Eight things you should know before you begin UNC, straight from an insider’s perspective

8 Things I Didn’t Know About UNC Chapel Hill Until I Started

Here is a list of eight things that you should know before you begin UNC, straight from an insider’s perspective.

1.    Most, if not all, of your classes freshman year will be large lectures. Unless you have enough advanced credits from high school to test out of every general education requirement, you will have to take the “basic intro” classes. Even if you don’t have to take your general education credits, the introduction level classes to your major will most likely be a large lecture. These can be up to 400 people, but most of them range from 50-150 people.

2.    Attending class matters- even when your professor doesn’t take attendance. Maybe at some universities not taking attendance means you can succeed without attending class, but that isn’t true at Carolina. You have to attend every lecture you can, because most classes test you on a mixture of lecture material and textbook material. Furthermore, it’s almost impossible to succeed in a class at Carolina without fully participating in it.

3.    Some dorms are considered “social dorms”. On south campus, dorms like Hinton James on south campus are considered the “social dorms” for freshman students. These dorms will give you more ability to meet new people who are in your situation. While south campus is farther away from most of your classes, people tend to like it because of the community there. North campus dorms (like Aycock) are still amazing dorms, just less socially oriented for freshman.

4.    Declaring or not declaring your major before you come only really matters if you have a specific program you’re trying to get into. For things like the school of Media and Journalism or the Pharmacy school, there may be certain regulations or requirements, or you may get priority if you declare that major. However, if you’re unsure of what you want to study, beginning as “undecided” is not going to negatively impact you- and you aren’t required to declare a major until your second semester of your sophomore year, giving you ample time to find your passion.

5.    Renting your textbooks can save you money. Always check the availability of your textbooks online before just buying them from the Student Store. Sometimes it can be cheaper to rent it for a semester from somewhere like Amazon. You can also rent from the Student Store for a cheaper price most of the time!

6.    Your professors want to see you outside of class. This is especially important if you want to do research in a specific field during your undergraduate career. Carolina is a research university, meaning you absolutely can- but only if you have a supporting faculty member. Even if you don’t want to do research, it’s incredibly beneficial to form relationships with your professors. It will make your classes that much easier.

7.    Meal plans are important, but you don’t need to go overboard. You will want to eat on Franklin Street. Your meal plan will not hold the same appeal as the restaurants and cafes available just a short walk away. That being said, it is almost impossible to survive your freshman year without some form of meal plan. Dorm rooms are not conducive to cooking up anything more complicated than microwave ramen.

8.    UNC is big. There are almost twenty thousand undergraduate students. While this may seem intimidating, it also means you have an amazing opportunity: with that many students, there are countless things available for you. Whether it’s the clubs at Fall Fest, or department lead organizations, or local community events, there will always be something for you to do or be a part of- as long as you look for it.

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