Lees-McRae College, a Presbyterian school located in the remote scenery of northwestern North Carolina, was founded as an all-girls high school in 1899. Though the institution is now coeducational, Less-McRae remains one of the few colleges to be named after two women, and in 2005, the school became the first expansion site for the New Opportunity School of Women, which seeks to educate and employ women in the Appalachia region. Today, student living is multifaceted, offering fraternities and sororities, intramural and collegiate sports, performing arts, and a variety of other clubs.
The campus is located in the small town of Banner Elk, where an abundance of student housing can be found. The town, with under 1,000 residents, is a peaceful setting for a college apartment, set 3,700 feet above sea level in Beech Mountain. The pristine forests and nearby lakes have made Lees-McRae College particularly attractive among students who appreciate outdoor activities.
The college is divided into the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Professional Studies, which together offer 20 majors. These concentrations include Wildlife Rehabilitation and Wildlife Biology, which benefit from the school's location, as well as popular choices such as Performing Arts, Business and Elementary education. Student living also extends to several degree completion programs in partnership with local community colleges. All students enter programs that culminate in a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater degree.
Banner Elk, North Carolina has become known for its wildlife and outdoor sports, which attracts many Lees-McRae College students to off campus housing. Throughout much of the year, hiking, whitewater rafting and fishing are popular activities. About 30 miles away, students can find Watauga Lake, which is open for boating, fishing, wake boarding and water skiing.
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