General

What's the weather really like?
On a typical day, the weather in Boone can change by the hour; summer showers can pop up quickly, so it's never a bad idea to check the forecast before heading out. Summers in Boone are beautiful and the mild weather often lasts from April to early October. Leaves begin to change in August and are in their prime in September/October. Once winter arrives (typically in November/December), you should expect cold temperatures and a low wind-chill. The amount of snow varies from year to year. Having said that, the DOT is always prepared to plow public roads.

If you're looking for up-to-the-minute coverage of conditions across Watauga County, you should "like" Watauga Roads and Conditions on Facebook, or visit their site at Wataugaroads.com. Ray's Weather is also a popular site for High Country conditions.

What are some local restaurants or bars grad students go to?
If you like to eat – as many of us do – Boone offers a ton of restaurants. There are many in the downtown area and a number on the main strip of 321 near campus. GSAS – the student senate – has put together a list you should check out. It's also a good idea to ride around the strip and explore on your own; there are a lot of outlets that contain restaurants, grocery stores, and miscellaneous services. Popular bars for grads have karaoke and trivia nights, so it's a good idea to check out their Facebook or web page to see what they're currently up to. GSAS has also made a list of some of the bars' activities.

What type of housing do most grad students get?
There is no on-campus housing for graduate students. There are numerous apartment companies and locals that rent out to students. Many of the larger companies are primarily occupied by undergraduates, so be mindful of the type of complex you'd like to live in. A good starting point is to go to Appalachian's off-campus housing overview. There are also listings on Boone's Craigslist and the GSAS Facebook page. Many students find potential roommates this way.

What's the deal with parking?
As in any college town, parking is a scarce resource. During the summer, you should receive an email discussing when parking passes will be available online. They are assigned on a first-come first-serve basis, with graduate students getting first "dibs" when the registration opens up. Note you will only be allowed to choose from certain lots on campus. Picking a lot suitable for you depends on which building you will spend most of your time in. The locations closest to campus typically require a key card and are for faculty/staff only. If you missed the registration deadline – but have a graduate assistantship – you can still obtain a GA pass from the parking department. Check out their website for parking maps and more information. Some students also find local companies that rent parking to students. A list of these is also found on the aforementioned webpage.

How do I go about finding a job if I don't already have an assistantship?
If you have not been offered an assistantship within your own department, there are a limited number of on-campus departments that post positions for graduate students. Check the assistantships section of our site for current openings. In addition, in light of the number of restaurants and establishments in Boone, it's a good idea to check Craigslist and explore the area to find places hiring.

What are the surrounding towns?

  • About 15 minutes south on 321 is the quaint town of Blowing Rock. If you need a place to get away or are looking for even more restaurants to check out, consider heading over there sometime.
  • About 30 minutes from Boone (taking NC 105) will get you to the town of Banner Elk. It is also home to Lees-McRae College.
  • The city of Wilkesboro is located about 35 minutes down the mountain if you take 421. Wilkesboro is a large area and receives the national spotlight during its annual Merlefest.
  • About 40 minutes from Boone – past Blowing Rock but on 321 – is the city of Lenoir. A fun fact is that Google has a server "farm" there!

Are there any local places that offer discounts for students?
A number of establishments offer discounts if you have your AppCard. Examples include Smartcuts, Appalachian Ski Mountain, and Sugar Mountain Resort. The undergraduate SGA has also put together a list with the local restaurants that offer discounts.

Are there any organizations for grad students?
The primary organizing body for graduate students is GSAS; each department has a senator that votes at its meetings. The Senate offers a voice for graduate students, grants for travel/research, and a number of socials across all departments. GSAS meets monthly and welcomes all to attend its meetings and socials; be sure to like them on Facebook! If you're in an education-related program, consider getting involved with HESA, the Higher Education Student Association. In fact, a number of programs have their own organizations in-house, so be on the lookout for that. In addition, all graduate students are welcome to join the number of undergraduate clubs and organizations. Check out the directory to see what all you can get involved in.

Do you have any advice for the academic transition from undergraduate to master's level work?
This is certainly subjective, depending on one's background and program of study. Having said that, one should realize that as a graduate student, there is a gradual change in what is expected of you. As an undergraduate you were likely a recipient of knowledge; you may have simply gone to class and fulfilled all necessary requirements for your program. On the other hand, as a graduate student you should no longer have the recipient mentality; you will begin to formulate your own ideas related to your discipline. Indeed, most programs have an exit requirement that requires some sort of product of learning.

In admission, what is the relative importance of test scores, grades, recommendations, essays, experiences, and other requirements?
The answer to this question depends upon the program you are applying for. Contact an admissions representative in the Graduate School for advice about this.

What is the relationship between faculty and graduate students like?
At many universities (especially PhD-granting institutions), master's seeking students are often treated as special undergraduates – most of the attention is reserved for PhD candidates. At Appalachian, graduate students often report that they are treated as colleagues within their department. Expect to develop relationships (and yes, even friendships) with the faculty you work with.

Do grad students eat on campus?
There are two large dining halls on campus: Trivette and Roess. They offer a la carte items for all students and staff. There are also a number of other, smaller eateries sprinkled in certain buildings (like the Student Union) on campus.

What's the scoop on AppalCart buses?
AppalCart is the subsidized local transit that operates buses year-round (with the exception of certain routes during the summer). The wonderful thing about AppalCart is that if winter weather prevents any bus from getting students to campus, all classes are cancelled. The implication is that if you live near a bus-stop, you are essentially guaranteed to be able to get to campus no matter the weather. If you can't, classes are likely canceled. As an aside, drivers are allowed to play music, so expect a fun experience!

What NCAA sports is Appalachian known for?
During the fall, Saturdays at "The Rock" (Appalachian's football stadium) are a big hit. The team is in the Sun Belt Conference and has won a number of championships in the past decades. The town truly comes alive for the games, so get out the grill or find someone to tailgate with! In addition, many sports – including basketball and volleyball – are housed at the Holmes Convocation Center (where you will graduate). Check out more about the NCAA sports offered at the official athletics page.

Is there anything fun to do in or around Boone?
Absolutely! The specific answer to this depends upon your interests. You should check out some of the following sites to get an idea of what's available: Boone Travel Guide, Exploring Boone, and GSAS's list.

Is there WIFI across campus? What do I do if I have computer issues?
If you're in or at least close to any campus building, you should have access to the App State's campus WiFi network. Check out this site for getting connected. In addition to offering online tech support, there is also a walk-in center in Anne Belk Hall (1022) for any computing problem you have (including personal computers).