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Guidance for Applicants

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

We know applying to college can be overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve provided the following information and resources to prepare and guide you through the application process. CALS is open for undergraduate students, and we hope you will join the Pack.

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. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

In 2016, NC State received more than 26,000 applications and accepted 14,748 students – roughly a 47 percent acceptance rate. From this pool, CALS accepted 1,312 applicants.

We use a holistic admissions process and consider 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, or participation in NC State programs are strong indicators of student success. But your GPA and SAT/ACT scores are important factors.

HS GPA (w) HS GPA (unw) ACT SAT
CALS Student Range 3.70 – 5.00 3.20 – 4.00 21.0 – 36.0 1050 – 1600
CALS Average 4.49 3.74 26.5 1196

 

If your GPA is strong but your SAT/ACT scores are not where you want them to be, that does not necessarily mean you won’t be accepted. But if your SAT/ACT scores and your GPA are both lower than the threshold or CALS average, you may want to consider an alternative path to CALS. We want you here, and we will help find the right path for you.

Demand for CALS graduates is stronger than ever.

Animal Science is by far the most popular major in CALS, followed by Biochemistry. All other majors generally receive less than 200 applications. Below is a 2015 breakdown of applications by major.

Roughly 45% of the 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 schedule 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.

Consider test prep. ASPIRE (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education) is a low-cost initiative offered by CALS to rural students in more than 30 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 freshman year in high school is more important than your senior year. When you apply for admission to NC State, your freshman grades will be factored into your high school GPA; it is likely your senior grades will not. Developing good study habits early in high school will pay dividends for years to come.

Challenge Yourself

The average high school grade point average (HSGPA) for students admitted to CALS is 4.41. Consider honors or AP courses where available.

Take Standardized Tests Multiple Times

Whether it’s the SAT or ACT, take the test more than once. A majority (55%) of students who took the SAT as a junior scored higher as a senior. On average there was a modest increase of roughly 40 points. 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 more than 30 North Carolina counties. Apply Now

Mr. Wuf - NC State mascot

Spend a Day at State

We invite high school juniors, seniors, and transfer students to visit CALS and explore NC State’s campus. Register Now

Summer Programs

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 applicants to apply for freshman admission by October 15 for priority consideration of all CALS Scholarships.