North Carolina is the 9th most populous state in the US. It is famous for its breathtaking beaches, the most-visited park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains Park, and its oldest public university. NC colleges ranked among the best in the nation, and while there are no Ivy league schools in North Carolina, there are schools that offer similar standards of education at much lower prices.
We have done all the research to find the ten best colleges in the state.
2023’s Best Colleges in North Carolina
- Duke University
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Davidson College
- Wake Forest University
- North Carolina State University at Raleigh
- Western Carolina University
- Appalachian State University
- University of North Carolina Wilmington
- Salem College
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Duke is a private university founded in the year 1924. It has one of the top private research libraries in the US. Duke has a marine laboratory, a student bubbling student center, and athletics worth the hype. It has 15,551 enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. Duke is the best college in North Carolina for its in and out-of-class performance and graduate excellence.
Duke University is the 23rd best in global universities, 12th in national universities, and 9th in best undergraduate teaching. It is 14th in best value schools, 13th in most innovative schools, and 22nd in best undergraduate engineering programs.
Gaining admission into Duke is quite an undertaking because it has an admission rate of 8%. Duke has a 95% graduation rate. First-year and transfer students are not compelled to submit standardized test scores for the year 2021/2022.
Undergraduate tuition costs $57,934 per student for one year. 52% of undergraduate students in Duke receive some form of financial aid. In 2019/2020, students were awarded an average need-based grant of $54,225.
Graduates have an average salary of $84,400 annually.
These are some majors for undergraduates:
- Art History
- Computer Science
- Earth and Ocean Science
- Global Health
- International Comparative Studies
- Public Policy
- Theatre Studies
- Visual and Media Studies
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
It is a public university that offers an academic experience par excellence. UNC makes the list of best colleges in North Carolina because of its unique teaching approach and focuses on bringing out the best in every student. A minimum of 82% of all first-year students must be North Carolina residents. UNC has 800+ clubs for academics, arts, culture, and sports. These student-run organizations help build leadership and networking skills.
UNC ranks 14th in best value schools, 28th in national universities, and 5th in top public schools. It is 12th in best colleges for veterans, 50th in most innovative schools, and 49th in best undergraduate teaching.
UNC has a 23% acceptance rate, which means entry is competitive, and a 91% graduation rate shows that most students were purpose-driven and excelled at whatever they studied. Prospective students do not have to submit standardized test scores because they have waived them for Fall 2022. However, they can offer them if they please.
North Carolina residents pay $9,021, while non-residents pay $36,200 for fees and tuition. Students can apply for financial aid.
Here are some majors:
- American Studies
- Business Administration
- Communication Studies
- Dental Hygiene
- Global Studies
- Health Policy and Management
- Information Science
- Media and Journalism
- Peace, War, and Defense
- Radiologic Science
- Studio Art
- Women’s and Gender Studies
Davidson College is a private institution that was established in 1837. It has a rich history and cultural heritage, and Presbyterians established it. It is one of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the US. Compassion, resilience, creativity, and moral courage form Davidson’s moral code and it instills these into students. Davidson has high academic standards, experts in every field, and well-equipped faculties to train students for life after graduation. About 80% of students will participate in academic programs abroad.
Davidson ranks 15th in national liberal arts colleges, 59th in national universities, and 11th in best value schools. It ranks 16th in undergraduate research/creative projects, 9th in best undergraduate teaching, and 6th in most innovative schools.
It has an 18% acceptance rate and a 93% graduation rate. Students can choose to submit or not submit standardized test scores because of the current test-optional policy.
Students have to pay $55,062 for tuition and fees for one year. About 70% of Davidson students receive some form of financial aid and 51% of all students receive need-based financial aid.
Graduates have an average salary of $58,900 annually.
Some majors are:
- Classical Languages and Literature
- Digital Studies, Digital and Screen Media
- Educational Studies
- Film and Media Studies
- Genomics Bioinformatics
- Hispanic Studies
- Political Science
- Religious Studies
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University is a private university that was established in February 1834. It has 6 schools and over 60% of its students participate in Wake Forest study abroad programs in 70+ countries. Students must live in the Wake Forest campus for 6 semesters.
Wake Forest is easily one of the best colleges in NC and ranks 28th in national universities. It ranks 24th in best value schools, 44th in best undergraduate teaching, and 419th in best global universities.
