UNC Asheville Featured in The Princeton Review’s “Best 389 Colleges for 2024”

August 25, 2023

UNC Asheville has once again solidified its standing as a premier institution of higher education, earning prominent placements in The Princeton Review’s annual college rankings.

Only a select 15 percent of America’s 2,600 four-year colleges are featured in the book, underscoring UNC Asheville’s distinctive attributes. The rankings are derived from The Princeton Review’s analysis of data collected through surveys conducted with 2,000 college administrators and 165,000 students attending these institutions.

The University’s excellence in health services, conservation, and civic engagement helped earn impressive rankings in the 2024 edition. These include:

#5 Best Health Services
#6 Green Matters: Everyone Cares About Conservation
#6 Most Politically Active Students
#14 Most Engaged in Community Service
#19 LGBTQ-Friendly

Jay Cutspec, director of Health and Counseling at UNC Asheville, said he is particularly proud of the health services ranking. He credits the staff of UNC Asheville’s Health and Counseling Center (HCC) for creating a nurturing environment as the reason for the high placement.

“Health care services are very driven by the competency and empathy of the staff,” said Cutspec. “This ranking is a reflection of the quality staff that we have and their commitment to the campus community.”

Students take full advantage of the Health and Counseling Center, which provides medical, mental health, psychiatric and health promotion services, free of charge. Their health insurance does not impact their ability to utilize these on-campus services. The HCC is designed to promote and maintain student health to maximize overall wellbeing and academic success.

Wellness efforts extend to supporting student-athletes as well.

The #BeBulldogBrave campaign is dedicated to fostering a culture of wellbeing across UNC Asheville’s 16 Division I sports. By prioritizing mental health alongside sports medicine, strength training and nutrition, student-athletes attain peak performance — both physically and mentally. This includes education and training for coaches and staff, as well as individual meetings with student-athletes to coordinate care and sport psychology services.

Additionally, UNC Asheville’s commitment to environmental stewardship led to its recognition as one of the Most Green Colleges, boasting a perfect score of 99 in the Green Rating and earning a place on the 2024 Green Honor Roll.

The editorial team at The Princeton Review commended UNC Asheville for its “outstanding academic programs” and its dedication to “cause-driven activities like food distribution events and zero waste contests.”

Drawing from the insights of surveyed students, Princeton Review also praised the University’s “strong STEM and liberal arts programs” which are complemented by intimate class sizes that facilitate personalized attention from professors.

Additional student testimonials emphasized the sense of belonging at UNC Asheville, describing a student body that is “conscientious when it comes to social, political, and environmental” issues, with many working to “make positive changes to the campus culture and society at large” and professors who “create an amazing, welcoming environment,” culminating in an education that’s “nothing short of phenomenal.”

Campus setting also plays a critical role in creating student community. The “dorm balconies, the quad, and the botanical gardens are wonderful spaces to spend time in nature by yourself or with friends,” one student said, and to “play frisbee or hang around in hammocks.” Surrounding campus are “many national forests” where students “go hiking a lot” or enjoy swimming, kayaking, fishing, and rock climbing together. Nearby downtown Asheville provides a wealth of music venues and galleries to “see small bands play” and “look at different art and stores.”

As one student put it, the campus community is dedicated to figuring out how to “best uphold our values and respect for each other, the greater world, and the environment.”

“I’m very proud to be a Bulldog and serve and interact with this empathetic, driven, and creative community,” another student said.

UNC Asheville’s profile and ranking lists in The Best 389 Colleges are posted here.