UNC Chapel Hill: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Old well at Chapel Hill
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With an acceptance rate of just 22 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, but as you'll see below, you're going to need high grades and SAT/ACT scores to be admitted.both in and out of the classroom.

Why UNC Chapel Hill?

  • Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Campus Features: UNC Chapel Hill occupies an attractive 729-acre campus in North Carolina's Research Triangle, a research and business hub that also includes Duke University and North Carolina State University.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Athletics: The University of North Carolina Tar Heels compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
  • Highlights: UNC Chapel Hill frequently ranks near the top of the nation's best public universities. The school wins high marks for both its value and the quality of its academic programs. Undergraduates can choose from 77 majors.

Acceptance Rate

For students entering UNC Chapel Hill in the 2018-19 academic year, UNC Chapel Hill had an acceptance rate of 21.9%. That means for every 100 applicants, 22 were admitted while 78 received rejection letters. The university's admissions process is highly selective.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 43,473
Percent Admitted 21.9%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled 45.4%

SAT Scores and Requirements

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill requires either SAT scores or ACT scores from all applicants. For the class entering in the 2018-19 academic year, 68% submitted SAT scores.

UNC Chapel Hill SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 640 720
Math 630 750
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

If you compare SAT scores for all public universities in North Carolina, you'll see that UNC Chapel Hill is the most selective institution in the state. If private colleges and universities are added to the comparison, only Duke University is more selective. Compared to national SAT data, we can see that typical scores for admission to UNC Chapel Hill tend to be in the top 20% of all test-takers. On the evidence-based reading exam, the middle 50% of students scored between 640 and 720. This tells us that 25% of students scored a 640 or lower, and at the upper end, 25% of students scored a 720 or higher. On the math section of the exam, the middle 50% of students scored between 630 and 750. The bottom quarter of students scored a 630 or lower, while the top quarter of applicants scored a 750 or higher.


UNC Chapel Hill does not require nor recommend the optional SAT essay, nor does the university require any SAT Subject Tests. That said, if you choose to submit SAT Subject Test scores, they will be considered and they may also be used for course placement. If you've taken the SAT more than once, the admissions office will superscore your exams and consider your highest score from each section.

ACT Scores and Requirements

All applicants to UNC Chapel Hill must submit scores from the SAT or ACT. Many applicants submit scores from both. The ACT is slightly more popular, and for students who entered in the 2018-19 academic year, 75% submitted ACT scores.

UNC Chapel Hill ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75 Percentile
English 26 34
Math 26 31
Composite 27 33

If you compare ACT scores for the nation's top public universities, you'll see that UNC Chapel Hill is right in the middle of the mix. When we look at national ACT score data, we find that UNC students tend to be among the top 15% of all test-takers. The middle 50% of admitted students scored between 27 and 33 on the exam. This tells us that 25% scored a 27 or lower, and a quarter of students earned a 33 or higher.


The university does not require or recommend the writing section of the ACT. If you've taken the ACT more than once, UNC Chapel Hill will superscore your exam and consider your highest scores for each section of the exam, even if the scores are from different test dates.

GPA and Class Rank

For students who entered UNC Chapel Hill in the 2018-19 academic year, the university reports that the average high school GPA was a 4.70. Nearly all admitted students have grades in the "A" range. Class rank also tends to be high: 78% were ranked in the top 10% of their class, and 96% were in the top 25%.

Graph of Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Data

UNC Chapel Hill Applicant's Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Data
UNC Chapel Hill Applicant's Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Data. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The GPA, SAT score, and ACT score data in the graph is self-reported by the actual applicants to UNC Chapel Hill. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Accepted students at UNC Chapel Hill tend to have grades in the "A" range and standardized test scores that are well above average. Realize, however, that hidden beneath the blue and green (accepted students) on the graph is a lot of red (rejected students). A number of students with 4.0 GPAs and high test scores still get rejected from Chapel Hill. 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.

Why Does UNC Reject Strong Students?

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. The high selectivity of the school is one reason why UNC Chapel Hill should be considered a reach school even if your grades and test scores are on target for admission.

Sources: Graph courtesy of Cappex; all other data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the UNC Chapel Hill common data set, and the UNC Chapel Hill admissions office.