Students benefit from cultural immersion when preparing for a career in a rapidly changing global economy. Enrolling in a diverse public college provides real world opportunities to learn about other cultures and differing worldviews. Many big public schools that promote diversity and inclusion are located in California. Large universities also offer more majors, lots of student organizations and major events.
1. University of California, Los Angeles
For the 2018 to 2019 school year, the University of California, Los Angeles received more than 100,000 undergraduate applications and admitted 16 percent of applicants. Dating back to 1919, this exceptional college attracts diverse students who are mentored by top notch diverse faculty. Of the 13,225 freshmen enrolled fall 2017, the largest groups represented were Asian American (28 percent), white (27 percent), Hispanic (22 percent) and international students (11 percent). Over 125 majors are offered. Fraternity and sorority life is very popular.
2. San Francisco State University
Founded in 1899, San Francisco State University is a well-respected public research institution. Over half of the enrolled 25,945 undergraduate students in 2018 identify as Asian or Hispanic. White students are the next biggest demographic constituting 21 percent of the student body. Popular majors include business administration, engineering and computer science. SFSU is located near Silicon Valley, which offers opportunities to study emerging technologies. The school offers around 100 clubs, including 45 Greek life organizations.
3. The University of California, Davis
The University of California, Davis opened in 1908 as an agricultural school. This large public college appeals to diverse students with a strong academic record. Two out of three students on this campus identify as racially/ethnically diverse, with Asian Americans being the largest demographic at 27 percent. Since 1969, the college has hosted an annual powwow honoring indigenous cultures. Over 100 majors are offered. Twenty five teams compete at the NCAA Division I level. Agriculture and biology remain popular majors, and cows can be seen grazing on the University farm near the dorms.
4. University of Houston
With an undergraduate population of 35,995, the University of Houston is one of the biggest schools in Texas. Around 250 majors are available. The student body includes many diverse students. In 2018, one in three students identified as Hispanic/Latino; almost 10 percent of students identified as African American and three percent were two or more races. White students represented around 27 percent of the student demographic. The school admits 59 percent of applicants. The average ACT score of admitted students is 23 to 28.
5. California State University, Sacramento
California State University, Sacramento enrolls 29,000 students on a large urban campus with more than 3,500 trees. The school admits 72 percent of applicants. The typical student has an ACT composite score between 17-22. California residents pay $5,742 in annual tuition, and 82 percent of students receive financial aid. Almost 22 percent of the student body identifies as Asian American or Native Pacific-Islander, and more than 30 percent identify as Latino. Students can choose from almost 60 majors. Students may select from more than 300 clubs, Most student organizations have a learning component.
6. University of California, Santa Barbara
Gifted and talented students from diverse backgrounds apply to the University of California, Santa Barbara for a chance to work with expert faculty engaged in meaningful research. Founded in 1891, the school has grown from a small cohort of teachers to a student body of 24,346 students. Approximately 35 percent of the student body identifies as white. The biggest groups of diverse students are Hispanic/Latino (24 percent) and Asian (around 17 percent). Admission is selective. The acceptance rate was 36 percent in 2018 and most students had a competitive ACT composite score of 27 to 32.
7. University of California, San Diego
The University of California, San Diego, with an undergraduate student population of 26,584, is recognized for research and public service. Research minded students can find fascinating topics to explore like oceanography. The mission of the school includes educating a global society. Many students major in the social sciences, engineering or biology. Asian students (37 percent), non-resident aliens (17 percent) and Hispanic students (16 percent) constitute the largest groups of diverse students on campus. White students comprise 21 percent of the student population. Student life is enriched by 500 active student clubs.
8. University of California, Berkeley
This large urban university has a long tradition of student activism. Admission is competitive, with an acceptance rate of 17 percent. University of California, Berkeley students have average ACT scores of 31 to 34. The 29,310 undergraduate students enrolled at this college can select choose from more than 160 academic majors. Almost all first year students live on campus making it easy to meet people. Greek life is popular. Diverse students constitute almost 70 percent of the student body with a cross section of cultural identities represented.
9. San Diego State University
Each year San Diego State University enrolls almost 30,000 diverse undergraduate students, making it one of the biggest urban schools in California. SDSU annually graduates around 10,000 students. The school offers 195 degree programs, as of 2018. White students make up 34 percent of the student body, closely followed by Hispanics (29 percent), Asians (7 percent) and African Americans (4 percent), as of fall 2017 enrollment. Perks include a scenic location in a coastal area near mountains. Students can pick from 300 clubs.
10. San Jose State University
Proximity to Silicon Valley affords students at San Jose State University opportunities for exceptional internships and jobs. As of fall 2017, Asians comprised the largest demographic on campus, constituting 40 percent of the student body, and 30 percent of enrolled students were Hispanic. The total student headcount for fall 2017 was 33,409. The most popular majors are psychology, design studies and kinesiology. More than 145 areas of study are offered. Founded in 1857, SJSU emphasizes quality instruction and small class size. Student athletes and coaches from diverse backgrounds compete in Division I sports.
