Two types of higher education

I remember being a senior in high school and feeling very anxious and confused about the direction of my life and which way I was going to go. Of course, it didn’t help being told to go to a bunch of different colleges from a bunch of different people.

My biggest struggle was making the decision to go to a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) or a Predominantly White Institution (PWI).  My family and friends would constantly suggest I go to either one for various reasons; however, the debate of HBCU vs. PWI reached far beyond my circle of peers.

There are many different reasons why people have preferences to one over the other. One of the most striking reasons that I hear is the quality and value of your degree. Many believe that the value of a degree from a PWI definitely outweighs that of a degree from a HBCU.

I believe that under certain circumstances this could be true; however, to outright claim that a degree from one type of institution means that another is worth less isn’t a truthful claim.

Another really big reason I was told to carefully consider when choosing to go to a PWI or an HBCU is the atmosphere.

Anyone who has gone to a HBCU will tell you that the atmosphere is very fun and welcoming, and the atmosphere isn’t exactly what they experience on the campus of a PWI. This is very subjective and, obviously, others can feel differently about it depending on a multitude of variables.

There are lots of other reasons to consider with the two kinds of institutions.

I personally think that defining the importance and the values of these schools through them being a PWI or HBCU is limiting, and prospective students can’t properly see what each school has to offer. I am not saying that the labels themselves are limiting, but the connotations associated with them are.

The choice to attend a HBCU or a PWI is entirely yours. Higher education is available in many different forms and methods and that choice is entirely yours as well.

Creating dividing lines in institutions of higher learning aren’t completely necessary to me anymore because your education is exactly what you make of it in this day, since there are so many resources at our doorstep. If you prefer one atmosphere on campus as opposed to the other then that is something to consider in a college search. But the debate of PWI vs. HBCU is something to dismantle because each has their pros and cons.

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