Following 2020’s racial reckoning in America, interest in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) has never been higher. The push to attend these schools is so great that Spelman College recently announced a new admissions record: more applicants have applied to attend the Black women’s college in Atlanta for the fall 2021 semester than at any other time in the college’s 140-year history.
According to Jamal A. Hansberry of The Grio, “more than 11,000 applications were submitted for the academic cycle to begin this fall, a 20% increase in the number of applicants Spelman saw the previous year.”
In a statement, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman said, “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. 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.”
Chelsea Holley, interim director of admissions, added that she attributes the continuing growth of applications to the school in recent years with a greater desire from Black youth in particular to support and champion HBCUs.
“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,” she said.
The highly selective school has also reported that its applicants continue to reflect the best students the country has to offer, with the average applicant to the school having a high school GPA averaging 3.8 and an average SAT score of 1203.
“Students are drawn to Spelman because of its strong programs and its legacy of producing inspirational leaders,” Holley said. “The story of Spelman is one that invokes pride, belonging and historical significance. 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 pacesetter in the education and professional development of women of African descent.”
Hansberry reported that Spelman College’s neighbor, Morehouse College, “has also recently seen an influx of applications, having introduced an online program with reduced tuition for men looking to continue pursuing degrees they never completed. … The historic institution well-known for producing leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Spike Lee received more inquiries than it saw applicants for its traditional on-campus program last year,” Hansberry reported.
Founded in 1881, Spelman College bills itself as “a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent.”
The school, which educates more than 2,200 students each year, is the country’s leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and has been ranked No. 1 for 14 years by U.S. News & World Report as the top HBCU in the country.