University Benchmarks

Ranking the Top 100 Academic Universities ranks the universities that attract and produce the best academic students.

There are many 'University Rankings' on the internet. Most rankings rely heavily on subjective metrics like 'reputation' and 'selectivity'. UniversityBenchmarks is purely an academic ranking model. The rankings are based on the reported academic and financial metrics of the colleges. There are no subjective factors like 'reputation' that are used. The calculations are performed using normal statistical models. All universities are considered equal and there is no weighting of the ranking categories.

The university 2014-2015 dataset is comprised of over 2400 US Universities & Colleges and comes from multiple sources using the most favorable reported metrics for a university.

The universities are ranked against each other in each filtered set. It is an iterative process whereby lower ranking universities are removed and the set is re-ranked until the final set of 100 is reached.

Selecting 'Rank Top 10 Only' will show the Top 10 for each filter category ranked against each other.

The academic rankings of the universities within the major conferences (ACC, Big12, Big10, Pac12, SEC) are available.

The 2017 rankings will be available in August.

  • It is possible for universities to be ranked higher/lower than one another depending on the filter set.
  • Conference averages are based on the top 8 schools in the conference.
  • Public Schools are highlighted
  • Clicking on the university's seal icon will take you to the university's website.

Ranking Fields

Rank - Overall rank based on the average of the ranking fields (Scores, Difficulty, Smartest, Brainpower, Faculty and Research).

Scores - SAT & ACT scores. The university's test scores are corrected for dropout rate when score level is Good, Excellent or Elite. This will slightly boost scores for highly competitive schools.

Difficulty - Academic rigor is estimated based on how difficult it is to get an "A" at the university. An estimated GPA at the university is calculated for the average US Student. University grade inflation, average GPA, and STEM density are factors.

Smartest - University that can field the highest scoring students based on the average US University size. Higher Smartest Rank = "Smartest for the Average University"

Brainpower - The average "smartest" rank using 5 reference populations (CalTech, MIT, Stanford, GaTech and Berkeley). Higher Brainpower Rank = "Higher Density of Smart Students". The university ranked higher can mathematically field 'X' number of smarter students than universities ranked below them.

Faculty - Ranking based on number of % of faculty with awards and academy membership.

Research - Ranking is achieved by iteratively ranking the average of 3 research metrics (r-pop, r-stem, r-other ). The lowest ranked college is then removed and the new set is re-ranked. The result is the schools with potentially the strongest research environments per student bubble up to the top regardless of size or research budget.

  • r-pop - Average research spending for student population
  • r-stem - STEM research spending
  • r-other - Other/Medical/Health research spending

Salary ROI - "Salary Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. Using the undergraduate average starting and mid-career salaries, the rank is based on a 20yr salary accumulation (with raises) minus the cost of a 4 year education at the university. Salaries are normalized across the country using the average COLA for the university's geo-economic region (7 regions total). The COLA effect is diminished by the level of the university. Elite, Excellent and Good universities have a greater distribution of graduates across the country and a diminishing COLA effect. The resultant value would be the graduate's spending potential over the 20yr period.

Overall ROI - "Overall Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. The average of Overall Rank and Salary ROI. This would be the "Best academic bang for the buck". Colleges that produce the best education, at the best price, with the best return will be ranked higher.

Color Key - ranks are colorized as follows 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 50 100

The 2016 University Academic Rankings

Appalachian State University

2016 University Academic Rankings

Appalachian State University /ˌæpəˈlætʃən/ (also referred to as Appalachian, App State, App, ASU) is a comprehensive (Master's L), public, coeducational university located in Boone, North Carolina, United States.

Appalachian State was founded as a teacher's college in 1899 by brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty. It expanded to include other programs in 1967, and joined the University of North Carolina system in 1971. It is the sixth largest institution in the system with about 16,000 undergraduate and 1,600 graduate students. 174 undergraduate and 37 graduate majors are offered, as well as a doctoral degree in educational leadership.

The university has been ranked among the top 10 Southern Master's Universities since the U.S. News and World Report's America's Best Colleges Guide began publication in 1986.


Appalachian State University began in 1899 when a group of citizens in Watauga County, under the leadership of Blanford B. Dougherty and his brother Dauphin D. Dougherty, began a movement to educate teachers in northwestern North Carolina. Land was donated by Daniel B. Dougherty, father of the leaders in the enterprise, and by J. F. Hardin. On this site a wood frame building, costing $1,000, was erected by contributions from citizens of the town and county. In the fall of 1899, the Dougherty brothers, acting as co-principals, began the school which was named Watauga Academy. The first year saw 53 students enrolled in three grades.

