Colleges of the Year: Appalachian State

This regional university throws the book at freshmen to get them on the same page

As he helped his son Rich move into his dorm at Appalachian State University last month, Bruce Withrow, 52, remembered how he and his classmates were greeted at another North Carolina university 33 years earlier, when baby boomers were swelling enrollments. "We've got too many of you here," an administrator told them. "And we're going to get rid of a bunch of you." That's a far cry from the message that Rich and other incoming students get at Appalachian. "All of you have the ability to do well here," Joe Watts, an associate vice chancellor, assured a group of freshmen. "You'll...

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