CHAPEL HILL (Sept. 21, 2020) – When we apply to college, we obsess about numbers – GPA, SAT, ACT, class rank.
But Steve Farmer sees the whole person. Not just a number.
Farmer’s departure as UNC-Chapel Hill’s vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, announced Monday, is a tremendous loss for the University. A Virginia native, he will become vice provost for enrollment at the University of Virginia.
For 20 years at Chapel Hill, Farmer has emphasized access, affordability and a holistic approach to evaluating student applicants. In the accompanying video from a 2016 interview, he stresses that no single number defines the sum of a person.
“We’re not looking for a particular number,” Farmer says. “There’s no number that measures a student. There’s no set of numbers that can tell us the whole story of a young person.
“We’re looking for people from all walks of life. We don’t say there is a Carolina student. We think there are thousands of Carolina students.”
Farmer has overseen the Carolina Covenant, the innovative program that ensures academically qualified students from low-income families can graduate without debt – and 8,200 students have gone to Carolina with the Covenant’s help so far. Working with leaders of the Campaign for Carolina, he also helped the University raise $179 million for scholarships and student aid.
Farmer has also sought to ease some of the pressure that comes with applying to a highly selective university. In this video, he emphasizes that students don’t need to take 20 Advanced Placement courses to go to Carolina.
“If you want to work in your community, if you want to take care of your little sister, if you want to learn how to play the banjo, if you want to lie in a meadow and look up at the stars and wonder why we’re here and wonder where you’re going – if those things are more important to you than taking AP everything, then have at it,” he says.