Appalachian State University (ASU) is a medium-sized university in Boone, North Carolina with an enrollment of around 17,000 students. It is a member institution of the University of North Carolina. The main campus of the university is situated on 410 acres, with an additional 900 acres of land holdings in the immediate area. The university holdings also include an off-campus center in New York City.
In addition to the numerous classroom, dormitory, and administration buildings, Appalachian State University is home to the Appalachian Cultural Museum, the Carol Grotnes Belk Library and Information Commons, a butterfly garden and wildflower garden, an art gallery, and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts.
ASU defines its mission as one of “the practice and propagation of scholarship. through instruction, but also through the research, creative, and service activities of the University.” The University mission statement also speaks of a commitment to Appalachian culture and protection of the environment, both of which are reflected in course offerings.
ASU was founded as Wautaga University in 1899 with an inaugral class of 53 students. WU quickly evolved into a teacher’s college. In 1929 it became a full program four year college, then grew into a university in 1967 after a particularly vigorous post-war expansion. Today, ASU awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in 140 different programs accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University is composed six undergraduate colleges, one graduate school, and a school of music. ASU prides itself on academic intimacy; the student faculty ratio at ASU is 16:1, with an average class size of 25. Additional special programs on the undergraduate level include an honors program, the small interdisciplinary residential Watauga College program, and an interdisciplinary program on sustainable development.
Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in over a hundred disciplines, including common fields in the humanities and sciences (anthropology, biology, English, foreign languages, and so on); interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in fields as diverse as Appalachian studies, urban studies, various international studies, and sustainable development; and programs in business, technology, the arts, and education, such as accounting, marketing, communication, exercise, special education, and child development. A certain number of core courses are required for all students.
Freshmen may choose to join one of a number of learning communities on campus that are tailored to specific interests or academic fields and encourage students to pursue discussion and collaboration during their academic career. Freshmen also enroll in the Freshman Seminar, which is an introductory course for the college lifestyle. ASU is affiliated with 200 different study abroad programs to encourage students to expand their horizons outside of Appalachia.
There are a wide range of distance education options at ASU. Prospective students should be aware that distance education options are available for the last two years of undergraduate degrees and for graduate work, but that the first two years of undergraduate work must be taken in-person at ASU or through another institution, such as a community college.
In addition to a large documents collection and a variety of online databases, the library curates the W. L. Eury Appalachian collection, which includes maps, genealogy, films, books, audiotapes, census materials, and periodicals about the unique geography, ecosystems, and culture of the Appalachian mountain range.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Appalachian Undergraduate Academy of Science offers incoming freshman an on-campus learning experience to prepare them for college-level work in the science and math programs. Students reside on campus during the summer, attend classes, and have a large number of opportunities to participate in academic and research activities.
Watauga Global Community is a residential academic community in which freshmen are encouraged to learn and debate with one another while living the epitome of the examined life. Watauga participants combine multicultural immersion, interactive classroom learning, and co-curricular activities to intensify their shared learning about significant global issues.
Admissions to ASU are competitive. The average SAT score is about 1135, and the average GPA of incoming first-year students is 3.92. Prospective students are encouraged to apply early in the year.
In addition to the usual assortment of state and federal financial aid options available to college and university students in the state of North Carolina, ASU also administrates dozens of their own need- and merit-based scholarships, including those for students who are the first member of their family to attend college, students who are members of minority groups, ROTC participants, and those demonstrating outstanding leadership. Scholarships are administrated through the Admissions Office, rather than the Office of Financial Aid.
Student Financial Aid Details
The ASU student body consists of roughly 15,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students. Of these, about 55% are female and 45% are male. 10% of students self-identify as an ethnic minority.
There are nearly 300 student clubs and organizations at ASU to meet nearly every professional or personal interest. ASU has an active student government, student newpaper, and student radio station. There are also a number of unique Appalachian traditions on campus, such as the Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics which involves more than 200 students jumping into an outdoor lake in February.
Housing and Dining
There are 20 residence halls on campus housing nearly 5,000 students and four dining halls, plus a number of coffee shops and convenient to-go options.
Excellence in Student Life
Appalachian has received the Noel-Levitz Retention Excellence Award from the Noel-Levitz consulting firm for its efforts to keep student retention high. Those efforts include providing the most pleasant, comfortable academic environment for all students.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletics department at ASU is known as the Mountaineers. The Mountaineers participate in NCAA Division I in 20 intercollegiate competitive sports. The school is especially well known for their football team. In addition, there are 19 club sports and over 80 intramural sports available to any interested student. ASU has a Student Recreation Center with a juice bar, 50 foot climbing wall, cardio theatre, weight room, indoor track, and a 50 meter swimming pool.
About. Appalachian State University. Web. 10 June. 2011.
Athletics. Appalachian State University. Web. 10 June. 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.