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

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 ) 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 . 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)