Pride Vs Opportunity: High school seniors are torn between HBCUs and PWIs

Pride Vs Opportunity: High school seniors are torn between HBCUs and PWIs

February 2, 2017 7 By smcclellon

College is one of the most important decisions for a teenager. With the big transition of a student being on their own for the first time and finding a career that is most suiting, it can be difficult deciding on the right institution. For African-American students, many are caught between the decision of choosing either a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) or a Predominantly White Institution (PWI).

Martajh Bell-Knox, a sophomore at Belle Chasse High School in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, aspires to attend one of the top HBCUs, Howard University, in Washington, D.C. as an architecture major.  

Bell-Knox trusts that this HBCU has all that he expects in a college and utilizes his skills in football to attract attention from the college.  

“I chose an HBCU because it feels like I’m walking the path of the people before me who built this college for me. In the past, we couldn’t attend PWI’s. It’s the best path for me to take and was genuinely designed for people like me.”

Kai Murray

Martajh Bell-Knox

Kai Murray, a High School Senior at New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, prefers a PWI over an HBCU. She wishes to attend Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana and study to be a Registered Nurse.

“I like HBCUs,” says Murray, “but I think a Predominantly White Institution would be better for my education. An HBCU is good, but I believe that the education system is not as good as a Predominantly White Institution.”

Murray presumes many college seekers her age choose an HBCU as a last resort after they have been unsuccessful applying to larger universities. She is confident that Southeastern can help her find a job and map out her future.

Both students concur that many HBCUs do not advertise their campuses as they did when they were first established in the past for students of color. It is especially perverse that PWI’s advertise their campuses more frequently than HBCUs. As for enrollment, however, amidst the rise of racial tension against African Americans and countless Black Lives Matter protests, HBCUs have seen a surge in enrollment. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 38 percent of HBCUs have seen a 10 percent increase in enrollment.

“Some HBCUs could come talk to students at high schools about what they have to offer at their schools,” says Murray on the topic.

Finding the right college can be burdensome among most college seekers. Nonetheless, the decision depends on what the student believes is best for them and which environment they feel most comfortable in. Whether it is a Historically Black College and Institution or Predominantly White Institution, both can provide benefits for students of all kinds.