Applying to NC Colleges? Take an Inside Look at 16 UNC Schools

College admissions information for all 16 UNC institutions.


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The college search and application process can seem daunting for most families. Given the abundance of online college-related data, it's never been easier to find information on your prospective schools; yet it has also become increasingly difficult to discern useful from misleading information. This can leave families and students frustrated with their college search.

To bring greater clarity to this process, College Transitions has compiled data from several reliable sources to create institutional profiles for North Carolina's colleges and universities. In sum, these profiles provide North Carolina students and their families with an objective, inside look into the 16 four-year schools within the UNC system. Profiles detail everything from student-to-faculty ratios to acceptance rates and the percentage of students who successfully graduate in four years. For additional college admissions-related data and information, please visit www.collegetransitions.com. If you are also interested in private schools, browse this Inside Look at 21 NC Private Colleges.

Data sources include the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), institutional websites, COLLEGEdata, and the College Board. Each four-year UNC member institution is listed below and schools are presented in alphabetical order:

Jump to the school you're interested in: Appalachian State University; East Carolina University; Elizabeth City State University; Fayetteville State UniversityNorth Carolina A&T UniversityNorth Carolina Central UniversityNorth Carolina State UniversityUNC-Asheville; UNC-Chapel Hill; UNC-Charlotte; UNC-GreensboroUNC-Pembroke; UNC School of the Arts; UNC-WilmingtonWestern Carolina University; Winston-Salem State University

 

Appalachian State University

Type of school: Large university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 16,255
  • Freshman class size: 3,030
  • 4-year graduation rate: 44 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 66 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 70 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 88 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 16:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: Nov. 15
  • Regular Decision deadline: March 15
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 13,506
  • Acceptance rate: 63 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 4.06
  • SAT Math average: 579
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 576
  • ACT Composite average: 26
  • Class rank top tenth (Percentage of students attending the college who were in the top 10 percent of their high school class): 21 percent
  • Class rank top quarter (Percentage of students attending the college who were in the top 25 percent of their high school class): 61 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank

 

East Carolina University

Type of school: Large university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 22,252
  • Freshman class size: 4,180
  • 4-year graduation rate: 33 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 54 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 59 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 81 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC, ECU website
  • Priority Decision deadline: N/A
  • Regular Decision deadline: March 15
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 14,223
  • Acceptance rate: 77 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.67
  • SAT Math average: 528
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 514
  • ACT Composite average: 22
  • Class rank top tenth: 13 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 40 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank

 

Elizabeth City State University

Type of school: Medium-sized liberal arts college
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s
Special designation: Historically Black College and University (HBCU)

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 1,805
  • Freshman class size: 204
  • 4-year graduation rate: 15 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 32 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 39 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 68 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 14:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: May 1
  • Regular Decision deadline: Rolling
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 1,504
  • Acceptance rate: 49 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): N/A
  • SAT Math average: 435
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 428
  • ACT Composite average: 18
  • Class rank top tenth: 2 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 5 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Level of applicant’s interest

 

Fayetteville State University

Type of school: Medium-sized university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral
Special designation: Historically Black College and University (HBCU)

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 5,247
  • Freshman class size: 468
  • 4-year graduation rate: 17 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 30 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 35 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 74 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: N/A
  • Regular Decision deadline: Rolling
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Minimal
  • Total applicants: 4,110
  • Acceptance rate: 50 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.25
  • SAT Math average: 448
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 442
  • ACT Composite average: 19
  • Class rank top tenth: 9 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 26 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests

 

North Carolina A&T State University

Type of school: Medium-sized university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral
Special designation: Historically Black College and University (HBCU)

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 9,203
  • Freshman class size: 1,707
  • 4-year grad rate: 21 percent
  • 5-year grad rate: 40 percent
  • 6-year grad rate: 48 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 79 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: N/A
  • Regular Decision deadline: Rolling
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 7,075
  • Acceptance rate: 57 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 2.48
  • SAT Math average: 462
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 441
  • ACT Composite average: 18
  • Class rank top tenth: 11 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 34 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank
  • Geographic residence

