App State named among nation’s ‘Best,’ ‘Most Innovative’ colleges for 2022–23

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App State named among nation’s ‘Best,’ ‘Most Innovative’ colleges for 2022–23

U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Forbes magazine and all agree — App State is an educational leader for the U.S. and Southeast


BOONE, N.C. — The annual college rankings of U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Forbes magazine and have affirmed Appalachian State University’s position as an educational leader — for both the nation and the Southeast.

The national publications recognized App State for its academics, innovation, benefits for student veterans, programs to enhance the first-year experience and other aspects, naming the university to the following lists for 2022 and 2023:

  • “Best Colleges” rankings for 2022–23 — U.S. News & World Report.
  • “The Best 388 Colleges” and “Best Colleges: Region by Region” rankings for 2023 — The Princeton Review.
  • “America’s Top Colleges” rankings for 2022— Forbes magazine.
  • “Best Colleges in America,” ranked by value, for 2022 —

“Our faculty, staff and students continually elevate App State and affirm we are a destination for educational leadership — from groundbreaking research and creative endeavors to engaging experiences,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “We are guided by a mission that honors our founding commitment to educational access and excellence and our rural mountain heritage through teaching, research and service.”

Read on to learn more about App State’s accolades.

A ‘Best College’ for 2022–23 — US News & World Report

App State earned high marks in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” rankings, released Sept. 12.

For the third consecutive year, App State tops the list for Most Innovative Schools among Southern universities, identified as No. 1 by top college officials for making innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

The university also secured second-place positions among Southern universities recognized in the Best Colleges for Veterans and Undergraduate Teaching categories — earning these accolades for the second and sixth year in a row, respectively.

For 2022–23, the university also held its rankings for the fourth consecutive year in two categories: third in Top Public Schools in the South and sixth in Best Regional Universities of the South.

Additionally, App State took the No. 28 ranking among U.S. colleges and universities listed in the First-Year Experiences category. This ranking recognizes schools for the experiences they provide first-year students, such as first-year seminar programs.

U.S. News collected data from more than 1,500 institutions and used 17 metrics — including graduation and retention rates, class size and academic reputation — to measure the schools’ academic quality, with the most weight placed on outcomes.

In January, U.S. News ranked App State Online programs among the nation’s best for 2022, naming the university in its “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” and “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs” lists — both part of U.S. News’ 2022 “Best Online Programs” rankings.

Since the U.S. News’ “Best Colleges” rankings were first published annually, beginning in 1987, App State has consistently placed among the top 15 public and private Southern universities.

Access the full 2023 “Best Colleges” rankings.

Learn more about App State’s 2022 “Best Online Programs” rankings from U.S. News.

A ‘Best’ in the US and Southeast for 2023 — The Princeton Review

App State has been recognized as one of “The Best 388 Colleges” in the U.S. by The Princeton Review for 2023. Additionally, the publication named the university among 143 best schools in the Southeast for 2023 — part of its “Best Colleges: Region by Region” website feature. The institutions included in both lists, released Aug. 17, were unranked.

“It’s easy for Appalachian State University to attract undergraduates. Not only is the school ‘exceedingly affordable,’ but it offers ‘gorgeous scenery’ and ‘a strong sense of community that makes all its students feel like they have found their place,’” The Princeton Review wrote in its online profile on App State, citing input from students.

The profile also highlighted App State’s class sizes, which “allow a more personal learning experience” according to the students surveyed, as well as the university’s Honors Collegetextbook rental program, students’ passion for sustainability and wide variety of Outdoor Programs. The university’s student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1.

The Princeton Review selected schools primarily for their excellence in academic programs. Secondarily, editors took into account what students attending the schools reported to them about their campus experiences on a student survey for this project.

App State also has the distinction of being one of 420 national and international colleges and universities named in The Princeton Review’s 2022 “Guide to Green Colleges,” released in October 2021. Schools included in the guide were recognized for having exemplary commitments to the environment and sustainability. The schools were unranked.

Access “The Best 388 Colleges” list.

Access the “Best Colleges: Region by Region” feature.

Access the “Guide to Green Colleges” list.

One of ‘America’s Top Colleges’ for 2022 — Forbes magazine

App State ranks within the top 61% of the 500 public and private schools recognized in Forbes magazine’s 2022 “America’s Top Colleges” rankings list, released Aug. 30. The university also placed among the top 10 public and private North Carolina schools named to the list.

Additionally, the university was ranked within the top half of schools categorized as “rural” and was the only rural North Carolina institution named to the list. App State placed within the top five public North Carolina institutions included in the rankings.

According to Forbes, its annual college rankings “spotlight schools that offer an excellent education at a great price, graduate high-earners and propel students to become successful entrepreneurs and influential leaders in their fields.”

Forbes used seven metrics to determine its rankings: alumni salaries; student loan debt; return on investment; graduation rates; retention rates; academic success; and the number of graduates produced by the schools who are named to designated lists of successful leaders in public service, business, the arts and athletics.

Access the complete Forbes list of “America’s Top Colleges.”

Among the nation’s ‘Best Colleges’ for value —’s “Best Colleges in America” rankings list for 2022, published May 16, highlights “schools that combine quality and affordability,” according to the personal finance website.

App State ranked within the top 29% of schools recognized and placed as the No. 6 North Carolina higher education institution named to the list. The university received the distinction of being one of 50 schools recognized in’s “Best Colleges in the South” list for 2022.

Among the 260 public schools named to the list, App State ranked within the top 40% and secured the No. 3 spot among North Carolina public schools. The university was recognized among the top 34% of schools classified as having “nonurban” campuses. analyzed 623 four-year colleges for its 2022 rankings, with schools evaluated based on 24 metrics in three categories — quality of education, affordability and graduate outcomes.

Access the “Best Colleges in America” list.

Access the “Best Colleges in the South” list.

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About Appalachian State University

As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.