11. University of California, Irvine
The University of California, Irvine has much to offer talented students seeking a top shelf education. Emphasis is placed on academic excellence, inventive research and community engagement. Diverse perspectives are valued and cultivated. Students excel in many different ways such as the performing arts, technology, innovation and athletics. Over 31,000 students were enrolled as of 2018. The college has been officially designated by the U.S. government as a school that serves Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander students. UCI is also recognized as one of the top ten schools in the country for undergraduate degrees awarded to diverse students.
12. California State University, Long Beach
California students looking for a good education at an affordable price often select California State University, Long Beach. Admissions is selective as indicated by a 32 percent acceptance rate. The typical student has an overall ACT score between 20 and 26. In-state tuition is $5,742, as of 2018. The undergraduate population was reported as 32,345. Of that total, almost 80 percent identify as diverse students. Hispanic/Latinos are the biggest diverse group on campus, comprising 39 percent of the student body. The next largest population is Asian students at 21 percent. Students may select from 80 fields of study. Majors in business, marketing and management are very popular. Campus life includes about 300 student organizations and thriving Greek life chapters.
13. Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Rutgers University boasts a 2018 undergraduate enrollment of 49,681 students. Founded in 1776, Rutgers was originally called Queen’s College. Esteemed Rutgers University attracts high caliber students. More than 150 majors and around 450 student organizations are offered. Rutgers University-New Brunswick is consistently named one of the best public universities in the country. Only California schools are ranked higher for diversity, as determined by U.S. News & World Report. Other points of pride include being a leader in preparing African-American students for successful admission to medical school. Rutgers is also known as one of the top 30 LGBTQ friendly campuses in the nation.
14. University of Washington, Seattle
An annual enrollment of more than 54,000 students makes the prestigious University of Washington one of the biggest public schools in the country. This large, public college is world renowned for cutting edge research and innovative scholarship. Efforts are underway to further diversify the student body. Currently, white students make up 40 percent of the student population, followed by Asians (25 percent), international students (15 percent), Latinos (8 percent), African Americans (3 percent) and smaller percentages of other underrepresented groups. Faculty, staff and students strongly advocate for an inclusive, welcoming and respectful campus.
15. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Located just 25 miles east of Los Angeles, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona is a bustling urban campus with an undergraduate enrollment of 23,733. The acceptance rate of applicants is 59 percent. In-state tuition is $5,742 making this quality school an affordable option. Of the 50 programs offered, the most popular majors are business and engineering. Diversity is reflected in a student body that is 45 percent Hispanic and almost 25 percent Asian-American. Military veterans are heavily recruited by the college. The school offers about 600 student organizations, including 39 Greek chapters.
16. California State University, Fullerton
The California State University educational system has 23 campuses throughout the state, including California State University, Fullerton. The undergraduate student population is 34,576, as of fall 2018. Almost 60 majors are offered. The school is best known for majors in business, communications and psychology. The typical student has an ACT composite score between 19 to 24. About 48 percent of applicants are accepted. Diversity is strong on the campus, with Hispanic students totaling around 39 percent of the student demographic. Asian students comprise almost 21 percent of the student body. The 300 student organizations that are offered include unique sports clubs like Jiu-Jitsu.
17. The University of Texas at Austin
Exciting educational opportunities await students admitted to the University of Texas at Austin. This large and distinguished public university has an undergraduate enrollment of 40,168, as of fall 2018. Admission is competitive, with a 40 percent acceptance rate. The typical student has a composite ACT score between 26 to 32. Data show that 20 percent of students identify as Hispanic, about 18 percent as Asian and 4 percent as Black or African American. Along with abundant research opportunities, students can select from approximately 1,300 organizations. Greek life is very big, along with Division I sporting events.
18. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Students looking for an academic challenge will find it at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Students may select from 150 undergraduate programs. Other benefits include access to a world class library and 80 research facilities on campus. Student life is equally robust, with dozens of student organizations and 62 Greek chapter houses. Athletic teams compete in Division I. The 33,932 undergraduate population includes many students from diverse backgrounds. Less than 50 percent of the student body identify as white. Students from all backgrounds are represented at this college. The typical student has an impressive composite ACT score of 26 to 32.
19. University of North Texas
The University of North Texas is a public research institution that reported an undergraduate student enrollment of 31,241 as of fall 2018. Many diverse groups are represented within the student population, including about 22 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Black or African American, and 7 percent of students identified with two or more racial identities. The odds of getting in are pretty good based on an acceptance rate of 72 percent. Most admitted students have a composite ACT score between 21-26. Examples of the most popular majors include business, social science and performance art. Students may consider joining one or more of the 425 student organizations and 38 Greek chapters.
20. Virginia Commonwealth University
The 23,865 undergraduates at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond include students from diverse races and ethnicities. About 50 percent of the student body is white. Students who identify as black or African American make up the second largest demographic at just under 17 percent. The acceptance rate is 81 percent. Admitted students typically have a composite ACT score of 21 to 27. Academic offerings include 217 programs in the arts, humanities and science. More than a dozen VCU teams compete at the NCAA Division I level, adding excitement to student life. Hundreds of student organizations are offered.