Western Carolina University has been recognized as one of America’s “Colleges of Distinction” for 2017 by a national guidebook and online resource, citing WCU as where students go “to learn, to grow and to succeed” in an environment that prioritizes faculty-student mentoring and outstanding teaching as well as diverse academic and co-curricular programs.

Since 1999, the Colleges of Distinction website and guidebook have recognized and honored schools throughout the U.S. for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education. The listings are designed for prospective college students, their parents and high school counselors.

High school counselors and educators make the nominations. Each nominated college is then evaluated on key indicators including student engagement, student empowerment and curricular innovation. The selection process also includes a review of each institution’s freshman experience, as well as its general education program, strategic plan, alumni success and satisfaction measures. WCU is one of 10 North Carolina institutions included in the current edition.

“High student engagement in college is one of the keys to a successful undergraduate education,” said Tyson Schritter, Colleges of Distinction executive editor. “With an increasing emphasis on hands-on learning techniques, (we) applaud Western Carolina University for practicing methodologies that prepare students for their futures.”