Magazine article Essence

The Best 50 Colleges FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS

Magazine article Essence

The Best 50 Colleges FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS

Article excerpt

1 PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

"There's so much diversity here." says Allie Burton, 20. a junior majoring in computer science Students have the opportunity to learn from Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize-winning professors, and its alumni-including First Lady Michelle Obama and Supreme Court Justice Soma Sotomayor-have gone on to influential careers. What's more, in 2001. the New Jersey institution began offering financial aid packages with grant money from the university to replace the amount families would have had to borrow in student loans Black students sometimes will have to navigate challenges that come with being in such a prominent institution. Last fall, the student group Black Justice League held a sit-in in the main office building, asking that the university make the campus more welcoming. Princeton quickly responded by creating a committee to assess the students' demands, a move that suggests an environment willing to evolve along with its students' needs

2 HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Harvard is where talented Black students go to succeed. 96 percent of the Black students who enroll earn a bachelor's degree The Cambridge. Massachusetts, school is also where Black students can learn to be leaders. Two years ago. some of them turned to social media, creating the I. Too, Am Harvard campaign to express concerns they had about life on campus. "This is not an anti-Harvard campaign," Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence. the student who organized the project, told reporters at the time "It's us raising our voices and trying to change Harvard for the better " Indeed, the experiences captured in the project rippled across the nation, inspiring students at other highly selective campuses to offer their own versions

3 DUKE UNIVERSITY

"Even though the Black community at Duke was small, it had some of the most brilliant and fascinating people I had ever met." says student Edom Tilahun. 19. about why she chose the university after visiting "They were very engaged in their community and had productive conversations to solve issues on campus and a balanced social life. It was everything I could ask for in a college." Among the research universities that are most selective. Duke, based in Durham, North Carolina, has a high percentage of Black students in its undergraduate population, comprising 10 percent of the students there

4 CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Nestled among the gorges of Ithaca. New York. Cornell University has a long history of having progressive Black people inhabit its space. In 1906. seven Black men founded Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Inc., the first Black intercollegiate fraternity, on Cornell's campus. Further, the school's Ujamaa Residential College, a dormitory/learnmg community that Black students can choose to live in. helps these scholars overcome homesickness. "It was a huge culture shock to come here and then be so isolated." says Noelani Gabriel, 21. a senior majoring in Africana studies But Gabriel says she was able to find a sense of community in Uiamaa Residential College. "I knew that if I needed anything-if I was in trouble, if I was hungry-these people would have my back."

5 FLORIDA AAM UNIVERSITY

With more than 10.000 students. FAMU is one of the largest HBCUs. Even more impressive is the fact that though nearly 92 percent of the student body comes from lowermcome backgrounds, the average salary graduates earn is $45,000 This placed FAMU third in the nation in a ranking of social mobility

6 SPELMAN COLLEGE

Spelman's reputation as one of the best colleges for Black women has been heralded since its inception in 1881. According to one analysis. Spelman is producing just E> as many Black female founders of tech start-ups as prominent universities such as Stanford. "I often hear that there are not enough African-Americans interested in computer science." said Mya Havard, 21. a Junior who is majoring in mathematics. "At Spelman. where there is an all-Black hackathon and robotics team. …

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