Being Black, College

 Why I chose to attend a Predominately White Institution (PWI)

Once people found out where I chose to go to school, I often get asked why I chose LSU or what made me want to go there. I give everyone the same answer: “It is where God lead me to go”.

LSU was not my first pick, but my second. I knew that I would get in because I met all of the requirements to get automatic acceptance. My first pick, Baylor University in Waco, Texas, was a different story. I wasn’t sure that I would get in. Once I did get accepted, that’s when I knew I was going to LSU. I grew to like the campus life more at LSU rather than at Baylor.

I am also asked why I didn’t go to a HBCU (Historically Black College and University). I had a HBCU as one of my school options. Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was my third option, which is not too far from where I am now. I love being around other black people; however, I’ve gone to diverse schools all my life and wanted a similar experience in my college life. I’ve been able to meet many different people from many different backgrounds because of it.

I feel like college is where you learn who you are and who you want to be once you graduate college. I want to be fully equipped and prepared for the world that I live in, which does not only consist of African Americans. By attending a PWI, I have and will be able to learn how to work with other people who aren’t like me. It also provides me with a variety of experiences and opportunities that can help me in my future.

Someone on twitter: “Black students  at PWI’s talk down on HBCU’s forgetting that 54 years ago THEY COULDNT EVEN ATTEND A WHITE INSTITUTION.”

Caleb (my friend):  “& HBCU students talk down on PWI’s forgetting that their own/OUR own people fought hard for civil rights that enabled us to have a choice.”

One of my friends said the statement above when there was a PWI v. HBCU debate on twitter and I completely agree.

I asked a few of my friends why they chose to attend a PWI and here are some of their responses.

Caleb: “I chose a PWI because it was honestly the best fit for me. I struggled with choosing between that and an HBCU, but I wanted to 1. Go to the school that had the best program for my major. 2. Feel comfortable for the place I would call home for at least 4 years. Texas Tech and more PWIs in general, offered that for me. I felt that I could still enjoy my blackness with the black community at Tech, but also be forced out of my comfort zone to meet people who didn’t look like me and who I couldn’t relate too.”

Jasmine: “Being that I am an African American, I felt that I would have a better outcome after graduating. By that I mean if I have the same credentials as someone who attended an HBCU, I would have a better chance of getting hired. Also I would understand the interaction it takes to communicate with people who aren’t just African Americans. Just because of the world we live in, I feel that it is necessary to be prepared for certain situations that I shouldn’t have to be in but probably will be put in.”

Sam: “I chose to go to a PWI because I knew I wouldn’t be as tempted to go out . Not saying that PWI’s don’t have parties but being at an HBCU would encourage me to go out more because I’d be more comfortable with the culture of the parties there. Not necessarily bringing race into this but more along the lines such as music, the feel of the social gathering that I’m attending would differ from an HBCU to a PWI. One can be focused at an HBCU but I felt it was best if I went to a PWI”

Nahrya (Graduated):  “When applying to colleges, I didn’t give myself a choice of a PWI or HBCU. I knew I wanted to attend my dream school, The University of Oklahoma, so that was my main priority. I didn’t start thinking about the difference between the two until my sophomore/junior year of college. My dad and other family members graduated from a HBCU so I was familiar with various universities, it just wasn’t on my mind to attend one. From attending a PWI, I’ve been put in situations that have changed my perspective on many things. You’re exposed to all types of people, which is an example of the real world and Corporate America. I could say it prepared me for life after undergrad. I’ve made multiple networks at a PWI, so I don’t regret my decision. During my senior year of high school, I just didn’t consider applying to one at the time. I had thoughts about attending a HBCU for graduate school, but the PWI I will be attending is ranked one of the best programs in the country for my major. I based my decision on educational purposes for planning out my future.”
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