Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, is a truly unique place, as it combines a selective four-year liberal arts college with an internationally renowned Conservatory of Music. Founded in 1833, it was also the first coeducational college to grant bachelor degrees to women and the first to admit black students on equal footing with white students. It was also a station on the Underground Railroad and is the alma mater of the first black elected to the U.S. Congress. With such laudable founding principles, it's no surprise that Oberlin is the third most diverse school on NEWSWEEK's list.
With high marks from the Advocate and InsideCollege.com, Oberlin College also takes spot number 3 for gay-friendliness.
Nearly three-quarters of Oberlin's classes enroll fewer than 20 students, with an 11 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio in the College of Arts and Sciences and an impressive 8 to 1 ratio in the conservatory. This commitment to individual attention helps the school land spot No. 19 on NEWSWEEKS's list of most desirable suburban schools. (Cleveland is about 35 miles away.)
Of the 2,888 students enrolled in the fall of 2009, 55 percent were women and 20 percent were students of color. While the bulk of Oberlin's students are from within the United States, just 9.1 percent are from Ohio. Tuition for the 2009-2010 school year was $39,686.
To rank colleges and universities by diversity, we took a broad view of related issues, including ethnicity, geographic origin, economic status, gender, and sexual orientation. Read more about our methodology here.