Wake Forest has a 30% acceptance rate and an 88% graduation rate. Wake Forest is a test-optional university that lets students submit standardized test scores if they want to.
Students have to pay $57,760 for fees and tuition for a year. Students received $52,729 as the average amount for grants or need-based scholarships. Students can apply for loans and work-study programs.
98% of students are employed or are in graduate school within 6 months after graduating from Wake Forest. Some top employers are Disney, Gucci, IBM, and Goldman Sachs.
Here are some undergraduate courses:
- Bioethics, Humanities, and Medicine
- Computer Science
- Environmental Science
- Global Trade and Commerce Studies
- Health and Human Services
- International Studies
- Politics and International Affairs
- Religious Studies
- Women‘s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
It is a public university that was founded in 1887. It has a student population of 25,973undergraduate and graduate students. It is the birthplace of groundbreaking research. Students learn all they know by practicing what they were taught in class. They are prompted to think and do the extraordinary in every aspect of their lives.
It is a Tier 1 school which makes it one of the best NC colleges. NC State ranks 80th in national universities, 32nd in top public universities, and 65th in best value schools. It is 50th in best colleges for veterans and 68th in most innovative schools.
It has a 47% acceptance rate and a 77% graduation rate. NC State will be test-optional for spring and fall 2022 applicants. First-year students may submit their test scores if they see the need to do so.
NC State students go on internships and volunteer in companies and the community to b build sustainable networks with top employers and work in a diverse cultural community.
North Carolina residents pay $9,101 while non-residents pay $29,220 for tuition for one year. Approximately 51% of freshmen receive financial aid in the form of scholarships or grant awards. The average amount for freshmen is $17,185.
North Carolina State University graduates an average salary of $52,500 annually.
Some majors include:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Biological Sciences
- Design Studies
- Exploratory Studies
- Forest Management
- Graphic Design
- Horticulture Studies
- Nutrition Science
- Poultry Science
- Soil and Land Development
- Textile Technology
Western Carolina University
It is a public university that was founded in 1889. WCU focuses on bringing forth new talents, providing a creative environment for studying. Students can participate in numerous recreational activities, create life-long friendships and connect with people who will positively transform their lives. WCU offers online, hybrid and residential programs to push students beyond what they thought they could be.
WCU ranks in the list of best universities in North Carolina and it ranks 25th in regional universities South. It is 9th in best value schools, 10th in top public schools, and 13th in best colleges for veterans.
It has a 69% acceptance rate and a 56% graduation rate. WCU has waived admission fees for all programs in the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2022 semesters. Students need to submit standardized test scores because WCU is not test-optional.
In-state students have to pay $4,353 while out-of-state residents have to pay $8,353 for tuition and fees for one semester. Students have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to qualify for financial aid. Students who qualify for merit-based scholarships don’t need to apply for them.
The average graduate salary is $37,700 annually.
Some majors are:
- Business Administration and Law
- Criminal Justice
- Emergency and Disaster Management
- Forensic Science
- Health and Physical Education
- Interior Design
- Mathematics Education
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Recreational Therapy
- Stage and Screen
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University is one of the public universities in North Carolina. It was founded in 1899 and then in 1971, it became part of the University of California System. Appalachian prepares students to live a life of purpose by identifying what they want to do and spending time perfecting their craft. It encourages holistic learning, creativity, diversity, and inclusion in all sectors of the college. Appalachian offers over 150 majors to its 20,000+ students.
It has a 77% acceptance rate and a 70% graduation rate. Appalachian has adopted a test waiver policy for Fall and Spring of 2021 and Fall and Spring of 2022 to help all students have equal access to education.
It ranks 6th in regional universities South, 1st in most innovative schools, and 3rd in top public schools. It is 3rd in best colleges for veterans, 60th in top performers on social mobility, and 2nd in best undergraduate teaching.
In-state students pay $7,410 while out-of-state students pay $22,217 for tuition and fees. Students can receive financial aid if they are eligible for it.
Graduates from Appalachian State University have an average annual salary of $38,800.
These are some majors:
- Actuarial Science
- Fermentation Sciemces
- Global Studies
- Health and Management
- International Business
- Languages, Literatures and Culture – German
- Nutrition and Foods – Dietetics
- Public Health
- Sustainable Technology
- Theatre Arts – Theatre Performance
University of North Carolina Wilmington
It is a public university that was founded in 1947. It focuses on research and has earned a name among the best colleges in North Carolina for all-around excellence. Its curriculum is curated to provide the necessary materials for its students at all levels. The faculty staff and educators are trained professionals who are willing to guide students through their choices while at the university.
