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First-Year Application Review

Every student has a different story to tell. Although your academic record is a strong indicator of your future success, and important in our review process, it doesn’t always tell the whole story. We want to hear about your background and the experiences that have shaped you into a competitive applicant and potential member of the Wolfpack.

If you are an international first-year applicant, we take a few additional factors into consideration.

What We Look For

We’ve provided an inside look at our application review to help you plan to be competitive for admission at NC State.

Academic Achievement

We are looking for strong grades and competitive courses beginning your first year of high school. We’ll consider your courses in-progress as well, so finish out strong. 

  • To be competitive for admission, first-year applicants should at least meet the minimum course requirements (MCR) established by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System.
  • The vast majority of our STEM and business majors require students to complete at least one semester of calculus. When reviewing applicants for those programs, the most competitive applicants will have taken math through precalculus as a minimum in high school.  
  • We encourage you to take challenging courses your school may offer that align with your academic interests and prove your ability for future success (honors, AP, IB, dual enrollment, etc.)
  • Strong grades in college-level courses will strengthen your academic record, and you may also receive course credit for them at NC State.

Interest in Major

At NC State, we admit students directly into the program they apply to. For that reason, our review process is dependent upon your major and interest in the major. Let us know which academic program or two you are interested in and why. We look for related courses and activities you have been involved in throughout high school. 

  • You can select up to two majors on the application depending on your interests.
  • We encourage you to select two different majors, because if we find you are not competitive for your first-choice major, we will review you for your second-choice major.
  • You should write about both your first-choice major and your second-choice major on your application.

SAT or ACT Scores

A determination as to whether or not NC State will remain test-optional beyond the 2024 application cycle has not yet been made by the UNC System. We recommend that prospective students take a standardized test as part of their college application preparation. However, as long as NC State remains test-optional, standardized test scores are not required to be submitted as part of a complete application.

  • Learn more about test score consideration here.
  • If you choose to submit test scores, you can self-report your test scores on your application, and we will consider your highest sub-score from each section across your test dates to create a super-score. 
  • We do not have a preference on which test you submit, as we will consider your highest SAT or ACT super-score submitted. 

Accomplishments and Involvement

College isn’t all about academics (although, it is a big part). We are interested in what you invest your time in outside the classroom, whether that may be the arts, sports, volunteering or working.

This is your chance to brag about the company/organization you founded, the research you have been conducting, the first place trophy your robotics team won, or the fact that you work 40 hours a week and still maintain a strong academic record.

Background and Opportunities

We understand not every student has the same opportunities. We take into consideration the curriculum, course offerings, grading scale and activities offered at your high school.

NC State is enriched through the varied knowledge and backgrounds of our students and we expect everyone to give of their talents, skills, time and effort to make NC State an environment of inclusive excellence for all.

Individual Story

We want to hear from you about your distinctive experiences, skills, or successes. If you have a unique circumstance that may have affected your academic performance for a period of time or in a specific class, we encourage you to share your story.