Black prospective college students in America face a number of unique challenges compared to their white counterparts. For black Americans, the idea that college is in grasp may be relatively recent. Black families are less likely to have a history of college degrees than white families, and black students face a number of opportunities for discrimination both before and after being accepted. The graduation rate for black students in the U.S. remains about 20 points below that of white students, according to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
Not all colleges are equally welcoming, and even the best college can be a negative experience for black students if it’s unwelcoming to minorities. Only recent, a Yale student made headlines when a white student called police on her for napping in a student space. An unwelcoming environment will put black students at a disadvantage, lowering their chance of successfully completing the program.
Picking the right college, therefore, becomes a challenge of finding a place that provides the necessary educational support, financial support and community support to allow them to successfully reach graduation.
Here are three excellent options for black students looking for a unique educational experience.
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman is the top Historically Black Community University in the United States, making it a top pick for many black female students. The school is a women’s college, which means it’s a welcoming place for high-achieving black women looking for a welcoming and academically rigorous environment without the pressure of male students who can be a distraction or point of concern.
Spelman is a private liberal arts college with a relatively small student to faculty ratio of 11-to-1, a 71 percent graduation rate and an acceptance rate in the low-30s. The school ticks off a lot of traditional boxes for high-ranking schools, making it a favorite for black high school girls with top 10 percent GPAs. However, because it is a private school, tuition can be out of reach for many families without significant financial aid, and only 33 percent of an average student’s need is met by school aid.
Howard University is perhaps one of the best-known HBCUs in the country. Unlike Spelman, it’s co-ed, which means male students can also benefit from its rigorous academic program with a quality paper writing service, and the student population is five times larger than Spelman’s, making it a larger school with more facilities and resources. The female-to-male ratio is seven to three, however, which means women still dominate the campus.
Howard boasts notable alumni like Toni Morrison and Ta-Nehisi Coates, and produces some of the most black doctorates in the country. The school makes an effort to provide some financial aid, but as a private institution, it too will be hard on the budget.
Pine Manor College
Pine Manor College is not an HBCU, unlike Howard and Spelman. However, black students make up more than 40 percent of the student body, and graduate at a rate of 56 percent, higher than white students at school. It’s been rated one of the most racially diverse liberal arts colleges in the country, so even though it is not an HBCU, it’s a welcoming environment for black students.
It’s also the smallest college in the list, with enrollment at just over 450 students. Originally founded as a women’s institution, today the school is co-ed and offers nine majors in disciplines ranging from biology to business administration to social and political systems. The school also hosts an MFA program in creative writing with a variety of focuses.
There are a number of excellent options for black students looking for a unique educational experience. From private liberal arts colleges to major research-based state universities, black students have more options than ever for welcoming and academically rigorous environments. Selecting a college comes down to determining which school would be the best fit for a student’s particular aspirations.