Black Acceptance Rates at the Nation’s Leading Liberal Arts Colleges

In many but not all cases, the percentage of black applicants who actually receive invitations to join the freshman class is a valuable gauge of an institution’s commitment to racial diversity. At 18 of the 27 high-ranking liberal arts colleges for which we obtained acceptance rate data this fall, the black acceptance rate was higher than the acceptance rate for nonblack applicants.

In some cases the differences were very large. For example, at Bates College 52.1 percent of black applicants were admitted compared to 28.9 percent of all applicants to the college. At Bowdoin the black acceptance rate of 44.3 percent is significantly more than double the rate for all Bowdoin students, which stood at 18.6 percent.

But at Smith, Davidson, Bucknell, Bryn Mawr, Macalester, Barnard, Lafayette, Washington and Lee, and Harvey Mudd, the black student acceptance rate was below the rate prevailing for all students.