In 1903, after interest in the school had spread to adjoining counties, D. D. Doughterty was convinced the state would fund institutions established to train teachers. He traveled to the state capital, Raleigh, after drafting a bill. W. C. Newland of Caldwell County introduced the bill in the North Carolina Legislature to make this a state school, with an appropriation for maintenance and for building. Captain E. F. Lovill of Watauga County, R. B. White of Franklin County, Clyde Hoey of Cleveland County and E. J. Justice of McDowell County spoke in favor of the measure. On March 9, 1903, the bill became law, and the Appalachian Training School for Teachers was established. The school opened on October 5, 1903 with $2,000 from the state and 325 students.

For 22 years there was a period of steady growth, academic development, and valuable service to the State. In 1925, the legislature changed the name to the Appalachian State Normal School and appropriated additional funding for maintenance and permanent improvement. Four years later, in 1929, the school became a four-year degree granting institution and was renamed Appalachian State Teachers College. Over 1,300 students were enrolled in degree programs offered for primary grades education, physical education, math, English, science, and history.

Appalachian attained national standards by becoming accredited by the American Association for Teacher Education in 1939, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1942. In 1948 a Graduate School was formed. Dr. Dougherty retired in 1955, after 56 years of serving the school. J. D. Rankin became interim president until Dr. William H. Plemmons was installed. Plemmons lead from 1955 to 1969, and his administration oversaw the addition of new buildings as the campus expanded and enrollment grew to nearly 5,000 students.

Appalachian was transformed from a single-purpose teacher's college into a multipurpose regional university and Appalachian State Teacher's College became Appalachian State University in 1967. Growth continued in the 1970s to around 9,500 students and 550 faculty. Afterward, four degree granting undergraduate colleges were created: Arts and Sciences, Business, Fine and Applied Arts, and Education. Dr. Herbert Wey succeeded Plemmons as president in 1969 and was named chancellor ... [more on wikipedia]

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Appalachian State University", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

Appalachian State University Details

Appalachian State University Details
detail value
stateNorth Carolina
conferenceSun Belt Conference
overall ROI rank[228
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Appalachian State University?

1. number 230 for Academics.

2. number 228 for ROI (Return on Investment).

What universities are similar to Appalachian State University?

1. West Chester University of Pennsylvania

2. James Madison University

3. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

4. Bowling Green State University

5. University of Oregon

6. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

7. Texas Christian University

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Appalachian State University National Academic Rankings

Appalachian State University National Academic Rankings
category rank scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI
Div1 Public744780636691918992
Sun Belt Conference4152499129
South East Region455679282848477663
State of North Carolina89145599158
Top Ten Top250230210237153150153159191228
Top Ten Sun Belt Conference4152488107
Top Ten State of North Carolina7910556687

Peer Universities / Similar Universities

(mathematically similar student body, size, academics, stem, salary... etc)

