Is My HBCU Degree Worthless?

That is the question I asked myself as I stared at the following tweet:


(DISCLAIMER: In a rush to jot down my thoughts, I hastily put this blog togther….do not judge me.)

No shade?? Honey, you threw shade all the way back to my forefathers with this tweet. Although her page is now private this very public tweet caused a major firestorm that I am sure @med_school12 did not anticipate when she tweeted this.  A little research informed me that she is an undergraduate student at James Madison University, a PWI. This means that she in no way is able to make such a broad, sweeping opinion and present it as fact. No ma’am.

The debate over PWIs and HBCUs is nothing new. Every year as thousands of black students pack up and head to college, we debate the nuances of both. I am aware of the backlash blacks receive for being “sell outs” for choosing to attend PWIs just as I am aware of blacks being accused of having “Hillman Syndrome” because they attended a HBCU. Personally, I do not care. All I care about is that black students are given the chance to sit in a classroom and receive an education at the collegiate level if they so choose to.

That is why I have shied away from this debate. But this tweet…rubbed my spirit wrong. So wrong that I broke away from a term paper to tweet my concerns for why this young woman of color would make such a statement. Then I realized. She, along with those who defended her has no idea that they brought into the superiority of “whiteness.” That whiteness equates to rigor. Although she did not mention race, it is implied in the nomenclature: Predominately WHITE Institutions versus Historically BLACK Colleges and Universities.

We all know the legacies of HBCUs. But the legacies of PWIs need another reexamination. The legacy of PWIs, particular southern PWIs are clouded in racial segregation and white supremacy. The legacies of HBCUs is the response to that racial segregation and white supremacy. Black students were routinely denied admittance to PWIs because of COLOR. Black students who could not afford the migration north were left with no opportunities at the collegiate level, especially in the American south. This means that @Med_School12’s grandparents would have received a denial letter from the institution she attends now. Also, PWIs would routinely hand over “scholarships” to black students to attend an out of state school, just so they would not apply to theirs. But it gets better! I can imply from her twitter handle that @Med_school12 either loves the BET show “The Game,” or she wishes to attend medical school one day. I would hope it’s a desire to attend medical school. I wonder if she knew that states HAPPILY gave money to HBCUs to establish graduate and professional programs so black graduates would not apply to theirs. Yes, HBCU presidents (shoutout to Dr. James E. Shepard) lobbied states for money to establish professional and graduate programs so their students would not face rejection from PWIs. Lastly, let us not forget the violence that black students were subjected to for attempting to integrate PWIs. Does anyone remember James Meredith? I am pretty sure that was not mentioned in freshman orientation. But it was an ugly stain on University of Mississippi’s otherwise “glorious” Dixie southern past.

HBCUs are not without issues. However, that had NOTHING to do with the education I received. My tenure at North Carolina Central University was indeed rigorous. NCCU put me through the ringer before it let me snatch that degree. I anguished over failed exams, cried over classes I could have done better in. I watched my friends fight over the right to not only graduate but graduate with honors. When I graduated, I did a little shout right on the field. Yes, while my parents watched, I had a “Won’t He do it?” moment. I must have been a glutton for punishment because the following fall; I was back for that Master’s. In reality, I knew there was no better program for me. This M.A. in History program was top notch. I learned and was cultivated by the best. We were required to take a Foreign Language Exam, sit for Master’s Comprehensive Exams and successfully defend a thesis of original research before our professor allowed us to hope that graduation was possible. I know PWIs who never even heard of a comp exam until their doctorate program. My cohorts and I walked around like zombies in the months leading up to graduation. By the time I snatched that degree from NCCU (again), I knew that I was well prepared for life at the doctorate level at Morgan State Univetsity. I have a friend who received the same Master’s degree from a PWI, yet called me freaking out about writing a historiographical essay as a doctoral student, a skill I learned in undergrad. So yes, the path to my degree was rigorous.

I commend any person who makes the decision to attend college. It is not an easy feat, no matter the instituion. I am not one that buys into exceptionalism, the notion that an institution is sooooo great that it is above criticism. But HBCUs are constantly attacked for their “precieved” inferiority and I am over it. Sick of it actually. Let us be great! Even though she did not intend to throw shade…she caused every person reading that tweet to take pause. The degree comes from the GPA. The GPA comes from the grades and the grades comes from the ability to perform. So when she questioned the weight of the GPA…she called into question the entire academic experience at HBCUs. Waiiittttttt…..I could have sworn I just read an article about a “rigorous” PWI who is under fire because their athletes are being shuffled through school without basic reading and writing skills. But I digressed.

