Get to know the incoming freshmen at Duke, NC Central, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill

·3 min read
Casey Toth/

Universities around the Triangle are welcoming a new class of students to campus over the next few weeks.

N.C. State University received the highest number of first-year applications and transfer applications in its history, totaling nearly 40,000. From that pool, NCSU will welcome its largest incoming first-year class of about 5,600 students.

Duke University also received the highest number of applications in its school history.

Here’s a look at some other facts and figures of new students and the future Class of 2026:

N.C. State University

(These numbers are for the incoming class of first-year students)

5,601 first-year students

39,874 total applications this year compared to 37,025 last year (including transfer students)

46.9% acceptance rate for first-year students

4.31 average weighted GPA

52% women and 48% men (2,897 vs. 2,704)

21% increase in students of color (includes Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Multiracial) (1,685 vs. 1,387 in 2021)

About 19% are first-generation students, meaning they will be the first in their families to earn a four-year degree

2.4% increase in rural students (1,750 vs. 1,709 in 2021)

98 of 100 N.C. counties represented

43 states represented

41 countries represented

Top 10 programs: Engineering, Exploratory studies (undecided/undeclared), Management, Life sciences, Animal science, Sport management, Psychology, Fashion & textile management, Political science and Criminology

UNC-Chapel Hill

(Unless specified, these numbers are for first-year and transfer students)

4,455 first-year students

939 transfer students

Among all incoming students, 80% are from North Carolina and 20% are from out-of-state

48 states represented

95 of the state’s 100 counties are represented

85 different countries represented

About 18% are first-generation college students

Of those who reported a class rank, 73.6% of first-year students ranked in the top 10% of their high school class

N.C. Central University

(Unless specified, these numbers are for the incoming class of first-year students)

1,296 first-year students

393 transfers and 2nd-degree students

84% Black or African American

5.2% Hispanic

5% More than one race

3.6% White

<1% each for Asian, American Indian and Native Hawaiin or Pacific Islander

67% female and 33% male (among all new students) (1,139 vs. 550)

3.21 average high school GPA

923.5 average SAT score

17.78 average ACT score

450 graduate and 163 professional students

Top high schools: Hillside High School, J.D. Clement Early College, Rolesville High School, Charles E. Jordan Sr. High School and Olympic High School

Most represented counties: Wake, Durham, Mecklenburg, Guilford and Cumberland

Most represented states outside of NC: Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and New York

Duke University

(These numbers are for the incoming class of first-year students)

Duke officials did not yet finalize these facts and figures for the Class of 2026 at the time of publication, but here is some information about students who were admitted.

855 first-year students accepted who applied Early Decision, which means they will enroll if admitted

Of those students, 695 plan to enroll in the Trinity School of Arts & Sciences and 160 in the Pratt School of Engineering

4,015 early decision application, which is a 21% admit rate

Most represented states among early decision: New York, North Carolina, California, Florida and Texas

50,002 total applications

2,120 students admitted through regular decision, a 4.6% admit rate

Another 110 students who were initially deferred in Early Decision were admitted later

$134 million given out in need-based financial aid to support undergraduate students

Average grant offer is more than $54,000 per year for aid applicants

Information was provided by each university.