How to get into UNC Chapel Hill 2022: Acceptance Rate & Tips

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is widely known as the first public university in the USA, and one that has continually achieved exceptional success in the centuries since its inception.

The first students arrived at UNC in 1795. Ever since, the school has had a storied history. From Caleb Bradham (Class of 1890)—the inventor of Pepsi-Cola—to Michael Jordan (Class of 1986), UNC Tar Heels, as they are called, have created tremendous impact in diverse fields.

To this day, UNC Chapel Hill takes pride in these inspirations as it invests in its ongoing research initiatives and academics. For undergraduates, the university has developed an especially strong reputation in all realms of business, nursing, and computer science. Yet the school has world-renowned professors in practically every field. Whether you want to study anthropology or pure mathematics, UNC offers a spectrum of learning experiences that distinguishes it from the large majority of other universities.

Old Well at UNC-Chapel Hill
Photo by Jack a Lanier, link, under CC license

But, as you might expect, getting in is not easy. UNC stays true to its roots by embracing a strong preference for in-state students. Of these North Carolina applicants to the Class of 2025, 42.2% were accepted. For out-of-state students, however, the acceptance rate was just 10.5%. This drastic difference translates into an overall acceptance rate of 19.2%, making UNC Chapel Hill extraordinarily competitive, especially out-of-state.

Below, we’ve collected some more data on UNC Chapel Hill admissions statistics. The university prefers qualitative metrics over quantitative metrics, and the admissions facts they publish are fascinating: 

Entering class of 2020

Total Students5,303
First-Year Students4,444
Transfer Students859
Student were selected from 47,607 applicants

SAT and ACT* scores

North Carolinians1310-1500
All Students1320-1500
Out-of-State Students 1370-1540
a) *Middle 50% of students’ highest reported scores.
b) ACT scores have been converted in the SAT critical reading and math scale.

Top 5 Intended Majors (of enrolling students)

1) Biology
2) Business
3) Psychology & Neuroscience
4) Computer Science
5) Political Science

The numbers are daunting to say the least. But they don’t always give the full picture. And they’re representative of macro trends in worldwide education that are outside any single person’s control. That’s why it’s more effective to first understand these numbers in context, then use your time to focus on preparing your own personal application as best you can.

What do you need to apply to UNC Chapel Hill?

In order to apply to UNC Chapel Hill, you will need to complete an application package with many components that is designed to give the admissions committee ways to gauge your fit both quantitatively and qualitatively. That means there is a significant focus on storytelling—through essays, recommendations, supplemental materials, and in some cases interviews—but also on demonstrable achievements. 

Thankfully, UNC Chapel Hill uses both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Creating an account and filling in all the basic information on one of these platforms is an important first step toward getting your application done, and will help you familiarize yourself with just how much personal information colleges are assessing when making admissions decisions.

Here is the full list of what you will need in order to apply to UNC Chapel Hill:

Depending on what program or college you are applying to, you may be required or encouraged to submit additional supplementary materials, like a portfolio, or to do an interview. For the full detail on these requirements, see UNC Chapel Hill’s comprehensive website for First-Year Applicants.

How can you get into UNC Chapel Hill?

There are a variety of ways a top high school student can approach applying to UNC Chapel Hill so as to maximize their chances of admission. The specific decisions of what to highlight and how to make it unforgettable boil down to individual life stories and circumstances that have shaped you into who you are today. That crucial piece of the application—the storytelling—can only come from intensive reflection and earnest hard work. 

However, there are certainly decisions you can make to position yourself to submit a profile that bolsters your personal story and provides you top ratings on several of UNC Chapel Hill’s criteria. Beyond reading about the university’s own admission criteria, consider the following steps that will make a big impact on your admissions chances:

If you’re able to demonstrate your connection to UNC Chapel Hill’s distinctive offerings, achieve an outstanding GPA in the hardest classes, engage meaningfully with personal interests and community problems, and take charge of your own goals by acting on your principles, you’ll set yourself up to submit an application that will impress the UNC Chapel Hill Admissions Committee. None of this is easy, but if you’re deeply motivated to be at UNC Chapel Hill, use every tactic we’ve listed above in order to show it.

What are your chances of getting into UNC Chapel Hill?

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