Why I Chose to Attend an HBCU

Choosing a college is an important decision in any student’s life. Therefore, during my college process, I conducted research so I could find the college perfect for me. Even though my HBCU has a couple of issues, I am forever thankful for my decision to attend the illustrious Hampton University.

My college research began with identifying what I wanted to get out of my college experience. At the top of my list was more black friends. Throughout my four years of high school, I was only close with the other black girls at my school, therefore limiting my friendships to around seven. This seven would decrease as I realized I had nothing else in common with these girls. Even though I bonded with my black classmates more than my nonblack classmates, our friendship was based on our one unifying quality: race. I would say hi and bye to my nonblack classmates, but I barely talked to them outside of school, because I could never really relate to them. Some of their parents did not even allow them to travel to where I live: Detroit. When I graduated, I realized that I had only made a couple of forever friends with the same genuine interests as me.  

Another reason I was looking into HBCUs was the aftermath of the 2016 election. My high school had completely divided on the issue of who would be a suitable president. After Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential election, I felt like an outsider at my own school. I began to look at people differently because they were able to completely disregard Trump’s blatant racism and sexism.  Since I was a minority at my school, I had to constantly challenge my classmates' prejudiced opinions. By junior year, I had become exhausted that my black classmates and I were teaching our classmates and teachers about black history. At the end of the day, we were still students who did not want to be put on a platform about every black issue.   

As I began to talk to HBCU graduates and current students, I learned a lot about their experiences and how they loved their individual HBCUs. During my senior year, I reached out to my 2nd grade teacher who graduated from Tennessee State University. She was thrilled that I was considering an HBCU and told me it was one of the best experiences of her life and after 19 years she still returns every year for TSU’s homecoming. My second-grade teacher and other HBCU graduates’ testimonials assured me that even if I did not attend their schools, the HBCU support would be tremendous. Even though there are 107 HBCUs, there is one unified HBCU family. Even though I was not specifically looking into Tennessee State University, she still encouraged me to look into any HBCUs. There might be rivalry between the schools, but at the end of the day HBCUs are a gigantic family.

Television also played a crucial role in my college decision making process. During my sophomore year of high school, my mother introduced me to the show A Different World. While I binge watched the late 90’s sitcom, I made the executive decision that I wanted to go to a college that appreciates every aspect of what I have to offer. The show’s protagonist Whitley Gilbert stated why she chose to attend Hillman College instead of Georgetown University: “You can go to school anyplace but no school would love you and teach you to love yourself and know yourself like Hillman.” After watching the entire series, I was convinced I was going to attend a historically black college and live out my Hillman College fantasy.

After I decided I had to attend an HBCU, I had to choose between 106 amazing schools. The decision was not easy but after careful consideration I chose the Illustrious Hampton University. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to go to this amazing university and I cannot wait to get back on campus!