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Although the year has not yet ended, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions reports that 72,311 people (prospective students and family members) registered for a visit to the University, an increase of 11.6 percent over the number of registrations from last year (64,805).

Prospective students who want to visit campus register online for a 30-minute information session led by an admissions staff member and an hour-long student-led tour. To accommodate the growing number of visitors, the office has recently begun scheduling more of their information sessions in buildings outside Jackson Hall, which can accommodate a maximum of 140 visitors. The office has also begun to receive more requests for group tours from high schools and has made provisions to accommodate these populations.

“When we became aware of the increased interest in visiting Carolina, we began taking steps to ensure that we could accommodate every person who wishes to visit us,” said Jazmin Garcia Smith, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, who leads the office’s daily visit program. “It’s that important to us because a visit to our campus—rain or shine—is the number one reason why students apply and enroll. The combination of the intelligence of our students, the friendliness of our community, and the visual appeal of the quintessential college campus makes for an unforgettable experience.”

“We’re so grateful for an increase in visitors to UNC because it means more traffic for area hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses,” said Laurie Paolicelli, Executive Director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau. “The economic impact is exponential as many of these visitors end up extending their stay beyond a campus tour because of the wealth of attractions in the area.”

Throughout the year, the office routinely partners with various academic departments to create specialized tours that highlight Carolina’s academics such as journalism, business and pharmacy. In spring 2015, the office hopes to be able to offer even more of these experiences and will offer again a series of Saturday information sessions and tours for families unable to visit during the week.

The office also partners with academic departments for its class visit program, which allows high school students the opportunity to attend a real class. Faculty across the disciplines—from the sciences to the humanities—offer a selection of classes open to students on a number of dates throughout each semester. Students are asked to register in advance so that faculty may greet them. Last year, 388 students registered for a class visit.

A selection of open-ended comments from prospective students who visited in the month of October included: “Tour was very enjoyable even in the rain”; “Probably the number one thing that made my visit to UNC amazing was the sense of community and UNC spirit that I felt in Chapel Hill”; “My student ambassador and admissions representative did an excellent job providing me with ample information about applying to and attending UNC”; and “My student ambassador was simply fantastic and we could all tell he was excited to be there with us and conveyed his happiness to the whole group. He definitely made me want to apply that much more.”

General visitors and students in middle school interested in a tour of campus may schedule visits through the UNC Visitors’ Center, which is located at 250 East Franklin Street and directed by Missy Julian-Fox. Guides provide a one-hour tour on landmarks, legends, campus life, and more, such as distinctive walking tours on various topics.

By Ashley Memory, Undergraduate Admissions

Published December 8, 2014