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Awards and Honors



The life experiences of Carolina’s first-generation college students are rich and diverse; yet they all share a common goal: Become the first in their family to earn a college degree. The Carolina Firsts Honors Program asks these students to push for even more – to not only graduate, but to graduate with a meaningful college experience. Ours is the first honors program in the country to structure our programming around a university’s individualized definition of student success.

By focusing on each student’s unique trajectory and individual growth we encourage Honors Program participants to explore different pathways, connect with faculty and staff, and celebrate their unique strengths.

When the hard work is over, graduating Carolina Firsts Honors Program students proudly display their achievement by wearing special cords and stoles along with their caps and gowns as a symbol of both accomplishment and encouragement for future generations.

Program Eligibility

  • The Carolina Firsts Honors Program is open to all first-generation undergraduate students with a GPA of 2.7 or above
  • Students will receive an application to the program via email by the Program Director. Students must attend an information session at the beginning of the semester in order to receive the link to the application.
  • Accepted students are expected to complete all program requirements by graduation, and will then be eligible to graduate as a Carolina Firsts Honors Student (having achieved a GPA of 3.0 or above) or as a Carolina Firsts Honors Program Participant (having completed the program requirements, but with a GPA below 3.0)*

*The GPA range in program eligibility requirements reflects an emphasis on growth and development as a critical measure of student success.

Program Requirements

The requirements for completing the Carolina Firsts Honors Program draw from UNC’s three-pronged approach to supporting first-generation college students: Explore, Connect, and Celebrate. For each of these categories, program participants will complete the required number of actions chosen in each of the sub-categories listed in the Carolina Firsts Honor Programs: Program Requirements pdf here.


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