Why Did You Choose an HBCU?

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Updated on July 19, 2023
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With so many options for college, students have to weigh a variety of factors when it comes time to choose a school. However, for many HBCU students, the reasons for attending their school extend beyond academic coursework and future career plans. For them, choosing an HBCU is a personal choice that is often connected to community and culture.

The following interviews explore how three HBCU students decided which college to attend, the factors that went into their selection, and the valuable lessons they learned along the way.

Katiya Laster

Katiya Laster is a native of Beckley, West Virginia, and a senior journalism and media studies student with a minor in sociology at Bennett College.

Describe the moment you knew you wanted to attend your HBCU.

The moment I knew that I wanted to attend Bennett College was when I spent six weeks on campus the summer before my first year. I was walking around campus and felt connected to the history and legacy of the influential women who attended my institution. Being able to walk the same halls as civil rights leaders, specifically the women who organized the Greensboro sit-ins, meant so much to me and I knew it was a legacy that I wanted to be a part of.

Nia Whitten

Nia Whitten is senior communications media major with a concentration in production from Decatur, Georgia. She serves as the 71st Miss Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.

What has been the biggest lesson you learned since going to college?

There are so many! However, I'll say that I learned the importance of finding a way or making one. In the good and bad times, AAMU has shown me how a family and a community can come together to make it happen. I've learned to be prompt and "get it done" — even when it's a challenge. I value that because I've been encouraged even more to never give up and see things through.

Asha Boyce

Asha Boyce, 19, is from Houston, Texas. As the daughter of an artist and movie producer, TJ Boyce, she has a natural talent for acting and singing (as hobbies), but her career goal is to help those affected by mental illness. Asha is currently a first-year student at Howard University studying psychology.

What was the primary reason for your college choice decision?

Innovation, excellence, and entrepreneurship are celebrated at HU, so I knew I made the right decision. My parents have instilled education and excellence into me and my siblings as long as I can remember, and after doing research I knew this was my new home.

As you can see, there are many reasons why students choose to attend an HBCU. College is one of the most important times in a student's life. When deciding where to go to school, many students factor in community, culture, and the feeling they get when they walk on campus. Even as HBCUs continue to grow and change to meet the needs of students, the commitment to community, relationships, and making a home away from home for college students remains the same.

Find more HBCU resources.

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