the option to explain how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their lives, including how it has prevented them from participating in extracurricular activities.

“It really impacted the context of each student, so we really tried to really think about that as we were reading their applications,” Davis said.

Davis said Undergraduate Admissions is expecting the number of students enrolling at UNC to be consistent with previous years despite the pandemic.

“We saw this past year, as the pandemic unfolded, through initiatives like Carolina Away, students still wanted to be a part of the University community,” Davis said. “So we’re hopeful that will continue.”

Zoey Locklear, a new admit to the University from Clinton, North Carolina, is one of the students who are still very eager to be a part of UNC — even if she begins remotely.

"I don't think COVID-19 at all will deter me from accepting a place at UNC," Locklear said. "I know that all of my hard work has culminated up to this point which is why I will be accepting my admission."

Locklear said she knew she wanted to be a Tar Heel since she was a little girl. She said not many Native American women, like herself, from her hometown, are accepted to UNC, which made her acceptance feel unreal.

“I was tutoring at the time when I found out decisions came out, and I immediately logged into my Carolina Portal," she said. "And, oh my gosh, I just burst out in tears. I was so happy because I knew that I had worked so hard and it was just like a dream come true.” 

Edward Kim, a new admit from Asheville, North Carolina, said he is also confident COVID-19 will not affect his decision of accepting admission, but it will affect his decision to move to campus.

“I don't think COVID-19 has the potential to make me deny my acceptance," Kim said. "But, depending on the severity of the virus in the fall, I may choose to attend remotely.”

Kim said he would feel safe coming to campus if UNC continues to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing, in addition to dealing with students who fail to comply with the restrictions.

But for Natasha Nguyen, a new admit from Sydney, Australia, the COVID-19 pandemic will greatly impact her decision in accepting admission into UNC.

“If things don't die down in regards to COVID-19, then I would be really, really hesitant to go, mainly because the situation here in Australia is a lot different to that in the U.S.," Nguyen said.

Nguyen said she will be willing to attend UNC remotely if online students are not disadvantaged in any way. She said she also would like to have a buddy system with an international student in the same situation.

However, no matter what decision she chooses, Nguyen said she is still very proud of her accomplishment of being accepted into UNC.

“I was kind of just scrolling my phone, and then I looked on the UNC Instagram page and saw that decisions are out," Nguyen said. "I was in shock, but I was so happy. I sent a screenshot to my whole family and they were really excited for me.”

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