Appalachian State University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Appalachian State University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
West Chester University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaPennsylvania State Athletic Co...PublicAboveAverage315361
James Madison UniversityVirginiaColonial Athletic AssociationPublicAboveAverage196170
CUNY Bernard M Baruch CollegeNew YorkCity University of New York At...PublicAboveAverage135182
Bowling Green State UniversityOhioMid American ConferencePublicAverage442351
University of OregonOregonPacific 12 ConferencePublicAboveAverage174221
University of Wisconsin-WhitewaterWisconsinWisconsin Intercollegiate Ath ConfPublicAverage479363
Texas Christian UniversityTexasBig Twelve ConferencePrivateAboveAverage214181
Xavier UniversityOhioBig East ConferencePrivateAboveAverage436336
Harding UniversityArkansasGreat American ConferencePrivateAboveAverage395316
Biola UniversityCaliforniaGolden State Athletic ConferencePrivateAboveAverage397467
Loyola University MarylandMarylandPatriot LeaguePrivateAboveAverage249245
University of RedlandsCaliforniaSouthern California Intercoll ...PrivateAboveAverage380460
Dallas Baptist UniversityTexasHeartland ConferencePrivateAboveAverage408342
Drake UniversityIowaPioneer Football League / Miss...PrivateAboveAverage263136
Samford UniversityAlabamaSouthern ConferencePrivateAboveAverage431272
Stetson UniversityFloridaPioneer Football League / Atla...PrivateAboveAverage344395
Ball State UniversityIndianaMid American ConferencePublicAverage337326
St John's University-New YorkNew YorkBig East ConferencePrivateAverage309444
University of North Carolina at GreensboroNorth CarolinaSouthern ConferencePublicAverage449439
University of MississippiMississippiSoutheastern ConferencePublicAverage232197
Missouri State University-SpringfieldMissouriMissouri Valley ConferencePublicAverage301266
Grand Valley State UniversityMichiganGreat Lakes Intercollegiate At...PublicAverage247239
Northern Arizona UniversityArizonaBig Sky ConferencePublicAverage336333
The University of AlabamaAlabamaSoutheastern ConferencePublicAboveAverage175112
Indiana University-BloomingtonIndianaBig Ten ConferencePublicAboveAverage10292
Hofstra UniversityNew YorkColonial Athletic AssociationPrivateAboveAverage231298
State University of New York at New PaltzNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicAboveAverage341457
Quinnipiac UniversityConnecticutMetro Atlantic Athletic ConferencePrivateAverage353433
Loyola Marymount UniversityCaliforniaWest Coast ConferencePrivateAboveAverage218233
Duquesne UniversityPennsylvaniaNortheast Conference / Atlanti...PrivateAboveAverage346374
Georgia College and State UniversityGeorgiaPeach Belt ConferencePublicAboveAverage334352
Seton Hall UniversityNew JerseyBig East ConferencePrivateAboveAverage365390
University of DenverColoradoThe Summit LeaguePrivateAboveAverage204186
Saint Joseph's UniversityPennsylvaniaAtlantic 10 ConferencePrivateAboveAverage398372
Monmouth UniversityNew JerseyBig South Conference / Metro A...PrivateAverage478477
Butler UniversityIndianaPioneer Football League / Big ...PrivateAboveAverage349204
Providence CollegeRhode IslandBig East ConferencePrivateAboveAverage286350
Saint Edward's UniversityTexasHeartland ConferencePrivateAboveAverage418480
Catholic University of AmericaWashington DCOld Dominion Athletic Conferen...PrivateAboveAverage381458
Champlain CollegeVermontNo Conference AffiliationPrivateAboveAverage475497
Bethel UniversityMinnesotaMinnesota Intercollegiate Ath ConfPrivateAboveAverage423428
Saint Mary's College of CaliforniaCaliforniaWest Coast ConferencePrivateAboveAverage461440
Point Loma Nazarene UniversityCaliforniaPacific West ConferencePrivateAboveAverage357440
Stonehill CollegeMassachusettsNortheast 10 ConferencePrivateAboveAverage467469
John Brown UniversityArkansasSooner Athletic ConferencePrivateAboveAverage489421
Franciscan University of SteubenvilleOhioAllegheny Mountain Collegiate ...PrivateAboveAverage410310
Benedictine CollegeKansasHeart of America Athletic Conf...PrivateAboveAverage473490
Saint Anselm CollegeNew HampshireNortheast 10 ConferencePrivateAboveAverage443423
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityIllinoisCollege Conference of Illinois...PrivateAboveAverage298225
Gordon CollegeMassachusettsCommonwealth Coast ConferencePrivateAboveAverage394475

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

Appalachian State University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Appalachian State University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestryNew YorkNo Conference AffiliationPublicAboveAverage229244
University of Missouri-St LouisMissouriGreat Lakes Valley ConferencePublicAboveAverage242211
Loyola University ChicagoIllinoisMissouri Valley ConferencePrivateAboveAverage228206
University of WyomingWyomingMountain West ConferencePublicAboveAverage250152
University of St ThomasMinnesotaMinnesota Intercollegiate Ath ConfPrivateAboveAverage238156
Mercer UniversityGeorgiaSouthern ConferencePrivateAboveAverage237242
University of New MexicoNew MexicoMountain West ConferencePublicAverage265153
University of LouisvilleKentuckyAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicAverage258224
Colonial Athletic Association (Low)-Colonial Athletic Association-Conf-AboveAverage-214
University of San FranciscoCaliforniaWest Coast ConferencePrivateAboveAverage226241
North Dakota State UniversityNorth DakotaMissouri Valley Conference / T...PublicAverage261196
University of MississippiMississippiSoutheastern ConferencePublicAverage232197
Kansas State UniversityKansasBig Twelve ConferencePublicAverage249168
Hope CollegeMichiganMichigan Intercollegiate Athle...PrivateAboveAverage244227
Georgia State UniversityGeorgiaSun Belt ConferencePublicAverage253230
Ohio UniversityOhioMid American ConferencePublicAverage215174
Bentley UniversityMassachusettsNortheast 10 ConferencePrivateGood232199
Furman UniversitySouth CarolinaSouthern ConferencePrivateGood232192
Liberty UniversityVirginiaBig South ConferencePrivateAverage230248
University of Puget SoundWashingtonNorthwest ConferencePrivateGood227223
Trinity CollegeConnecticutNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateGood215225
Trinity UniversityTexasSouthern Collegiate Athletic C...PrivateGood212170