Founded in 1884 as the Minister’s Institute, Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) is a four-year, historically African American church-related institution. It offers a liberal arts-oriented academic program which leads to terminal degrees in the natural and physical sciences, social sciences, education, and business administration.
When founded by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas, the primary goal of the school was to raise the educational level of the African American ministry while valuing the teaching principles of Jesus Christ. The founders also placed a strong importance on making higher education available to any young African American who desired to pursue it. According to their current vision statement, Arkansas Baptist “is dedicated to the development of graduates who are exceptionally educated, spiritually and culturally aware, and able to meet the demands of our rapidly advancing society.”
The college’s student body is composed of students from the local community, rural Arkansas, and major urban centers throughout the country. It is a small school, with just over a thousand students. The student body is roughly 2/3 male and 1/3 female. The school is explicitly Christian and seeks to integrate Christian principles with academic scholarship. The mission of the college, as stated on their website, is:
1. To show personal interest in every student with regard to scholarship and the development of character and personality.
2. To provide basic tools, communication skills, general education, and global perspectives which are required in everyday contacts.
3. To provide knowledge, training and skills necessary for securing employment.
4. To provide a Christian philosophy of life with a frame for proper moral conduct.
In addition to its academic program, ABC provides service programs for the benefit of the state and local community. These programs include a Kiddie Kollege for preschoolers and continuing education courses through a partnership with the Arkansas Baptist Convention. The college participates in the Greater Little Rock Center for Higher Education, a consortium of historically African American colleges in the Little Rock area.
Degree programs include associate of arts degrees in general studies, African American community leadership, business administration, Christian education, music business, public administration, and religious studies. Bachelor of arts are conferred in African American community leadership, African American community leadership with emphasis in public health, Christian education, criminal justice, human services, public administration, and religious studies. Business offerins include Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in accounting, business administration, and entrepreneurship. For students who earn a BA in human services, it is possible to go on to earn a master of arts in public health, the only post-graduate degree offered. The school is home to the Center for Entrepreneurship, which seeks to benefit area businesses and the wider community with the resources of the school.
Thanks to the full schedule of summer classes, it is possible for a full-time attendee to graduate in three years instead of four. Regardless of the chosen field of study, the first two years of any student’s education emphasizes the liberal arts, while the last two years are given over to focus on the student’s major.
Most Popular Fields of Study
ABC has an open enrollment policy, which means that they accept any eligible student with a high school diploma or GED equivalent who applies.
High School Students
Concurrent enrollment is possible for high school students who would like to begin college work part-time before graduating from high school. Successful applicants must be in their senior year of high school, have a composite score of 21 on the ACT, have at least a 3.0 grade point average, obtain a letter of recommendation from their high school counselor of principal, meet the course prerequisites for any class they wish to take, and have the permission of the department chair and instructor. Concurrent enrollment students are limited to six credit hours per semester and earn a minimum grade of C to stay enrolled in the program. Students in this program aren’t eligible for financial aid from the federal government, although they may qualify for scholarships or other local funding.
Applicants from abroad are required to pay a modest but non-refundable application fee; submit official academic transcripts with their English translations, and proof of immunization for measles, mumps, rubella, and tuberculosis; a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum score of 500 on the paper test or 173 on the computer test; certified proof of ability to pay tuition and fees; and proof of health insurance.
To apply, prospective international students should submit their application materials by the first of March for fall entry, the first of August for spring entry, or by the first of February to enroll in the summer term. In addition to the documents listed above, application materials should contain proof of the student’s visa status. International students should apply for an F-1 visa. Call the office of the registrar to discuss any exceptional cases.
The standard forms of government-based financial aid for students are readily accessible at this school, as are several institutional scholarships awarded by the school itself.
The Student Government Association (SGA) works closely with the administration of the college to craft policies on issues concerning students. Elections for SGA offices are held annually during the spring. Students must have and maintain a grade point average (GPA) or at least 2.50 to be active in the Student Government Association. The available positions are president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, historian, chaplain, senior class president, junior class representative, sophomore class representative, and freshmen class representative.
There are two sororities on campus, Delta Sigma Theta (ΔΣΘ) and Zeta Phi Beta (ΖΦΒ). There are three fraternities, Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ), Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ), and Phi Beta Sigma (ΦΒΣ). Greek organizations have a strong service orientation as well as social and professional components.
Other Student Activities
The Office of Student Activities is a foundational factor in the college experience. Student activities, clubs, committees, and other organizations are all structured to build leadership experience and complement the academic program at the college. All student organizations are expected to complete three distinct campus projects during each academic year that further the development of their members and enhance the college and the wider community. New organizations are welcomed; students who do not find a club or organization to suit their interests are warmly encouraged to request an Emerging Club Packet from the office of the Dean of Student Affairs and begin their own.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Arkansas Baptist College belongs to Region 2 of the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA). Their teams are known as the Buffaloes. The Buffaloes compete in the NJCAA in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, cheerleading, football, softball, and track and field. The athletics department also offers a two-year football program, the only college or university in the state of Arkansas to do so.
The campus is located in downtown Little Rock, close to the Clinton Presidential Library and the River Market area. Despite its “small” name, the Little Rock metropolitan area boasts just under 900,000 people, offering multiple social, cultural, and employment opportunities to students.
Some of the larger employers with headquarters located in Little Rock include Dillard’s Department Stores, Windstream Comunications, Axcion, Metropolitan National Bank, Rose Law Firm, Nuvell Financial Services, Central Flying Service, Dassault Falcton Jet, Raytheon Aircraft Company, and Fidelity National Information Service. Other significant employers in the Little Rock area include the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and its affiliates, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Baptist Health Medical Center, Entergy, Siemens, At&T Mobility, Kroger, Euronet Worldwide, and Timex.
For those students interested in using their leadership abilities in the non-profit sector, Little Rock is also home to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Heifer International, Lions World Services for the Blind, Clinton Presidential Center, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, FamilyLife, Audubon Arkansas, the Nature Conservancy, and Winrock International.
The best-known alumnus is Dr. Emeral Crosby. Dr. Crosby graduated in 1952. As Chairman of the Commission on Excellence in Education, he was responsible for publishing A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform—a seminal publication in contemporary education.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.