Many people told me that an HBCU was not realistic and would not prepare me for the “real world”. They were partially right; HBCUs aren’t representative of “the real world.”
One reason I decided to go to an HBCU, in specific Howard University, was because HBCUs celebrate black culture. Attending an HBCU felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. At what other point in my life would I be able to be surrounded by the culture and rich diversity of the African diaspora: blacks from St. Louis, Saint Lucia, San Francisco, Jamaica, Kenya, all from varying socio-economic backgrounds? Attending an HBCU is kinda like being in Black History Month every month. I also decided to attend an HBCU because of the supportive environment provided.
HBCUs emerged in the mid-1800s because many U.S. colleges and universities refused to admit black students. HBCUs were created to provide African Americans with the skills and education to achieve success and financial security in an environment sans discrimination, an environment designed to uplift. As a result, each school’s commitment to black students remains unparalleled.
HBCUs also provide unique networking opportunities. Most colleges can list noteworthy alumni, but HBCUs report an extraordinary number of history-making alumni. How many students can say that they studied religion with Martin Luther King Jr.? Or literature with acclaimed author Alice Walker? Dr. King attended Morehouse College, as did Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson. Morehouse’s sister-college Spelman taught Alice Walker, Bernice King (daughter of Dr. King), and Keshia Knight Pulliam (“Rudy” from The Cosby Show). Similarly, Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University graduated the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, former president of Nigeria, Benjamin Asikiwe and prolific poet, Langston Hughes.
Attending an HBCU is like joining a fraternity or sorority where you’re a lifelong member; members always help each other out.
Another lesser-known fact about many HBCUs is that recruiters from the leading U.S. companies visit the schools to tap into the concentration of top talent.
Want to feel connected to black history and culture, or simply want to attend a college that offers a supportive environment? You should consider attending an HBCU. You won’t be disappointed.