What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)
Cheyenne Vowell
5 College Lists

Ivy League Schools in North Carolina: Does NC Have Ivies?

What’s Covered:


The Ivy League started out as an athletic conference but has now become synonymous with academic prestige. However, there are only eight actual Ivies. The Ivy League schools are situated in the Northeast region of the country and include schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. North Carolina, in the Southeast, does not have any official “Ivy League” schools. That being said, North Carolina has many well-known colleges and universities that offer a world-class education.


Are There Ivy League Schools in North Carolina?


In short: no. There are no Ivy League schools in the Southeast. However, North Carolina is home to some incredible schools, including one of the Public Ivies. The Public Ivies are (public, as the name implies) schools that are just as prestigious, selective, and intellectually fulfilling as those of the Ivy League. North Carolina’s Public Ivy is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also known as UNC-Chapel Hill, home of the Rams! UNC-Chapel Hill is part of a university system within the state that has schools in other cities such as UNC Pembroke, UNC Greensboro, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Wilmington. An interesting fun fact about the UNC system is that it also includes North Carolina State University


Top 10 Non-Ivy League Schools in North Carolina


1. Duke University

Location: Durham, NC
Acceptance Rate: 6%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,800


Easily North Carolina’s most well-known private school, Duke offers a beautiful campus, surrounding city life, rigorous academics, and high-quality sports. Recently, Duke has adopted a policy providing full tuition for eligible students with family incomes below $150,000. If you stop by on a weekday at 5 p.m., you’ll hear the bells of Duke Chapel ringing in a fifteen-minute recital. 


2. Davidson College


Location: Davidson, NC
Acceptance Rate: 18%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,900


With over 74 majors, minors, and programs, and a 94% retention rate, Davidson College is one of the most selective colleges in the United States. It is also the first liberal arts college to eliminate loans in financial aid packages. Davidson’s offerings include Pre Law and Pre Med, and the campus is located just 19 miles from the largest city in North Carolina—Charlotte. 


3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Acceptance Rate: 20%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 19,800


Known affectionately as “Carolina” or simply “UNC,” UNC Chapel Hill is the best-known university of the UNC system. It is also the first public university in the United States, and one that many students aspire to attend. Located within the vibrant city of Chapel Hill, students have access to art, music, world-class hospitals, and a sporting rivalry with Duke for the ages. UNC is also the alma mater of Micheal Jordan, along with other NBA greats. 


4. Wake Forest University


Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Acceptance Rate: 25%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,400


Wake Forest is a town outside of Raleigh, but the university isn’t there. It used to be though! Wake Forest moved to Winston-Salem in 1956. Wake Forest is a private school whose alumni include Maya Angelou. It is known for a culture with a love of study-abroad, and a notable business school. 


5. North Carolina State University

Location: Raleigh, NC
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,500


Often called NC State, or simply “State,” North Carolina State University is one of the “big three” North Carolina schools, along with UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke. NC State is known for a rigorous curriculum, and an even more rigorous devotion to its sports teams. It is home to one of the few veterinary schools in the United States, and the school uses the cows at the vet school to make some of the best ice cream in the state. Nestled in the heart of North Carolina’s capital city, NC State has history, charm, and athleticism to boot. 


6. Elon University


Location: Elon, NC
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,300


In between the beach and the mountains, Elon is situated in the middle of the state. A private school among the top 40 business schools in the US, Elon’s campus is designated as a botanical garden. It shows the beautiful plant life that can be observed around the school. Elon is a growing institution known for strong undergraduate arts and science programs. 


7. University of North Carolina at Wilmington


Location: Wilmington, NC
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 14,400


Do you like Outer Banks? Or really any Nicholas Sparks movie? Then Wilmington is for you. A part of the UNC university system, Wilmington offers a wide range of majors and a quick jaunt down to the beach. The home of the Seahawks is consistently rated high in student satisfaction and offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. If you’d like a quality, affordable degree, “Wilmy” may be for you.


8. Appalachian State University


Location: Boone, NC
Acceptance Rate: 85%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,500


Known colloquially as “App State,” this school is nestled within North Carolina’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, known for the scenic views and wide array of activities available. App State is ranked as one of the best colleges for athletics (helped in part by the many athletic activities available in the mountains) as well as one of the best colleges for sports management in America. App State is also known for its benefits for student veterans and programs to enhance the first-year experience. 


9. Western Carolina University


Location: Cullowhee, NC
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,100


With over 115 undergraduate majors and concentrations, Western Carolina is a must-apply for those interested in adventure. Right between the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, it is known as a top adventure college where students are able to explore the natural beauty and diversity of the region through experiential learning and recreational activities. Western Carolina is also part of the UNC system, and is the westernmost college within it. 


10. University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Location: Charlotte, NC
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Undergraduate Enrollment: 24,100


Located in the largest city in North Carolina, UNC Charlotte is known for the research and creative opportunities available. UNC Charlotte offers internationally competitive programs, including business, health professions, and computer science. It is the third-largest and fastest-growing university in the state. Charlotte is a convenient drive to the mountains and a trip to the beach, and there are many towns around the city that can provide a slower, more laid-back feel on the weekends.


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


While many of these schools are highly-selective, one may be the right place for you. Remember that acceptance rates are averages, and your personal chances may be higher or lower, depending on your profile. To see your chance of acceptance at any (or all!) of these schools, just make a free CollegeVine account and access our free Chancing Engine. 


The Chancing Engine takes your personal stats like GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and demographics to provide you with an individualized estimate of your chances of acceptance at your dream school. You can use this number to improve your odds by increasing recreational activities, working on your GPA, or even taking/re-taking a standardized test. Keep in mind that you want to have a balanced school list, with targets, safeties, and reaches. Don’t sell yourself short!

Short Bio
Hi! I’m Cheyenne. I help educational institutions inform stakeholders and the wider public about the offerings available to them.

After graduating with my BA in History, and MA in Teaching, I knew education was my passion. Maverick Educational Copywriting was born out of my desire to make all levels of education accessible to students, families, alumni, and all other potential stakeholders. I believe education is at the heart of a healthy society, and making it understandable is a huge start! When not writing, I am usually spending time with my husband and dog, most likely hiking a new trail!