 

North Carolina Central University

Type of school: Medium-sized university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral
Special designation: Historically Black College and University (HBCU)

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 5,917
  • Freshman class size: 923
  • 4-year graduation rate: 22 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 43 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 47 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 77 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 15:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: Oct. 15, Nov. 15, Jan. 15
  • Regular Decision deadline: Rolling
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Minimal
  • Total applicants: 11,246
  • Acceptance rate: 43 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.2
  • SAT Math average: 447
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 440
  • ACT Composite average: 18
  • Class rank top tenth: 6 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 24 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized Tests
  • Class Rank

 

North Carolina State University

Type of school: Large university
Degrees available: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 24,473
  • Freshman class size: 4,493
  • 4-year graduation rate: 44 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 71 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 76 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 93 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 16:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): Common Application
  • Priority Decision deadline: N/A
  • Regular Decision deadline: Jan. 15
  • Early Action deadline: Oct. 15
  • Entrance difficulty: Very
  • Total applicants: 20,443
  • Acceptance rate: 52 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.63
  • SAT Math average: 641
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 607
  • ACT Composite average: 28
  • Class rank top tenth: 52 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 86 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank

 

UNC-Asheville

Type of school: Medium-sized university and liberal arts college
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 3,804
  • Freshman class size: 628
  • 4-year graduation rate: 38 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 61 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 64 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 77 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 14:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC, Common Application
  • Priority Decision deadline: Nov. 15
  • Regular Decision deadline: Feb. 15
  • Early Action deadline: Nov. 15
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 3,090
  • Acceptance rate: 73 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.4
  • SAT Math average: 587
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 610
  • ACT Composite average: 24
  • Class rank top tenth: 21 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 54 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank
  • Recommendations
  • Essay

 

UNC-Chapel Hill

Type of school: Large university
Degrees available: Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 18,350
  • Freshman class size: 3,976
  • 4-year graduation rate: 80 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 89 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 90 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 97 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 13:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): Common Application, The Coalition Applicationbeginning fall 2016
  • Priority Decision deadline: Oct. 15
  • Regular Decision deadline: Jan. 15
  • Early Action deadline: Oct. 15
  • Entrance difficulty: Very
  • Total applicants: 31,332
  • Acceptance rate: 28 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 4.59
  • SAT Math average: 662
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 646
  • ACT Composite average: 29
  • Class rank top tenth: 78 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 96 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank
  • Recommendations
  • Essay
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer work
  • Particular talent/ability
  • Character/personal qualities
  • Work experience

 

UNC-Charlotte

Type of school: Large university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 22,216
  • Freshman class size: 3,299
  • 4-year graduation rate: 25 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 49 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 55 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 82 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 19:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: Nov. 1
  • Regular Decision deadline: Feb. 1
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 15,610
  • Acceptance rate: 64 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.86
  • SAT Math average: 558
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 537
  • ACT Composite average: 23
  • Class rank top tenth: 23 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 56 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests

 

UNC-Greensboro

Type of school: Large university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 15,313
  • Freshman class size: 2,572
  • 4-year graduation rate: 31 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 50 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 56 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 78 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: Dec. 1
  • Regular Decision deadline: March 1
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 10,040
  • Acceptance rate: 61 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.66
  • SAT Math average: 511
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 514
  • ACT Composite average: 22
  • Class rank top tenth: 16 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 43 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests

 

UNC-Pembroke

Type of school: Medium-sized university and liberal arts college
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 5,511
  • Freshman class size: 1,050
  • 4-year graduation rate: 15 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 30 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 34 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 68 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 15:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: N/A
  • Regular Decision deadline: Rolling
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 4,035
  • Acceptance rate: 73 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.38
  • SAT Math average: 465
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 460
  • ACT Composite average: 19
  • Class rank top tenth: 1 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 5 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests

 

UNC School of the Arts

Type of school: Small college of art and performing arts
Degrees available: Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Special designation: Arts conservatory

