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Here's a look at student support resources available at UNC


Kim Abels, director of the UNC Writing and Learning Center, poses outside of the Student and Academic Services Building on June 8, 2021.

For incoming students, transitioning to college life is an exciting and stressful time. To help smooth that transition and assist students throughout their time at UNC, the University offers a variety of programming and resources.

The online platform Heel Life is the “central portal for involvement” at UNC, Bobby Kunstman, Director of Student Life and Leadership at the Carolina Union, said. It is a website where students can learn about different campus organizations.

Heel Life allows undergraduate and graduate students a place to find information about clubs, athletic teams, Greek life organizations, student government, faith-based groups and more.

"Students can sort of drop in, create their roadmaps to getting involved and finding a sense of belonging on campus," Kunstman said.

 Heel Life also offers information on events like socials, fitness courses and retreats.

“For this last academic year, we had almost 2,400 events in the system that students could identify,” Kunstman said.

During the first few weeks of school, New Student & Family Programs put on the UNC Weeks of Welcome, or WOW, where campus organizations offer a variety of programs and opportunities for new students to transition into the campus community.

In addition to this initial support, the University also offers services for academic assistance.

This year, UNC is debuting its IDEAS in Action curriculum, which will be introduced to students during first-year student orientation. The curriculum encourages interdisciplinary learning to equip students with the tools to learn through inquiry, analysis, discovery and action, according to its website.

The curriculum starts with First-Year Foundations courses.

“As a first-year student, one of the things this incoming class of students is going to be required to participate in 16 campus life experience, opportunities," Kunstman said. "Those campus life experiences are going to all be embedded in the events within Heel Life."

For academic help, students can use the UNC Writing and Learning Center. The center provides personalized academic coaching, peer tutoring, group workshops and online resources to help students excel.

Another service the center offers is online coaching sessions for students who want virtual essay feedback. Services from the center are available to students of all areas of study and academic levels.

There are around 500 individual appointments made each week and up to one million website visits each month for the center.

Writing coaches are available for appointments to give feedback on papers, projects and application essays. It offers a Zoom option as well.

Academic coaches are also available to discuss anything relating to students' academic life. Students often discuss time management, strengthening of study habits, organization and specific courses.

Kim Abels, the center's director, said it is a great resource to talk with other students who have been successful in a class and discuss concepts or readings.

Peer tutors cover 100 courses a semester, and the center's website shows the array of courses at the beginning of each semester.

“​​We have STEM specialists among our coaching staff in math, biology, physics and chemistry," Abels said.

She said the center also has ADHD, learning disorder and English language specialists on staff.

While many universities offer a writing or learning center for students, UNC stands apart due to its robust array of support, Abels said.

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“We are well-known," she said. "We’re national leaders in the coaching approach that we use here."

To promote student wellness and healthy lifestyle choices, UNC offers services from organizations including Campus Health Services, Student Wellness and Campus Recreation.

Campus Health's mission is to "help students thrive by fostering resiliency and mastery of self-care for a life time of health." Its values include inclusion, confidentiality and compassion.

"We're a very large, multi-specialty practice that serves our students," Campus Health Executive Director Ken Pittman said. “And we have a utilization rate now of about 73 percent. ... That's significant because the national average of college health centers is less than 50 percent."

Campus Health offers options and support including immunization, being successful with ADHD, dental services, gender affirming care and international travel clinics. It also does academic intervention and nutrition counseling, and houses UNC's Counseling and Psychological Services.

There are two pharmacies located on campus — one at Campus Health and the other in the Student Stores Building. There are two pharmaceutical vending machines at the Carolina Union and Rams Head Recreation Center. These offer over-the-counter medicine that might be offered at a drug store.

“During their time at Carolina, I believe that they will receive the best health care that they will receive in their lifetime," Pittman said.