Kappas Seek to Increase Number of Black Men in Grad Schools
The numbers are staggering. According to Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., two-thirds of all African American men who begin pursuing an undergraduate degree, fail to complete that degree.
For those who do complete their undergraduate degree, even fewer go on to complete a post-baccalaureate degree. In 2000, African American men comprised only 2.4% of Master’s degrees, 2.6% of professional degrees and 1.9% of doctorates, according to the official website of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Nevertheless, the Kappas, a Greek-letter organization founded on the principle of achievement, have implemented the Achievement Academy of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
According to KappaAlphaPsi1911.com, “The Achievement Academy seeks to increase the representation of African American men, specifically our undergraduate fraternity members, in the nation’s most selective graduate and professional schools.” Despite the grim statistics, such as the fact that as of 1999 African Americans continued to score among the lowest of all ethnic/racial groups on the GRE, the entrance exam for graduate school. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. sees hope for progress as research indicates that from 1980-2000, African American men experienced a 67% increase in post-baccalaureate degree completion.
The fraternity seeks to increase the numbers of African American men in top graduate programs through mentoring and advocacy. According to KappaAlphaPsi1911.com, the goals of the Achievement Academy include: identifying those students who plan to seek a graduate degree; surround those potential applicants with effective mentors; provide referrals to effective mentors; development of long-term career goals; preparing college students for the transition from undergraduate student to graduate student; helping students improve their standardized test scores; provide sponsorship for study resources, improve the graduation rate for members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; improve the graduate/professional school enrollment gap for members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; and to employ metrics to monitor and make improvements to the Achievement Academy.
Through the efforts of organizations such as fraternities and sororities, much improvement can be made to the achievement gap that is still prevalent in American society. It is imperative that all African American men and women who have successfully matriculated through the classrooms of higher education to reach back and assist those who come after them.
From volunteering as a tutor or mentor or speaking at career or college day at a local high school, older generations can make that same matriculation that much easier for the next generation. Often, many students from urban environments cannot afford the expensive prep courses to prepare them for those important standardized tests like their more affluent counterparts. Therefore, the mentoring that African American students receive from organizations like the Achievement Academy of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. can be the great equalizer of achieving post-baccalaureate success.
Kappa was founded on January 5, 1911 by ten students at Indiana University, with achievement being the fundamental purpose of the organization. The fraternity now consists of over 700 chapters in countries throughout the world. For more information on the Achievement Academy visit the official website of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.