Best Private Colleges in North Carolina 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in North Carolina.

Best Private Colleges in North Carolina 2022

Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Among these schools are over 60 public colleges and universities, including the state’s largest school, North Carolina State University, which serves almost 30,000 students. Tuition costs average about $9,000, just below the national average, and students also have the option to enroll in over 1,000 online courses. Another notable public school is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is one of the country’s oldest universities.

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The 25,000 students who attend UNC will walk the same halls as Francis Collins, Thomas Wolfe, and former president James K. Polk. North Carolina’s private schools have also made a name for themselves, including the well-known Duke University located in Durham. Here, students can earn degrees in some of the top programs, like nursing, political science, and business. Additionally, students can attend one of the many small schools which serve less than 5,000 students, like Campbell University in Buies Creek, or a religiously affiliated school, like Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City.

From its coastal beaches to its lush forests, it’s no wonder the Wright Brothers dreamed of taking flight over North Carolina. This state is rich with history, scenic views, and famous people who once called it home, like John Coltrane and Nicholas Sparks. Students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree also have the option of choosing from over 100 schools in the Tar Heel State.

Whether you prefer ocean views or wooded forests, North Carolina has something for everyone. Discover more about the state’s higher learning options.


What are North Carolina’s Colleges & Universities?

North Carolina’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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How do we determine North Carolina's best private colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 34 private universities in North Carolina. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in North Carolina, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in North Carolina

  1. #1

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

    What is Duke University known for?

    Duke University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    Wake Forest University

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Wake Forest University known for?

    Wake Forest University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Davidson College

    Davidson , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1397/31

    What is Davidson College known for?

    Davidson College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Campbell University

    Buies Creek , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    What is Campbell University known for?

    Campbell University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Economics
    • History
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Elon University

    Elon , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/27

    What is Elon University known for?

    Elon University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Law
    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    High Point University

    High Point , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    What is High Point University known for?

    High Point University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Religious Studies
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • History
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    Meredith College

    Raleigh , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/21

    What is Meredith College known for?

    Meredith College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Economics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #8

    Shaw University

    Raleigh , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Shaw University known for?

    Shaw University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Queens University of Charlotte

    Charlotte , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

    What is Queens University of Charlotte known for?

    Queens University of Charlotte’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Catawba College

    Salisbury , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/20

    What is Catawba College known for?

    Catawba College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    Guilford College

    Greensboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/20

    What is Guilford College known for?

    Guilford College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Warren Wilson College

    Swannanoa , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1177/25

    What is Warren Wilson College known for?

    Warren Wilson College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Salem College

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/19

    What is Salem College known for?

    Salem College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #14

    Bennett College

    Greensboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Bennett College known for?

    Bennett College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Belmont Abbey College

    Belmont , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/22

    What is Belmont Abbey College known for?

    Belmont Abbey College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Education
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Wingate University

    Wingate , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

    What is Wingate University known for?

    Wingate University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Greensboro College

    Greensboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/18

    What is Greensboro College known for?

    Greensboro College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Johnson C. Smith University

    Charlotte , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    881/16

    What is Johnson C. Smith University known for?

    Johnson C. Smith University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #19

    Mars Hill University

    Mars Hill , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    What is Mars Hill University known for?

    Mars Hill University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Business
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #20

    University of Mount Olive

    Mount Olive , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/19

    What is University of Mount Olive known for?

    University of Mount Olive’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    Livingstone College

    Salisbury , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    845/15

    What is Livingstone College known for?

    Livingstone College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #22

    Montreat College

    Montreat , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1036/20

    What is Montreat College known for?

    Montreat College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #23

    North Carolina Wesleyan College

    Rocky Mount , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/17

    What is North Carolina Wesleyan College known for?

    North Carolina Wesleyan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • History
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
  24. #24

    Barton College

    Wilson , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    What is Barton College known for?

    Barton College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • History
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #25

    Brevard College

    Brevard , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Brevard College known for?

    Brevard College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

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North Carolina’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Duke University
  2. Wake Forest University
  3. Davidson College
  4. Guilford College
  5. Warren Wilson College
  6. Queens University of Charlotte
  7. Catawba College
  8. Johnson C. Smith University
  9. Elon University
  10. Campbell University
  11. Salem College
  12. High Point University
  13. Meredith College
  14. Barton College
  15. Wingate University
  16. University of Mount Olive