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How We Review Test Scores

We don’t judge a book by its cover. Or its test scores.

We use test scores as part of our evaluation because we believe that they’re helpful, both to us and to students, when they’re understood appropriately and viewed as part of a larger and much more interesting portrait. For us, testing is always one factor among many—always viewed alongside those many other factors, and never the sole or dominant reason we make our decisions.

Our best advice? Do your best, but don’t stress. Take the test once or twice—students rarely raise their scores significantly after a second testing—then forget about it. We’re going to read your entire application from start to finish, and we’re not going to base our judgment on your application on a single number.

SAT/ACT
NOTE: Because of COVID-19, the UNC System has approved a one-year waiver of the SAT or ACT requirement for candidates who are applying for Fall 2021 admission. This waiver means that you may apply whether or not you’ve taken either test. It also means that, if you’ve taken either test, you may share your scores and have us consider them.

If you want to apply, we hope you won’t delay because you haven’t taken either test. Whether or not you ultimately share test scores, we will consider you carefully and comprehensively for admission, scholarships, and other opportunities. We will also trust that you’re doing your best in an extraordinary time.

If you share your test scores, we’ll view them as part of a larger and much more interesting portrait. For us, testing is always one factor among many—always viewed alongside those many other factors, and never the sole or dominant reason we make our decisions.

To share your test scores, please self-report them on your application or through the MyCarolina portal that we’ll email you to set up after you apply. Please self-report all scores you’d like for us to consider within two weeks of your application deadline; if you submit scores after these dates, we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to consider them. Please self-report scores even if you send us official scores from either testing service, because your self-reported scores will be the only ones we use in our evaluation. If you share your scores, are admitted, and choose to enroll, we will require that your official scores be sent directly from the testing service. Our SAT code is 5816 and our ACT code is 3162.

If you share scores from both the SAT and ACT, we will use the higher of the two and ignore the other. If you share scores from multiple administrations of either test, we will use the highest score you earn on each section or subject of the test and ignore the others.

For students applying to terms beyond Fall 2021, we require either an SAT or ACT score for all first-year applicants and sophomore transfer applicants (those with less than 60 transferable credit hours upon enrollment at Carolina). Please note that the writing portion of either the SAT or ACT is no longer required nor recommended. Additionally, we don’t have a preference for one test over the other, so you may submit either score (or both). If you send us scores from multiple test dates, we’ll take your highest score for each section of the test and consider those scores as we evaluate your application. Please note that we will not be able to combine your highest scores from different versions of the SAT (new SAT and old SAT). If you send us both an SAT and an ACT, we’ll look at whichever is higher. SAT and ACT scores must be received as official reports from the testing agency; we can’t use scores that are reported on your transcript or by your counselor.

Optional Tests
Although not required, you may self report supplemental scores from AP, IB or SAT Subject tests if you think they’re a good reflection of your mastery of the material. You can also receive placement credit for these scores, if admitted.

TOEFL/IELTS/Person test of English (PTE)
We don’t offer ESL classes, so if English isn’t your first language, it’s important to demonstrate that you are ready to jump into a high-level, demanding environment where the coursework is taught in English. All non-US citizens and non-permanent resident students for whom English is not their first language must submit test scores to demonstrate their English proficiency. We will accept the TOEFL (our TOEFL code is C182), IELTS or PTE. Strong applicants typically score:

  • TOEFL – 100 or higher
  • IELTS – 7.0 or higher
  • PTE – 68 or higher

NOTE: Because of disruptions related to COVID-19, UNC Chapel Hill has approved the following versions of the TOEFL or IELTS to fulfill the proficiency requirement for candidates who are applying for admission for Spring, Summer, or Fall 2021. Strong applicants typically score:

  • TOEFL Special Home Edition – 100 or higher
  • TOEFL ITP Plus for China – 627 or higher
  • IELTS Indicator – 7.0 or higher

We do not waive this proficiency requirement based on grades in English courses or SAT/ACT scores. However, we may waive this requirement if you meet one of the following conditions by the time you would enroll at Carolina:

  • You will have lived for at least four years in a country where English is the primary language.
    OR
  • You will have attended a school for at least four years where English is the primary language of instruction.

To request a waiver, please complete this form, being sure to note the specific instructions and details at the top of the form.

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Modern glass stairwell in campus building at UNC Chapel Hill