What is Howard University Known For?

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Howard University is one of the most recognizable historically Black universities (HBCUs) in the world. Thousands of African-American students have graduated and have gone on to make significant contributions to society in a variety of fields. 

 

In addition to high-profile graduates like current Vice President Kamala Harris, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, and former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the university is among the highest producers of Black professionals in fields such as medicine, engineering, law, and education. 

 

Overview of Howard University Admissions

 

Location: Washington, D.C. 

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,200

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Median SAT: 1197 

Median ACT: 25

 

Howard is one of the best-known HBCUs and, consequently, admissions are competitive. One of the best ways to give yourself a good chance of being accepted to Howard University is to meet or exceed the academic profile of accepted students—which means earning either an 1197 or better on the SAT or a 25 or better on the ACT, along with meeting or surpassing the 3.6 average GPA of enrolled students. 

 

Median SAT scores, ACT scores, and GPAs aren’t hard cutoffs, though; they are merely averages, and Howard accepts students with scores and GPAs below these scores. However, if your academic profile isn’t going to wow the admissions office, you’ll need to get their attention in other areas, such as participating in eye-catching extracurricular activities and writing an excellent essay

 

Unique Aspects of Howard University

 

From stellar academics to rich traditions to a campus conveniently located in the nation’s capital, there are a variety of factors that set Howard apart.

 

Academics

 

Howard University offers degrees through 22 different departments and programs in fields ranging from African Studies to World Languages and Cultures. The university has awarded more than 120,000 degrees in the arts, sciences, and humanities, and has more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States—between 2013 and 2017, Howard awarded the second-highest number of doctorates to Black students in the nation, a total of 344. 

 

Howard provides a wide variety of educational paths for students to follow. The school’s teaching, communications, and journalism programs have all earned acclaim, but the university is most notable for its commitment to STEM education. The National Science Foundation cites Howard University as the top producer of African-American undergraduates who later earn a Ph.D. in natural sciences, and the university is the leading producer of African-American students entering medical school. 

 

Driving Howard’s success in the STEM fields is its Karsh STEM Scholar Program, formerly known as the Bison STEM Scholar Program. Through this program, Howard identifies intellectually gifted and academically motivated high schoolers interested in earning a Ph.D. in a STEM field and provides them with the support they need to fulfill their promise—including scholarships for tuition and room and board, a stipend for books, funding for study abroad, and mentoring. 

 

Location

 

Howard students affectionately call the school’s 256-acre campus in northwestern Washington, D.C., “The Mecca.” The school is just two miles from the U.S. Capitol, providing incredible access to some of the most influential people in the world and putting students at the forefront of debates about a wide variety of issues facing society. 

 

Howard’s D.C. location offers students with unparalleled opportunities in both the public and private sectors, allowing easy access to internships and the opportunity to explore a variety of career paths while at college. The city also boasts a vibrant and diverse population, a multitude of dining and entertainment options, and a rich history.  

 

Extracurriculars

 

The Howard University Bisons field 19 Division I varsity athletic teams, but the school’s “Showtime” Marching Band steals the show. The Showtime Marching Band performs at halftime during Howard’s home football games, but has also made appearances during numerous NFL games, played at Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade in 2009, and escorted Vice President Kamala Harris on inauguration day in 2021. 

 

Howard students have access to a broad spectrum of clubs, with more than 200 organizations on campus ranging from honor societies to sports. The school is also home to ten fraternities and sororities and is where five of the “Divine Nine” (nine historically Black Greek letter organizations) were founded. 

 

Howard University Television (WHUT) is the first licensed public television station in the U.S. to be operated by an HBCU. The station delivers educational, entertaining, and intellectually stimulating multi‐cultural and intergenerational programming to more than 2.5 million households in the Washington, D.C. area. 

 

Predating Howard’s television station by almost a decade is its radio station, WHUR. The radio station was one of the first university-owned commercial radio stations in the country and reaches roughly a half million listeners daily across five states.

 

Howard University’s motto is Veritas et Utilitas—Truth and Service—and the school takes its commitment to giving back to the community seriously. Every year, Howard hosts a day of service and the university has had more than 200 graduates volunteer for the Peace Corps over the past 50+ years, the highest number among HBCUs. 

 

Traditions

 

Macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, cornbread, black-eyed peas, collard greens, sweet potato pie—if your mouth is watering, you’ll likely love Soul Food Thursday at Howard University. For more than 45 years, the school has been serving up comfort foods that provide a taste of home for many students. 

 

Howard’s annual homecoming celebration, Yardfest, is one of the most anticipated and beloved events on the college’s calendar. The event kicks off with a concert that has been played by some of the biggest acts in music—including, Jay-Z, Kayne West, Ludacris, DMX, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Nelly, Talib Kweli, Wale, Rick Ross, and Drake.  

 

Dorms

 

About three-quarters of Howard undergraduates live on campus in a variety of college-owned housing ranging from traditional residence halls to suite-style rooms. Gender-inclusive housing is available on request, and the school is committed to providing a respectful and welcoming campus for all members of the university community. 

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Financial Aid

 

Howard University has a variety of programs to help its students pay for college and employs a variety of methods for alleviating financial hurdles—including grants, institutional and external scholarships, work-study, and loans.

 

Howard is also home to a handful of unique programs that provide special opportunities to students, such as: 

 

  • Karsh STEM Scholars: Delivers financial support to high-achieving STEM students.   
  • Tech Exchange: A partnership between Howard and Google that provides participants with a residency at Google’s Mountain View campus, along with a generous stipend and other benefits.
  • Howard Entertainment: Provides a pipeline for students to enter the entertainment industry through a partnership with Amazon studies. 
  • Ralph J. Bunche Semester Abroad: Provides special finance options for students to study abroad. 

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at Howard University?

 

It’s not uncommon to hear Howard University referred to as the “Black Harvard,” and while its acceptance rate is a little higher than its Boston-based counterpart, Howard is a selective school known for its academic vigor. Superb grades, strong test scores, and impressive extracurricular activities are the mark of students admitted to this prestigious HBCU. 

 

If you’re wondering what your odds of admission are at Howard University, or any of the hundreds of other colleges across the nation, CollegeVine can help. Our free admissions calculator uses a variety of factors—including GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and extracurricular activities—to predict your odds of acceptance and provide insight into ways that you can improve your profile and increase your odds of admission. All you need to do is create a free account to get started!

 


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.

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