Creative and talented? The UNC School of the Arts seeks you

Heidi Finley

Photo by University of North Carolina School of the Arts/Rosalie O’Connor

Applications at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem have increased by about 30 percent this year, its chancellor recently told the UNC Board of Trustees.

Photo by UNCSA

“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,” Chancellor Linsday Bierman said in a news release. “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.”

UNCSA is America’s first public arts conservatory. It trains students at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels for professional careers in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking and music.

“We’ve choreographed an intricate dance with prospective students that keeps UNCSA top of mind and consideration during the enrollment lifecycle,” he said in the release. “Quite simply, we are pursuing the best and brightest as never before.”

Because of its mentor-apprentice instruction, the school anticipates enrollment will grow significantly only at the graduate level, the news release said. 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. He said the school is also 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.”

Students considering careers in the arts are invited to attend Spring Open House at UNCSA from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 23. The campus sits at 1533 S. Main St. in Winston-Salem.

The open house allows prospective applicants to experience campus for the day while meeting deans, faculty and current students. The schedule will include a campus tour; presentations by the arts schools, academic programs and student affairs; and application information.

Advance registration is required. Visit the for the online registration form or additional information.


Finley is the editor of Carolina College Bound. Send questions or suggestions to