What’s the average combined reading and math SAT score at UNCW? 1191. It’s one of the highest in the entire UNC system, behind UNC Chapel Hill and NC State, and in a virtual tie with UNC Asheville. The kids going to school at the beach may be a lot smarter than you think.
“I think it’s good for us to be in the top three of the 17 universities in the system. It’s very special,” Chancellor Zito Sartarelli said of the test score distinction.
Distinctions like that have helped UNC-Wilmington get recognized as the #10 value in the country in Consumer Digest, and ranked as the #16 regional university in the South in US News and World Report.
So why is it that so many of us haven’t heard about the academics at UNCW?
“We’ve been in existence since 1947 so we are 68 years old… whereas the other universities have been around for 100 years or 200 years, and they’ve got much longer history,” Sartarelli explained. “We have a very young history but a very successful one.”
UNCW’s innovative and teaching-centered education has landed the university on the 2015-2016 Colleges of Distinction list. The Colleges of Distinction’s methodology includes qualitative and quantitative data such as graduation rates, class size, experiential learning opportunities and core competency measures.
“UNCW is an exceptional university and these rankings are a true testament to the work our faculty, staff and students have accomplished,” said Sartarelli. “It is a privilege to have joined this institution, which provides students with unique learning opportunities and experience beyond the classroom. It is this teaching philosophy that has been a catalyst of UNCW’s current and future success.”
While making sure the community recognizes the asset it has in UNCW, Sartarelli is also trying to help his students land a job when they graduate. He is excited about some of the successful companies, like PPD, Castle Branch and Live Oak Bank, that have hired UNCW grads in recent years.
But since there are not enough job openings in Wilmington to go around, Sartarelli is also working to make sure recruiters from other places across the country consider Wilmington graduates. On his shortlist are government employers like the CIA, Department of Defense, and Department of the Treasury.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, the government in this country represents a significant part of the overall economy. It’s not necessarily that I want to incentivize the government to grow, but if they are hiring, I want to put my very best to work for them,” Sartarelli said. “They pay well.”
Sartarelli’s new chief of staff used to be the liaison between the UNC system and the federal government, and his connections in Washington could help get government employers on campus at UNCW.
Sartarelli also wants to make sure prospective students know just how much UNCW has to offer. The liberal arts school is renowned for its Marine Biology and Creative Writing programs, and is also offering a growing number of graduate degrees. UNCW recently added psychology and doctor of nurse practitioner PH.D programs to its roster.
If you’re looking for a school on the rise, you might consider staying ‘in state’ and becoming a Seahawk!