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  • Writer's pictureNancy Adis

WCU – Top Adventure College and Only $1000/year for In-state Tuition, I Must See This!

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

When I heard about Western Carolina University with an honors college, many highly rated programs of study, plentiful access to nature & outdoor activities, and amazingly low tuition, I just had to check it out. So, I visited WCU’s 600-acre rural campus, where more than 12,000 students come together to study, explore, and challenge themselves. With a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a focus on undergraduate research projects, students can study in more than 120 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations or more than 40 graduate programs (including many high-demand degrees) with a wide variety of programs in engineering, athletic training, entrepreneurship, geosciences and natural resources, forensic science, nursing, education, humanities, business, the arts, and much more. Students also participate in service-learning experiences outside of the classroom through the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. I was happy to hear more about Brinson Honors Program (the oldest and largest residential honors college in the UNC system) with an honors community residence hall, student-run board, and student-designed honors courses.


As the Southeast’s No. 1 Outdoor Adventure College (Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine), WCU students explore beyond the classroom with over 170 student organizations, 50+ club and intramural sports, miles of hiking and biking trails, and outdoor adventures minutes from campus. Located in Cullowhee, NC, nearby adventure options include backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, skiing in Cataloochee or Sapphire Valley, ziplining, horseback riding, and kayaking, tubing, paddle boarding, fishing, and more on the Tuckasegee River.


Importantly, WCU has been named a "Best College Value" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. As a NC Promise campus, all undergraduate students at WCU receive reduced tuition of an amazingly low $1000/year for in-state students and $5,000/year for out-of-state students, obtaining the same high-quality education experience for an even greater value. This low tuition cost provides opportunities to reach and attract many more students from diverse backgrounds. There are also numerous scholarships, both need and merit based, available to support a wide variety students and fields of study.


The university continues to grow (with a new $110 million science center, new freshman residence hall, and many other expansion construction projects) and earn more ranking awards. They are ranked as one of the nation's Top 10 military-friendly universities. With NCAA Division 1 sports, they lead the Southern Conference for the largest number of student-athletes maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher. In addition to boosting school spirit at sporting events, WCU’s award-winning Pride of the Mountains marching band is one of the largest bands in the United States and is widely regarded as one of the top marching bands in the Southeast for its elaborate field shows. I also loved seeing the Bardo Arts Center, a cultural and artistic hub with a 1,000-seat performance hall, a studio black-box style theatre, and the WCU Fine Art Museum for modern and contemporary art; all designed with a nod to the Native American land the college was built on.


Are you interesting in forensic science or entrepreneurship, the marching band, the outdoors, or an honors program at a university that has a wide variety of academic programs? Every student has their own unique needs and interests andConfident College Planning guides families along the college choice journey. Whether you’re just starting the process and need some guidance on steps to complete, would like help researching colleges for your specific interests, are looking for tips to get scholarship money, or need help fine-tuning your application and essay – we can help! Contact me today at nancy@confidentcollegeplanning.com to set up a meeting and find out more about what I can do for you.

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