It ranks 187th in national universities and 1st out of 4 in the University of North Carolina System. It ranks 19th in best bachelor’s online programs and 5th among peers in students studying abroad.
It has a 65% acceptance rate and a 72% graduation rate. Submitting test scores will be optional for freshmen in Fall and Spring 2022. Students who choose not to submit test scores must have at least a 2.5 GPA to stand a chance to get admitted.
In-state students pay $7,318 while out-of-state students pay $21,871 for tuition and fees. Students can get scholarships, grants, apply for loans and employment opportunities to cover their cost of tuition.
Graduates have an average salary of $41,600 per year.
These are some majors:
- Accountancy and Business Law
- Biology and Marine Biology
- Creative Writing
- Exercise Science
- Healthcare Administration
- International Business
- Marine Biology
- Physics and Physical Oceanography
- Respiratory Therapy
- Sociology and Criminology
- World Languages and Culture
Salem College is a private college solely for women that focuses on liberal arts. It was founded in 1772 and is the oldest college for women in the South of the US. Salem is dedicated to expanding women’s role in health leadership. This is to build a generation of empowered women who are effective health leaders with strong ethics. Salem has strong alumni that are ever-willing to help current students and graduates navigate the world. 100% of students finish internship programs. It has 7 Division lll NCAA athletic teams.
Salem is among the remarkable colleges in Carolina. It ranks 140th in national liberal arts colleges and 10th in top performers on social mobility.
It has an 80% acceptance rate and a 57% graduation rate. Salem is a test-optional college. This means students can choose to submit their test scores or not.
Students pay $31,016 for tuition and fees. Students who have financial needs can apply for financial aid by completing FAFSA online. The Financial Aid Office has staff that is willing to answer all your questions.
Graduates earn an average salary of $36,300 for a year.
Here are the departments:
- Department of Biology
- Department of Business Administration
- Department of Chemistry and Physics
- Department of Communication and Media Studies
- Department of English and Professional Writing
- Department of Exercise Science and Wellness
- Department of Fine and Performing Arts
- Health-related Interdisciplinary Majors
- Department of History and Political Science
- Department of Mathematics and Computer Studies
- Department of Modern Languages
- School of Music
- Department of Nonprofit Management Community Leadership
- Department of Psychological Science
- Department of Religious Studies
- Department of Sociology
- Department of Teacher Education and Graduate Studies
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The University of California at Charlotte is a public institution that was founded in 1946.
It is a research institution that uses a modern approach to find lasting innovative solutions to problems. It is known for its high-quality academic programs and instilling discipline, and the will to be creative in its students. Students get trained by the best hands in the field on sustainable ways to improve their skill set.
UNC comes 14th out of the 56 North Carolina colleges ranked. It ranks as the top university in the US in birthing startup ventures. It also sits comfortably in the top 10 most innovative universities/colleges in the US. UNC ranks 227th in national universities and 118th in best undergraduate engineering programs.
UNC has a 65% acceptance rate and a 56% graduation rate.
North Carolina residents pay $7,300 while non-residents pay $20,737 for tuition and fees for a year. UNC provides need-based financial assistance for 57% of its students. Freshmen received an average amount of $7,005 in need-based scholarships and grants. Students can apply for loans and work-study.
UNC graduates have a 75.4% job placement rate and they have an average salary of $44,000 annually.
Why Study in North Carolina?
North Carolina has great schools that use a curriculum that is curated to help students be creative. Colleges in NC have staff that is just as passionate as the vision bearers to see students graduate after getting the right training. Students have access to multiple internship opportunities in the different booming sectors in the stage. Students can also participate in the exchange and study abroad programs to experience new cultures and gain knowledge. Furthermore, North Carolina has eye-catchy mountains, beautiful beaches, and natural parks that students can explore at their comfort.
After going through this article, we hope you have decided what state colleges in North California or private colleges you can apply to. Ensure you meet the college’s eligibility criteria and if you are having any difficulty, contact the college for more information. Apply to more than multiple colleges to increase your chances of getting admission to one of them.