Morehouse College – an HBCU where strong academics meet a strong alumni network

Morehouse College is the only historically black 4-year liberal arts college for men and has an impressive roster of alumni,  including Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson. Founded in 1867, this campus features 42 buildings (many of which are historic) on 61 acres near downtown Atlanta. Known as the most prestigious of the HBCU’s, one of Morehouse’s cornerstones is a strong alumni network ready to help with jobs and other opportunities. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Morehouse:

4-year Graduation rate: 33%, 6-year: 54%

Acceptance: 31%

Freshman retention: 85%

Freshmen out of state: 74% 

Most popular majors: business administration, biology, social sciences

Student Community Diversity: 95% Black, 0.5% Latino, 1% International

 

Housing: Students are required to live on campus their first three years, while seniors find their own off-campus housing. Students recommend Graves Hall for freshmen, which is Morehouse’s oldest dorm, built in 1889. Meal plans are required, which not everyone is thrilled about, but dining services has recently expanded to include more fast-food options and a coffee shop. 

 

Academics: Morehouse’s academics can be described as competitive and rigorous where classmates strive to do their best, while at the same time supporting their classmates. The general education program includes coursework in four major disciplines (humanities, natural sciences, math and social sciences), as well as “the unique African and African American heritage on which so much of our modern American culture is built.” To that end, the university hosts a series of campuswide assemblies called the Crown Forum presented by community leaders and national figures from different industries. In order to graduate, students must attend 6 presentations per semester for 6 semesters. 

 

Traditionally, STEM fields at Morehouse have been strong, although business and economics have recently risen in prominence. One of Morehouse’s gems is their engineering 3-2 program, which works in conjunction with Georgia Tech and other larger universities. The cinema, television and emerging media studies major is growing in popularity and a new major in Chinese studies is now available. For the student interested in participating in research, there are plenty of opportunities in the sciences, including a research partnership with NASA. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Davidson, Furman, Howard

 

Social: One of the most celebrated events is homecoming week, which is a joint effort with sister school, Spelman. This event is one of the largest at any of the HBCUs. Morehouse has four fraternities, which attract just 3% of students. Other crowd-drawing events on campus include football games, concerts, movies and religious programs. 

 

The Maroon Tigers compete in Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, with track and field being a recent conference champion. The basketball team has enjoyed some recent success as well. During football season, students road-trip to Hampton, Howard and Tuskegee. 

 

Financial: Morehouse offers need-based merits scholarships and 126 athletic scholarships. Although the tuition and fees are $47,700, the average financial aid package is $28,800. 80% of students receive financial aid.

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University of Tampa offers students plenty of hands-on experience

University of Tampa is a private, residential college with a rich history. The central building, Plant Hall, once housed the Tampa Bay Hotel, a resort built by Henry B. Plant in 1891. The hotel closed in 1931 due to the Great Depression, and two years later became the main building for the relocated University of Tampa (formerly known as Tampa Junior College). UT now has 60 buildings on 110 landscaped acres where you can find cannons from the original harbor fort and the spot of the former Florida State Fair grounds where Babe Ruth hit his longest home run – 630 feet. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about University of Tampa:

4-year Graduation rate: 50%, 6-year: 61%

Acceptance: 56%

Freshman retention: 78%

Freshmen out of state: 80% 

Most popular majors: international business, biology, marketing, marine science

Student Community Diversity: 5% Black, 14% Latino, 9% International

 

Housing: Accommodations vary from private rooms with a shared bathroom, kitchen and common area to studio-style private suites. Nine of the twelve residence halls have been built since 1998 through a massive renovation project. The nearby Barrymore Hotel also houses students with shuttle services to and from campus. 93% of freshmen and about 49% of all undergrads live on campus. 

