How to Write the UNC Chapel Hill Supplements 2018-2019

UNC is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with an undergraduate student body of approximately 19,000 students. Chapel Hill is known for its campus life: students are heavily involved with sports, Greek life, and community service. The acceptance rate for the class of 2022 was 24%.

You’ll choose two of the four prompts UNC provides for their writing supplement, all of which should be answered with 200-250 words. Before we begin, there is no wrong answer when it comes to which prompt to choose. It’s common for students to think that when given multiple prompts some are more important than others (or “better” to answer) but it’s most important that you choose a prompt that resonates with you. We broke down each prompt below:  

In addition to the essay you provided with your Common Application, please choose two of the prompts below and respond to each in 200-250 words. Your essay responses below should be different from your common app essay response.

Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life. 

At the risk of sounding self involved, it’s important to keep in mind that this essay still needs to be about you. The goal here is to use a secondary character to advance your own story. We know it’s not easy to write about yourself, but for this essay you need to choose a peer that has in some way made you a better person.

So instead of writing that your friend Alex made a difference in your life because she got her license first and showed you the true value of freedom and independence, write about a friend who has changed your views for the better or made you want be more (insert positive attribute here.) You might write about a peer who overcame an illness and made you more appreciative of your health. The goal is show that you’ve grown by knowing this person.

What do you hope will change about the place where you live?

If something doesn’t immediately pop into your head for this prompt, move on. We typically advise to proceed with caution when talking about your hopes and dreams (everyone has goals, not everyone achieves them) and you don’t want to write about something that doesn’t speak to a side of yourself that you haven’t been able to show yet. If you’re from New York City and say you want to change the subway system, well...who doesn’t want to change the subway system?  

Think small. Maybe you live in an apartment building that doesn’t recycle or you want to implement a bike sharing program in your neighborhood. The goal here is to bring the reader into your environment and your answer should show (not just tell) them about a passion or interest of yours that they were previously unaware of.

What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want for us to know?

This prompt has a lot of potential. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the one thing you write about has to be the most noble and important sounding thing about you. Have you ever noticed that you tend to remember quirky and obscure things about people? Monica and Rachel knew that Joey’s imaginary friend was a space cowboy but couldn’t remember Chandler’s job? People tend to relate with others based on things they can understand and identify with. You want to memorable, and there are probably thousands of students writing about that one award they won in eighth grade that was a pretty big deal back then. Don’t take this question too seriously and consider writing about something more on the obscure side: your morning routine, why you’re always on grill duty at a family barbecue, or about the solo camping trip you take every year.

What about your background, or what perspective, belief, or experience, will help you contribute to the education of your classmates at UNC?  

This is objectively the most vanilla (read: boring) question, and don’t think we didn’t notice it’s basically a carbon copy of the first essay prompt of the common app. If you have an incredibly unique background story you’ve almost certainly already mentioned it, in which case you can’t answer this question again. The issue with this question is that you risk writing a 250 word biography, repeating yourself, and you’ll miss out on an opportunity to stand out with a stellar essay about your bedtime routine. We recommend going with one of the three prompts above.


We’re really good at talking through ideas. Let us know if you need help.