Recently, a young black high school student was bashed for his decision to turn down an Ivy League school in favor of an HBCU. At the end of the day, he made a decision based on proximity to his home and funding. There was no racial issues in his decision. I know black people who chose PWIs because it’s “better” but could never tell me how. Let’s be clear…being black does not mean you have to attend a HBCU…choose a PWI as long as you are making a decision not clouded by mythology. Or that you think that because you attend a PWI that you are given a slice of “white privledge.” Oh and before I’m hit with the “employers choose applicants from PWIs over HBCUs” statement…allow me to flip it this way. What if a black student and a white student from the same PWI were up for that same position? At the end of the day your PWI will not shield you from racial discrimination. It will not protect you and give you special powers. Sorry.

A friend of mine pointed out that HBCU students trash each other. Ummm yes…this is true (HEYYY AGGIES!!!!) but that trash talk is limited to football games and who has the best “yard” or homecoming. But when it comes to its central core mission, the educating of young black scholars, we stand united. I was inspired by the rallying of black scholars in the Twitterverse who came to the defense of not only their HBCUs but the legacy of HBCUs in general. I understand that in the process some people tweeted things that were deplorable and disrespectful to this young woman. That is unacceptable behavior. But I wish this young lady would understand where the sensitivity comes from. It comes from a legacy that we are taught and will defend. It is a legacy that we are proud of. HBCUs are important because it gave us a chance at the same education that PWIs had to be forced by federal law to give us. If you want to have this debate then I welcome it. I am open to an exchange of dialogue that will foster growth and development. There is much that PWIs and HBCUs can teach each other. But what I will not allow are advocates of PWIs to come to the table with feelings of superiority…and I will not allow them to leave that table feeling victorious because they left HBCU alums and current students feeling inferior. Because when I snatch that degree (for a third time) I will proudly proclaim that ALL my degrees belong to an HBCU.


125 thoughts on “Is My HBCU Degree Worthless?

  1. Lindi V says:

    I couldn’t have said this any better. THANK YOU for responding to this young lady so eloquently and with class but while schooling her properly. Hopefully she has seen your post!

    • Maurice says:

      I have been monitoring this blog trying to decide if I want to post. I have attended HBCUs and traditional institutions (PWIs) and have concluded there is no difference between the two that would result in one being inferior to the other or vice versa. I obtained my undergrad degree at an HBCU, and in between that I studied at schools such as University of Nebraska and Johns Hopkins. The preparations I received at my HBCU allowed me to compete on the same levels, if not better, at these PWIs. The point is one can get a great education at any instituition, the independent variable is the person-how hard does he/she study, participate in class, attend to class lectures, seek out special programs). These, and other factors, are what defines the value of the degree, and by extension, the GPA. Anyone can go around and say the GPA of one school is not equivalent to another, but what makes that person an authority to make such claims? What computations were crunched to determine that, after all GPA is a mathematically derived quantity, is it not? An A is an A at Harvard and at Morgan State University and they have the same quality points.

  2. donavon says:

    I definitely don’t think that it is everyone’s decision to go to an HBCU and i agree that they are better for some. No going to a PWI doesn’t protect you from discrimination or anything like that. What I will say is that we live in a world controlled by predominately white people, as a result of this a degree from an HBCU is perceived as less rigorous and not to that of the level of one from a PWI. Yes this perception was probably born out of the racists segregated society in america, but it seems to be very applicable even today. First of all the HBCU’s aren’t a quarter or even half of what they used to be and symbolize. I don’t think they are bad schools I just think that PWI’s better prepare you to live in a white dominated world. Also I personally don’t think the curriculum at HBCU’s are difficult, it’s just like high school honestly. Although I don’t go to an HBCU, I have sat in on a few of their classes and heard from friends that do attend them that it isn’t rigorous at all.. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion though. It’s just like high school. High schools in urban areas that are predominantly black aren’t the best to go to in comparison to high schools in wealthier areas where there are more whites. It’s not because of the race or superiority or inferiority of whites to blacks or vise versa. The main reason is the same for colleges, more funding=better resources=better learning. This simple rule can surely be grasped by anyone and applied through mostly everything like academics and sports. Due to the presence of better learning, you get the best of the nation that attend these PWI universities and put back into them when they make it big. Honestly, the problems with and in HBCU’s are a good reflection of the black community. HBCU’s will improve when the quality of their students not only improve but put back into the school as well. Not all students are of poor quality, but many are in my opinion. A 4.0 at NCCU isn’t the same as one at UNC or Duke.. Same applies for high schools.

