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First-year Admission Requirements

Your application to WCU begins with a strong academic record. We particularly look for:

Whether first-year applicants are enrolled in public, private or home school; North Carolina or out-of-state school systems; or high school equivalency programs, they must earn a high school diploma or its equivalent and satisfy the Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) as established by the UNC Board of Governors:

  • Four units of English
  • Two units of social studies (one in U.S. history)
  • Four units of mathematics (algebra I, algebra II, geometry and an advanced unit of mathematics beyond algebra II)
  • Three units of science (life science, physical science and a laboratory course)
  • Two units of one language other than English

WCU assesses the academic performance in the classroom of first-year applicants using as much information as is available, including:

  • Weighted and unweighted GPA
  • Grades in core subjects
  • Grades as compared with classmates at your school (i.e., class rank and class profile information)
  • Most recent grades
  • Performance in honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other competitive high school courses
  • Performance in early or middle college courses or other college dual-enrollment courses (Note: College transcripts should be sent at the time of application for any coursework already completed, and a final official transcript for all coursework attempted is required.)

Background checks may be required for applicants based on information provided on the application. In these cases, you will be required to submit a background check as part of the application process.

The Office of Admission is responsible for making admission decisions pertaining to enrollment at WCU at the undergraduate level but not to a specific program of study. Some undergraduate programs have established admission requirements beyond admission to the university. For more information, go to Academic Program Requirements.

All newly admitted degree-seeking undergraduate students are required to have a computer. Read the complete requirement.


Records for Admission

All of your documentation does not have to arrive together. Any information received in advance of an application (i.e., official transcripts) will be held for 12 months in anticipation that an application is forthcoming. Information that is received after an application has been received will be processed and added to the applicant’s record. Send all records to:

Western Carolina University
Office of Undergraduate Admission
110 H.F. Robinson Building
Cullowhee, NC 28723

What must you submit or do and what should you submit or do as part of your application for admission?

Required Actions and Records

Be sure that you complete the correct application. Be sure to be truthful, accurate and thorough. Read each question carefully. Submit the application (and all required information) in advance of application deadlines.

This required, nonrefundable processing fee should be submitted at the time of application. The online application provides information about electronic submission of the application fee. If the application fee is paid by a check, be sure that the applicant’s full name (as it appears on the application for admission) is noted on the check.
NOTE: Application fee waiver requests, based upon financial need, must be submitted in writing in advance of any application deadlines, and financial need must be verified by an official third party (i.e., College Board SAT Fee Waiver Approval). Approval will be based upon level of demonstrated need, timeliness and thoroughness of the request, and the number of waivers that already have been approved for the term in question.  More Details.

A majority of first-year prospective students submit an application prior to high school completion. An official high school transcript (or its equivalent) showing work completed to date is required at the time of application and prior to application deadlines. An official, final transcript is required of any first-year applicant as soon as the applicant completes high school (or its equivalent). If a student has attended more than one high school, an official transcript is required only from the most recently attended school, provided that all high school coursework, performance and graduation information are posted on the transcript.

First-year applicants are required to submit official SAT I or ACT scores. Applicants are encouraged to take the same type of test at least twice (once in the spring of the junior year and once in the fall of the senior year) and may consider taking both the SAT I and ACT based upon score results.

First-year students who have attempted college courses (i.e., early college or other dual-enrollment students) should request an official transcript at the point of application showing any completed work and final college transcripts once all work is final. A copy of a college course schedule for any courses in progress during a student’s final year of high school also is very beneficial for advising and course registration purposes. Advanced standing credit cannot be awarded from a high school transcript.

Official examination scores (i.e., AP, IB, CLEP subject, DANTES) are required in order to access and grant appropriate credit. Credit cannot be granted from course grades.

Recommended Actions and Records

Part of the deliberation regarding an applicant is an assessment of the applicant’s likelihood to persist and graduate. Applicants who have made a formal visit to campus can more accurately determine whether WCU is the best fit for them; therefore, they are more likely to remain enrolled and graduate. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to take part in a campus tour and presentation or an open house.

Essays are not required of all applicants; however, any essay or bio sheet that is received is included in the applicant’s record and is considered in tandem with the required documentation. In some cases, an applicant may be encouraged to provide a written explanation in regard to information received. Essays should reinforce the academic information provided and shed added perspective on an applicant’s ability and willingness to perform at a competitive level in college.

Reference letters are not required of all applicants; however, submitted references become a part of the applicant’s record and are considered in the review process. In some cases, an applicant may be encouraged to submit recommendations. Reference letters should provide added insight into the ability and motivation of a student to perform at a competitive level at WCU. References do not replace the significance of academic records; rather, they supplement the required documentation.

Because both “regular action” application deadlines (Feb. 1 and March 1) occur after many applicants have received first-semester grades in their senior year, and because the greatest weight of an admission decision is placed upon classroom performance, submission of midyear grades is encouraged. Greater weight is placed upon the most recent work, particularly in college-preparatory courses. Seeing that a student has successfully completed or exceeded Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) in the senior year strengthens an applicant’s record.

Knowing what high school and college courses a first-year applicant is taking or has remaining is beneficial in the application review, advising and registration processes.

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