of those lists are focused on black students, except for one published by Black Issues in Higher Education, which ranks schools based solely on the number of black graduates. It was this lack of information and his earlier experiences as a graduate student teacher at the University of Michigan that suggested to LaVeist that such a list may be necessary.
“I met a number of African American students that weren’t doing as well as they could have been,” he explains. “And, I was talking with teachers at other universities and they were experiencing the same things. I couldn’t help but think the reason for the poor performance was just that many black students are making the wrong choices in trying to select an environment in which they can flourish.”
An increasing number of high school students are being confronted with that choice. The latest report by the College Board, sponsors of the Scholastic Assessment Test, found that the number of students taking the SATs has risen to nearly match the number of incoming college freshman at accredited four-year institutions-1.2 million. It also found that in 1997-98, 11% of those who took the SAT were African Americans.
The College Board also reports that more students are taking the Advanced Placement Examination. By taking AP exams, college bound students hope to increase their chances of gaining admittance to the country’s most selective institutions. Last year, 635,000 high school students took the test. Among them 321,000 were seniors who were college bound this school term.
While 70% of all colleges and universities are not as selective in rheir admissions requirements, according to Donald M. Stewart, president of the College Board, it’s the competition for that 30% of schools-including many HBCUs-where test scores, GPAs and the difficulty of high-school courses taken come into play. A degree from one of these schools often translates into higher starting salaries, faster career advancement and acceptance into graduate-level professional programs.
In their recent book, The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, William G. Bowen, Ph.D., and Derek Bok, Ph.D. the former presidents of Princeton and Harvard respectively, compared the success of black and white college students entering in the classes of 1976 and 1989. They found a direct correlation between acceptance into selective colleges and a student’s GPA and class rank at graduation from college with the amount of money that graduate earned and how high they rose in their careers. According to the authors, “for women and men, blacks and whites, average earnings were highest for those who attended the most selective schools, putting them at about $20,000 more on average than their peers going to less selective institutions.”
The goal of the BLACK ENTERPRISE/DAYSTAR TOP 50 list is to help African American parents and students make the most enlightened choices about where to attend college and identify where students are most likely to be successful. We also provided four smaller lists of the top five schools within the following categories, as defined by