    • Ash says:

      I agree with you to a certain extent. However, I do not believe that HBCU’S are like high school when it comes to academics. I attended a specialized high school in NYC (1 of the top 10 in the city out of hundreds) and had to work damn hard to get my GPA at Howard. Some classes are more rigorous than others but that is true for any university.

    • Dave says:

      There is such a lack of knowledge in the previous statements. For one who has never set foot on a prestigious Historically Black University, too many accusations have been made. It has been clearly categorized as “Word of Mouth.” The University a student decides to attend is a personal decision to make. ANY University, college or school can and will present a quality education. One argument Iv’e heard pertains to the professors at a PWI being “better” than those at an HBCU. I want you to understand that after that professor runs out of your classroom thats filled to the brim with 200 plus students, he’s on his way to teach me and my piers the SAME EXACT lesson…yes at an HBCU. Be not fooled! As adults it is not the university’s responsibility to spoon feed you your coursework. That doesn’t set them apart ,nor does it make them better. The amount of work done to cross the threshold of undergrad is determined by the student. How can one compete with someone who had to overcome prejudice, poverty, stereotypes, and still pursue a degree effectively. A hefty percentage of the students that graduated from NCA&T in my field (Architectural Engineering) can compete with the best Black, Purple or White student who got his degree from any other university one can think of. These students are now the ones who write the contracts for both HBCU’s and PWI’s! Money nor success care about who’s name is stamped across your degree. It’s what you can bring to the company that solidifies your opportunity for success. Remember that next time you sit in your comfy apartment that mommy and daddy pay for and pass judgement on an individual who works harder than you everyday, AND doesn’t murmur a complaining word about it. I can almost promise you that they will be doing much better than you in the future. I don’t know about you all, but I’d rather surpass the common principles of a predominantly white “controlled” nation. It’s getting pretty old, pretty tired. Once you walk across that stage you start completely over. Your’e only as good as you’ve prepared yourself to be. That piece of paper from UNC, Duke, Georgia Tech, etc is gonna sit there on your wall looking really pretty not accomplishing much of anything except summarizing the actions of its’ owner. (and by that I mean not doing anything)..

      • Rocky says:

        You are SO CORRECT! At the school I’m attending, so many of my professors teach at two or three different institutions in the area, including both PWIs and HBCUs (teaching my same LIT and calculus courses, among others). I don’t see how people get off claiming the education is somehow worse or less rigorous. I applied to both HBCUs and PWIs and have studied at both and I can assure anyone who is wondering that the education and the “rigor” of said education is similar or the same at both.

  3. The truth is many institutions of all types are not as challenging as others. Even within certain institutions there are certain programs that offer different levels of challenge with regard to rigor and workload as well. That said there is a greater conversation to be had among Generation Y about the importance of a college degree. While undergraduate degrees are a key stepping stone for most to call themselves educated, make a living wage and potentially maintain or reach a middle-class lifestyle- they are increasingly failing on all of these counts in light of today’s unemployment rate and poverty line for even college grads. I say students ought to think far more critically about their post-high school careers than generations past who may have picked a college “daddy went there” or they “fell in love with the environment.” There is 0 benefit to obtaining a degree that the workforce will later scoff at/look down upon. That to be said, one needs to be objective about their own choices: is my program of choice challenging? respected within the national landscape? (let’s be honest Art History, Liberal Arts, etc. majors are often considered ‘simple’) Is my institution respected? Are my grades exemplary? All of these questions will come back to be answered in some way or another so you’d best to do your due diligence.

  4. As a proud graduate of an HBCU undergrad and PWIs for all of my grad degrees, I truly appreciate your statements. One thing to add…HBCUs still send the most African Americans to medical school (since that appears to be what the young lady is interested in pursuing). And, employers come to HBCUs looking for “diversity”. My foundation at Spelman College was absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In the end, where will you be best prepared to be confident and competent? Great post!

