Going to college is a wonderful opportunity to discover new perspectives on the world. Your experience at an inclusive college can broaden your horizons and introduce you to peers from around the country, around the world, or even just someone from across town you have never met.

Attending one of the most diverse colleges can include personal, career, and educational benefits. There are many reasons to consider diversity as one factor in choosing the college or university you attend. Read on to find out why the most ethnically diverse colleges in the US could be excellent choices for your college degree.

Colleges with diverse student bodies abound these days. Diversity exists in many forms on the campuses of the US’s most diverse colleges and universities. Of course, you may first think about schools with many students of different racial or ethnic identities. Still, a diversity of gender, income level, nationality, disability, and many more factors may also be important to you.

But there are specific advantages to going to one of the most racially diverse colleges in the US, so let’s look at the benefits for all students at these schools:

The Most Diverse Colleges Reflect Our Culturally Diverse World and Workplaces.

We live in increasingly diverse towns, cities, states, and countries. Being on a diverse campus allows you to experience different cultures, backgrounds, political perspectives, ethnicities, and life experiences. Meeting people like those you will likely encounter throughout your life while studying gives you a foundation for positive social interactions, no matter where you travel or settle in the future.

Diverse Campuses Enrich the Educational Experience.

Your learning environment affects how much and how well you learn. Your peers and your faculty are part of that environment, and with input from various perspectives, you can learn more about whatever subject you study. Ethnic diversity enhances learning, according to an article in the journal Educational Psychologist.

Experiencing Other Perspectives Prepares You to Work in a Connected Global Society.

Business is global; even if you live your whole life in one place, your work will require you to understand and interact with people with different worldviews. You gain intercultural competence when you attend one of the most diverse colleges and universities in the US. You come to respect other groups and become flexible in your behavior, which makes you adept at the social aspects of any career you choose.

Diversity Produces Better Critical Thinking and Collaboration.

When you discuss topics with a diverse group, the multiplicity of perspectives helps you think critically about the problem you are studying. Creativity rises when you interact with people from other cultures. Studies have long shown that diversity improves critical thinking skills and produces more effective team collaboration. No matter what subject you study, diversity can help you to improve your “soft skills” like collaboration and critical thinking.

Interacting With People of Different Backgrounds Inspires Self-awareness and Personal Growth.

We develop our sense of self in relationship to our surroundings, and a diverse student body can help you to reflect on what you value, how you see your place in the world, and your unique characteristics. You may start to see different groups as more similar and feel a sense of well-being. Exposure to a range of people can help you feel more yourself.

Students of Varied Identities and Backgrounds Can Feel More at Home on Campus.

Attending one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in the US can help BIPOC students feel a sense of belonging on campus. When colleges devote resources to a diverse student body and faculty, students report less bias and discrimination, according to a report by the US Department of Education. In addition, inclusive campuses provide stronger commitments to making all students feel comfortable, including international students, students of varied religious backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, and LGBTQ students.  

Colleges and universities are themselves diverse, from small rural colleges to large state universities, urban community colleges to suburban liberal arts schools, research-focused campuses, to distance education institutions. These schools can all benefit from diversity among their students, staff, and faculty. Institutions of higher education value education for all members of society, which makes our communities stronger, and our country more competitive. Major institutions like the American Council on Education support a commitment to ethnic diversity.

Almost all colleges strive to attract students from different races, cultures, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, and life experiences. With the benefits listed above, it is clear that it is advantageous to you as a student to experience people from varied backgrounds during your education. The top diverse colleges in the US can be a good choice for you if they meet your other priorities, such as having the major you are interested in, being in a location you desire, and having extracurricular activities and a campus environment where you can thrive. As one factor in your consideration of what school to attend, diversity is generally a plus.

