The Ivy Coach Daily

January 24, 2024

University of North Carolina Waitlist Acceptance Rate

The South Building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is featured.
Early Action decisions for UNC will be released by January 31st (photo credit: Yeungb).

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be releasing Early Action decision for applicants to the Class of 2028 by January 31, 2024. Students who submitted their applications by October 15, 2023 will thus be learning of their admissions decisions in just one week. These decisions will fall into three buckets: acceptances, waitlists, and denials. So, what can you do if you’ve been waitlisted to UNC?

UNC Waitlist Acceptance Rates & Statistics

For first-year applicants to UNC who are placed on the waitlist — either after the Early Action or Regular Decision round (since UNC does not “defer” but instead “waitlists” applicants after both rounds) — the odds of earning admission to North Carolina’s flagship aren’t strong.

Below are UNC’s waitlist admissions statistics for North Carolina residents and out-of-staters over the last three admissions cycles. Note that for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, many more in-staters were accepted off UNC’s waitlist due to the number of students who chose to defer their enrollment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In-State Applicants

Admissions CycleIn-State Students Placed on UNC’s WaitlistIn-State Students Who Accepted Spots on UNC’s WaitlistIn-State Students Offered Admission Off UNC’s WaitlistIn-State Waitlist Acceptance Rate
2022-20232,5941,829713.88%
2021-20222,9592,1331557.27%
2020-20211,9301,35245433.58%

Out-Of-State Applicants

Admissions CycleOut-Of-State Students Placed on UNC’s WaitlistOut-Of—State Students Who Accepted Spots on UNC’s WaitlistOut-Of-State Students Offered Admission Off UNC’s WaitlistOut-Of-State Waitlist Acceptance Rate
2022-20234,6643,5633128.76%
2021-20225,9984,431120.27%
2020-20213,6902,5351937.61%

Your Chances of Admission After Being Waitlisted

UNC’s waitlist acceptance rate can vary significantly — from 0.27% to 8.76% for out-of-state applicants over the last three years and 3.88% to 33.58% for in-state applicants over this same period. That said, not all waitlisted candidates are created equal. There are those applicants who play their cards wrong by bragging and updating UNC on all they’ve achieved since they applied in mid-October or mid-January. And there are those who play their cards right by submitting love letters to UNC that showcase how a student will contribute their singular hook to the institution. Our students at Ivy Coach play their cards the right way.

Your Chances of Admission to UNC After Being Waitlisted with Ivy Coach’s Help

To optimize your case for admission to UNC after being placed on the waitlist, we recommend completing the following five steps with Ivy Coach’s assistance:

  1. Fill out Ivy Coach’s complimentary consultation form and indicate that you’ve been waitlisted.
  2. Complete a complimentary consultation with Ivy Coach to learn about our service for waitlisted UNC candidates.
  3. Complete a PostMortem with Ivy Coach. While there’s nothing you can change about your UNC application, we need to know how you presented yourself. After all, how you present yourself after being waitlisted can’t be out of left field. It needs to be consistent with how you presented yourself when you applied, though your narrative must be more powerfully told if you hope to earn admission.
  4. Submit a powerful Letter of Continued Interest to UNC with Ivy Coach’s assistance. Our letters feature no brags and no updates. They’re love letters and they’re filled with specific after specific about how our students will contribute their singular, wonderfully weird hooks — rather than well-roundedness — to UNC’s campus.
  5. After submitting your letter, ask your school counselor to make an advocacy call on your behalf. While some school counselors will refuse to make advocacy calls (sometimes they’ll say that it would be unfair to their other students), we’d argue that it’s their job to fight for all their students. 

UNC Waitlist FAQ

Do North Carolinians have an advantage on the UNC waitlist?

Yes! With the exception of last year, in-state applicants have fared better than out-of-staters on UNC’s waitlist. The mere fact that UNC separates their waitlist data for in-staters vs. out-of-staters speaks to UNC’s interest in offering preferential treatment to North Carolinians.

Are UNC’s waitlist admissions statistics typically in line with the 2020-2021 cycle or the 2022-2023 cycle?

The 2022-2023 admissions cycle was more emblematic of a typical year in UNC’s admissions office. The 2020-2021 cycle, after all, was heavily influenced by the pandemic and the many students who chose to defer their enrollment in favor of taking gap years.

Does UNC defer Early Action candidates?

No, UNC doesn’t defer candidates. Instead, they waitlist candidates after the Early Action round as well as after the Regular Decision round. But being waitlisted is essentially the same as being deferred.

Ivy Coach’s UNC Waitlist Assistance

If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission off the UNC waitlist, fill out Ivy Coach‘s complimentary consultation form, indicate you’ve been waitlisted, and we’ll be in touch to outline our go-forward services for those in limbo.

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