Despite the pandemic preventing in-person learning and producing unforeseen educational dilemmas, Spelman College is experiencing an unprecedented surge of applicants. 

The Atlanta
HBCU reported a historical flood after receiving over 11,000 applications for the 2021-2022 academic year. This number demonstrates a 20% increase in the applicant pool from last year and the highest in Spelman’s history, according to the school's website.

The private institution, founded in 1881 for Black women exclusively, currently has an undergraduate population of 2,120 and was ranked 54th in 2021’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, according to  U.S. News & World Report. 

Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. said she’s excited about the upward trend in applications. 

“The increased interest in Spelman is a testament to the College’s reputation of graduating Black women with a competitive edge who rise to leadership roles across industries and impact positive change in their communities,” she said. 

“Our admissions team has done an excellent job of sharing our stellar outcomes with prospective students from across the nation. We are excited that these bright young minds are seizing the opportunity to experience our unique liberal arts education by applying to Spelman,” she added. 

Spelman, which is a part of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the largest association of higher learning for historically black institutions in the world, was also ranked No. 4 in social mobility and the No.1 HBCU in the nation. 

“From founding inaugural Black student organizations at their high schools to advocating for voters’ rights in the 2020 presidential election, this applicant pool has been civically engaged, committed to leadership and dedicated to the very mission of Spelman College,” interim director of admissions Chelsea Holley said.

Spelman offers over 60 organizations on campus including Greek life, the largest student body demographic and a wellness program for students. 

According to Spelman's website, the college has seen an increase in applications since 2014. 

In addition to Spelman’s applications skyrocketing this season, other highly accredited universities like Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Southern California have also noticed a rise in submissions. A plethora of schools has allowed applicants to opt out of providing SAT and ACT scores, creating what the Wall Street Journal described as potentially the most chaotic selection experiment in American higher education since the end of World War II. 

As for Spelman, Holley acknowledged the significance of the college’s historic milestone, and how the school’s legacy has contributed to its appeal.  

“Students are drawn to Spelman because of its strong programs and its legacy of producing inspirational leaders. The story of Spelman is one that invokes pride, belonging and historical significance,” she said. “We have been intentional about sharing the rich tradition and legacy of Spelman, while also highlighting our ability to produce the next generation of leaders in a tech-forward society. We have consistently evolved and managed to remain a pace setter in the education and professional development of women of African descent.”