College Spotlights

What is Hampton University Known For?

Many of the rankings of the best HBCU place Hampton University in the top 10, which is why many students dream of going to it. However, just because a lot are applying to the historically black school doesn’t mean you should also apply to it without delay. It’s a must to know more about the institution before sending that application to it.

Hampton University is known for its 314-acre campus, a large portion of which is a US National Historic Landmark District. It’s also known for being selective, with an acceptance rate of 36%. Some of Hampton’s top majors include Liberal Studies, Psychology, and Business Administration and Management.

Being a selective historically black school, having a strong application is vital if you want to gain admission into it.

There are more things to know about Hampton than just the admission requirements.

The location, majors, cost of attendance (COA), retention rate, graduation rate, notable alumni — these and more things about the HBCU are what you should get acquainted with before deciding to send an application to the school.

Read on if you plan to become a Hampton University student anytime soon!

A Brief History of Hampton University

It was in 1868 when Hampton University was founded by Samuel Chapman Armstrong. He was the son of an important missionary family that migrated to Hawaii in the early 1800s.

hampton university
Image credit: Flikr

When the Civil War erupted, Armstrong was enrolled at Massachusetts-based Williams College.

He volunteered for the Union Army during that time. Quickly, he rose in rank. It’s for this reason why he was given command of an African-American military unit. Armstrong was already Brevet General when the Civil War came to an end. Afterward, he worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau.

While employed at the said agency, Armstrong realized that the recently freed slaves were in dire need of education and vocational skills. This is how he founded Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute with the help of the American Missionary Society and numerous philanthropists.

I love the standard of excellence at Hampton. The campus is amazing and it’s easy to make friends with our “big brother/big sister” program. Hampton has given me so many tools and opened many doors for me throughout my current time.

Junior Review, Niche.com

From the late 1900s to the 1920s, many programs and facilities were introduced.

In 1930, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute became Hampton Institute. However, the Great Depression caused the school to experience a drop in enrollment, budget cuts and dismissal of staff members. It’s because of this why Hampton Institute closed up shop in 1940.

But when World War II came, its campus reopened and served as a training facility. The school purchased many of the buildings erected during that time — they are still in use these days.

It was only in 1984 when the institution’s name was changed to Hampton University as a response to the rapid growth and development in the quality of academic offerings, faculty members and students.

Here are some quick facts about Hampton you need to know about…

  • Location: Hampton, Virginia
  • Campus type: Urban
  • Size: 314 acres
  • Population: 3,516
  • Education system: Research
  • School type: Private, historically black university
  • Reputation: Non-party school
  • Motto: The Standard of Excellence, An Education for Life
  • Number of majors: 52
  • Best majors: Business Administration, Business Management, Liberal Studies, Psychology, Biological Sciences
  • Selectivity: Selective
  • Average class size: Less than 30 students in 70.1% of classes
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 13:1
  • Retention rate: 74%
  • Graduation rate: 54.1%
  • Colors: Columbia Royal blue and white
  • Athletic affiliation: NCAA Division I FCS
  • Mascot: Pirates
  • Sports: Basketball, volleyball, softball, football, tennis, lacrosse, golf, sailing, track and field
  • Varsity teams: 19

What is the Acceptance Rate at Hampton University?

The acceptance rate at Hampton University is 36%, which means that it is a selective school. Applicants should be above-average students in their high school class and have high SAT or ACT scores. It’s also a must for the various components of their application to be strong to get accepted.

Sending an application to colleges and universities consumes time and energy. What’s more, it doesn’t come free of charge. The average cost of the application fee amounts to 50$.

Especially if you don’t want to waste your resources, it’s a good idea to check out a school’s acceptance rate before sending your application to it. Since the acceptance rate at Hampton is only 36%, consider sending your application to another HBCU if you know for a fact that your application is not that strong.

The good news is that, while Hampton University is a selective school, other HBCUs have lower acceptance rates. For comparison purposes, let’s take a look at the acceptance rates of five of the most selective HBCUs:

SCHOOLACCEPTANCE RATE
Albany State University19.50%
Lincoln University25.40%
Rust College32.80%
University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff32.80%
Dillard University33.40%

What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Hampton University?

Applicants need to have a GPA of at least 3.30 to gain admission into Hampton University. This means that the HBCU is looking for above-average high school students. Having more A’s than B’s and taking challenging AP or IB classes can increase one’s chances of receiving an acceptance letter.

Earlier, it was mentioned that Hampton is a selective school. One of the primary reasons why only a small fraction of applicants get accepted is that it’s looking for students with rather high GPAs.