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 854
  • Freshman class size: 219
  • 4-year graduation rate: 59 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 60 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 61 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 89 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 6:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC. Special note: All applicants must audition or interview with arts faculty. Audition and interview dates are listed on the admissions page of each arts school. Be sure to check the application priority dates.
  • Priority Decision deadline: Varies by program
  • Regular Decision deadline: Varies by program
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: N/A
  • Total applicants: 868
  • Acceptance rate: 43 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.7
  • SAT Math average: 543
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 569
  • ACT Composite average: 24
  • Class rank top tenth: 12 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 46 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank
  • Recommendations
  • Interview
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Particular talent/ability
  • Character/personal qualities

 

UNC-Wilmington

Type of school: Medium-sized university
Degrees available: Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 12,964
  • Freshman class size: 2,156
  • 4-year graduation rate: 49 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 68 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 71 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 84 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC, Common Application
  • Priority Decision deadline: Nov. 1
  • Regular Decision deadline: Feb. 1
  • Early Action deadline: Nov. 1
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 11,523
  • Acceptance rate: 59 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 4.1
  • SAT Math average: 601
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 590
  • ACT Composite average: 25
  • Class rank top tenth: 27 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 69 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank
  • Recommendations
  • Essay

 

Western Carolina University

Type of school: Medium-sized university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 8,787
  • Freshman class size: 1,745
  • 4-year graduation rate: 40 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 55 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 58 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 78 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 16:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: Nov. 15
  • Regular Decision deadline: March 1
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Moderate
  • Total applicants: 15,398
  • Acceptance rate: 43 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.75
  • SAT Math average: 525
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 518
  • ACT Composite average: 22
  • Class rank top tenth: 13 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 39 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank
  • Recommendations
  • Essay
  • Level of applicant’s interest
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Particular talent/ability
  • Character/personal qualities
  • Work experience

 

Winston-Salem State University

Type of school: Medium-sized university
Degrees available: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral
Special designation: Historically Black College and University (HBCU)

Quick Facts

  • Total undergraduates: 4,793
  • Freshman class size: 844
  • 4-year graduation rate: 17 percent
  • 5-year graduation rate: 38 percent
  • 6-year graduation rate: 46 percent
  • Freshman retention rate: 79 percent
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 14:1

Applying

  • Application platform(s): CFNC
  • Priority Decision deadline: N/A
  • Regular Decision deadline: Rolling
  • Early Action deadline: N/A
  • Entrance difficulty: Minimal
  • Total applicants: 4,433
  • Acceptance rate: 60 percent
  • GPA average of enrolled freshmen (4.0 scale): 3.01
  • SAT Math average: 449
  • SAT Critical Reading average: 440
  • ACT Composite average: 17
  • Class rank top tenth: 5 percent
  • Class rank top quarter: 25 percent

Important Factors in the Admissions Process

  • Rigor of student’s high school record
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized tests
  • Class rank

 


How Is Entrance Difficulty Figured?

Entrance difficulty is a measure of the academic qualifications of recently enrolled freshmen and the proportion of applicants who are admitted. The greater the entrance difficulty, the higher the class rank and test scores of enrolled freshmen and the lower the percentage of applicants admitted. At public institutions, the entrance difficulty used applies to residents. At many public institutions, particularly the more selective ones, entrance is more difficult for nonresidents than for residents. Each college reports its entrance difficulty, choosing the category that best matches from the following:
 
Most Difficult More than 75 percent of freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school class and scored over 1310 on the SAT or over 29 on the ACT; about 30 percent or fewer of all applicants accepted.
Very Difficult More than 50 percent of freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school class and scored over 1230 on the SAT or over 26 on the ACT; about 60 percent or fewer of all applicants accepted.
Moderately Difficult More than 75 percent of freshmen were in the top 50 percent of their high school class and scored over 1010 on the SAT or over 18 on the ACT; about 85 percent or fewer of all applicants accepted.
Minimally Difficult Most freshmen were not in the top 50 percent of their high school class and scored somewhat below 1010 on the SAT or below 19 on the ACT; up to 95 of all applicants accepted.
Noncompetitive Virtually all applicants accepted regardless of high school rank or test scores.
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