What Black Families Need to Know About Liberal Arts Colleges

BY: - 1 Jul '15 | Lifestyle

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Guest Author: Zahida Sherman

Liberal arts colleges are hidden gems for Black students, though most Black families don’t know it.

Only 3% of American students will apply to liberal arts colleges, and the figure is even lower for Black students.

And yet, with all the anxiety about how to pay for a college education in an unstable fluctuating economy, liberal arts colleges offer some of the best financial aid packages and support services for Black students.

Liberal arts colleges are small, mostly residential colleges that offer only a bachelor’s degree. Their curriculum is broad and emphasizes critical thinking, effective communication, and thinking across disciplines. Liberal arts colleges attract students who love learning about multiple subjects and community involvement.

With regards to financial aid, liberal arts colleges are very affordable for families with high financial need. After the college subtracts your family’s contribution from the overall cost of attendance, the college will pick up the remaining balance.

If your student is a good fit for the college—academically and socially—they will fund their education with grants, scholarships, low loans, and work study.

It is often the case that liberal arts colleges give better financial aid than state schools.

One of the best things about liberal arts colleges for Black students is the support they offer students. Because liberal arts colleges are much smaller than state schools, and because they have historically underserved students of color, they have a ton of support programs (summer bridge programs, peer and alumni mentoring, tutoring etc.) for students of color.

These resources, in addition to a student’s academic advisor and professors, make the Black graduation rate nearly 30% higher at a liberal arts college than at a state school.

Having worked as a college recruiter for students of color and first-generation college students at a selective liberal arts college, I was often shocked at how little Black families know about these institutions. Hopefully these tips will give your student the best chance of getting accepted by a liberal arts college, and getting it paid for.

1. Challenge your student academically.

Liberal arts colleges offer only challenging courses, so enroll your student in a demanding high school curriculum (honors classes are the minimum). This includes English, science, math, social studies, and foreign language courses.

Browse your school’s website or contact your student’s guidance counselor to figure out what your school offers. Once enrolled, make sure your student earns A’s or B’s in those classes.


2. Make the most of your student’s summer.

While your student will likely be involved in extracurricular activities during the school year, don’t forget about summer enrichment opportunities. Whether it’s an outdoors programs, service project, or college-prep program, keep your student’s mind active and engaged. Admissions officers will view this as a commitment to learning and growth.


3. Have your student visit campus on a travel grant.

Liberal arts colleges fund students they believe will return the investment, so show them the love. One of the best ways to demonstrate that your student is seriously considering attending a college is to have them apply for a travel grant. If your student meets their academic requirements, the college will pay for it and will likely offer them a sweet financial aid package later.

With the right high school curriculum, summer enrichment, and a free campus visit, your student is likely to gain admission to a liberal arts college. And with a liberal arts college education, they’ll receive the support they need to graduate on time and become effective thinkers, communicators, and leaders. The sweetest part? You won’t have to break the bank to make it happen.


BMWK, What are some other great colleges for African Americans? 


Zahida Sherman currently works as Assistant Director for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Kenyon College, in central Ohio.  Prior to this, I worked for three years as Director of Multicultural Admissions at Kenyon.  I have also worked as a college counselor for a college access program in Madison, Wisconsin.  I earned my M.A. in African history with a minor in African American Studies from Northwestern University.  I have lived and worked in Seattle, Madison, Ithaca, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

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BMWK Staff wrote 1245 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com


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The 3 People Your Health Impacts No Matter Your Weight Amount

BY: - 8 Jul '15 | Lifestyle

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III John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

One of the realities of life is your body’s metabolism slows down the older you get. Before, you could possibly get away with eating fast food a few times a week, or ice cream every night before you went to sleep. This will not last forever because your metabolism will slow down causing those unhealthy habits to catch up with you.

“Metabolism is the breakdown of metabolic fuels we have in the diet,” explains Christopher New- gard, director of the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center at Duke University Medi- cal School. “The primary nutrients in food can be classified as fats, proteins or carbohydrates. I think of metabolism as the way the cells, organs and tissues in our bodies handle those kinds of fuels.” Healthyliving.msn.com.

In other words, it is not just about burning calories, but about eating healthy foods that help us maintain an energized body!”

Here are 3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Your Health Now:

1. You Need You

Yes, you need you.  You are dependent upon your body to be able to do daily functions throughout the day.  If you’re not treating your body right by staying healthy then you will be negatively impacting your bodies ability to execute the tasks it was made to accomplish.

2. Your Family Needs You

You have friends and family that are dependent upon you.  This point hits home for me because I actually lost a family member due to the lack of paying attention to healthy living.  His body shut down due to excessive eating of unhealthy food and neglect towards sleep.  It doesn’t get real until it hit close to home.  This is why it is essential for you to focus on taking care of yourself because your family will be impacted by your decision not to.

3. Your Future Needs You

There is only one guarantee in life and that is death.  Someday you will die, but the goal is to live for as long as possible.  By taking care of yourself now you can ensure your body makes it to experience the great things life has to offer later in life.

Being healthy is not just about being attractive, but also about valuing yourself. If I gave my little nephew candy every day, he will never turn me down, but that is selfish of me. He is not mature enough to know what is good or bad for him. You are mature enough now to accept that eating out every day, or having sweets for dinner is probably not the best for your body. Take care of yourself because your health will determine how effective you can be at living out God’s purpose for your life.

About the author

Jamal Miller wrote 84 articles on this blog.

Jamal Miller is the Co-Founder of Married and Young.com, a community committed to doing relationships God’s way, alongside his wife Natasha Miller. He has been involved in Pastoral Ministry for over 8 years, graduating from Christ for the Nations Institute with his Practical Theology Degree and Ecclesia College with his Bachelors in Christian Leadership. His passion for marriage and healthy relationships has influenced thousands to do it God’s way! He is the author of "25 Ways to Prepare for Marriage Other than Dating". Jamal and Natasha reside in Chicago, IL.


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