NC State student on campus

Guidance for Applicants

We can help you increase your chances of admission to NC State and CALS.

Applying to college can be overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve provided information and resources to guide you through the application process for NC State and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

340+ Scholarships

There's more than $1 million in scholarships available to CALS undergraduate and AGI students each year.

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What are my chances of being admitted?

That’s the number one question we get.

NC State uses a holistic admissions process and considers more than an applicant’s test score and GPA. We understand that leadership experience in organizations such as 4-H and FFA, an agricultural background, science-related opportunities or participation in NC State programs pre-college or other programs are strong indicators of student success. But your academic performance is important, too. In 2020, NC State (and CALS) had close to a 44% acceptance rate. View our Fall 2020 admissions stats.

Please note, for 2021 fall and spring applicants, submitting SAT/ACT scores will be optional. You can choose to submit your test scores if you were able to take the tests and feel as if your scores are reflective of your academic ability. Take a look at admissions guidance and requirements.

While many students begin their college career with CALS as a traditional freshman, many others transfer here from another institution after a year or two. Most people won’t ask you where you spent your freshman year. They might ask you where you went to college, or where you earned your degree. What do all of our students have in common? Each and every one ends up with a degree from CALS at NC State, regardless of where they started. We want you here, and we will help find the right path for you. Learn more about our alternative pathways.

Demand for CALS graduates is stronger than ever.

Animal Science is by far the most popular major in CALS, followed by Biochemistry. Many of our other majors generally receive less than 200 applications. Many of our Animal Sciences applicants expressed an interest in becoming veterinarians. But our own College of Veterinary Medicine only admits 100 per year. That’s extremely competitive, so consider other options.

Consider applying for high demand degree programs.

The USDA forecasts demand for college graduates in agriculture and food industries to be 57,900 a year, but U.S. agricultural colleges are only producing 35,400 graduates a year. There is tremendous demand for CALS graduates, especially in the following program areas:

CALS Grads in High Demand

There are 22,500 more U.S. Ag jobs than grads every year.

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What can I do to prepare?

Your high school GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities, personal interests, and essays are all considered in the admissions process. A strong high school academic record and a well-rounded outside life can improve your chances of acceptance.

Performing well on the SAT or ACT is important. We recommend you take the test multiple times. About 55% of students who took the SAT as a junior scored about 40 points higher after re-taking the test as a senior.

Please note, due to testing interruptions caused by COVID-19, NC State will be test-optional for 2021 spring and fall first-year applicants. You will not be disadvantaged if you indicate you do not want scores to be considered in your application review. You will be required to indicate whether or not you plan to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration in the admission review process. Take a look at admissions guidance and requirements.

Consider test prep. ASPIRE (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education) is a low-cost initiative offered by CALS to rural students in many North Carolina counties. ASPIRE students have routinely improved about 100 points on their standardized test scores. Improvement is variable among individuals, and there is no guarantee of score increases.


Pre-College Preparation

Start Preparing Early!

Your entire high school academic record is important! Don't count out your freshman year just because you are starting out. Developing good study habits early in high school will pay dividends for years to come.

Challenge Yourself

The average weighted high school grade point average for students admitted to CALS is 4.2. Consider honors, AP, IB, or dual enrollment courses where available. Challenge yourself in the classroom within the context of what is available to you.

Howling with CALS Virtual Visitation Program

We invite high school juniors, seniors, and transfer students to spend time with us virtually this Fall to learn about our degree programs, perks of CALS, participate in a virtual class observation, speak with our faculty, staff, and students and more!

Take Standardized Tests Multiple Times

Please note, providing test scores will be optional for 2021 fall and spring applicants.

Whether it’s the SAT or ACT, many students perform better when they take a test more than once. In today's competitive admissions environment, every point counts.

Consider ASPIRE or Standardized Test Prep

ASPIRE (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education) is a low-cost initiative offered by CALS to rural students in many North Carolina counties. Apply Now

Attend a Summer Program

Participate in a CALS pre-college summer program.

We Want You Here!

There is more than one path to CALS, and we want to help you find yours.

Find Your Path To CALS

Applying to CALS

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NC State is globally recognized for the quality of our teaching. We grow professional leaders and prepare students for graduate research. Whatever career they choose, our students go on to confront grand challenges.

We strongly encourage all first-year to apply for freshman admission by November 1 for priority consideration of all CALS Scholarships. Take a look at admissions guidance and requirements.