Applying to C-STEP

Discover if C-STEP is a good fit for you and learn how you can apply.

A student flips through a textbook at Kenan Science Library.

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, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. 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?

    • On May 23, 2024, the Board of Governors of the UNC System updated the minimum admissions requirements to apply to any of the UNC System constituent institutions.

      • For students applying for the 2024-2025 academic year, students are not required to submit a test score.
      • For students applying for the 2025-2026 academic year, students with a weighted GPA of 2.8 or above (on a 4.0 scale) are not required to submit a test score. Students with a weighted GPA below 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale) are required to submit either an ACT or SAT score.
      • For students applying for the 2026-2027 academic year and beyond, students with a weighted GPA of 2.8 or above (on a 4.0 scale) are not required to submit a test score. Students with a weighted GPA below 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale) are required to submit either an ACT score of 17 or higher or an SAT score of 930 or higher.
      • For the full UNC System policy, please visit https://www.northcarolina.edu/students/admission/.
      • Most successful applicants (domestic and international) to Carolina have very strong grades in their core academic coursework and have well above a B+ average in their courses. If your school does not provide a weighted GPA on a 4.0 scale, but you have above a B+ average in your courses (weighted if applicable), you will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT. If you are an international student in a Cambridge-based or similar educational system, we consider your grades made in A-level or external exams for the purposes of this UNC System GPA-based testing requirement.
      • At Carolina, 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. If you self-report test scores on your application, are admitted, and choose to enroll, we will require that your official scores be sent directly from the testing service. If you self-report test scores from multiple testing dates, we will “superscore”, considering your highest score for each section among all of your testing dates.
    • Essay 1: A strong C-STEP candidate is someone with demonstrated academic potential and has an income at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The review and selection process is comprehensive and may also consider factors such as the ability to overcome obstacles, first-generation college status, life experiences, 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.