NC State Admissions Statistics

Learn About North Carolina State University and What It Takes to Get In

North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

With an acceptance rate of 51 percent, North Carolina State University is a selective public university. Students will typically need above average grades and standardized test scores to be admitted. The university has a holistic admissions process and considers factors that include your GPA, the rigor of your high school classes, your selected major(s), SAT or ACT scores, your extracurricular involvement, your contribution to campus diversity, and legacy status. 

NC State's many strengths earned it a spot among the top North Carolina colleges and top Southeast colleges.

Why North Carolina State University?

  • Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Campus Features: The main campus of NC State is defined by its attractive red-brick buildings and the 115-foot bell tower. Located in North Carolina's "Research Triangle," the campus is a hub for science, technology, and innovation.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Athletics: The NC State Wolfpack competes in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference for most sports.
  • Highlights: The largest university in North Carolina, NC State has many strengths in science and technology fields, and was also awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences.

NC State Admissions Statistics 2017-18

For the 2017-18 entering class, North Carolina State University had an acceptance rate of 51 percent. Below are standardized test scores for admitted students organized by score percentile.

SAT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75 Percentile
ERW 610 680
Math 620 710
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

An average SAT score is a little over 500 for each section, so you can see that NC State students tend to perform well above average. Also keep in mind that scores have been going up in recent years as the admissions process has become more selective.

ACT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75 Percentile
English 25 32
Math 25 30
Composite 26 31

The ACT is slightly more popular than the SAT for admission to NCSU. If you compare ACT scores for top North Carolina colleges, you'll see that only Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill are more selective.


North Carolina State University GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
North Carolina State University GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission.

The grades and standardized test scores in the graph are self-reported by the actual applicants to NC State. Grades are unweighted. You can see the real-time graph and calculate your own chances of getting into NCSU with a free account at Cappex.

Discussion of NCSU's Admissions Standards

Roughly half of all students who apply to North Carolina State University get rejected, and most successful applicants have strong grades and SAT/ACT scores. In the scattergram above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. You can see that most successful applicants had "B+" or higher averages, SAT scores of about 1150 or higher (ERW+M), and ACT composite scores of 24 or above. Higher numbers clearly improve your chances of getting an acceptance letter, and you can see that the great majority of applicants with "A" averages and high test scores were admitted.

Note that there are some red dots (rejected students) and yellow dots (waitlisted students) hidden behind the green and blue, especially in the middle of the graph. Some students with grades and standardized test scores that were on target for NC State did not get in. Note also that some students were accepted with test scores and grades a bit below the norm. The admissions folks take into consideration the rigor of your high school courses, not just your GPA. Other factors that can sway an admissions decision include your optional personal statement, extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, and community service. And, of course, because NC State is an NCAA Division I university, excellence in athletics can play a significant role in the admissions equation.

More North Carolina State University Information

Standardized test scores and grades are extremely important in the NC State admissions process, but other factors should play a role in your college selection process. The data here can help, and you'll see that the university represents an excellent value for in-state students.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 34,432 (24,150 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 55 percent male / 45 percent female
  • 89 percent Full-time

Costs (2017 - 18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $9,058 (in-state); $27,406 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,082 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $10,854
  • Other Expenses: $2,706
  • Total Cost: $23,700 (in-state); $42,048 (out-of-state)

NC State University Financial Aid (2016 - 17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 69 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 50 percent
    • Loans: 40 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $10,998
    • Loans: $6,438

Academic Programs

Graduation, Retention and Transfer Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 94 percent
  • Transfer Out Rate: 9 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 50 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 79 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

  • Men's Sports: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, rifle, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, wrestling
  • Women's Sports: basketball, cross-country, golf, gymnastics, rifle, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball

If You Like North Carolina State University, You May Also Like These Schools

Many applicants to North Carolina State University apply to the other institutions in the state's research triangle: UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University. Note that both schools are more selective than NC State. 

Other public universities are also popular among NC State applicants. These include UNC Pembroke and UNC Greensboro. Both are a bit less selective than NC State. For out-of-state options, check out the University of Virginia, University of Georgia, and Florida State University. All three are large public universities with strong academic programs and active student life.

Data Source: Graphs courtesy of Cappex; all other data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.