Applying as an International First-Year Student

Carolina wouldn't be Carolina without the unique worldview that our international students contribute to campus.

If you’re a student without U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, you’ll be applying to Carolina as an international student. When you apply, we’ll consider everything we learn about you from reading your application. You’re a unique individual, and we want to treat you as you deserve to be treated — with care, appreciation, and respect.

If you’re a Ukrainian citizen living in North Carolina, we’d like to offer you additional support as you’re applying. Please email us at with the subject line ‘Ukraine’ so that we can connect.

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Step 1: Pick your deadline


Early Action

Apply by October 15 and receive your admissions decision by January 31.

Early action is nonbinding — if you’re admitted, you won’t need to commit to Carolina any earlier than the regular reply date of May 1.

Regular Decision

Apply by January 15 and receive your decision by March 31.

Step 2: Complete the Application

Apply online through the Common Application. Provide us with your personal email address to make sure our messages go straight to you.

      • Extracurricular Activities
        Tell us about how you spend your time outside the classroom and why it’s important to you.

      • Essay and Two Short Answers
        Your personal essay and short answers give us the chance to hear your voice and see you as a whole person, not just a student. When you respond, we hope you’ll be yourself and sound like yourself.

      • Honors Carolina and Special Opportunities
        This section of your application is optional.
        You can express interest in a range of special opportunities including Honors Carolina, assured enrollment in professional or dual-degree programs, or specific scholarships.

      • Application Fee
        The non-refundable application fee is $85.

Step 3: Send Supplemental Materials

These materials help us have a full and thorough understanding of you as a student and the contributions that you make in the classroom.

      • Letter of Recommendation
        This letter should come from a secondary school teacher who taught you in a core academic area, like English, math, science, social science, or world language.

      • Official Transcript
        Please ask your school to send us your official transcript, including an official English translation, by secure electronic delivery. To be considered for admission, we need the official transcript for your secondary (and, if applicable, higher secondary) schoolwork. Middle school transcripts are not required for admission.

      • Secondary School Official Report
        You’ll need to submit a statement from an official at your secondary school – often a university counselor, advisor, or headmaster. This report cannot come from a private counseling company or agent.
      • College and University Courses
        If you’ve taken courses for credit at a college or university, you are required to report them on your application and include the specific courses and grades in the UNC supplement, but you don’t need to send official transcripts when applying. If you’re admitted and choose to enroll, we’ll need official transcripts for these courses along with your final high school transcript before you begin classes at Carolina.

      • SAT or ACT Scores
        Because of disruptions related to COVID-19, the UNC System has extended its waiver of the SAT or ACT requirement for candidates who are applying for fall 2024 admission. This waiver means that you may apply whether or not you’ve taken either test, and if you do take a test, you can choose whether or not to share your scores and have us consider them. Whether or not you ultimately share test scores, we will consider you carefully and comprehensively for admissions, scholarships, and other opportunities. 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. If you share your test scores, are admitted, and choose to enroll, we will require that your official scores be sent directly from the testing service.

      • English Proficiency Exams
        Unless English is your first language or you’re a citizen of a country where English is the national language, we’ll ask you to share your English proficiency exam scores – either the TOEFL (our code is C182) or the IELTS. These exams show us that you’ll be ready to jump into coursework taught in English. Strong applicants typically score:

        • TOEFL or TOEFL iBT Home Edition –  100 or higher.
        • IELTS Academic – 7.0 or higher.

Step 4: Share Additional information

If you need to add information to your application after submitting it, you’ll be able to upload this using MyCarolina. If a school official or recommender has additional information, please ask them to email us at and include your full name and date of birth.

A student rides his bike down a brick sidewalk on Carolina's campus


Keep in Mind

  • International students aren’t eligible to receive need-based financial aid, so you’ll want to be prepared to pay the full cost of attendance for non-resident students.
  • Check your email regularly. If we need materials or more information as we’re reviewing your application, your email is where you’ll hear from us.
  • If you believe your academic progress has been affected by disability-related issues, we encourage you to share this information with us. Learn more about submitting disability-related documentation.
  • We require all applicants (including students offered admission) to disclose any new school-based disciplinary incidents or criminal charges that occur after the application was submitted within ten days of the occurrence. The student’s written explanation as well as any required corroborating documentation (from a school official or legal representative) can be shared through MyCarolina.

Helpful Deadlines

DeadlineEarly ActionRegular Decision
Application and FeeOctober 15January 15
ResidencyOctober 15January 15
Supporting Materials and Test ScoresDecember 1February 15
Admissions Decisions ReleasedJanuary 31March 31
Enrollment Decision if AdmittedMay 1May 1
DeadlineEarly ActionRegular Decision
Application and FeeOctober 15January 15
ResidencyOctober 15January 15
Supporting Materials and Test ScoresDecember 1February 15
Admissions Decisions ReleasedJanuary 31March 31
Enrollment Decision if AdmittedMay 1May 1