7 Distinguished Colleges In Appalachia

Appalachia spans many states, from Pennsylvania to Mississippi. Whether you have roots in the area or wish to be somewhere filled with natural beauty and historical significance, there are many reasons to attend college in the area. In no particular order, this list highlights some outstanding institutions of higher education in the Appalachian region.

The #1 entry is Davis & Elkins College. An affiliate of the Presbyterian Church, this school defines its central values as human dignity, social responsibility, participatory governance, and the unity of the intellectual, social, and spiritual dimensions of life. The institution is located in Elkins, West Virginia.

Davis & Elkin's campus is in the center of an outdoor recreation area, which offers numerous diversions for students during their leisure hours, such as horseback riding, caving, hiking, camping, whitewater rafting, and more. At the Robbins-McFadden Fitness Center, a pool and workout area are open to both the student body and the public.

Coming in at #2, we find the West Virginia Institute of Technology, located in Beckley, a short drive from the capital city of Charleston. Built in 1918, the college's Carter Hall houses classrooms, computer labs, athletic training rooms, and an auditorium for large meetings and events. A campus within the West Virginia University system, WVU Tech serves more than 1,700 students representing more than 30 states and 25 countries.

Several of WVU Tech's engineering, computer science, and technology programs are ABET-accredited. The school's undergraduate engineering program has been ranked as one of the top 100 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Many student clubs are available, as are intramural sports, on- and off-campus entertainment, and access to outdoor recreation.

Next up, at #3, we have Alderson Broaddus University. Overlooking the Tygart River Valley in Philippi, West Virginia, the school is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the West Virginia Baptist Convention. The University offers many academic programs, including biology, nursing, business administration, exercise science, and criminal justice.

For student-athletes, there are a number of sports to choose from, such as lacrosse, football, softball, and wrestling. The Rex Pyles Arena houses locker rooms, coaches' offices, an athletic training area, a weight room, a pool, a dance studio, and much more. The stadium, intended for multiple sports, has individual locker spaces and lights for evening games.

For #4, we present Berea College. Located in the eponymous city in Kentucky, the school aims to offer higher education to academically promising individuals with limited economic resources. It awards every student a Tuition Promise Scholarship so that no Berea undergraduate ever pays fees to attend the College.

Founded in 1855, Berea is the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. Its Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service focuses on community engagement. Students serve in volunteer programs, facilitate academic service-learning courses, and work at local non-profit organizations and schools.

The #5 entry is the University of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1787, it is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States. As members of a public research university, Pitt undergraduates can engage in research, scholarship, and creative projects with faculty. Students, alumni, and faculty members have won Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, Rhodes Scholarships, and NCAA championships, among many other honors.

The college's Outside the Classroom Curriculum is a collection of experiences, programs, and events at Pitt that helps students make the most of their collegiate experience, while giving them an edge when they graduate and enter the job market. The University also has several graduate programs in fields such as business, law, and medicine.

At #6, we get the University of Pikeville, a higher education institution of Central Appalachia. Founded in 1889, UPIKE contains the only college of optometry in Kentucky. Students enrolled in its program can participate in specialized clinical opportunities serving patients in need.

The University's College of Osteopathic Medicine is ranked second among all D.O.- and M.D.-granting medical schools in the US for graduates entering primary care residencies. Other academic programs at UPIKE include mathematics, religion, elementary education, and criminal justice.

Rounding out our list at #7 is Kentucky Mountain Bible College. Located in Jackson, the school focuses on traditional Biblical values, spiritual character, a caring family atmosphere, a passion for holy living, and rigorous academic standards. Undergraduates are assigned "field ministry" projects that are intended to provide job experience.

According to College Compare, the institute is a top school in the state for religious studies. Its programs include various majors, including church leadership, missional Christianity, and community spiritual formation. For students who might be juggling multiple responsibilities and require more flexibility, the College offers online classes.