But just because your GPA is lower than 3.30 doesn’t mean that you should send your application to another college or university.

According to Hampton University itself, it has a holistic admissions process. This means that the school’s admissions officers consider many other things when deciding, not just the GPA of an applicant.

So, in other words, you may still gain admission into Hampton if the rest of your application is strong, but your GPA is not that high. Similarly, you may still get rejected if your GPA is higher than 3.30, but your overall application is weak.

Does Hampton University Offer Early Decision?

Hampton University does not offer early decision (ED). Applicants only have two decision plans to choose from: early action (EA) and regular decision (RD). Unlike ED, EA does not increase the chances of applicants getting accepted. However, it allows them to learn about the decision earlier.

Many students, especially those who already know which colleges or universities they wish to go to, apply ED. Some schools offer two rounds of ED, which have different deadlines and notification dates.

Just like ED, EA also enables you to learn earlier than others the decision of Hampton University. However, unlike ED, EA is not binding. This means that you do not have to commit to the school until the reply date of May 1. There is no need to worry about getting penalized should you decide to go to another school after Hampton accepts you.

To make sure that you won’t miss any application deadline at Hampton University, check out this table:

DECISION PLANAPPLICATION DUENOTIFICATION DUE
EA1-NovJanuary
RD1-MarRolling admission

* Always check the college website for the latest dates

Besides deadlines for both decision plans, it’s also important to be familiar with the things to submit to Hampton. Knowing what they are can help fend off unnecessary stress due to and delay with the application process.

Here are the things you should submit to the school’s admissions office:

  • Application
  • Application fee ($50)
  • Official high school transcript
  • Letter of recommendation (from the high school guidance counselor or a teacher)
  • Admission essay
  • Test scores

Is Hampton University Test-Optional?

Hampton University is partly a test-optional school. Applicants with a GPA of 3.30 or higher or who rank in the top 10% of their class have the option to decide whether or not to submit their test scores. However, for applicants for the academic year 2021 to 2022, test scores need not be submitted.

Besides the GPA, another number that the admissions officers of most schools consider is an applicant’s test score.

If your GPA meets Hampton’s minimum requirements, you may or may not submit your SAT or ACT score. This can work to your advantage if you are not proud of your test score.

But if your SAT or ACT score is high, it’s a good idea to submit it anyway to show the admissions officers that you are exactly what they are looking for.

One of the biggest concerns about Hampton as a student is how dated it is. Of course, this is partially due to its deep rooted history as an institution, but the extent of this antiquatedness is – in my experience – one of the biggest reasons why so many students either transfer or lose all enthusiasm for learning.

Junior Review, Niche.com

Half the applicants accepted into Hampton University have SAT scores between 1030 and 1160 or ACT scores between 20 and 25. However, one-fourth of applicants accepted into the HBCU have higher SAT and ACT scores.

Are you applying for a merit-based scholarship? Then you should submit your test scores together with your application.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to Hampton University?

The cost of going to Hampton University for one academic year amounts to $42,648. The tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students amounts to $26,198. The room and board, which all first-year students have to pay for because they are required to live on-campus, amounts to $12,986.

Currently, there are 101 HBCUs in the country.

In the ranking by Great Value Colleges entitled 50 Most Affordable Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hampton is nowhere to be found.

It goes without saying that it’s not cheap to go to Hampton University.

The good news is that Hampton University offers scholarships, all of them merit-based. Awards per academic year range from $5,000 to $25,000. To qualify, applicants must have SAT scores of 1200 to 1290 or ACT scores of 27 to 28. Awardees should attain a cumulative 3.30 grade point average by the end of the spring semester each academic year.

Before we proceed to the next topic, let’s take a look at the breakdown of the COA for Hampton:

FEESCOST
Tuition$26,198
Comprehensive Fee$2,964
Room and board$12,986
Technology Fee$250
Cable/Phone Fee$250
TOTAL$42,648
Hampton Cost of Attendance

What Famous People Went to Hampton University?

Many people who have helped shape the course of history were once Hampton University students. Some of them are political figures, scientists, physicians, CEOs, authors and athletes. Others appear on TV as commentators or comedians. One of them is the mother of a well-known social activist.

