Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 0 comment

School Daze: Why I chose not to go to an HBCU

Why I chose not to go to an HBCU | Yes, We Rise

As an African American girl, I would watch The Cosby Show and its spin off show, A Different World every Thursday night in the 80’s and early 90’s. I often dreamed of attending an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) and becoming a part of something bigger than myself. I just knew that I would attend Howard University and become a posse member on Teen Summit, because I found out you had to live in DC for that to happen... but I digress.

I watched week after week, and Hillman College was the place to be. You would meet great friends, there was still some diversity, and I would feel at home.

As I got older my perception of these colleges changed drastically. 

I was often told of the financial woes that many students went through. The laziness of the office staff and the fact that most students would return home after they could not afford to stay there because of financial aid problems, due to no fault of their own. It was never placed across to me that there was so much more to the problems than what was presented.

I went to Catholic schools all of my life. There, it was often promoted that higher institutions that were Catholic in nature (which I ultimately chose) were best. It was also stressed that the name on the degree carried weight (which ultimately meant another predominately white institution). I was repeatedly told that HBCU’s were party schools where work never got done and people were super-duper seniors. They never wanted to leave the atmosphere in fear of growing up and taking on real life responsibilities.

What I came to learn on my own was that all those rumors were just that. False. 

Once I did my research (after I had already graduated) was that these institutions were the same if not better than the college that I attended. I also learned that the HBCU’s hold a network of alumni that is unmatched when compared to some institutions of higher learning. I learned that HBCU’s helped to nurture a lot of students, and taught them to never give up when it got rough.

I often hear from my friends that attended HBCU’s that their experience is unmatched; even for those who have attended other schools. Now, as an educator, I push HBCU’s to my students to consider when they are choosing colleges because I believe that these institutions can help my students to become the people they are trying to be. HBCU's hold strong traditions and history... history that I missed out on because of misconceptions.

I encourage all people looking to start their college journey to consider all options... but make an HBCU one of your top options. You will not regret it.

Until the Next

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