Is Graduating from UNC Really That Impressive?

We all know that attending the University of North Carolina is impressive, but impressive is vague and unquantifiable. As an alumna of the university myself, I wanted to know specifically how impressive it is to have attended Carolina. Bragging rights are that much better when you know exactly how successful the Carolina alumni are, right? The University of North Carolina is a great university, however even alumni would be surprised to know exactly how successful admitted students and graduates are.

First thing is first. Anyone who was accepted into Carolina’s 2017 class has beaten out the largest applicant pool in Carolina’s history to land a spot in the freshman class. 2017 was the 12th consecutive record year for first-year applications with a total of 40,792 applications received as of January 2017. It is no surprise that the number of applicants for public universities have been through the roof with the steep price of private school, which have questionably better payoff. In addition to there being a record number of first year applicants, 2016-2017 had the second to largest year to year increase in applicants in the past 25 years. The number of applicants grew 13.7% from 2016 to 2017.

What makes Carolina such an attractive university is not only its difficult acceptance rate, but its attractiveness to potential employers. UNC puts together a first destination report for graduates which showcases what students achieve right after graduation. In the report, it shows outcomes by college. The school of education is the college with the lowest job placement rate, at 90%. The highest is the Kenan-Flagler business school with a 99.6% placement rate. Keep in mind, this report shows the employment rate directly out of school. The school of education, for example, likely has the 10% placed within a year of graduating.

What is as impressive as the UNC graduates are the companies that are hiring them. In 2016, the companies to hire the most UNC graduates included Amazon, Bank of America, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, IBM, JP Morgan, General Electric, Fidelity, PWC, Oracle, KPMG, and Red Ventures among others. For those who chose to continue their educations, 51.5% went to an arts and science program, 22% when to a medical program, 8% went to law school, and 7.5% went to accounting school.

In the first destination report where Carolina gauges the graduates goal (employment/post-graduate studies/not seeking employment) and whether they have successfully achieved it, each class year has a total success rate. 2016’s was 95.8%, but what is interesting is that this is the highest success rate in the past 9 classes with the exception of 2008, which saw a 96% success rate. 2008 is frequently described as a year with questionable employment opportunities thanks to a recovering housing crisis economy, yet Carolina graduates were still able to achieve their post-graduate goals with overwhelming success.

All in all, UNC is impressive, yes, but it is also consistently rated as one of the best universities at its price point. This is showcased and compounded by the incredibly difficult entry standards as well as the success of its graduates. As time goes on, Carolina gets harder and harder to get into, and it is likely we will see its graduates continue to become increasingly successful with the higher entry standards.


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