Deciding where to go to college is a big decision. You want to make sure you choose a school that will provide a high-quality education and a great student experience. If you’re considering the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), you probably want to know – is UNCW a good school?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, UNCW is considered a good school and a great value. It ranks well academically, has high student satisfaction, and offers a beautiful coastal campus location.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at UNCW’s academics, student life, campus, reputation, and value to help you determine if it’s a good fit for you.

Academics at UNCW

When it comes to academics, the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs to cater to various interests and career paths. Whether you’re interested in business, arts and sciences, education, or health and human services, UNCW has a program that can help you achieve your goals.

With over 70 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 40 master’s degree programs, students have plenty of options to choose from.

Wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs

UNCW prides itself on offering a diverse array of programs that cater to different academic interests. From majors like biology, psychology, and communication studies to programs in nursing, business administration, and marine biology, students have the opportunity to pursue their passions and gain valuable skills in their chosen fields.

The university also offers a number of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to combine multiple areas of study. For example, the Watson College of Education offers a program in Elementary Education and Spanish, allowing students to develop fluency in both subjects and enhance their career prospects.

Strong student-faculty ratio and small class sizes

One of the key benefits of attending UNCW is the strong student-faculty ratio and small class sizes. With a student-faculty ratio of 16:1, students have the opportunity to engage with their professors on a more personal level.

This allows for more individualized attention and a greater opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification.

The small class sizes also foster a collaborative and interactive learning environment. Students can actively participate in discussions, collaborate with their peers, and receive timely feedback from their professors.

This not only enhances the learning experience but also helps students develop important skills such as critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving.

High graduation and retention rates

UNCW has consistently high graduation and retention rates, which speak to the quality of education and support provided by the university. According to the most recent data, the four-year graduation rate is 48%, while the six-year graduation rate is 71%.

These rates are above the national average and reflect the university’s commitment to helping students succeed academically and graduate in a timely manner.

In addition to high graduation rates, UNCW also boasts impressive retention rates. The first-year retention rate is 87%, meaning that the majority of students choose to continue their education at UNCW after their first year.

This is a testament to the supportive and engaging learning environment that the university provides.

Student Life at UNCW

When it comes to student life, UNCW offers a vibrant and dynamic campus experience. With a wide range of clubs, activities, and events, students have plenty of opportunities to get involved and meet new people.

Whether you’re interested in joining a cultural organization, a sports club, or a community service group, there is something for everyone at UNCW. The campus is always buzzing with energy, and you’ll find students hanging out on the campus commons, participating in outdoor activities, or attending concerts and performances.

Vibrant campus with many clubs, activities and events

UNCW boasts a diverse range of clubs and organizations catering to various interests. Whether you’re passionate about politics, music, or environmental conservation, you’ll find a club that aligns with your interests.

These organizations provide a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and make lifelong friendships. Additionally, the university hosts a number of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and cultural celebrations, creating a vibrant and engaging campus atmosphere.

Top-notch athletic programs and facilities

For sports enthusiasts, UNCW offers top-notch athletic programs and facilities. The university’s teams compete at the NCAA Division I level and have achieved remarkable success in various sports. Whether you’re a player or a fan, you can show your Seahawk pride by cheering on the teams at the Trask Coliseum or the UNCW Soccer Stadium.

The campus also offers a wide range of fitness facilities, including a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pool, and outdoor sports fields, ensuring that students have ample opportunities to stay active and pursue their athletic passions.

Lots of housing, dining, and recreation options

UNCW provides a variety of housing options to suit different preferences and budgets. From traditional dormitory-style living to apartment-style housing, students can find a comfortable and convenient place to call home on campus.

The university also offers a diverse range of dining options, including cafeterias, food courts, and specialty restaurants, catering to various dietary preferences. In terms of recreation, UNCW has numerous facilities such as a recreation center, tennis courts, and an outdoor adventure center where students can partake in activities like kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking.

UNCW’s Campus

UNCW is known for its beautiful campus located right on the coast of North Carolina. With its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, it offers a truly picturesque setting for students to enjoy. The campus is filled with lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and peaceful walking paths, creating a serene and welcoming atmosphere.

Whether you’re studying under a tree or taking a stroll along the beach, the natural beauty of the campus is sure to inspire and invigorate.

Modern academic and recreational facilities

UNCW’s commitment to providing students with top-notch facilities is evident throughout the campus. The academic buildings are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and resources, creating an ideal environment for learning.

The library offers extensive collections, study spaces, and research assistance to support students in their academic pursuits.

When it comes to recreational facilities, UNCW does not disappoint. The campus features a newly renovated fitness center with a wide range of exercise equipment and fitness classes to cater to students’ health and wellness needs.

Additionally, there are numerous sports fields, courts, and recreational spaces where students can engage in various physical activities and team sports.

Convenient location in Wilmington, NC

Located in the vibrant city of Wilmington, UNCW offers students the best of both worlds – a beautiful campus and a vibrant city life. Wilmington is known for its rich history, cultural attractions, and thriving arts scene.

Students have access to a variety of entertainment options, including art galleries, theaters, music venues, and local festivals. The city also offers a wide range of dining options, from trendy restaurants to cozy cafes, where students can enjoy delicious meals with friends.

Furthermore, Wilmington’s prime coastal location provides students with opportunities for outdoor activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, and exploring nearby beaches. With its mild climate, students can take advantage of the outdoors year-round, making UNCW an ideal choice for those who enjoy an active and adventurous lifestyle.

Reputation and Value of UNCW

When considering whether UNCW is a good school, one must examine its reputation and the value it offers to students. Fortunately, UNCW has a strong reputation and is recognized as a top regional public university.

Ranked a top regional public university

UNCW consistently ranks among the top regional public universities in the United States. According to the U.S. News & World Report, UNCW is ranked #19 in the Regional Universities South category. This recognition speaks to the university’s commitment to academic excellence and its ability to provide a high-quality education to its students.

Designated a Best Value School

In addition to its strong ranking, UNCW has also been designated as a Best Value School by the Princeton Review. This recognition highlights the university’s ability to provide an outstanding education at a reasonable cost.

UNCW understands the importance of affordability and strives to make education accessible for all students.

UNCW’s commitment to providing a valuable education can be seen in its low student-to-faculty ratio. With an average class size of 20 students, UNCW offers a personalized learning experience where students can engage with their professors and receive individualized attention.

Respected alumni network

Another factor that contributes to UNCW’s reputation is its strong and respected alumni network. UNCW alumni have gone on to achieve great success in various fields, including business, education, and the arts.

Their achievements serve as a testament to the quality of education and the opportunities available at UNCW.

UNCW’s alumni network also offers valuable resources and networking opportunities for current students. Through mentorship programs and alumni events, students can connect with successful graduates who can provide guidance and support as they navigate their career paths.


In conclusion, UNCW offers strong academics, an engaged student life, a scenic coastal campus, and great value. It’s considered one of the top public regional universities in the South. If you’re looking for a medium-sized public school with high quality and satisfaction, UNCW is likely a great choice for you.

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