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How We Review Test Scores

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

Here’s a metaphor. If your application were a novel, your test scores might be the short blurb on the cover, written by a literary critic you’ve never met. You know the type: “A terrific page-turner!” or “Does not live up to the author’s potential.” These may be valid statements, or they may not, but they definitely don’t tell the whole story. We’re not ones to judge a book by its cover or its blurbs, so we’re certainly not going to base our judgment of your application on a single number.

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 the entire novel, start to finish, so don’t worry that we’ll get distracted by that blurb on the cover.

We require either an SAT or ACT score for all first-year applicants and sophomore transfer applicants. 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 submit 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.

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. International applicants whose first language is not English must take either the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE. Strong applicants typically score 100 or higher on the TOEFL, 7.0 or higher on the IELTS or 68 or higher on the PTE.  If you’re an international applicant who has lived in an English-speaking country or have attended an English-speaking school for more than four years, we may waive this requirement. To request a waiver, please complete this form, being sure to note the specific instructions and details at the top of the form.

View from above: students read and study with laptops in grass on UNC campus
Student reads from laptop under tree on UNC campus