NYUL’s HBCU Fair: MY “HBCU” EXPERIENCE

Disclaimer: In light of New York Urban League’s 31st Annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities fair, I decided to write a post encouraging everyone to come out and support. BUT as I was writing it made me reflect a lot on my personal “HBCU” experience both in the education and work field and let’s just say this turned into  a completely new article. So let me get straight into it…

Before anyone starts asking, “Why is she going so hard  about this HBCU event? She didn’t even attend an HBCU!” That my friends is EXACTLY why I go so hard about events like this one.

But see there’s more to it…

For those of you who follow my blog, you know I did my undergrad years at The City College of New York and currently a grad student at Queens College. No I do not  have a long list of family members who’ve attended HBCU’s nor did I live down the street from one- where I could hear the band practicing down the block (yes from Drumline). But what I do remember is watching TV shows like Living Single, Martin and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where the main characters often wore HBCU paraphernalia. Although I didn’t have much knowledge on each university back then, I still found it dope that they were representing Black colleges on national television shows.

 

Why I go so hard for HBCU’s…

So I’ll never forget senior year, walking into my high school’s college office to discuss what schools I was interested in. I remember the minute you walk in there were pennants from different universities posted all over the ceiling and walls. So of course I start looking for schools I’m interested in and BAM! Spotted City College! Found Hofstra too! Cool there goes Syracuse! Now I’m looking for Clark Atlanta…. had a hard time. So I went for Howard… didn’t see that either. Well damn, how ’bout Hampton? Didn’t see that either! At this point I felt like I was playing “Where’s Waldo?” or better yet “Where the hell are the HBCUs?!?”
After a good 5-minute hunt, ALAS! I saw little old Spelman in the far corner peaking out under a USC flag. In that moment I figured there were probably more hiding, but no Spelman was it. I couldn’t help but wonder, did Spelman make it to the wall to represent all HBCU’s or did it make the cut  because it also happens to be an all women’s college?

While speaking to the college counselor at the time, I mentioned that I was interested in Clark Atlanta University and wanted to know more about their application process and financial aid info. She admitted she had no knowledge on the admissions process but was willing to look it up for me, and would follow up. Ten years later and I’m still waiting on that follow up…

 Let’s fast forward some…

I now work for New York City’s  public school system and have worked in multiple high schools. I remember working at a particular high school (where the student population was demographically diverse) and was asked to be part of the college committee. I was so honored! Shoot being fresh out of college  I felt like I had a lot to offer and had a better understanding of what schools the students would be interested in visiting. So one day we had a meeting and everyone had to come up with a few colleges we would have the seniors visit that year. Keep in mind one of the counselors in a previous meeting suggested we provide a variety of schools to expose the students to the different kinds of colleges out there. So when it was my turn to speak, I suggested that we add Howard University to our list- it was a prominent institution that is close to NY so traveling wouldn’t be too much and offers a variety of programs. I then added that if we can’t go there we could even do a separate trip to attend an HBCU fair in the city so students can learn about multiple HBCUs all in one day. THE LOOK ON EVERYONE ELSE’S FACE!

When I think of my senior year, I looked forward to college tours! We had several trips to college campuses and although it was nice seeing Adelphi, Oswego, Fordham and some out of state P.W.I’s, it would have been nice to see what Hampton, Morgan State and Clark Atlanta had to offer too…but I digress. So when I think back on my 17 year old self who had to do research on her own and didn’t complete her application process because she freaked out at the tuition fees and had no knowledge of how’d she’d be able to afford to go to these schools, or where she would be living is upsetting. To think she along with the few other Black students who went to that school and other schools that didn’t have a large population of Black students are often uninformed of the HBCU fairs that were happening in their own cities where students receive scholarships on the spot, admission fee waivers and the opportunity to hear from HBCU alumni is beyond frustrating. Now as an adult all I could think is WHY NOT go hard and spread the word to high school counselors from my neighborhood? Why not invite all the seniors I know? Why not take the time out of my weekend to volunteer at this event?

So to answer the original question of why I go so hard for HBCU’s- THAT IS WHY! I’m no poster child for HBCU’s and I’m not proposing that all Black students should go to HBCU’s, however what I am pushing for is that all public schools advertise and provide as much awareness on HBCUs as they do for PWI’s.

 

Can you go to a PWI and still have a “Black College” experience? Check out my response below!

RESPONSE: “I Went to a PWI and Still Had A Black College Experience”

One thought on “NYUL’s HBCU Fair: MY “HBCU” EXPERIENCE

  1. Great Blog! I too did not go to an HBCU, I attended York College C.U.N.Y and NYU but my daughter attended Hampton University were she graduated Cum Laude in 2012 and has gone into the real estate business with some of her college friends, lived with her Big Sister when she moved to NYC and her bestie,she met him in one of her classes. So I Agree with you! My second daughter went into Fasion do NYC was her option but my son who is a current HS is looking at HBCUs!!! GREAT BLOG!!!!

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