Founded in 1889, Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina fifty miles west of Asheville. With its close proximity to the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, the school is ideal for students who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, horseback riding and rock climbing. The campus is situated on six hundred beautiful acres and is home to several different schools of study as well as thirteen residence halls including The Village, which is home to WCU’s Greek organizations. Freshmen are required to live on campus.
The university offers over two hundred twenty majors for their undergraduates as well as more than forty graduate programs and consistently ranks in the top of their division for academics. The school is accredited by the CCSACS to award bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorate degrees and professional certificates. WCU is also proudly accredited by more than fifty special program commissions and national associations.
There is an active Greek life on campus as well as an excellent athletics program. The school offers numerous intramural and club sports as well as several community events such as concerts, craft shows and art exhibits throughout the year so that students always have something fun to do when they are not studying.
Western Carolina University has a liberal arts core curriculum that prepares students to be successful in a global society by offering interdisciplinary training. Many of the programs available at WCU are available online. There are over one hundred twenty undergraduate degree opportunities available at WCU and more than fifty master’s degrees, doctoral programs and certificates. Students may study at two different campuses or opt for online distance learning.
The opportunity to study abroad provides many advantages and is available either for the summer, a semester or an entire year depending upon the program chosen by the student. Financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants and loans is also available so that the programs are affordable to all who wish to participate.
The university boasts several award-winning programs available to students seeking undergraduate or graduate degrees or professional certification. One of these programs is the Master of Project Management Program. Offered completely online, this program is designed for project management professionals with two years’ experience in their field. The certificate program strives to provide professional certification to military personnel or the working professional who may not have time to dedicate to a complete program.
The Criminal Justice Program, used as a model for North Carolina’s accreditation program, is one of the largest programs at the university and offers both classroom and online options for those enrolled. The program is grounded in social and behavioral theory and practice and strives to give students realistic and rational understanding of the criminal justice system. Students may obtain an undergraduate degree and then enter the workforce or continue their education at the master’s level.
The Forensic Anthropology Program is directed by a one of only fifty-five board-certified forensic anthropologists in the United States and teaches students to study human remains in a legal context. Students will work hands-on in the Western Carolina Human Identification Laboratory to learn in a manner that will prepare them for entrance into just about any position in the field. Forensic Anthropology is a virtually limitless field and students training in this program will be learning from the most skilled individuals in the profession.
Western Carolina University is one of the largest providers of teachers in the state and offers not only degrees in teaching but in the field of psychology as well. There are numerous specializations within the College of Education and Allied Professions to students seeking both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The program has won numerous awards and is consistently ranked as one of top teaching programs in the country.
Most Popular Fields of Study
It should be noted that admission to WCU does not guarantee admission to all programs. Many programs have separate admission requirements and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all application requirements of the program that they are interested in are met. All undergraduate degree seeking students are required to own a computer.
Admission to Western Carolina University is extremely competitive and begins with a strong academic record. Prospective students should begin the process by completing the online application. Be sure to complete the correct one as there are several options depending on student status and the program that is being applied for. Next, all applicants are required to submit high school transcripts showing completion of core college preparatory classes. WCU assesses and weighs the academic record using all the information that is available including class rank, grades in core subjects and performance in honors or advanced placement classes. Grades in college level classes are also considered if the student was dual enrolled while they were in high school. Students will need to have SAT or ACT scores sent to WCU in order to complete the application packet.
Because admission to WCU has become so competitive, they offer several different types of admission. Standard admission is for students who are competitive academically. There are two deadlines for standard admission; February 1 and March 1. There is also Honors College Admission, Academic Success Program Admission and Spring Entry Program Admission. Because there are several admissions paths, most decisions come after the deadline for regular admission so that the university can both carefully consider each application and also monitor how many invitations are being accepted so that they know how many spots are still available.
Students transferring from another college or university and international students wanting to attend Western Carolina University have different admissions requirements that may vary on a case by case basis. Refer to the university for more information.
Western Carolina University requires that all graduate students have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a good GPA. The degree should be related to the graduate program that the student is applying for. Some programs will make an exception to this rule, but the student will be required to take undergraduate classes to build competency. Acceptable scores on the appropriate graduate school entrance exam are required as well. Recommendations will also be required but vary by program.
As with undergraduate admissions, there are different requirements for transfer students or international students and those applicants should contact the university for requirements.
There are several different types of financial aid available to students at WCU. Student may receive merit-based and need-based scholarships, grants, federally subsidized loans, work-study programs and graduate student assistantships and fellowships. There is also financial aid available for study abroad programs and military personnel.
The first step to obtaining financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) which is available online starting in January. It is recommended that students complete this form as soon as possible in order to be eligible for all forms of financial aid as some scholarships are available in limited amounts and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Student Financial Aid Details
The Western Carolina Catamounts offer a wide variety of sports. Their colors are purple and gold and they are an NCAA Division I club that plays in the Southern Conference. The Catamounts have fifteen varsity teams including men’s and women’s basketball, track and field, golf and cross country. Men have the additional options of baseball and football while women may also choose from soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.
The Catamounts have a huge, long-standing rivalry with the Appalachian State football team. Every year the two teams fight it out in the Battle for the Old Mountain Jug, a moonshine-like jug that is painted with both teams’ colors and mascots. The winner has been awarded the jug since 1976.
Completed in 1986, The Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center is the headquarters of Catamount Athletics and houses the main arena where both basketball teams and the volleyball team play as well as handball and racquetball courts, a full auxiliary gym complete with court and the football and baseball/softball locker rooms. The Ramsey Center regularly hosts receptions and dinners and is the local venue for concerts and performances. Such acts as Chicago, Lady Antebellum, Aerosmith and the Los Angeles Ballet have performed at the Center. The building is very flexible in that it has movable curtains and stages and can be transformed from a sports arena to an auditorium with ease.
Western Carolina University also sponsors several club sports including an equestrian club, fencing, cycling and ballroom dancing, as well as intramural sports including basketball, flag football and volleyball so that students may choose from a variety of activities.
Additional School Information
The Pride of the Mountains is Western Carolina’s marching band and is the largest marching band in the Carolinas and Tennessee. The band consistently has nearly four hundred members and is nationally recognized as one of the top marching bands in the country. They have been featured as the special guest at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis and were selected as one of the top five bands in the nation by the College Band Directors National Association. The band also won the 2009 Sudler Trophy which is awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation and was invited to the 2011 Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California. The band is open to all WCU students and sixty percent of its members are non-music majors.
Western Carolina University also offers a diverse array of options for students that want to participate in various media forums. The university has its own newspaper, magazine, newsletter, journal and radio station. It also hosts its own podcast (WCU on iTunes) and publishes the Tuskasegee Valley Historical Review which is a graduate history journal that is published annually.
- Western Carolina University. Western Carolina University. 2011. Web. 13 May 2011.
- Western Carolina: The Official Site for Catamount Athletics. Western Carolina University. 2011. Web. 13 May 2011.
- “Western Carolina University.” The Princeton Review. The Princeton Review. 2011. Web. 13 May 2011.