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For immediate use

August 26, 2002 -- No. 437

Kaplan/Newsweek guide names UNC one of this year's 12 'Hottest Colleges'

CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been chosen as one of this year's 12 "Hot Colleges" by editors of the 2003 Kaplan/Newsweek "How to Get into College" guide, available on newsstands today (Aug. 26).

Carolina also was cited in two stories in the guide about admissions practices, which prominently feature UNC's national leadership last spring in eliminating binding early-decision admissions. Coverage includes a color photo of Chancellor James Moeser on campus. His announcement in April, making UNC the first highly selective, major U.S. university to drop the practice, drew national media attention.

The magazine's editors chose the 12 "Hot Colleges," saying that reasons vary for a school being thought of as "hot" in any given year. This year, they wrote, "with a tough economy, the hottest schools may well be the best bargains -- those offering excellent academics at more affordable prices. That's why our list for 2002-03 is dominated by some of the country's top public universities, like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."

Dr. Jerome Lucido, UNC's vice provost for enrollment management and director of undergraduate admissions, said that while Carolina never determines or changes its policies to seek recognition in magazine ratings, or because of them, he welcomes validation that UNC, as a public institution, provides an outstanding academic experience.

"Leadership in higher education and a distinguished academic environment now occurs in the nationís finest public universities," Lucido said. "This guide is one of many independent sources that demonstrate this, and that document the increased attractiveness of public universities to Americaís top students."

The magazine, a special edition of Newsweek, notes that in recent years, more students have applied early-decision because they thought it improved chances of admission rather than because they had identified the college they felt was best for them. The trend favors students from affluent school districts and private schools, with better access to college counselors -- although UNC's program was designed not to do so.

Lucido said in the guide's story: "Ultimately, we had to conclude this is not in the students' interest, and it's not in our interest either if students are doing it as a strategy rather than because they've made a thoughtful decision."

The guide editors wrote that renewed interest in science and technology led them to name some colleges as "hot." They cited UNC's plans for the future in these arenas, including a commitment to a $245 million investment genomic sciences in this decade. UNC also will build a new science complex, a linchpin in a campus-wide master plan.

The story also notes the potential long-term payoff: spin-off companies "producing everything from Parkinson's-disease medicines to industrial uses for carbon nanotubes." Faculty research at UNC spawned 22 new spin-off companies from 1997 to 2002. Fifteen launched in 2001-2002 -- more than twice as many as in the four prior years.

The new guide doesn't rank the 12 colleges but briefly describes each one. Others listed are Arizona State, George Washington, McGill and Pepperdine universities; the universities of California, Santa Barbara, and Maryland, Baltimore County; and Washington at Seattle; and Boston, Davidson, Kenyon and Macalester colleges. Davidson is the only other North Carolina campus on the list.

The editors excluded schools listed in their previous two issues from consideration this year.

Newsweek teamed on the guide with Kaplan Inc., a provider of educational and career services in New York. Both are owned by The Washington Post Co. For more information, visit

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Note: Reporters interested in receiving copies of the guide stories about Carolina may receive them by calling News Services, (919) 962-2091.

Contact: Dr. Jerome Lucido, (919) 966-3623

Kaplan/Newsweek contact: Tammy Fang, (212) 492-5965,

News Services contact: L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589