Let’s check out some of the most notable alumni of Hampton, many of which you may be familiar with:

  • Booker T. Washington. An educator and advisor to many US presidents, Booker T. Washington is considered one of the most notable alumni of Hampton University. He graduated from the institution in 1875 at the age of 16. The school dedicated a Booker T. Washington memorial on campus in 1984.
  • Alberta Williams King. An important role player in the Ebenezer Baptist Church’s affairs, Alberta Williams King was the mother of Martin Luther King Jr., who was known for using non-violent resistance in order to deal with injustice. In 1924, she graduated from Hampton University with a teaching certificate.
  • Mary Jackson. A black aerospace engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and later the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Mary Jackson’s life was told in the movie, Hidden Figures. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Physical Science and Mathematics from Hampton in 1942.
  • Mychal Denzel Smith. A TV commentator and author, Mychal Denzel Smith wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education. He went to Hampton, where he was also the editor-in-chief of The Script, the school’s newspaper.
  • Douglas Palmer. On July 1, 1990, Douglas Palmer took office as mayor of Trenton, New Jersey. He was the first-ever African-American mayor of the said capital city of The Garden State. In 1973, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Hampton University.
  • Sylvia Trent-Adams. The surgeon general of the US in 2017, Sylvia Trent-Adams was named to the board of directors for American Mobile Nurses (AMN) healthcare in 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Hampton, and went on to earn her master of science and doctorate degrees in Nursing from other schools.
  • Charles Phillips. An African-American business exec in the tech industry, Charles Phillips is the CEO of Infor, which is the world’s largest privately-owned software and the world’s third-largest provider of enterprise applications and services. He earned his master’s in Business Administration from Hampton in 1986.
  • St. Clair Drake. Together with Horace R. Clayton, St. Clair Drake wrote Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, which was a significant study of race and urban life. He graduated from Hampton University, where he played for the soccer team, with a bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1931.
  • Devin Green. From 2001 to 2005, Devin Green was attending Hampton, where he played for college basketball. He was signed by the LA Lakers when he was undrafted out of Hampton University. He also played for various NBA teams such as the Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
  • Wanda Sykes. A writer, actress and comedian, Wanda Sykes was named by Entertainment Weekly in 2004 as one of the 25 funniest people in the US. A Primetime Emmy Award winner in 1999 for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Hampton.

How Does Hampton University Compare With Other Schools?

Hampton University has a higher selectivity level than most HBCUs, making it more prestigious. However, it has a higher COA than other HBCUs, causing students from low-income backgrounds to steer clear of it. Hampton’s retention and graduation rates are pretty much the same as those of most HBCUs.

The following is a quick comparison of Hampton University with some of the most popular HBCUs:

  • Is Hampton Better Than Florida A&M University? Hampton has a significantly higher COA than FAMU. The COA for FAMU for one academic year amounts to $23,392 only. Since FAMU is a public institution, its tuition is cheaper for in-state students. Both Hampton and FAMU offer a total of 52 majors.
  • Is Hampton Better Than Morehouse College? Gaining admission into Hampton is harder than Morehouse because it has a lower acceptance rate — 36% vs. 99.8%. However, Hampton has a campus size that’s almost five times larger than the campus of Morehouse, although the latter has a smaller population (2,253).
  • Is Hampton Better Than Tuskegee University? The retention rates of Hampton and Tuskegee are almost the same — 74% vs. 71%. A school’s retention rate can be used to gauge the satisfaction of its first-year students. However, the graduation rate of Hampton is a little over 10% higher than that of Tuskegee.
  • Is Hampton Better Than Xavier University of Louisiana? Because XULA has a higher acceptance rate (60%) than Hampton, it’s so much easier to gain admission into the school located in New Orleans. However, XULA offers only 30 majors. Hampton, on the other hand, offers a total of 52 majors.
  • Is Hampton Better Than Howard University? It’s true that Hampton and Howard have practically the same acceptance rates. However, Howard’s early acceptance rate is higher — 50.6% vs. 43.7%. For the academic year 2020 to 2021, Howard has higher room and board charges than Hampton — $19,794 vs. $12,986.
  • Is Hampton Better Than Spelman College? Hampton is more selective than Spelman, which has an acceptance rate of 43.4%. However, Spelman tends to rank higher than Hampton in many college rankings. For instance, in US News’ 2021 Best HBCUs, Spelman is number one, while Hampton is number five.

Just Before You Apply to Hampton University

Hampton University doesn’t have a high acceptance rate, which means that you should have a strong application before sending it to the HBCU. Luckily, it has a holistic admissions process. So, in other words, it’s not just your GPA and SAT or ACT score that the school’s admissions officers will take a look at, but other components of your application, too.

Above are some of the most important things every student wanting to go to Hampton needs to know.

Take your time when weighing the pros and cons of going to the Virginia-based HBCU. In the end, it’s your needs and preference you should use as criteria when deciding whether or not Hampton is the school for you.

Read Next: Best HBCU Colleges By Major


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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