 

Academics: University of Tampa’s motto is “To be, rather than to seem to be” and offers the hands-on experiences to meet it. Undergraduates can choose from over 200 academic programs in four colleges: College of Arts and Letters; College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education; College of Natural and Health Sciences; and Skyes College of Business. Sykes College of Business has a stock market lab with terminals and plasma screen TVs so students can get the experience of being on a stock market exchange floor. The College of Natural and Health Sciences owns a remote marine science research lab on Tampa Bay, as well as extensive equipment to study the ecosystems of the Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. University of Tampa is also home to an ROTC unit. 

 

UT has liberal arts curriculum requirements including a first year seminar, courses in writing and inquiry, math, natural sciences, humanities and fine arts, social sciences, and global awareness. Another opportunity for UT undergrads is the study abroad program which places students in one of 70 countries; about a quarter of students participate. The Honors Program allows students to study 1:1 with faculty through enrichment and tutorials, internships, research, and classroom to community outreach. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Remington College, University of South Florida, University of Phoenix – West Florida Campus 

 

Social: The University of Tampa Spartans compete in Division II athletics and hold national titles in baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, golf, volleyball, and beach volleyball. The college’s football program folded in 1974 in order to keep the college afloat during a period of financial troubles. The Fitness and Recreation Center has two floors with 60,000 square feet of space and an on-campus aquatic center with a deep swimming section for scuba diving classes. 

 

The percentage of students who go Greek at UT is fairly small, about 6% of men and 11% of women. The most popular campus events include Global Village Simulation, Model UN debates, The MLK Day Service and Student Productions Comedy Shows. And, of course, there are plenty of things to do in surrounding Tampa, no matter what your interests are.

 

Financial: University of Tampa offers both grants and scholarships, however, they offer much more in non-need based than need-based aid.  Although the tuition and fees are $46,000 (tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students), the average financial aid package is $13,400. 90% of students receive financial aid and/or scholarships.

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Randolph College may be coed now, but many traditions still continue

Named #9 of “Top 50 Green Colleges” and receiving many other accolades, Randolph College is situated on a picturesque 100-acre campus in an historic residential area of Lynchburg, Virginia. Students have close access to shopping and entertainment, as well as public transportation, and Washington, D.C. and Virginia Beach are just a short drive away. Founded in 1891 as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Randolph became co-ed in 2007 and men currently make up one-third of undergraduates. 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Randolph:

4-year Graduation rate: 52%, 6-year: 56%

Acceptance: 90%

Freshman retention: 71%

Freshmen out of state: 24% 

Most popular majors: biology, sport/exercise studies, history, psychology

Student Community Diversity: 16% Black, 6% Latino, 3% International

 

Housing: Seventy-six percent of Randolph students live in the dorms where the main drawback is that many of the buildings lack air conditioning. Main Hall is known on campus as “The Hilton” due to being the largest dorm and because of its central location on campus. After the first year, housing is selected by a lottery with the college-owned apartments across the street being the most popular option. 

 

Academics: Randolph offers 33 majors and 43 minors and boasts pre-professional programs in engineering, nursing, law, medicine and veterinary studies. The teacher licensure program is enhanced by two graduate degree programs. The two pillars of the general education requirements are core competencies (writing, quantitative reasoning, and language) and ways of knowing (artistic expression, human experience, culture and identity, social and natural science, and physical education). This matrix allows students to explore different areas and take classes in almost every department.  

Eighty-six percent of classes enroll fewer than 20 students and there are no TAs so students get to know their professors and vice versa. All students are eligible to apply for the RISE grant, which provides students with funding for research, international travel and other academic pursuits. Students who are interested in participating in original and innovative research will find the opportunity to do so through the Center for Student Research and the Summer Research Program – an intensive 8-week program that gives undergraduates the opportunity to present findings at professional conferences and/or publish in professional journals. 

Finals week looks a lot different on Randolph campus – students may pick up their final exam when they are ready and take it in the room they choose. This is possible because of the Randolph Honor Code, which is “the backbone of a tight-knit community that gives our students the respect and dignity they deserve as scholars and human beings.” 

