What We’re Looking For

Blog | August 21, 2018

We’re not secretive or ambiguous about what we look for in scholars. We seek students who embody our four pillars: leadershipcharacterscholarship, and physical vigor. But what do those words actually mean?


For us, this means that you carry a lifelong desire to learn and to share newfound knowledge and inspiration with others. You thrive in an academically rigorous environment, yet are simultaneously able to contribute to your community in other ways. We don’t have a minimum GPA or test score in our application process, but we do want to see that you’ve performed well academically in high school. We pay attention to what your recommenders say about the rigor and outcomes of your scholastic history. Most of all, we we want to know that you’re eager to take full advantage of UNC’s academic excellence.

Thirty-one of UNC’s last thirty-four Rhodes Scholars, twenty-five of UNC’s thirty-nine Luce Scholars, and five of UNC’s seven Mitchell Scholars were Morehead-Cains. Morehead-Cains have won two Pulitzer Prizes and two MacArthur (“Genius Grant”) Fellowships.



At the Morehead-Cain, leadership is about more than titles. It’s about impact. We want scholars who know how to make a difference—and have acted to energize others to collaborate on that shared goal. For us, leadership is about courage and action. It’s about initiative. It’s about getting things done.

Twenty-seven of UNC’s student body presidents have been Morehead-Cains. Morehead-Cains have founded more than 100 campus organizations, and gone on to found or co-found all kinds of companies and nonprofits.


Moral Force of Character

Courage, humility, integrity, maturity, perseverance, self‑awareness, generosity, and empathy—these are the core values of the Morehead‑Cain community. We seek scholars who embrace the fact that they are growing and learning, and are energized by the journey ahead. We hope to read application essays that demonstrate these qualities.

Twenty-two of UNC’s Honor Court Chairs have been Morehead Cains, and thirty-three of UNC’s Campus Y co-presidents have been Morehead-Cains. (The Campus Y is UNC’s center for public service.)


Physical Vigor

We look for students who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to fitness and wellness through an active lifestyle. We seek scholars who value what is gained—collaboration, sportsmanship, discipline, stamina, and persistence—by preparing for and engaging in competitions and performances. Please note that due consideration is given to applicants with physical limitations.

Among Morehead-Cain Alumni are:

  • the general manager of the San Francisco Giants
  • one of Canada’s Top 10 Adventurers
  • general partner and vice chair of the New York Yankees
  • commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference
  • president of the NBA development league


Our application process is designed to tease out these qualities, to help you show us ways you embody these values. We look forward to the opportunity to get to know you through your written application—and hopefully later down the line, through interviews!