C-STEP is a pathway for community college students to transfer to and graduate from Carolina.

Through C-STEP, or the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, talented low- and moderate-income high school and community college students are guaranteed admission to Carolina. After being admitted to C-STEP and successfully completing their work at a partner community college, students come to Chapel Hill.

C-STEP gives students access to special events, advising, and transition and support services both at their community college and at Carolina. C-STEP students will be academically prepared and fully engaged in their college and university communities – setting them on a positive path to success.

A student flips through a textbook at Kenan Science Library.

Is C-STEP a Good Fit for Me?

We hope you’ll apply to C-STEP if  you’re a high school senior or community college student who is enrolled or planning to enroll at one of our partner schools.

Partner Community Colleges

You’ll also want to make sure that:

  • You plan to earn an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associates of Sciences (AS) degree.
  • You’ll maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2.
  • You’ll have completed no more than half of your associate degree when you apply.
  • You’re eligible to receive federal aid.

When Should I Apply?

If you’re interested in C-STEP, you can apply now. New students enroll at Carolina through C-STEP twice a year.

Submit Your ApplicationReceive Your Decision
April 1April 30
October 1October 31

What's Required to Apply?

    • If you’ve taken these tests, we’ll ask you to please self-report your SAT or ACT test results. Because of disruptions related to COVID-19, the UNC System  of which Carolina is a constituent University – has extended its waiver of the SAT or ACT requirement for candidates who are applying for fall 2023 or fall 2024 admission. We encourage you to submit scores if you can, as we use them for placement purposes at the community college you’ll be attending.

    • Essay 1: The ideal C-STEP candidate is someone with demonstrated academic potential and has an income at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The selection process is a holistic one that may also consider factors such as the ability to overcome obstacles, first-generation college status, diversity, employment history, and family responsibilities. Tell us why you’re a good candidate for C-STEP.

      Essay 2: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

    • Within the application, upload unofficial transcripts from your graduating high school and all colleges or universities that you’ve attended, even if you did not complete classes.

    • Within the application, include the contact information of two people who can provide a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Once you’ve submitted this information, we’ll email your recommenders inviting them to complete a recommendation online. We require two letters of recommendation for your application.


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