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UNC Chapel Hill: Best Bargain


The University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill is the first university in the U.S. to open as a public university way back in 1789.  UNC-Chapel Hill has a location that is hard to beat because it is located in a storybook version of a campus town.  The town even has a bar that allows students to tell their parents the truth when they say "I am at The Library.” 

The Library bar in Chapel Hill
The "Library"

Chapel Hill (along with Raleigh and Durham) forms the research triangle, which offers great job opportunities.  UNC-Chapel Hill offered my favorite place to socialize when I attended Duke University, which my friends at UNC-Chapel Hill referred to as the “University of New Jersey at Durham.”


Freshmen are required to take some core courses, which will likely be more than 11 credits.  The courses include:


·      college thriving,

·      English,

·      intermediate-level foreign language,

·      a seminar or introductory course, and

·      a subject-specific course in data literacy.    


Students have access to full-time advisors, but I hear from colleagues that the best advising is reserved for students in special programs, such as Honors or first-generation college student programs. 


UNC Chapel Hill Admissions

The Well at UNC Chapel Hill
The Well at UNC Chapel Hill

As is frequently the case at selective universities, admissions staff indicate that about 85 percent of all applicants can do the work to graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill.  The admission rate, however, is considerably lower than that, 17 percent.


Admission depends in part on your home state.  Most of the applications to UNC-Chapel Hill are from out-of-state students, but there is a cap on out-of-state freshman admits of 18 percent.  Consequently, the odds of admission are particularly challenging for students who apply from out-of-state.  The admissions rate for in-state students is 43 percent, but it is only eight percent for out-of-state students.  About five percent of admitted students are international and some others are recruited athletes, so the competition for out-of-state spots is tough. 


Transfer applicants, however, may fare better for now since the 18 percent cap on out-of-state students does not apply to transfer applicants.  Close to 20 percent of the incoming class is comprised of transfer students, so transferring is a realistic option.


Prospective students should focus on their personal likelihood of admission to any college, but that is particularly true about UNC-Chapel Hill.


UNC Chapel Hill Students


UNC Chapel Hill students stand out in a number of ways.  Academic excellence is one.  Over 40 percent of the students were ranked in the top ten students (not percent) of their graduating class.  About three-quarters of new students participated in service activities in high school.  Many continue to participate in service activities as undergrads at UNC.  UNC is diverse; 18 percent of its students are first-generation college students.


UNC Chapel Hill Majors


Students at UNC Chapel Hill are not admitted by major.  However, applicants with a business background might get a special reading of their applications by someone in the business school. 


UNC Chapel Hill does not offer engineering as a major, but stay tuned on that since the admissions office seems interested in that happening.  UNC, however, does offer a new applied science and engineering minor, which could help students think like an engineer.


Students typically apply to professional majors and computer science during their Sophomore year and begin the courses their Junior year in college.  Among the available majors, computer science seems to be one of the more selective majors.  The process of applying to more than one major seems to be particularly complex, even though students might want to do that since the choice of major is not guaranteed.


UNC Honors


UNC honors students receive some perks, one of which is honors housing.  Honors students take 2-3 honors classes a year while meeting general education classes.  These classes tend to be small.  About one-quarter of the seats in the honors classes are open to non-honors students.


UNC Chapel Hill campus


UNC Chapel Hill Housing


Only around 15 percent of seniors live on campus, but the percentage is high for underclassmen.  Overall, about one-half of the students live on campus.



Memorial Hall at UNC Chapel Hill
Memorial Hall

UNC Chapel Hill Affordability


UNC Chapel Hill offers affordability that is hard to beat for a university of its caliber.  The cost of attendance is just over $23 K for in-state students and $53 K for out-of-state students.


Under the “Carolina Covenant,” students with incomes of 200 percent of poverty or less can graduate with no debt.  The students receive a combination of grants, scholarships, and work-study. More information on state-based financial aid from North Carolina is available here: 


UNC applicants can compete for the Robertson Scholarship.  The selection process for the scholarship is separate from that for admission, but they coordinate with each other.  In addition, the admissions office can nominate applicants for the scholarship.

College Admission Counselor Jim Houser at UNC Chapel Hill


UNC Chapel Hill Sports


I would be remiss if I did not give a nod to UNC Chapel Hill for its sports program.  Basketball is king in this part of North Carolina.  The rivalry between UNC, Duke, and NC State is fierce.


Educ8Fit Consulting


I work with students and families on the college and graduate school admission process. I help them navigate such complexities as merit aid and international admissions.  Please contact Educ8Fit Consulting at either or College Admission Counseling | Educ8fit Consulting | United States, contact for a free 30-minute consultation.

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Phone: (703) 850-9319

Personal LinkedIn: Jim Houser | LinkedIn



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