UNC releases prelim snapshot stats of Class of 2017

Aug. 17, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

From a Bosnia youth ambassador to a founder of a Muslim women’s basketball league, the nearly 4,000 first-year students arriving at UNC-Chapel Hill this fall are diverse in their talents and come from all over the world, according to preliminary statistics and facts recently released by the university.

Classes start Aug. 20 for the 3,960 students that hail from 95 North Carolina counties, 45 states and 20 countries.

Specific accomplishments within this class include:

  • Conducting research on the therapeutic potential of glutathione (the body’s most prevalent antioxidant) at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.
  • Founding the North Carolina Youth Classical Arts for Charity to raise funds (roughly $35,000, so far) for charity
  • Designing a national three-day conference linking entrepreneurial-minded students across South Africa
  • Creating the “Little Green Bus” – an eco-friendly business described as a “farmer’s market on wheels” that delivers locally grown organic food to area households
  • Founding a Muslim basketball league for young women in the community
  • Earning a scholarship from the U.S. State Department to serve as Youth Ambassador to Bosnia for one year through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program
  • Winning a national art competition award and having sculpture displayed at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City
  • Teaching ballroom dance and performing the Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet
  • Traveling throughout the Southeast to network with other teens and empower them to make positive changes in their communities
  • Conducting research on multiple myeloma cancer at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute

In celebration of the incoming class, a selection of these students will be featured on unc.edu in the coming weeks.

Academic Credentials

Among the 72 percent of the class whose schools reported an official rank in class, 43.7 percent ranked within the top 10 students in their high school class, compared to 43.2 percent last year.

The percentage of students ranking first or second also increased, from 12.6 percent last year to 13.6 percent this year.

The middle 50 percent of the class scored between 1780 and 2110 on the SAT and between 1200 and 1420 on the critical reading and math sections combined.

For enrolling students who reported ACT scores, the middle 50 percent reported scores between 28 and 33. The average ACT score was 29.8, the same as last year.


The share of students identifying themselves as a race or ethnicity other than Caucasian increased, from 30.8 percent last year to 33.1 percent this year.

The share of students identifying themselves as African-American increased, from 9.8 percent last year to 10 percent this year, as did the share of students identifying themselves as Latino or Latina, from 6.1 percent to 7.3 percent.

The share of students identifying themselves as Asian or Asian-American increased from 13.2 percent to 13.5 percent, and the share identifying themselves as American Indian or Alaskan Native fell from 2.5 percent to 2.4 percent. 

The share of students in the class who will be the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university increased, from 17.6 percent last year to 18.6 percent this year.

Women comprise 59.3 percent of the class, men 40.7 percent.

The class includes 91 international students, up from 76 last year. International enrollment has doubled over the past 10 years.

Aid and Scholarships

Forty-three percent of the incoming class will receive need-based aid and ten percent will receive merit-based aid, which includes summer fellowships offered through Excel@Carolina, a program that connects top admitted students with extraordinary opportunities at UNC.

Extracurricular Achievements

  • 95 percent participated in community service
  • 74 percent played a sport
  • 54 percent participated in music, drama or other arts
  • 51 percent held a position as president of class or club
  • 25 percent conducted research outside the classroom

Most Popular Intended Majors

First-year students enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences and are not required to declare a major until the end of their second year at the university.

When they submitted their applications for admission, 19.1 percent of enrolling first-year students indicated that they were undecided about their majors. Among those who indicated an intention, the most popular majors included:

  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Political science
  • Pharmacy
  • Journalism and mass communication
  • Exercise and sport science
  • Nursing
  • Economics
  • Computer science

Fun Facts

  • Number of twins: 19 sets
  • Greatest number of miles travelled by an enrolling student this year: 9,600 from Sydney, Australia
  • Closest distance: Less than a mile (Chapel Hill)
  • Most common first name for a woman: Emily, 51 times; followed by Sarah, Elizabeth, Rachel and Hannah
  • Most common first name for a man: Matthew, 47 times; followed by Michael, Andrew, John and Jacob
  • Most common birthday: Feb. 16, 25 times; followed by Jan. 11, Aug. 14, May 18 and Oct. 12

This information is provided by a UNC news release of preliminary statistics and facts about the incoming class. The numbers and information won't be finalized until after Sept. 3. A final profile will be released in late September.

Have higher ed news you'd like to share? Email Herald-Sun reporter April Dudash at adudash@heraldsun.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AD_HeraldSun.