What Does it Take to Get Into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill?

Strategies by School
March 19, 2020
Students That Are Part Of This Close-Knit Community Know What It Means To Truly Pursue Your Passions…

To truly represent the Carolina blue takes hard work and dedication. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a reputation for being one of the top public schools in the nation and, as you might imagine, this reputation comes with a competitive admission rate.

That means that every student looking to attend Carolina needs to perfect their application before they submit it. In this college guide, we’ll show you how to tailor your application to what UNC at Chapel Hill looks for in their ideal student.

What You’ll Find In This Article

The University Of North Carolina's Ideal Student

The University of North Carolina is a highly competitive college, and the average GPA and test scores of an incoming UNC student reflect that:

  • GPA: 4.7
  • SAT: 1364
  • ACT: 30

If these scores are any indication, UNC holds its students to a high standard. Students who are accepted into UNC are often leaders and high-achievers, coming from the top of their high school classes.

Yet, there are also personal values that the University of North Carolina looks for that can’t be quantified by test scores or GPA. For over 200 years, students who embody these values have proudly helped better themselves, their communities, and their campus at Chapel Hill.


University of North Carolina alumni are known for being leaders and visionaries in their fields. With programs and courses designed to help students test their limits and achieve the impossible, UNC places a big focus on guiding students toward not just challenging the status quo, but working to change it in positive ways.

  • Has there ever been a time when your unique view on a situation solved a problem?
  • What individual perspective would you bring to UNC at Chapel Hill’s campus?
  • Highlight a time when you faced the unknown with a vision and a plan.


Students who study at UNC at Chapel Hill commit themselves to each other and their community. Peers hold each other accountable and lift each other up during difficult times. Organizations throughout the college work to guide the next generation of civic leaders and public servants; while instilling a sense of civic duty in each and every student.

  • Recall a time when you put the needs of your peers or community before your own.
  • Have you ever initiated a volunteer or community effort on your own? How has that positively changed you?
  • How have you taken responsibility for your own future in high school?


A dedication to education is at the core of everything UNC does, and in turn, the university expects its students to be dedicated to their studies and their future. While students at UNC know how to have fun, they also know when to buckle down and get serious about their education. The fundamental commitment students have to give 100% of their effort every day is a value shared across campus.

  • What can you point to in your record to show consistency and dedication?
  • Why do you want to dedicate yourself to UNC at Chapel Hill?
  • How will you bring your dedication to your future with you into college?


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers students a wide range of degree programs. This diversity gives students the opportunity to find the right major that mixes their passions and future career interests. Their most popular programs include:

  • Education (Ranked #6 in the United States)
  • Communications (#8 in the United States)
  • Global Studies (#10 in the United States)
  • Public Policy (#18 in the United States)

In addition to having many widely praised programs, UNC at Chapel Hill routinely ranks in the top 10 for large public schools and student-athletes. Regardless of how you plan to dedicate yourself to your future, what you choose to study, or where you find your passions, UNC has plenty to offer the ambitious students.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill promotes an environment where students can thrive. The ideal UNC student is engaged and committed to their future, the pursuit of knowledge, and serving their community. In addition, they also have high academic scores that represent their dedication to their education.

However, UNC themselves say they have “no ideal student” in mind right on their application page. Admissions officials want to see who you really are in your application, not what you think they want to hear. If you’re excited about the possibility of joining this vibrant and engaged campus, keep reading to discover how to tailor your application specifically to UNC at Chapel Hill.

What Do You Need To Get Accepted Into The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill?


Students have the choice of submitting either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. These web-based applications make it easy for students to submit their applications as soon as they have all the required documents ready. You should start working on your application as soon as possible to give yourself plenty of time to perfect it.

UNC at Chapel Hill has two deadlines you should know about. The early decision deadline is October 15th, while the regular decision deadline is January 15th.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill requires that students submit both an official copy of their transcript as well as their official ACT or SAT scores.


Students are required to submit a letter of recommendation from one teacher who has taught them in a core academic class. These letters work best when sent by teachers who can provide real insight into what type of student and person you are. Learning how to ask for the perfect letter of recommendation can help students approach this step of the UNC application process with confidence.


