Image by Bahsil Franklin
Story by Kiya Wimbush-Robinson/Clutchpoints
Choosing the right college/university is such an important decision. This place will be your home for the next four years. There are over 100 HBCUs in the United States and each school has so much to offer. To help with start your process here is a guide to choosing the right HBCU.
Choosing your major
HBCUs offer a plethora of degree programs at all academic levels. But before choosing a school, you want to think about what you would possibly like to major in. It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what but it’s nice to have an idea. You want to look at schools that offer your exact major or a major that is similar and can lead you to the same career path. Also, when choosing a major make sure to check if your specific department has its accreditation. What is accreditation you might ask? Accreditation ensures that universities are maintaining a certain level of academic standards. Schools can have accreditation overall as an institution, but some degree programs can lose their accreditation for various reasons. Depending on what you would to major start looking into schools that offer that specific degree program. For example, if you are interested in any aspect of business Virginia State University is home of the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business which has been named one of the best business programs among HBCUs.
Location! Location! Location!
When choosing an HBCU you want to consider where your school is located. There are HBCUs all over the US and one in the Virgin Islands. The majority of HBCUs are in southern states such as Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. Here are a few questions to ask when deciding on an HBCU:
- Do you want to live in a small town or a large city?
- How close do you want to be from home?
- Does the cost of living in the area matter to you?
- Would you rather study in a campus-based or city-based university?
- Do you prefer to live in the countryside or a built-up area?
Some students stay in the area of their HBCU after graduation. So, factor in your long-term goals when choosing the location of your HBCU. Your major can also play a factor in choosing the location of your school. If you have an interest in political science, a school in or close to Washington D.C. might be a good choice for you.
The size of the university
The number of students can impact the feel on campus. Ask yourself would you thrive better at a smaller or larger university. At the end of the day, it all narrows down to personal preference. Smaller universities tend to have a more close-knit, family-like feel. They also give you a better chance to build more personal relationships with your professors since there are fewer students. While larger universities tend to have more going on. The best way to see if a university is for you is to visit and if possible, talk to current students.
This is probably the most important factor when choosing the right HBCU. When choosing a school you want to go somewhere that works best financially for you and your family. HBCUs tend to cost less than other institutions. They offer numerous financial aid options including scholarships, grants, and loans. Before choosing an HBCU research the cost of attendance at the school you would like to apply to. Include factors such as whether you will be a full-time or part-time student as well as if you are considered in-state or out-of-state.
With so many HBCUs to choose from, there is truly a place for everyone. Choosing the right school can be stressful but you will know when the school is for you. If you are in the process of applying to an HBCU use this guide to make your decision a little bit easier.
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