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Best Colleges & Universities in North Carolina
Top Consensus Ranked Schools in North Carolina 2021

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To identify the Best Colleges in North Carolina for 2021 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in North Carolina anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.

Wondering how to pay for your North Carolina college degree? Check out our list of the Top North Carolina Scholarships. If you’re interested in online learning, our ranking of the top online schools in North Carolina is a good place to start.

1

Duke University
Durham, NC

duke
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.9
College Consensus
97.8
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

Duke University is a relatively small private college that packs a big punch. It is one of the best colleges in North Carolina, as well as among the nation’s leaders in education.  Only about 16 percent of applicants are accepted to study at this prestigious university. It has strong academics, social life, and sports programs.

2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC

unc CH
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.1
College Consensus
88.9
Publisher Consensus
79.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

Less than 10 miles down the road is Duke’s rival, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. UNC is a public university and has as good academics and sports as Duke has. It is one of the best schools in North Carolina and is a public institution where the cost is lower, and it is not hard to get accepted as a student.

3

Davidson College
Davidson, NC

Davidson
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.1
College Consensus
82.1
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

Davidson College is a small private college that is one of the best colleges in North Carolina partly because of its size. It has 2,000 students. and a 9-1 teacher-to-student ratio, giving plenty of time for student-teacher interaction.  Davidson has 74 academic degrees in 50 departments. About 18 percent of applicants are accepted.

4

Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.3
College Consensus
73.8
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

Wake Forest University is another private school among the best colleges in North Carolina. It has six colleges, for subjects like divinity, law, medicine, and arts and sciences. The school was started in 1854, and currently has about 8,000 students per year. Popular majors include math, cultural heritage, politics, and studio art.

5

North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Raleigh, NC

NCSU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74
College Consensus
73.1
Publisher Consensus
74.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

NC State University is a public school and is among the best schools in North Carolina. The cost is relatively low and the school has about 36,000 students. The school is research-oriented and features strong programs in natural resources, agriculture, veterinary science, and engineering. As a state institution cost is relatively low for in-state students.

6

Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

App state
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.1
College Consensus
68.3
Publisher Consensus
77.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

Appalachian State University is a public school in the mountains of the western part of the state, with 20,000 students. The school offers 150 programs for undergraduate and master’s students. It also has a doctoral program for educational leadership and clinical psychology. The school is also affordable for in-state students.

7

Elon University
Elon, NC

Elon University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.5
College Consensus
56.7
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

Elon University is a small college with an emphasis on arts and sciences. Three-fourths of the students will do some international study, and the school has a 78 percent graduation rate. The school has 6,800 students and a 12-1 student-teacher ratio. One of the best schools in North Carolina is also nationally recognized for international study.

8

East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

East Carolina University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
55
College Consensus
31.6
Publisher Consensus
78.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

East Carolina University started as a teacher training college, and today is one of the best colleges in North Carolina, with nearly 30,000 students. There are 88 undergraduate degrees, 72 master’s degrees, and 19 doctoral programs available. It is known for its nursing and psychology departments.

9

University of North Carolina Wilmington
Wilmington, NC

unc Wilmington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
48.2
College Consensus
19.9
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: May, 2021

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington began in 1947 as a junior college and is one of the best schools in North Carolina today. It has 13,000 students and most of them commute to school. Popular majors include business management, healthcare, biological sciences, and social sciences.

10

Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC

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Western Carolina University is not just one of the best colleges in North Carolina – it is the only university in the nation to have its own base camp for outdoor adventures. It focuses on the region and has strong programs in nursing, business management, education, and emergency medical technology.

How Do You Find the Best Colleges in North Carolina?

To find the answer to which colleges in North Carolina are best, a person may want to search for “top colleges in North Carolina” or best North Carolina colleges. Although the search results for top North Carolina colleges may include some that aren’t highly ranking, a person has a starting point as to what colleges to look into further. After a person sees the results, he or she should make a list of some of the colleges that interests the person the most. Then, he or she can further investigate the top colleges in North Carolina. A person may want to further restrict search results to the colleges that offer programs in his or her desire degree area.

A prospective student should take each college that interests him or her and look at the website. The best North Carolina colleges offer smaller class sizes. This allows for the instructor to provide more one-on-one support. A potential pupil also wants to evaluate the school based on its average test scores, tuition rate, and rank, among others. It also helps to look at the percentage of students who are admitted and the percentage of students that graduate to find the top North Carolina colleges.

Another method to help an individual find the top North Carolina colleges is to read reviews from previous students.

How Can You Make Earning a Degree More Affordable?

Price is a factor to consider when comparing the best universities in North Carolina. The top universities aren’t always the most expensive. Moreover, a person can find colleges that provide a solid education that don’t rank as the best universities in North Carolina. Keep in mind that the top unversities for a person’s chosen major might be less costly. A person can also decide on a school that provides the same education but doesn’t come with the hefty pricetag associated with the name of the school. When comparing and looking into the top universities in North Carolina, a person should try to find schools that offer degree programs at affordable rates.

Additionally, a person can make an education from the best North Carolina universities more affordable. For one, an individual can apply for state and federal student aid when choosing one of the best North Carolina univerities. State and federal aid offers grants to students based on their income. They also supply to option to take out low-interest loans, and a student can choose ones that he or she doesn’t have to start making payments on until after he or she finishes the degree program. The state and federal government provide grants to individuals going into certain careers, such as nursing.

If a student chooses one of the top North Carolina universities, he or she may look into grants and scholarships through the school. Organizations and individuals also offer scholarships and grants.

Employers often extend the option of tuition reimbursement as an incentives for employees. The employee makes an agreement to work for the employer upon graduation. After, the employer will reimburse the student for a portion of his or her education. The employee must be enrolled in a degree program approved by the employer.

A person should take a look at all of his or her options because he or she may be able to attend one of the top North Carolina universities for free or at a reduced price.

Does North Carolina Have Online Colleges?

A person may choose to take online classes and complete an entire degree online in North Carolina. Some private and public universities offer the option. Additionally, some community colleges provide students with the option to complete classes online. Sometimes, a degree program is only partially online and will require the student to complete some of the degree in a brick-and-mortar classroom setting.

Many times, an online program teaches students the same material as the college’s traditional class, so a student is only losing out on the socialization aspect of college rather than the benefit of a solid curriculum. However, not only schools are created equal, so it’s important for a person to compare his or her options. One way is by searching for the best colleges in North Carolina. The top colleges in North Carolina may supply education both on campus and online.

Related Rankings:

Best Online Colleges & Universities in North Carolina

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Best Regional Colleges – South