 

Similar colleges to consider: Hendrix, Millsapp, Wells, Eckerd

 

Social: There is no Greek life on Randolph campus, so the real social scene is inside The Red Brick Wall, with a number of secret societies, clubs and other social organizations. Macon Activities Council hosts comedians, bands and other entertainers, talent shows and outdoor parties to keep the student populace from getting bored. Popular Randolph traditions include the Even/Odd class rivalry, Never Ending Weekend and the Pumpkin Parade, just to name a few. 

Randolph Wildcats compete in Division III sports. While there is no football team, their equestrian and women’s teams have been most competitive, along with men’s soccer, basketball, tennis, and track and field.

 

Financial: Randolph offers need-based aid, as well as non-need based merit aid. They do not offer any athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 79%, with 21% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $41,750, the average financial aid package is $35,873. 90% of students receive scholarships.

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University of Florida offers strong engineering programs and nationally ranked athletic teams

Where can you find great weather, nationally ranked athletic teams, 20 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, and a college that is a world leader in…citrus science? Look no further than University of Florida, which is located on 2,000 acres (you may want to bring your bike) of forested terrain in northern central Florida. There you and about 30,000 other undergraduates will also find nationally recognized programs in engineering and business, as well as strong pre-professional programs in accounting and pharmacy, and extensive facilities for agriculture education (and not just for citrus fruits).

 

Here are a few quick facts about University of Florida:

4-year Graduation rate: 68%, 6-year: 90%

Acceptance: 39%

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 12% 

Most popular majors: psychology, biology, mechanical engineering

Student Community Diversity: 6% Black, 22% Latino, 2% International

 

Housing: About 22% of students reside on campus in dorms that can be described as comfortable. UF’s Cypress Hall is one of only five in the nation that is recognized for being designed specifically to be accessible to students with severe physical impairments. Most undergraduates live on campus during freshman year to get the residential life experience, but then move after that. While the campus dining halls get a mixed review, there are a suitable number of vegetarian and vegan options available. 

 

Academics: University of Florida’s general education program includes courses in liberal arts, including classes that focus on themes of internationalism or diversity and multi-disciplinary courses on current topics. A couple of UF’s gems include the College of Journalism and Communications, with its impressive Innovation News Center, and the Graham Center for Public Service, which prepares students for careers in public service with courses in languages, cultures and other fundamental skills.

Even though there is a large campus population, nearly half of undergrad classes have fewer than 20 students. Professors are said to have deep professional experience, but for the introductory-level classes, you are more likely to find a graduate teaching assistant behind the lectern. For those who are looking for enrichment opportunities, it should be noted that half of UF’s undergrads are involved in research and about six percent study abroad in over 70 countries. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Virginia, University of Michigan

 

Social: University of Florida, and surrounding Gainesville, has a social scene for every type of student. Greek rush, which claims 18% of men and 23% of women, happens right before classes start in the fall and again in the spring. 

University of Florida boasts one of the top intercollegiate athletics programs in the country, making Division I sports a year-round obsession. Florida State and University of Georgia remain the Gators’ biggest rivals and homecoming festivities, known as the “Gator Growl” is the largest student-run pep rally in the nation. If you aren’t involved in varsity sports, you can still get active through 50 club sports, 40 intramural leagues and tournaments and 1,100 student organizations. Another perk to being a student at UF is being able to utilize the 60,000 square-foot fitness park. 

Gainesville, which is between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, is very much a college town. There you will find a plethora of stores, restaurants, bars, a sports arena and a performing arts center which puts on a variety of productions, including Broadway plays. For the student who likes to get outdoors, UF owns a nearby lake, and there are plenty of parks, forests, rivers and streams nearby for backpacking, camping and canoeing as well. Orlando, St. Augustine and Jacksonville are some of the most popular getaway destinations. 

 

Financial: University of Florida offers mostly need-based financial aid and grants, and a small percentage of non-need based merit and athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 99%, with 29% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state students are  $21,430 and $45,898, respectively, the average financial aid package is $16,655. 96% of incoming students receive scholarships and financial aid.

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