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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Dear UNC Class of 2027

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UNC students walk through Polk Place on Aug. 14, 2022.

I remember what it was like to be you. 

I remember receiving the email that held the status of my UNC-Chapel Hill acceptance inside. Immediately, my heart was racing and my palms were sweating. I remember pressing the daunting button and I was filled with the most overwhelming joy upon seeing every applicant's favorite word: Congratulations. 

Class of 2027, I would like to be completely transparent with you. I have asked several of my classmates what they wish they would’ve known before they decided to commit to UNC — the good, the bad and the ugly.

These are things that you won’t find on any blog or website. I’m not here to tell you what ranking we hold or how many national championships we have.

I want to tell you the raw truth of what your life will be like if you decide to become a Tar Heel. 

1. Just because it’s a big school doesn’t mean it can’t feel small. 

While UNC has close to 20,000 undergraduate students, I manage to run into several friends every day as I walk to class. I've even randomly had friends in some of my classes. The school is big enough to avoid developing a reputation that will follow you everywhere, yet small enough to maintain familiarity as you engage in campus life. 

2. Professional schools are a blessing and a curse. 

UNC has an application process for some majors within its undergraduate institution, including business, journalism, nursing and a few others. This system can be great because of the prestige and networking opportunities offered in these exclusive programs. However, getting in can be quite difficult and very competitive. So if your heart is set on being a business major, this is not something you can pursue nonchalantly at UNC. 

3. Your average Saturday.

Many of your Saturdays will be your classic college movie gamedays. However, some weekends won’t be as chaotic. These are good opportunities to go to The Streets at Southpoint with friends, drive to the beach for the weekend or even just catch up on some sleep. Take advantage of the free weekends because they are few and far between. 

4. Free time.

Your free time is up to you. You can get a job on Franklin Street or work somewhere on campus. You can join one of the 800+ clubs UNC offers (or you can start your own). You can have a pretty chill schedule, or you can be super busy. I would suggest finding something that you know will help boost your resume and something that you just want to do for fun. That way, you can meet lots of people while managing your schedule well. 

5. The reality of being out-of-state. 

Honestly, being an out-of-state student is a big flex. However, this can be a bit of a hassle sometimes if you have a long weekend and want to go home. Going to a state school, the majority of your friends will be close to home. I am an out-of-state student, and personally, I love it because I am able to establish some independence by eliminating the convenience of having my home just a few hours away. But it's not for everybody. 

6. Greek life.

Like Saturdays, Greek life at UNC also has classic college movie vibes. The fraternities and sororities don’t resemble the mansions at The University of Alabama and University of Michigan. But, the houses are historic, and no two are alike. Roughly 20 percent of undergraduate students participate in Greek life. So if you aren’t dying to be a sorority girl, there are definitely lots of other ways to be social.

7. Ra-ra Carolina, lina.

If you want a school that has an athletic presence, it's really hard to compete with UNC basketball. From football games to basketball games, a college gameday experience is complete at Carolina from tailgating in cute gameday fits, to rushing Franklin Street after winning college basketball’s most famous rivalry. 

8. Dating. 

I’m sorry to break it to you, ladies, but spontaneous meet-cutes are simply not the times we’re living in. I’m not saying it's impossible, however, your chances are probably better off on a dating app. I know it has its connotations but I’ve witnessed a few charming success stories that may be attributed directly to Tinder. 

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9. You can if you want to.  

The truth is that UNC offers very diverse experiences. Whether you are pre-med, an aspiring entrepreneur, literally just coming to college for the fun, want to go to epic sporting events or network your way through your undergraduate career, UNC can offer you all these things. 

Ultimately, it comes down to how you want to spend your time. You won’t be spoon-fed. I definitely had to learn the art of putting myself out there to discover everything that UNC has to offer. And I can confidently say there is a place for everyone here.

@oliviahenley5

opinion@dailytarheel.com