Applications are up nearly 30 percent at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Website admissions inquiries have more than doubled


Winston-Salem, N.C., Feb. 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Applications at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) have increased approximately 30 percent this year, and deposits toward enrollment are up 86 percent, Chancellor Lindsay Bierman recently reported to the Board of Trustees. Bierman said that admission inquiries from prospective students on the university’s website have more than doubled year over year.

“We’re excited about the increase not because we want to grow enrollment, but because we can be even more selective in our admissions process,” Bierman said. “It’s about attracting and retaining the world’s best talent to hone their craft, power creative industries, and shape the future of arts and entertainment.”

Part of the UNC System, UNCSA is America’s first public arts conservatory, training students at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels for professional careers in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music. Because of the mentor-apprentice instruction necessary for the arts, the school anticipates enrollment will grow significantly only at the graduate level. UNCSA currently enrolls 853 undergraduates, 141 graduate students and 253 high school students.

Bierman attributed the increased interest to a strategic and diverse marketing campaign that drives traffic to the school’s award-winning website, which has attracted 30 percent more off-campus visitors year over year. “Increased traffic to the website translates to increased admissions inquiries,” he said.

Inquiries are met with an integrated system of strategic contacts with prospective students throughout the admissions process. “We’ve choreographed an intricate dance with prospective students that keeps UNCSA top of mind and consideration during the enrollment lifecycle,” he said. “Quite simply, we are pursuing the best and brightest as never before.”

Bierman said UNCSA is strategically reaching out to emerging artists from North Carolina’s rural counties in support of the UNC System’s Higher Expectations Strategic Plan.  The Chancellor signed a performance agreement committing to a 6.5 percent increase in rural enrollment by Fall 2021 and a 31 percent increase in rural completions by the end of that academic year.

“This does not mean we will admit less qualified students just because they reside in rural counties,” Bierman said. “Rather, it challenges us to address the asymmetry that exists between rural and urban counties in North Carolina when it comes to what high school students know about getting into college. We need to make sure that we are on the radar – or in the browser history – of every talented young artist from Cherokee County in the west to Dare County in the east.”

Competitive financial aid packages are essential to sealing the deal with prospective students, and Bierman noted significant progress in fundraising: two recent gifts totaling $4 million in scholarships for the School of Music, and more than a half-million-dollars in scholarship revenue for the schools of Dance, Design & Production, and Music from the annual featured performance of “The Nutcracker.” 

 “These scholarships will strengthen our competitive advantage in tuition costs, and reward young artists who demonstrate the talent, discipline, and grit it takes to perform at the very highest levels,” Bierman added. 

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Chancellor Lindsay Bierman says applications to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts are up nearly 30 percent this year.

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