WCU keeps top 10 spot in U.S. News rankings

Western Carolina University maintained its top 10 ranking on the list of leading public regional universities in the South in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guidebook released Tuesday, Aug. 17.

For the second year in a row, the guide ranks Western Carolina at the No. 10 spot among the South’s public regional universities.

In addition, the U.S. News & World Report ranks Western Carolina third among Southern universities whose graduates had the least amount of debt load in 2009.

The category in which WCU appears includes higher education institutions that offer a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and that tend to attract most of their students from surrounding states.

The annual rankings are based on a variety of indicators, including assessment by administrators at peer institutions, graduation rate, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

“We are pleased to see the hard work of our faculty and staff to increase the quality of the academic experience at Western Carolina recognized nationally,” said WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo. “It is especially gratifying during these trying economic times to know Western Carolina is regarded as a good value, and as a good value with high quality. Low cost without quality is no bargain to anyone.”

Bardo also cautioned prospective students against giving too much weight to such rankings when they are making the important decision about where to attend college. “After students narrow their list of prospective colleges, they should visit some campuses so they can get a firsthand look to help decide which school is right for them,” he said.

WCU representatives will hold informational programs across the state in September to help shed light on the college admission process for students and their families. Stops include Greensboro on Monday, Sept. 13; Raleigh on Tuesday, Sept. 14; and Charlotte on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Open houses at the Western Carolina University campus in Cullowhee are scheduled for Oct. 2, Nov. 20, Feb. 19 and March 19, and campus tours are held year-round.

For information about those events, and other information about undergraduate and graduate admissions at WCU, click on admissions.wcu.edu.