Students will be required to submit their answers to one long-form essay as well as two short answer responses. Because you will be limited on word count, focus on answering the prompt rather than just repeating things that can be found elsewhere in your application. Make sure your essay is tailored specifically to UNC at Chapel Hill and the programs they offer; don’t make your responses so generic that they could work for any college application essay.


Students must pay a non-refundable application fee of $85. However, waivers do exist for students who can show the application fee would be an undue burden.

The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill's Campus Life

The University of North Carolina (UNC) is a renowned school system with 17 different campus locations, with the picturesque Chapel Hill campus serving as the central hub of all of them.


The unique experience offered at UNC at Chapel Hill is why just over half of the school’s 18,000 undergrads choose to live on campus. The school buzzes with Carolina spirit from the always-on Franklin Street to the central cluster of libraries, dining halls, and social gatherings that make up the heart of the campus.


More than 800 student organizations flourish across Carolina’s campuses, including over 50 intramural sports that students can get involved in to stay active. These organizations allow students to pursue their passions, from dance to politics and everything in between.

In addition to intramural sports, Carolina blue is represented by 28 varsity sports teams. With a track record of excellence and support for their athletes, UNC at Chapel Hill routinely ranks among the top schools in the nation for student-athletes.


Greek life at UNC at Chapel Hill is designed to help students go above and beyond, excelling more than they ever thought possible. The hard work of fraternities and sororities across campus help shape a lasting legacy of service, leadership, and a commitment to excellence. Greek life is just one of many countless ways students choose to get involved across Carolina.


First-year students are required to live on campus at Carolina, and they can apply to one of nine Residential Learning Programs to tailor their living situation to their interests. Beyond your first year at UNC at Chapel Hill, you’ll have access to a wide variety of housing options located centrally on campus.

With two main dining halls to choose from (Chase Dining Hall and Top of Lenoir) students are never far from a freshly made meal. Throughout campus, students will find access to convenient snacks, retail options, and online delivery to keep them fueled.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of three universities with a credible claim to being the United State’s first public university. As such, the school has a rich history of traditions including taking a drink from the well on the first day of classes for good luck, to rushing Franklin Street after a national championship game.

From Application To Career: What You'll Experience At The University Of North Carolina


UNC at Chapel Hill wants to know the real you, not the version of yourself you think colleges are looking for. While your academics are important, they can’t always tell the story behind how you got those scores. To compensate for this, use your college application to tell a story of who you are: what are your passions, your ambitions, and how have you dedicated yourself to your own future? These are the questions that Carolina wants the answers to. Use your academic track record and extracurricular activities to paint a picture of who you are as a student.


With only so many words to respond to the essay prompt, you need to slim down your essay while still answering the prompt as strongly as possible. Keep your essay simple, avoiding flowery language or technical jargon. If you’re having trouble crafting the perfect essay response, reach out for help from a trusted peer or counselor.


When you study at Carolina, you’ll be surrounded by students and professors just as eager as you are to make a real impact on the world. The opportunities you’ll be given at UNC at Chapel Hill will allow you to leverage your dreams and ambitions into your future career and life. The lessons you learn at this prestigious university will last a lifetime, so make sure you take time to enjoy the unique experience offered by Carolina.


As an alumnus of UNC at Chapel Hill, you’ll be among the ranks of people such as late actor Andy Griffith and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Emily Steel.

Your job prospects as an alumnus of Carolina look bright as well, with an average salary of around $56,000. The careers alumni find employment in include:

  • Healthcare
  • Investment banking
  • Management consulting
  • Non-profit work
  • Research
  • Software

Your Future At The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill

Students at Carolina go beyond just attending college; they build a community where they can pursue knowledge together and serve each other. With this strong foundation beneath them, UNC at Chapel Hill alumni have gone on to make a real impact in their communities and the world at large.

However, to be admitted to a university with such a reputation, sense of community pride, and high-quality education takes hard work and dedication on your application.

Of course, if you still find yourself in need of support throughout the application process, please reach out to one of our WeAdmit counselors. We know what it feels like to agonize over a college essay until it’s just right, and we’re here to help you put in the hard work that makes Carolina students some of the most renowned leaders and visionaries in the world.

You’re Ready To Wear The Carolina Blue; Now You Just Need To Show UNC Why You Belong There!



Need more Information?

Gain all the information you need by getting in touch with our admissions team or booking a free 30-minute counseling session.