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Articles / Applying to College / Historically Black School and Other Options for African-American Male with Strong GPA

July 23, 2011

Historically Black School and Other Options for African-American Male with Strong GPA

Question: I am an African-American male. I received a 23 on my ACT (12 on the writing portion), and I have a 3.8 GPA.My dream school is Morehouse College but it is becoming more and more evident that Morehouse is very expensive. I wanted to know if,with my profile, is it possible for me to get into a selective school and actually receive a substantial amount of money? Or if I would get accepted into any at all?

As an African-American male with a high GPA, you should be an attractive candidate at many colleges. You don't say if you come from a disadvantaged background or if either of your parents attended college. If you can answer “yes" to the first or “no" to the second, then admission officials may also allow you some “wiggle room," even if your ACT score is below the typical freshman median.


It sounds like your GPA is at the higher end of the Morehouse applicant pool (especially if you took AP or honors classes) and your ACT score is upper middle. So you may qualify for an “institutional scholarship" (a grant that comes from the college itself). If your family also qualifies for need-based financial aid, that should provide an additional sources of funds. So you may find that Morehouse isn't out of reach for you.

You should also look for “outside scholarships" by completing the questionnaire on trustworthy scholarship-search sites such as www.fastweb.com.

Since you're interested in Morehouse—an Historically Black College—you may be open to other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, too. By applying to several others—including those that are slightly less costly than Morehouse but which still have a national reputation—you will improve your odds of finding an affordable option.

Other HBCU's to consider include (but are not limited to): Hampton U. (Virginia) and Fisk U (Tennessee). Both have admission standards that are similar to Morehouse's but with a somewhat lower price tag.

Howard University is probably the best known of all the HBCU's. Its Washington DC location makes it very popular, but your admission odds should be good, given your high GPA.

Dillard University in New Orleans (a great “college town") has both a lower price tag and lower admission standards than Morehouse and the other schools named above. You should have a strong shot at a merit scholarship there.

You should also be in the running for a full-tuition scholarship at Clark Atlanta University, which is located right next door to Morehouse. (See http://admissions.cau.edu/FinancialAid/ScholarshipInformation/tabid/1740/Default.aspx ) Although the admission standards are not as high as at Morehouse, Clark Atlanta students can take classes at Morehouse (and neighboring Spellman … which is all women :-)). So if you land a big scholarship, it may be worthy of your consideration.

To find other colleges and universities that meet your preferences and might also meet your financial requirements, try your hand at College Confidential's “SuperMatch." Go to http://www.collegeconfidential.com/college_search/ . Select all your preferences for location, majors, etc. Under the “My Scores" heading, be sure to check the box next to where you'll see, “I'm interested in schools where I would be well above average, to increase my financial aid opportunities."

If you specifically want an HBCU, look for the “Historically Black" heading and check, “I'm interested in attending a historically black school."

Your Results list should include a list of places to research further and where your chances of not only getting accepted but also of getting some merit aid should be good.

Happy hunting!

(posted 7/23/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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