Selection Process

The Morehead-Cain selection process begins as five distinct processes, each leveraging the expertise of Foundation staff, a corps of professional readers, and hundreds of alumni interviewers and volunteer evaluators.

Candidates enter our process via nomination—either their schools’ or their own. Nominees complete their applications by appointed deadlines, and a team of readers render initial assessments and make recommendations. It is the task of these assessors to answer a basic question: Should this applicant be considered for a semifinal interview or not?

In recent years, nearly 20% of Morehead-Cain nominees became semifinalists.

At the semifinal level:

  • North Carolinians and British candidates are interviewed in person
  • All others choose between a telephone or Skype conversation with Foundation staff or trained alumni

The UNC Office of Undergraduate Admissions also refers to our process particularly strong Early Action applicants through our Admissions Referral Program (ARP). Like out-of-state nominees, ARP semifinalists are interviewed by phone or Skype.

From semifinal interviews, 126 finalists are identified and invited to campus for Final Selection Weekend: the point where all five selection pathways converge. Over an extended weekend visit, finalists explore Carolina, meet their scholar and candidate peers, and complete two panel interviews with small groups of our Central Selection Committee.

Morehead-Cain interviews—at the semifinal and final selection stages—are designed to be warm and inviting, to set the candidates at ease so that they might showcase themselves with confidence. Interviews are weighed and discussed at length, after which interviewer groups make final recommendations to Morehead-Cain trustees and selection staff.

Ultimately, scholarship offers are made to slightly more than half of our finalist group, depending on the target class size.