College Entrance Requirements

The requirements for admission into college can vary depending on which schools you choose. Below are some minimum admission requirements for first-year students of North Carolina institutions. Make sure to check with your college of choice to ensure you have completed the appropriate steps to meet their admission requirements.

NC High School Graduation Requirements

Although the state requires a designated number of courses and credits for students to graduate high school, local school districts and other public school units may require additional courses and credits to graduate.  Families and students are strongly encouraged to check with their high school to determine if their district and/or school have additional requirements for students to earn a high school diploma.

Future-Ready Course of Study (22 credits)

Course Units Requirements
English 4 Credits
  • Starting with English I
  • English II
  • English III
  • English IV
Mathematics 4 Credits

Math credits may be either of these:

  • NC Math 1, 2, 3, and a fourth mathematics course to be aligned with the student’s post high school plans

  •  In the rare instance a principal exempts a student from the Future-Ready Core mathematics sequence, except as limited by N.C.G.S. §115C-81(b), the student will be required to pass: NC Math 1 and Math 2 plus two additional courses identified on the NC DPI Math options chart.

    Note:  Credit shall be awarded for Math I, II, III if taken prior to the 2016-17 school year.

Science 3 Credits
  • A physical science course
  • Biology
  • An earth/environmental science course
Social Studies 4 Credits
  • A founding principles course which shall be either:
    1. American History: Founding Principles, Civics and Economics 
    2. Founding Principles of the United States of America and North Carolina: Civic Literacy
  • An American history course which shall be either:
    1. American History I
    2. American History II
    3. American History
  • World History
  • Economics and Personal Finance 

NOTE:  It is strongly recommended that these students take World History in the first year of their high school Social Studies course sequence due to the nature of the adoption of the new Social Studies Standard Course of Study effective in 2021-22.  Economics and Personal Finance is strongly recommended to be offered later in the student's high school career.

Health and Physical Education 1 Credit
  • Students are required to successfully complete CPR instruction to meet Healthful Living Essential Standards as a requirement for high school graduation.
  • Accommodations/alternative assessments for students identified by ADA or IDEA will be provided.
Two Elective Credits 2 Credits

 

Any combination from either:

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) or
  • Arts Education or
  • World Language

Note: For clarification, possible elective combinations may include 2 World Language credits; or 1 CTE credit and 1 Arts Education credit; or 2 CTE credits; or 1 Arts Education credit and 1 World Language credit; or other combinations from a, b and c.

Four Elective Credits 4 Credits

Credits from the following (four-course concentration recommended):

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  • ROTC
  • Arts Education (e.g., dance, music, theater arts, visual arts)
  • Any other subject area or cross-disciplinary courses (e.g., mathematics, science, social studies, English and dual enrollment courses

 

 

Occupational Course of Study (22 credits)

Course Units Requirements
English 4 Credits
  • English I
  • English II
  • English III
  • English IV
Mathematics 3 Credits

Three Mathematics credits which shall be:

  • Introduction to Mathematics
  • NC Math I
  • Financial Management
Science 2 Credits
  • Applied science
  • Biology
Social Studies 2 Credits
  • Founding Principles, Civics and Economics or Founding Principles of the United States of America and North Carolina: Civic Literacy
  • Economics and Personal Finance
Health and Physical Education 1 Credit
  • Students are required to successfully complete CPR instruction to meet Healthful Living Essential Standards as a requirement for high school graduation.
  • Accommodations/alternative assessments for students identified by ADA or IDEA will be provided.
Six Occupational Preparation Education Credits 6 Credits

 

  • Occupational Preparation I
  • Occupational Preparation II
  • Occupational Preparation III
  • Occupational Preparation IV
(Completion of 150 hours of school-based training with work activities and experiences that align with student’s post-school goals, 225 hours of community-based training, and 225 hours of paid employment or 225 hours of unpaid vocational training, unpaid internship, paid employment at community rehabilitation facilities, and volunteer and/or community services hours.)
Four Career/Technical Education Elective Credits 4 Credits

 

Career Portfolio  

 

Completion of Student's IEP Objectives  

 

 

 

 

UNC Institutions

These requirements apply to students 20 years and younger with fewer than 24 transferable credits. If you meet any of the three conditions below, you are exempt from minimum High School GPA, test scores, and course requirements. Being exempt does not guarantee admission.

  1. 21 years or older
  2. Any age with 24 or more transferable college credits (does not include AP, IB or credit by exam)
  3. Active duty service member or veteran with 3 or more years of active duty service

Course Requirements

Course Units Requirements
English 4 Units
  • Emphasizing grammar, composition, and literature
Mathematics 4 Units
  • Algebra I and II, geometry, and one unit beyond algebra II, or
  • Algebra I and II, and two units beyond algebra II, or
  • Integrated math I, II, and III, and one unit beyond integrated math III
Science 3 Units
  • Including at least one unit in a life or biological science, at least one unit in physical science, and at least one laboratory course
Social Science 2 Units
  • Two course units in social studies, including one unit in US history
Foreign Language 2 Units
  • Both units must be in the same language

 

GPA and Test Scores

High School GPA SAT Score ACT Score
2.5 cumulative weighted GPA 880 (new SAT) or 800 on previous version (verbal and math) 17

 

 

Transfer Students Between an NC Community College and a UNC Institution

For students interested in transferring to a University of North Carolina institution upon attaining an Associate degree from the North Carolina Community College System, read more about the Transfer Assured Admissions Policy.

 

North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities

Entrance requirements for North Carolina's 36 independent colleges and universities vary among institutions. Prospective students should contact the admissions office at individual colleges and universities to determine their specific entrance requirements. Find more information on your school of choice with the College Search.

 

North Carolina Community Colleges

The colleges of the North Carolina Community College System maintain an “Open Door” admissions policy. This policy provides for the admission of any persons who are 18 or over or who have attained a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED). Admission to a college does not imply admission to all programs of study as selected programs have limited enrollment. 

Applicants 18 or older who do not have a high school diploma or GED may enroll in classes leading to a high school equivalency (GED) certificate or an Adult High School diploma.

For more information, contact the admission office at the college where you wish to apply. Find contact information for your school with College Search.