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The Top 25 Colleges for Latinos
By Kimberly García

Academic excellence and Hispanic achievement lead the list of qualities evident in Hispanic Magazine’s 2004 list of The Top 25 Colleges for Latinos. As in previous years, we looked for superior centers of higher learning where Hispanic students are thriving.

To arrive at the list, we utilized myriad sources, ranging from the universities themselves to Hispanic scholarship organizations, to U.S. News & World Report’s annual special edition of America’s Best Colleges. The publication ranks colleges based on academic reputation and includes information about freshman retention rates and minority enrollments. We looked for schools whose student populations were at least 8 percent Hispanic—certainly not an unreasonable figure, considering that Latinos make up more than 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Critical to Hispanics’ ability to succeed is whether or not they actually earn degrees from the universities they attend. No sense attending a top school if you don’t graduate. To measure the colleges’ success in this regard, we turned to Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, which
publishes a list of the top 100 colleges that award bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics.

Besides the aforementioned considerations, ultimately each student’s decision comes down to whether or not a college appeals to him or her. Thus, we provided descriptions of colleges after each ranking with the help of Fiske and Peterson’s guides to colleges.

1. Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305
Type of school: private
Tuition/room and board: $28,563/9,073
Hispanic students: 11 percent Stanford offers one of the best educations in the nation without the pretension of the Ivy league schools out east. The 8,180-acre Spanish-style campus with red-tiled roofs and long sandstone arches provides an inviting backdrop for California’s laid-back atmosphere and warm, sunny climate. In addition to offering a broad, top-notch, liberal arts education, Stanford boasts first-rate athletic teams. Stanford is the only institution in the U.S. that made both the top 20 schools in the U.S. New & World Report ranking for 2004 and the top 100 schools that awarded bachelor degrees to Hispanics for 2000-01, the most recent school year for which data is available.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Type of school: private
Tuition/room and board: $29,600/$8,710
Hispanic students: 12 percent
MIT is the considered the preeminent science and technology school in the nation, with 11 Nobel Prize winners on staff. The students themselves are among the nation’s brightest, attaining near-perfect scores on their SATs. Nearly 60 percent are male. Students get plenty of
one-on-one interaction with staff, and nearly 80 percent of undergraduates participate in research. The 153-acre campus borders a one-mile stretch of the Charles River and overlooks downtown Boston.

3. Harvard University
Byerly Hall, 8 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Type of school: private
Tuition/room and board: $29,060/$8,868
Hispanic students: 8 percent
Harvard is among the oldest and most respected schools in the world, with a brilliant faculty and outstanding resources. Competition to get in is stiff, with nearly 20,000 applicants competing for 1,650 spots in the freshman class. But once you’re in, rumor has it the hardest part is getting out. Students receive support through residential houses that provide housing and dining along with tutors and libraries. The academic climate is so intense that most socializing occurs off campus. Harvard sits along the banks of the Charles River across from Boston.

4. University of California, Los Angeles
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Type of school: public
Tuition/room and board: $4,878 in-state, $17,257; out/$10,452
Hispanic students: 15 percent
UCLA provides a broad range of innovative academic and research programs, not to mention outstanding athletics within the bustling metropolis of the nation’s second-largest urban area. Set in the Westwood Village of Los Angeles, UCLA stretches over 419 acres just five miles from the Pacific Ocean. Students can partake in a first-rate film, theater and television school within reach of Hollywood, a renowned engineering department or work alongside professors on cutting-edge research in a variety of fields. A plus for Latinos, UCLA ranked ninth on the list of top 100
colleges awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics.

5. University of California, Berkeley
110 Sproul Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
Type of school: public
Tuition/room and board: $4,895 in-state, $18,375; out/$11,212
Hispanic students: 10 percent
Considering the faculty at Berkeley, it’s no wonder California’s flagship campus is often hailed as the best public university in the nation. On staff at Berkeley are eight Nobel Prize winners, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 14 MacArthur fellows, 115 Fulbright scholars, and 140 Guggenheim fellows. The student body offers nothing to scoff at either, ranking third nationally for the number of freshmen who are National Merit Scholars. It’s also one of the top 25 schools when it comes to awarding bachelor’s degrees to Latinos. A competitive attitude is essential, especially since students sometimes share classes with as many as 800 students. Easing the rigors of academia is a 1,232-acre, park-like campus with steep hills overlooking San Francisco.

6. Dartmouth College
6016 McNutt Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
Type of school: private
Tuition/room and board: $29,145/$8,625
Hispanic students: 7 percent
Dartmouth offers an Ivy League education in a safe and small environment. It has the highest graduation rate and the smallest enrollment rate among the ancient eight schools in the country. Set on 265 acres in the rolling hills of Hanover, it also is one of the safest campuses in the nation. But don’t let the setting fool you; the movie Animal House was inspired by this college, where 41 percent of males and 28 percent of females are in fraternities. Also unique to Dartmouth is a year-round study plan where students take classes for four, 10-week terms.

7. Columbia University
212 Hamilton Hall
New York, NY 10027
Type of school: private
Tuition/room and board: $28,206/$8,546
Hispanic students: 7 percent
Columbia University provides students the opportunity to immerse themselves in an Ivy League education while remaining in the real world. It’s located in the largest urban area in the nation. Set in Morningside Heights on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, rich social, cultural and recreational activities abound. The student body is diverse, but social life on campus tends to be mellow. The university is renowned for a two-year core curriculum with year-long classes in contemporary civilization and literature humanities.

8. Rice University
PO Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892
Type of school: private
Tuition/room and board: $18,253/$7,880
Hispanic students: 11 percent
Rice University is considered one of the best buys in higher education, if you can get in. Only 24 percent of applicants gain acceptance to this private school with top-notch programs in science and engineering. Once students attend the school, they enjoy a 1-to-5 faculty-to-student ratio with a median class size of 11. Eight residential colleges encourage a strong sense of community on this 300-acre campus surrounded by a three-mile jogging trail and 4,000 shade trees. Set in one of the safest neighborhoods in the nation’s fourth largest city, nearby cultural activities also abound.

9. University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Type of school: private, Roman Catholic
Tuition/room and board: $27,612/$6,930
Hispanic students: 7 percent
Among the most prestigious universities in the nation, Notre Dame is known as much for its football team as for its high- quality academics, but don’t mistake status with pretension. Notre Dame offers a supportive environment within a conservative and religious setting. Freshmen enter one of the most extensive academic and counseling programs of any university in the nation. Students also live in single-sex dorms and enjoy a variety of activities, such as parties, concerts and movies, on the 1,250-acre campus set in the flat lands of the Midwest.

10. Tufts
Medford, MA 02155
Type of school: private
Tuition/room and board: $29,630/$8,640
Hispanic students: 8 percent
Tufts boasts a highly motivated and innovative student body with faculty who lend plenty of personal attention and support. Students enjoy the freedom to design their own majors, pursue independent study, develop and teach courses, and do research and internships for credit. Nearly 98 percent of the student body pursue graduate or professional studies; another 40 percent pursue course work outside of the U.S. Thirteen fraternities and three sororities provide most of the activities on this quiet and beautiful 150-acre campus with easy access to the excitement of nearby Boston.



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