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Carolina welcomes 5,158 new undergraduate students to campus


Fall 2017 first-year class includes record number of North Carolinians


(Note: The following statistics are preliminary and will not be final until after Aug. 30, 2017, the University’s official enrollment reporting date.)


(Chapel Hill, N.C.— Aug. 18, 2017) –  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is welcoming 4,373 first-year students – its largest first-year class ever – as well as 785 transfer students as classes begin next week. The first-year class also has the highest-ever number of North Carolina residents at the time of enrollment – 3,670 – representing an increase of 5 percent over the previous year.


The record 40,926 first-year applicants represent a 14-percent increase over last year and set a record for total number of applicants for the 12th consecutive year. These students were chosen using a rigorous admissions process that evaluated each candidate comprehensively, individually and holistically.


The new first-year class includes 749 students who would be the first in their families to graduate from college, an increase of 6 percent over last year’s class. Carolina Covenant, which guarantees eligible low-income students the opportunity to graduate from Carolina debt-free, welcomes 733 new first-year and transfer students, also an increase of 6 percent.


“We are honored to be welcoming these outstanding students to the University, and we’re grateful that they’ve chosen to join us,” said Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions. “We look forward to seeing their contributions to the classroom and community, both while they’re at Carolina and throughout their lives.


“As we’ve come to know these students, we’ve been impressed by their achievements, their work ethic, and their willingness to engage with classmates, teachers and the world,” Farmer said. “We’ve also been heartened by the many paths they’ve taken to Carolina. Each of these students has a story, and we believe each one can contribute to the education of the rest.”


The following statistics are highlights from the Fall 2017 incoming class:

First-Year Students



First-year students come from:

  • 93 North Carolina counties, including 35% from rural counties in the state
  • 40 states and the District of Columbia
  • 31 countries

Of the incoming first-year class:

  • 61 percent are female and 39 percent are male
  • 129 students are international students
  • 1,257 North Carolina students are from rural communities
  • 286 students have a military-affiliation
  • 749 students will be the first in their families to graduate from college
  • 34 percent identify themselves as a race or ethnicity other than Caucasian
  • 9 percent identify as African American
  • 8 percent identify themselves as Latino or Latina
  • 16 percent identify themselves as Asian or Asian-American
  • 2 percent identify themselves as American Indian or Alaskan Native


Academic credentials

  • 44 percent ranked within top 10 students in their high school class
  • 78 percent ranked within the top 10 percent
  • On the SAT, the middle 50 percent of students scored between 1280-1440
  • On the ACT, the middle 50 percent of students scored between 28-33
  • 78 percent of enrolling students submitted at least one AP score


Extracurricular achievements

  • 92 percent participated in community service
  • 70 percent played a sport
  • 66 percent contributed to a cause they believe in
  • 65 percent pursued an independent hobby
  • 50 percent participated in music, drama or other arts
  • 48 percent held a position as president of their class or a club
  • 28 percent conducted research outside the classroom
  • 53 percent traveled outside their home country
  • 58 percent assumed daily family responsibilities
  • 49 percent held a paying job during the school year
  • 47 percent participated in religious or faith-based communities
  • 33 percent participated in student government



For Fall 2017 first-year admission, the University received 40,926 applications – 14 percent more than last year and the second-largest increase in the past 25 years. The overall admit rate fell from 26 percent to 24 percent this year, and the number of North Carolinians** offered admission rose 4 percent to 5,925 compared to 5,696 last year.


The incoming class also includes 245 students from one of the 70 partner high schools served by the Carolina College Advising Corps, a public service of the University that seeks to increase college-going rates among low-income, first-generation college and other underrepresented students.


Applied / Admitted 

Applied Admitted
North Carolina 12,918 5,925
Out-of-state 28,008 3,785
Total** 40,926 9,710



Approximately 38 percent of the enrolling transfer class is transferring from a North Carolina community college. Incoming transfer students range in age from 17 to 49, and have an average college GPA of 3.7.


The transfer class includes 88 students who come to Carolina from partner community colleges served by the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, or C-STEP. The program is designed to enable community college students to transfer to and graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill. C-STEP students represent 11 percent of all enrolling transfer students.


Applied / Admitted 

Applied Admitted
North Carolina 1,762 672
Out-of-state 1,761 546
Total** 3,523 1,218



Among all new undergraduates, first-year and transfer students:

  • 46 percent of the incoming class will receive need-based aid, primarily in the form of grants and scholarships.
  • 733 students (14 percent of the incoming first-year and transfer class) are Carolina Covenant Scholars. This year marks the first-time independent students are eligible for the Carolina Covenant.

(Note: All aid statistics are preliminary and subject to revision.)



Among all new undergraduates:

  • 286 enrolling first-year students indicated an affiliation with the U.S. Armed Forces, primarily as a dependent with a parent who served or is serving in the military.
  • 101 transfer students indicated an affiliation with the military
  • 25 are currently serving
  • 27 have previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • 55 are either the dependent or spouse of a current or prior service member.

(Note: Some students qualify for multiple categories, i.e., many who served are also dependents.)


(**These numbers reflect residency information at the time of application.)




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 318,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 157 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


Communications and Public Affairs contact: Kate Luck, (919) 445-8360

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