Appalachian welcomes more than 3,000 freshmen

Sam Adler of Cary moved into East Hall Aug. 17, a backpack slung over one shoulder and a guitar case over the other. Time to start college.

"I'm excited," said the incoming freshman, who said he choose Appalachian State University because of its campus atmosphere. "I like the smaller school size and the way professors will be helpful to me in class."

Adler was among more than 3,000 freshmen who moved onto campus for the Fall 2012 semester. Classes began Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Nearly 14,000 students applied for entry into the Class of 2016. This year's freshman class is one of the best yet at Appalachian, according to administrators.

"It's been a successful recruiting year. The average ACT score, high school grade point average and percentage of underrepresented students for this incoming freshman class are the highest in Appalachian's history. The average SAT score is the highest we've had in the past three years, and we've had record applications from transfer students," Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Gonzalez said.

Appalachian has about 950 transfer students this fall, which brings total enrollment to well over 17,000, including both undergraduate and graduate students.

Besides North Carolina, this year's freshmen come primarily from Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland and Florida. The top five N.C. counties are Wake, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth and Union.

Their top indicated majors, if they have decided, are nursing, education, biology, pre-med, psychology, criminal justice, marketing, computer science, environmental science and exercise science.

All freshmen are required to live on campus. About 6,000 students live in Appalachian's 21 residence halls this year, with other students living within walking distance or a short commute via AppalCART public transportation system.

Ten-story Summit Hall is the newest residence hall—and tallest building—on campus. It offers the best view of campus, one sophomore Melinda Hodnett of Raleigh calls "breathtaking."

"When I first got moved into my room all I wanted to do was look out the window," the honors student said. But she's more excited to start classes, especially those related to her major, which is psychology.

What's her advice for new students adjusting to campus life? "Get to know the people around you. Keep your door open and introduce yourself—that's how you can make some amazing friends," she said.

"I love that at this university I don't feel like a number, but like a student who is really wanted here," she continued. "The people at Appalachian are excited to be here and are excited to have others be here. I don't regret this decision for a minute."

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