UNC Chapel Hill Admissions Statistics and Standards

Old well at Chapel Hill
RBFried / Getty Images

With an acceptance rate of just 24 percent, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the most selective public universities in the country. UNC Chapel Hill is one of the so-called "Public Ivy" schools and it offers students some great opportunities, both in and out of the lecture hall.

Why You Might Choose UNC Chapel Hill

The university's beautiful and historic campus was opened in 1795 and UNC Chapel Hill consistently ranks in the top five among public universities. The total cost of attending is also generally lower than the other top-ranked schools.

Chapel Hill's schools of medicine, law, and business all have excellent reputations. Research strengths have earned the university membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), and strong liberal arts and sciences earned it a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

UNC Chapel Hill also boasts excellent athletics and the Tar Heels compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference.

Due to the university's many strengths, it consistently makes an appearance on lists of the best colleges in the United States. Among these are the top public universitiestop North Carolina collegestop Southeastern colleges, and top business schools.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 29,911 (18,862 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 41 percent male / 59 percent female
  • 97 percent full-time

Costs (2017–18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $9,005 (in-state); $34,588 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,604 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $11,566
  • Other Expenses: $3,404
  • Total Cost: $25,569 (in-state); $51,152 (out-of-state)

UNC Chapel Hill Financial Aid (2016–17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 67 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 42 percent
    • Loans: 29 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $17,291
    • Loans: $6,452

Academic Programs

Most Popular Majors: Biology, Business Administration, Communication Studies, Economics, English, Health and Physical Education, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology

Graduation, Retention and Transfer Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 96 percent
  • Transfer Out Rate: 3 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 84 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 91 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

Men's Sports: Lacrosse, Football, Fencing, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Swimming, Wrestling

Women's Sports: Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Rowing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Gymnastics

Admissions Standards for UNC Chapel Hill

UNC Chapel Hill GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
See how you compare to accepted students and get the real-time data with a free Cappex account. UNC Chapel Hill GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. Data courtesy of Cappex.

Accepted students at UNC Chapel Hill tend to have grades in the "A" range and standardized test scores that are well above average. Prospective students will need to submit an application, scores from the SAT or ACT, an official high school transcript, a letter of recommendation, and a personal statement. 

Eight percent of those accepted to Chapel Hill were the first in their high school class and 78 percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The middle 50 percent of enrolled first-year students for the fall 2017 year had these test ranges:

  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 640 to 720
  • SAT Math: 630 to 740
  • ACT Composite: 28 to 33

How do you measure up at UNC Chapel Hill? Calculate your chances of getting in with this free tool from Cappex.

UNC Chapel Hill GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph

In the graph, green and blue represent accepted students. As you can see, the majority of accepted students had a GPA of 3.5 or higher, a SAT score (RW+M) above 1200, and an ACT composite score of 25 or higher. Chances of admission improve as those numbers go up.

Realize, however, that hidden beneath the blue and green on the graph is a lot of red, noting rejected applications. A number of students with 4.0 GPAs and high test scores still get rejected from Chapel Hill. The next graph makes this point very clear.

UNC Chapel Hill Uses Holistic Admissions

It's also important to note that a number of students were accepted with test scores and grades a bit below the norm. UNC Chapel Hill has holistic admissions, so the admissions officers are evaluating students based on more than numerical data.

Students who show some kind of remarkable talent or have a compelling story to tell will often get a close look, even if their grades and test scores aren't quite ideal. A winning essaystrong letters of recommendation, and interesting extracurricular activities can mean the difference between an acceptance and a rejection.

Similarly, high grades and strong standardized test scores are no guarantees of admission. A straight "A" student who doesn't reveal strength or passions in non-academic areas is likely to be rejected. The university is looking for applicants who will both succeed in the classroom and contribute to the campus community in meaningful ways.

Rejection and Waitlist Data for UNC Chapel Hill

Rejection and Waitlist Data for UNC Chapel Hill
Rejection and Waitlist Data for UNC Chapel Hill. Data courtesy of Cappex.

If you remove the blue and green dots representing accepted students, you get a much clearer picture of the range of applicants who are both waitlisted and rejected from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As you can see, plenty of students with "A" averages and SAT or ACT scores that are well above average still get rejected from the university. It's one reason why UNC Chapel Hill should be considered a reach school, even if your grades and test scores are on target for admission.

Similar Schools to Consider

As you're working on college applications, it's important to keep an open mind and explore a variety of options. If you have an interest in UNC Chapel Hill, consider some of the following universities as well. One may just be a better fit for your goals.