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Is it possible to get into UNC with a higher SAT and lower GPA/class rank (Wake)?

solemnswearsolemnswear Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
I feel that my GPA (both unweighted and weighted) along with my class rank are going to hinder me a lot in terms of chances for admission to UNC, mainly because I’m from Wake County. And the trend that I’ve seen most of time is people with higher grades/GPA/class rank and slightly lower standardized test scores seem to be accepted more often than those who have it vice versa (from Wake). I’ve noticed this especially in last year’s senior class.

Anyway, do you think UNC would still consider me in spite of not being in the top 10% of my class and having a lower GPA? (I’m in the top 14%, UWGPA: 3.83/4 WGPA: 4.35/5). Or would they immediately deny me because I’m not up to those standards? I know that they use a holistic process and the essays, ECs, and recs matter as well, but I was curious to see what you guys think with respect to GPA/class rank/SAT

Replies to: Is it possible to get into UNC with a higher SAT and lower GPA/class rank (Wake)?

  • saadncsaadnc Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    I can’t speak for your specific case, mainly because I’m not in wake county, but UNC does tout the fact that almost 80% of freshmen are in the top ten percent of their senior class. I think it’ll be tough to get into UNC without being in the top ten percent of your class.
  • gandalf78gandalf78 Registered User Posts: 1,876 Senior Member
    If you look at the most recent UNC-CH Common Data Set, here, https://oira.unc.edu/files/2018/06/CDS_2017-2018_20180605.pdf , under Part C7 it states that standardized test scores, application essay(s), letter(s) of recommendation, and the rigor of your high school record are “very important” academic factors considered for freshman admission, whereas GPA and class rank are “important” academic factors considered for freshman admission. Extracurricular activities, talent, and character/personal qualities are considered as “very important” non-academic factors. Further, Part C9 of the Common Data Set for UNC-CH gives the median 50% for both SAT and ACT scores, as well as the percentage of the entering first-year class falling within certain ranges of SAT and ACT scores; Part C11 gives the percentage of entering first-year students falling within a range of unweighted GPA on a 4.0 scale, and Part C12 gives the average high school GPA of first-year applicants.

    Notwithstanding the published admissions factors and their weighting, however, your GPA and class rank may not be as much of a hindrance to your admissions chances as being from Wake County. As you may know, the UNC System is making an effort to increase enrollment of North Carolina students from under-represented and/or economically distressed counties, as set forth in a document styled “Higher Expectations”: The Strategic Plan for the University of North Carolina (2017-2022). At Page 9 in that document, it states as follows:

    “2. Rural: By fall 2021, increase enrollment of students from Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties by 11% over fall 2016 levels (an average of 2% per year) to reduce the existing participation gap by at least half.”

    (Counties are placed in “tiers” as follows: “The N.C. Department of Commerce annually ranks the state’s 100 counties based on economic well-being and assigns each a Tier designation. The 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2 and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3. A county automatically qualifies as Tier 1 if it has a population less than 12,000 people or if it has a population less than 50,000 and a poverty rate of 19 percent or greater. A county automatically qualifies as Tier 2 if it has a population less than 50,000.”)


    The State of North Carolina has published the tier designations for its counties, here: https://www.nccommerce.com/research-publications/incentive-reports/county-tier-designations

    I would talk to your high school guidance counselor to discuss how former students from your school have fared recently in admissions to UNC-CH; and also how the implementation of the UNC System policy may affect your specific application. Additionally, if your high school has Naviance or any similar program that gives information about how students at your high school have done in applying to UNC-CH, then looking at that data might give you some insights as well.
  • solemnswearsolemnswear Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    Thanks for your honesty and your thoughts @saadnc @gandalf78 I'm probably going to talk to my counselor soon, since we don't have Naviance
  • gandalf78gandalf78 Registered User Posts: 1,876 Senior Member
    OP, just a couple of additional comments. First, if you are a senior and you have already applied EA, then there's no point in worrying too much about something that is now out of your control. Second, remember that 82% of the incoming first-year students will be from North Carolina; so that is working in your favor.
  • Tuxrd2Tuxrd2 Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    Also, remember weighting scales have changed as of this year.

    UNC published an average of 4.6 which pretty much lined up with what I saw on Naviance. I have asked before and no one seems to know but I think that that 4.6 is calculated with the same scale as Wake county - meaning an AP class "A" is 6 points.

    But the weight changed --->"ill take effect for students entering high school for the first time in the 2015-16 school year and thereafter. This change will not affect students who entered high school prior to the 2015-16 school year."

    We are the first class of seniors to graduate with lower quality points. An "A" in an AP class is now only worth 5 points.

    So factor that in when you are comparing yourself to others in Wake county from prior years.

    I do not know for sure that UNC used the 6 point weight for their published average but it does seem very high even compared to ivies.
  • saadncsaadnc Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    I might be wrong, but I always thought the published average of 4.6 was on the scale where AP classes are worth 5 points. I’m in Pitt county and my class rank is around 20 out of 400 and my GPA is 4.55 (we are on the 5 point scale).
  • Mcunn226Mcunn226 Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    4.6/5 seems to make the most sense. 4.6/6 is only 76.6%.
  • chb088chb088 Registered User Posts: 621 Member
    I only have my child to compare you to, but IMO, you are correct. Higher class rank lower SAT preferred over the other way around, especially from Wake County. My child ended up at State and loves it. But you won’t know for sure unless you apply. Good luck!
  • solemnswearsolemnswear Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    Thank you! @chb088
  • johnander123johnander123 Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    edited November 2018
    My sister got into UNC 4 years ago (instate) and her class rank was like 6 out of 420 but only 28 ACT. I agree that unc seems to prefer class rank over test scores.
  • EsselEssel Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    Getting into any college is like summiting the Everest- It's pointless, if you can't get back/ do well there. Fact: 78% of the Class of '22 graduated in the top 10% of their high school class. That's some savage competition. You can look up the stats. I had twins apply last year, and both got in- one of them chose to go to State because he felt he'd do better there, and you know what? He was right! He picked a niche Major there, has smaller classes (he walked in with nearly 50 credits, and doesn't really have any Gen Ed requirements, except for PE), and absolutely loves it there! My other twin, at UNC, loves it, too, but he's not someone who's ever compared himself to anyone else. He graduated in the top 10 (7) out of 700+ students, and he never cared about it one way or the other. Two of their friends, are applying to transfer to State, from UNC. So, yes, you might get into a very competitive school, but ask around, try and assess if you'll thrive there, before you commit! Good Luck!
  • solemnswearsolemnswear Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    Thank you for the advice! @Essel
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