Atlantic Coast Conference Schools

A university in the Atlantic Coast Conference may be a good choice if you want your college experience to include packed stadiums, deafening arenas, and massive tailgate parties. Be sure to click on the "learn more" links below to find out what it takes to get accepted at each of the member schools. You'll discover that these universities have strong academics and research to complement their athletics. The conference's member schools span a huge geographic area from Massachusetts to Florida.

The ACC is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA's Division I.

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Boston College

Higgins Hall at Boston College

Katie Doyle

One of the top Catholic colleges in the country, Boston College features beautiful Gothic architecture on campus in the Boston suburb of Chestnut Hill. The undergraduate business program is particularly strong. Another perk is the proximity to dozens of other Boston area colleges.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • School type: private, Jesuit
  • Enrollment: 14,466 (9,870 undergraduates)
  • Team: Eagles
  • Explore the campus: Boston College photo tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the Boston College profile
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Clemson University

Tilman Hall at Clemson University

Angie Yates/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

A highly-ranked public university in South Carolina, Clemson sits among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the shores of Lake Hartwell. Business and engineering are particularly popular, and Clemson distinguishes itself with a strong commitment to service learning. The football team has been particularly strong in recent years.

  • Location: Clemson, South Carolina
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 23,406 (18,599 undergraduates)
  • Team: Tigers
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information ​see the Clemson University profile
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Duke University

Duke University

Ilyse Whitney/Flickr/CC BY 2.0


Of all the Atlantic Coast Conference universities, Duke is the hardest to get into. Both the acceptance rate and caliber of student makes Duke comparable to several of the Northeastern Ivy League schools. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke's campus has some stunning Gothic architecture.

  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • School type: private
  • Enrollment: 15,735 (6,609 undergraduates)
  • Team: Blue Devils
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information ​see the Duke University profile
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Florida State University

Florida State University

Jackson Meyers/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

One of the flagship campuses of the Florida state university system, FSU sits just west of Tallahassee and is an easy drive to the Gulf of Mexico. Academic strengths at Florida State include music, dance, and engineering. Florida State is the largest university in the ACC.

  • Location: Tallahassee, Florida
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 41,173 (32,933 undergraduates)
  • Team: Seminoles
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the Florida State University profile
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Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

Hector Alejandro / Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

Located in Atlanta, Georgia Tech is an academic powerhouse that made it onto the list of top public universities and top engineering schools. And yes, their athletic programs are also excellent.

  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 26,839 (15,489 undergraduates)
  • Team: Yellow Jackets
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the Georgia Tech profile
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Miami (University of Miami)

University of Miami

Bernardo Benzecry/Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

Business and nursing are extremely popular at the University of Miami, and the school also boasts of a top-ranked marine biology program. Located in the well-to-do suburb of Coral Springs, not Miami, the university's campus is defined by modern white buildings, fountains, and palm trees.

  • Location: Coral Gables, Florida
  • School type: private
  • Enrollment: 16,744 (10,792 undergraduates)
  • Team: Hurricanes
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information, see the University of Miami profile
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North Carolina (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

UNC Chapel Hill

 Ryan Herron/Getty Images 

Academically, UNC Chapel Hill is probably the strongest of the public universities on this list, and their Kenan-Flagler Business School made the list of top undergraduate business schools. Opened in 1795, Chapel Hill has a beautiful and historic campus. For North Carolina residents, the university is an exceptional value.

  • Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 29,468 (18,522 undergraduates)
  • Team: Tar Heels
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the UNC Chapel Hill profile
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North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University

Allen Grove

North Carolina State University is a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and it is the largest university in North Carolina. The most popular undergraduate programs are in business, engineering, the sciences and the social sciences.

  • Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 33,755 (23,827 undergraduates)
  • Team: Wolfpack
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, see the North Carolina State University profile
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Syracuse University

Syracuse University
Donlelel / Wikimedia Commons

Located in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, Syracuse University's programs in media studies, art and business are all worth a look, to name just a few. The university's strengths in the liberal arts and sciences earned Syracuse a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

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University of Louisville

University of Louisville School of Law

Ken Lund /Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Students at the University of Louisville come from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. Students have a wide range of academic options through the university's 13 schools and colleges. Professional fields such as business, criminal justice, and nursing are all extremely popular.

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University of Notre Dame

Main Building at the University of Notre Dame
Allen Grove

Among the Big East universities, Notre Dame is second only to Georgetown for its high selectivity. 70% of accepted students rank in the top 5% of their high school class. Notre Dame undergraduates go on to earn a remarkably high number of Doctoral degrees, and the university's academic strengths have earned it a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

  • Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
  • School type: Private, Catholic
  • Enrollment: 12,393 (8,530 undergraduates)
  • Team: Fighting Irish
  • Explore the Campus: University of Notre Dame Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the Notre Dame profile
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University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning

gam9551 / Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0

Pitt has wide-ranging strengths including Philosophy, Medicine, Engineering and Business. The university often ranks among the top 20 public universities in the U.S., and its strong research programs have earned it membership in the exclusive Association of American Universities.

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • School type: Public
  • Enrollment: 28,664 (19,123 undergraduates)
  • Team: Panthers
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the University of Pittsburgh profile
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Virginia (University of Virginia at Charlottesville)

The Lawn at the University of Virginia

Allen Grove

Established by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia has one of the most historic and beautiful campuses in the U.S. It also has the largest endowment of any public university. The University of Virginia, along with Georgia Tech and UNC Chapel Hill, made my list of top public universities.

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Virginia Tech

Graduate Life Center at Virginia Tech

Allen Grove

Located in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech typically ranks among the top 10 public engineering schools. It also earns high marks for its business and architecture programs. Virginia Tech maintains a corps of cadets, and since its founding in 1872 the school has been classified as a military college.

  • Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
  • School type: public
  • Enrollment: 33,170 (25,791 undergraduates)
  • Team: Hokies
  • Explore the Campus: Virginia Tech Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the Virginia Tech profile
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Wake Forest University

Reynolda Hall at Wake Forest

Allen Grove

One of the four private universities in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Wake Forest was one of the first highly competitive colleges to make SAT and ACT scores optional for admissions. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Wake Forest provides its students with a great balance of a small college academic experience and a large university sports scene.

  • Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • School type: private
  • Enrollment: 7,968 (4,955 undergraduates)
  • Team: Demon Deacons
  • For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information see the Wake Forest University profile
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Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "Atlantic Coast Conference Schools." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, August 29). Atlantic Coast Conference Schools. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "Atlantic Coast Conference Schools." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2023).

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