Best colleges ranked by diversity
Diversity is important. Not only does being in a diverse atmosphere expose you to new ideas and different opinions, but it also helps to broaden and strengthen a community. In practical terms, diversity is a check against ignorance, as it forces new ideas to the surface and challenges long-held misconceptions.
In the current political discussion, however, there has been a pushback against diversity. Whether it be out of fear of change or xenophobia, there is a notable response against inclusivity. In South Africa, for example, alleged xenophobic attacks on Nigerians by South Africans have triggered reciprocal attacks in Nigeria. This wave of violence started with a truck driver strike in South Africa, criticizing many Nigerian drivers.
Whether it's xenophobic violence in South Africa or an evolving rationale to take increasingly more extreme measures to protect the southern border here in the United States, fear to expose oneself to something different can lead to disastrous results.
This nation's fount for new thoughts and intellectual development is the country's colleges and universities. To examine how America's best colleges stack up on diversity, Stacker ranked the top 50 schools on Niche's 2020 Best Colleges in America list according to their positions on Niche's Most Diverse Colleges in America list. Niche's rankings are based on a variety of data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as student reviews. The Most Diverse College rankings consider socioeconomic, geographic, and ethnic diversity of students and staff as well as the overall level of tolerance on campus.
As the best of anything draws the largest crowds, these schools have excelled in academics, athletics, and student relations. These are schools that books, television, and movies talk about. Many of these schools have diversity programs, and some of these schools have struggled with diversity and inclusion, but these are just products in high demand.
Keep reading to see which colleges made Stacker's list.
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#50. University of Notre Dame
- Diversity rank: #595
- Overall rank: #17
- Location: Notre Dame, IN
- Students: 8,557
- Acceptance rate: 19% (ACT: 32-34; SAT: 1370-1520)
While Indiana is not known for being the most diverse place in the nation, its marquee university is another story. A private Catholic research university, Notre Dame is known for the quality of its undergraduate instruction and for its football team—which has yielded 11 national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners, and two movies.
#49. Wake Forest University
- Diversity rank: #538
- Overall rank: #42
- Location: Winston-Salem, NC
- Students: 5,046
- Acceptance rate: 28.% (ACT: 28-32; SAT: 1270-1410)
Known for being the school where renowned poet Maya Angelou served as the Reynolds Professor of American Studies, Wake Forest University is a private research institution. The first major private university in the South to desegregate, the school has produced 15 Rhodes Scholars and 62 Fulbright recipients.
#48. Boston College
- Diversity rank: #494
- Overall rank: #48
- Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
- Students: 9,681
- Acceptance rate: 32% (ACT: 31-33; SAT: 1320-1490)
In a city like Boston, which is filled with top colleges and universities, it is hard to stand out. Jesuit research university Boston College, however, does. While its name reflects its time as a liberal arts college, it is today a research university that recently ranked 59th on The Wall Street Journal's 2020 college rankings.
#47. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Diversity rank: #440
- Overall rank: #43
- Location: Chapel Hill, NC
- Students: 18,303
- Acceptance rate: 24% (ACT: 28-33; SAT: 1270-1460)
Arguably the oldest public university in America, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the flagship campus of The University of North Carolina system. The alma mater of basketball legend Michael Jordan, the "Public Ivy" also saw Thomas Wolfe, Andy Griffin, Mia Hamm, Vince Carter, John Forsythe, Charles Kuralt, and former President James K. Polk all pass through the school's doors.
#46. The University of Virginia
- Diversity rank: #357
- Overall rank: #29
- Location: Charlottesville, VA
- Students: 15,766
- Acceptance rate: 27% (ACT: 29-33; SAT: 1310-1500)
The University of Virginia is the flagship public university for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Regarded as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, Academical Village is renowned for Thomas Jefferson's architectural styling and for its grand lawn, which has been copied by a number of schools.
#45. Bates College
- Diversity rank: #311
- Overall rank: #47
- Location: Lewiston, ME
- Students: 1,787
- Acceptance rate: 22% (ACT: 30-32; SAT: 1385-1460)
The smallest college in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, Bates College is also one of the most expensive colleges regarding tuition. With a small endowment, the Great Recession of 2008 saw the college's financial standing diminish, necessitating steep tuition hikes. Bates College runs a privately funded research enterprise and requires a thesis to graduate.
#44. California Institute of Technology
- Diversity rank: #224
- Overall rank: #16
- Location: Pasadena, CA
- Students: 961
- Acceptance rate: 8% (ACT: 34-35; SAT: 1530-1590)
California Institute of Technology—or Caltech—recently came to national attention as one of the settings of the long-running sitcom "The Big Bang Theory." The school has been popular as a setting for TV shows and movies in large part because of how legendary the school is. The managing institute for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one of the few that is committed to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.
#43. Davidson College
- Diversity rank: #223
- Overall rank: #45
- Location: Davidson, NC
- Students: 1,810
- Acceptance rate: 20% (ACT: 30-33; SAT: 1310-1470)
The fourth-smallest Division I football school, Davidson College is easy to overlook. In 2008, however, the Davidson Wildcats made a deep run in the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament (March Madness), making it to the Elite Eight. The team was captained by three-time NBA champion and six-time NBA all-star Stephen Curry.
#42. Barnard College
- Diversity rank: #215
- Overall rank: #34
- Location: New York, NY
- Students: 2,514
- Acceptance rate: 15% (ACT: 30-33; SAT: 1310-1500)
A private all-women's liberal arts school in Manhattan, Barnard College is the oldest women's college known to exist. Located across the street from Columbia University, Barnard has cooperative educational agreements with Columbia, The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Martha Stewart, Joan Rivers, Ntozake Shange, Grace Lee Boggs, Zora Neale Hurston, and Cynthia Nixon all graduated from the school.
#41. Washington University in St. Louis
- Diversity rank: #189
- Overall rank: #14
- Location: Saint Louis, MO
- Students: 7,074
- Acceptance rate: 16% (ACT: 32-34; SAT: 1470-1570)
Washington University in St. Louis is primarily known for being the site of more presidential and vice-presidential debates than any other institution in the nation. Presidential debates were held in the school in 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2016, and the vice-presidential debate took place in 2008.2018 All rights reserved.