Numerous colleges have diverse student bodies, but here we highlight the most racially diverse colleges in the US. Many are national public universities, but you will also find smaller schools on the list. Here are some of the most diverse colleges and universities in the US for you to consider:

  1. Agnes Scott College
  2. Amherst College
  3. Andrews University
  4. Azusa Pacific University
  5. California Institute of Technology
  6. Cornell University
  7. CUNY–City College
  8. Emory University
  9. George Mason University
  10. Georgia State University
  11. Harvard University
  12. Harvey Mudd College
  13. Johns Hopkins University
  14. Kean University
  15. Marymount University
  16. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  17. New Jersey Institute of Technology
  18. New York University
  19. Nova Southeastern University
  20. Pomona College
  21. Princeton University
  22. Rice University
  23. Roosevelt University
  24. Rutgers University–Camden
  25. Rutgers University–New Brunswick
  26. Rutgers University–Newark
  27. San Diego State University
  28. San Francisco State University
  29. Seattle Pacific University
  30. Seattle University
  31. Soka University of America
  32. St. John’s University (NY)
  33. ​​Stanford University
  34. Swarthmore College
  35. Texas A&M University–Commerce
  36. Texas Woman’s University
  37. The University of Texas at Arlington
  38. The University of Texas at Dallas
  39. University at Albany–SUNY
  40. University of California, Berkeley
  41. University of California, Davis
  42. University of California, Los Angeles
  43. University of California, Santa Barbara
  44. University of California, Santa Cruz
  45. University of Chicago
  46. University of Hawaii at Hilo
  47. University of Hawaii at Manoa
  48. University of Houston
  49. University of Illinois–Chicago
  50. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  51. University of Massachusetts–Boston
  52. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  53. University of North Texas
  54. University of Pennsylvania
  55. University of San Francisco
  56. University of Southern California
  57. University of Texas at Austin
  58. University of the Pacific
  59. Virginia Commonwealth University
  60. Wellesley College
  61. Yale University

Of the top diverse colleges in the US that we identified above, some are also very affordable. Most of these are public 4-year colleges offering exceptional value in higher education. Plus, with grants and scholarships, you may be able to go to a terrific and inclusive school for even less than the posted tuition rate. Below you will find a list of the most diverse colleges that have an annual tuition price below $16,000:

Name of SchoolAnnual Tuition for In-state Students
CUNY–City College7,340
San Francisco State University7,484
University of Hawaii at Hilo7,838
San Diego State University8,198
Texas A&M University–Commerce10,026
University of Nevada, Las Vegas10,215
Texas Woman’s University10,234
Georgia State University10,268
University at Albany–SUNY10,408
The University of Texas at Arlington11,728
University of Texas at Austin11,752
University of Houston11,870
University of North Texas11,994
University of Hawaii at Manoa12,186
Kean University12,972
George Mason University13,404
University of California, Los Angeles13,80
University of California, Berkeley14,226
University of California, Santa Barbara14,450
The University of Texas at Dallas14,564
University of California, Santa Cruz14,634
University of California, Davis14,740
University of Massachusetts–Boston15,132
Virginia Commonwealth University15,642
Rutgers University–Newark15,648

Our world is becoming increasingly diverse, with people from different cultures and backgrounds in every town, city, and workplace. Attending a diverse and inclusive university or college assures you that you will learn to interact with many types of people, gaining intercultural competence that will help you be flexible and respectful of differences. These colleges can prepare you to be a responsible global citizen and a desirable professional in any career you choose.

What makes a school one of the most diverse colleges?

There are different types of diversity in colleges, but we are mostly talking about the most ethnically diverse colleges in the US for this article. Ethnic or racial diversity on campus will mean that a large percentage of students come from different ethnic groups, making it more likely that you will encounter people different from yourself while attending college. For example, these schools will have more students who identify as Hispanic, Black, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, Asian, or another race than white. You can also consider whether there are reasonable percentages of more than 2 or 3 groups on the campus, giving you a good chance of interacting with people of multiple races.

Other ways that a college may be inclusive include:
Welcoming LGBTQ students.
Students with disabilities.
First-generation college students.
Students from low-income backgrounds.
In addition, looking at the proportions of women and men among the students, staff, and faculty can also give you a sense of the diversity in the campus environment. Part of the discovery of going to college is to learn about the world, and being around people different from yourself can be a great part of your learning experience.

Why should I consider attending one of the most racially diverse colleges in the US?

Going to a college or university that values inclusivity and diversity has many educational, personal, and career benefits for you. You learn from the different perspectives of the varied people in your classes, increase your collaborative and critical thinking skills, and learn how to interact with a wide range of people. Inclusive colleges can improve your well-being, making the campus a safe and productive learning environment for all students. In addition, interacting with diverse peers and mentors helps prepare you for increasingly diverse and global workplaces.