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College Rankings

Reader's Choice: Appalachian State University

A periodic report in which we showcase our readers’ top choices among Kiplinger’s 100 best values in public colleges and universities.

We use hard statistics to produce Kiplinger’s annual rankings for best values in public colleges and universities, and we’re proud of the results. Now, we’re giving our readers’ favorites a chance to brag a little, by letting a student fill us in on what’s fun, cool, quirky and just plain great on campus and nearby.

This week we feature Appalachian State University. Jennifer Mixter, a senior exercise science major (pictured left), gives us 12 insider tips. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for more student-written profiles of the favorites in our reader survey.

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AT A GLANCE: Best Values in Public Colleges

VIDEO: Walking Tours of Our Top Schools

LOCATION: Boone, N.C

UNDERGRADUTE ENROLLMENT: 13,997

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BEST ON-CAMPUS FEATURE:

All student services are within close proximity of each other, so it’s pretty simple to seek assistance for issues we might face. Students can receive academic support, such as tutoring through the Learning Assistance Program, or help with a writing assignment or research paper through the Writing Center. And, of course, the professors are readily available through office hours with their academic departments.

BEST OFF-CAMPUS FEATURE:

Hands-down, the location itself. Our campus is nestled in the small town of Boone, North Carolina, which is located in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. No matter what time of year it is, there is always something to do outside in the Blue Ridge Mountains; from hiking to snow skiing and from climbing to kayaking--you name it, we’ve got it.

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WHERE SENIORS WANT TO LIVE:

Winkler Residence Hall, an apartment-style building. Within each apartment, there are four rooms, two full bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. Winkler Hall is located on west side of campus, so it is also a very convenient location.

MOST UNUSUAL CAMPUS TRADITION:

One spontaneous and favorite tradition of many students is the use of the cafeteria trays as sleds during the big snows in Boone. The trays travel much faster than normal sleds, so it’s an extreme ride!

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BEST PLACE TO STUDY DURING FINALS WEEK:

My favorite place to study is on the top floor of the library. Not that many students think to go up there, so it is always very quiet and calm. Also, I love the view. The fourth floor of the library overlooks the entire Appalachian campus and the town of Boone.

MOST CROWDED SPOT ON THE FIRST NICE DAY:

Definitely Sanford Mall, our central green space on campus. On warm, sunny days you’ll find students throwing Frisbees, reading, socializing, or having lunch on the lawn.

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BEST PLACE TO EAT WHEN THE DINING HALL WON'T DO:

Black Cat Burrito --this locally-owned restaurant/bar is located in downtown Boone, which is just a couple of minutes’ walking distance from campus. My friends and I often choose to go to Black Cat Burrito if we want to eat off campus for lunch or dinner. (I think that the “Chicken-Wing” burrito is the best!)

WHERE YOU WANT TO BE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT:

I often find myself visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway with my friends on really clear nights during the weekend to stargaze. The conversations shared between friends under the starry sky make some of the greatest memories.

WHAT WE WON'T LEARN ON THE CAMPUS TOUR:

The bond that each student, faculty member and staff member shares as part of the “Appalachian Family.” For example, I was in New York City last year, wearing an Appalachian shirt, and a stranger came up to me just to tell me about her “wonderful” experience at Appalachian as a student ten years ago. She shared with me her business card and said that if I ever needed anything while visiting New York City, I could call her. That was a special moment that proved to me that the “Appalachian Family” really does exist.

CLASS THAT GETS STUDENTS TALKING:

In my experience as a pre-medicine major, the class that every student in the pre-med program talks about and looks forward to is the Anatomy-Physiology lab. Appalachian has the privilege of having a cadaver lab in the Health, Leisure and Exercise Science department. Each week in the A&P lab, students get to dissect and study a real human body, so you can imagine some of the experiences that are shared between students.

BEST WEEKEND FOR FRIENDS TO VISIT:

I love inviting my friends to come visit during fall weekends for home football games. The atmosphere around the entire campus is energetic and upbeat, which is very contagious. Appalachian fans are so much fun to be around that by the end of the weekend, if my friends weren’t Mountaineer fans before, they are when they leave Boone. It’s an experience they’re sure to remember!

SIX WORDS ABOUT YOUR COLLEGE THAT SAY IT ALL:

Captivating. Unique. Motivating. Serene. Inviting. Home.

Appalachian State University