Oberlin, Ohio 44074
Web Site: www.oberlin.edu
"The education of the people of color is a matter of great interest and should be encouraged & sustained in this in-
-The Trustees, 1835
It you're academically sharp, self-motivated, and don't need the "rah-rah" of the typical social life that many of us look for at our selected colleges, this highly ranked liberal arts school might be for you.
In Black Enterprise’s first ranking of "top 50 Colleges for African-Americans (1999)," Oberlin was actually placed in the 12th slot in regards to the "best environment" for African Americans. That rating was based on a poll that involved the op-
inions of over 1,000 Black educators, including college presidents and faculty. Well, that says a lot. After nine Historically Black Colleges, Oberlin was second only to Stanford and Georgetown Univ-
Oberlin is the college that graduated the first African-American woman, and was actually a stop on the Underground Railroad. Today it is highly ranked in most categories and is also the home of the world renowned Conservatory of Music that includes approx-
imately 20% of the enrolled students, all accomp-
This is a highly selective school.
The look of this rural campus—-with its Gothic buildings --has not made any of the "most beautiful" lists. It's located in the small, Midwestern town of Oberlin, surrounded by farmland and corn. The last time we looked, there was one movie theater and a community that the middle-class students describe as "ethnically diverse." Others say that the college is "in the middle of nowhere." Oberlin's population is about 10,000. Your get-away is Cleveland by car (about a half-hour ride). You can also visit Clev-
eland State, Case Western Reserve, or nearby mu-
seums, restaurants, and clubs.
Oberlin's campus covers over 440 acres and has a wide range of impressive facilities. On North Campus there's the Wright Physics Laboratory, Kettering Hall (biology and chemistry), and Sperry neuro-
science) buildings. There's Phillips Gym, with three full-size basketball courts and NCAA regulation swimming and driving pools. You can also visit the Nautilus Center where there are six racquetball and nine squash courts. Dill Field is a football and track stadium. For those who play tennis, you've got 12 all-weather tennis courts. The old Hales Gym-
nasium has a billiards ballroom and bowling alley.
A portion of the gym now serves (though students complain of its inadequacy) as the Jazz Studies Department.
At Oberlin there are many residential options: single-sex, coed, and cooperative (you share the cooking and housekeeping). The residence halls generally follow two models: "traditional," for 230 students, and the family-like" Victorian houses for 18. The Barrows is the all-first-year dorm. East Hall is the "quiet" spot, and Zechiel House is the all-male location. The African Heritage House is a favorite residence and social meeting place.
Oberlin's acceptance rate is 54%, but the appli-
cation pool is undoubtedly stronger than many schools with lower rates. Many of these students are also applying to schools like Yale (their first choice, perhaps), or institutions like Brown or Wesleyan. This strong liberal arts college, must consider its "yield"--that is, how many students will decide to actually enroll.
According to Oberlin's own (class of 2002) stats, the median GPA of enrolling students (to the Arts and Sciences school) was 3.48 on a 4.0 scale. The average SAT score was about 1308. Of the enrolling group, 27 were valedictorians and 47 were National Merit Scholars. 52 African-African students enrolled in the A & S school, while 10 enrolled at the Con-
servatory. African Americans make up about 9% of the student body.
Looking at all entering freshman, do note that about 50% graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes. Nearly 90% graduate in the top 25%. These college students, of course, all did well on a col-
lege preparatory track. They were and are capable academically. African-American students should forward a package that demonstrates intellectual assertiveness, with essays and recommendations that say you will fit the Obie model: a thinker and ver-
bal, because this is a school of speak-outs, debate and "ideas." In regards to your SAT or ACT score, just try to score "in the ballpark." Scores of 1100 and above are desirable. Of course, if you are one of those people with great musical talent who is apply-
ing to the Conservatory, your campus or regional addition will be the pivotal factor. You must be masterful!
The class of 2002 is from 45 states, most (in de-
scending order) from New York, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Foreign students arrived from 15 different countries.
With a pool of over 1,000 courses to motivate you, the most popular majors are English, history, and biology/biological sciences. US News & World Report has ranked the school's science programs as among the best in the nation. In fact, most of the pro-
grams are "good" to "outstanding." If you wish, you can study at the very "in" Mudd Library. There you can socialize or go to the computer center. More than 160 computers are available around the campus. Another nice visit would be to the Allen Art Museum on campus.
There's an African-American Studies Department that offers a related major. You can take courses like "The Heritage of Black American Literature" or "Colloquium: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr." Visiting lecturers have included Cornell West, bell hooks, Angela Davis, and Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress. Desmond Tutu spoke at the Commencement in 1987.
Also of interest have been events called the "Kuumba Festival," the "African Market," and the People of Color Festival at the Third World House. Okay?
There are over 100 clubs and organizations at Oberlin, many with offices in the Wilder Student Union, including the Multicultural Resource Center and the Experimental College (Exco). During January of each year, students can take a short, "fun" or non-traditional course at Exco. It's a "breather," students say. At the Wilder, you'll also find a snack bar, and The Disco known as "Sco." There's a student-run newspaper, a radio station, and a theater/dance group. More fun? There's "reading," tossing a Frisbee, playing volleyball. Sometimes,
if the weather is okay, you'll see a juggler or two.
The Cleveland Orchestra has performed at Oberlin, and students present concerts and recitals almost daily. Each year over 200 films are shown at the school theater, and there are usually at least 25 theater and/or dance performances. For students interested in film, you can study at the inter-
nationally renowned film school at New York Univ-
ersity for a semester.
There's not much emphasis on sports.
Financial Aid: February 15th.
Admissions Deadline: February 15th.
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