  5. Pilar says:

    Nicely written. This young woman obviously does not speak for all of us at PWIs however I feel the HBCU/PWI conversation is a very important one to have — in public. Social media’s discussion does nothing but turn petty and personal quickly. Instead of arguing about the demographics of an institution, we as black people should be celebrating so many of our own receiving degrees! I certainly do not look down upon fellow blacks as HBCUs (my mother is a Spelman alum & my father a Morehouse alum) however it does irk the devil out of me when non-PWI blacks say foolish things like, “Y’all only got in because they’re trying to be diverse.” On top of insinuating black applicants aren’t as qualified (if not more) as their white counterparts, this notion is insulting, ignorant and discredits the courage of these students to attend PWIs as well as the progress we’ve made as a country as evident by black students excelling at such colleges

  6. Ashley Hoytt says:

    I am a proud 26 year old product of the great Talladega College and it makes me sick to hear or see someone talk down on HBCUs when they have not the least perception of what it takes to attend a HBCU. I graduated and came back to serve as one of the youngest members ever on my cities city council. One must be able to fight against as well as join hands with their fellow classmates to make sure that all are treated equal. One cannot simply say just because their friends told them or that they sat in on a few classes that they grasp the full potential of a HBCU. Thats like me saying because I read about slavery I know how one truly feels that was a slave. NO! I can sympathize but I will never know the true feeling.
    It also makes me hurt to see those that attend PWIs down HBCUs curriculm. In my opinion PWIs prepare you for the workforce but HBCUs prepare your for the REAL WORLD. Teachers at most HBCUs become second families to many students to help them along the way when they may be far away from true family while PWIs are after numbers. HBCUs campus families are close knit and fight for each other to better one another where as I feel PWIs are full of students being shuffled around to find the best and watch the mediocre students fall back behind. So I say it loud and proud I AM HBCU and I love my TC!!!

    • donavon says:

      I disagree with this completely. PWI’s prepare you for the real world by putting you as a person of color in a setting where there will not be people of color coming from a similar background. PWI’s not only for the most part offer rigorous courses, but they also educate all of the races attending these schools about each other, which shapes them to be better people, well rounded, and capable of working with different people. HBCU’s don’t do that. At an HBCU you are surrounded by your people. You are engulfed in a culture that you as a colored person have more than likely grown up with, which doesn’t expand your perspective on certain things. In fact it often just makes young black people portray the world as white and black and against them. && I may have never experienced an HBCU and you can argue that because of my lack of experience i can’t evaluate them properly all you want, but it is what it is. HBCU’s are very disorganized and unprofessional and have low standards. Maybe not 30-50 years ago, but as in now, yes this is very true. Also the fact that someone said that jobs come there seeking diversity is enough said. They don’t go to HBCU’s seeking the best, they go there seeking DIVERSITY, for their predominantly white company. HBCU’s can’t help you there because you just spent the past four years of your life surrounded by your own people. Look at the reviews for HBCU’s (both negative and positive) and see how many outweigh the other.

    • donavon says:

      Also you say that HBCU’s better prepare you for the real world and then contradict that statement when you express the close knit relationships between staff and students and HBCU’s. This is contradictory because the part where you described what happens at PWI’s is what happens in real life. In life you are just shuffled around and the best is picked amongst us and the best prosper. The world is very cutthroat and all about I, not we. The black community however has always been about we, so in theory yes HBCU’s do prepare you for the real world, but only if it were just black people in it or black people running it….Rightt???

      • Proud_HU_Grad says:

        I’m sorry but I completely disagree with this statement. First you’re insinuating that only black people attend HBCUs, this in fact is not true. Further, there are many kinds of black people with many kinds of backgrounds. Let me explain this statement, I attended Howard University (aka the Mecca of HBCUs). While at HU I encountered many different types of people, I had white, a few Asian, Jamaican, Haitian, African, and Middle Eastern students in my classes,not to mention professors too. Trust me the diversity at HU was phenomenal. Many people get caught up in “everybody at an HBCU is black” but it’s deeper than that. My black colleagues from Cali and the mid-west who grew up in upper class homes brought a different perspective than my friends from the south who grew up in lower to middle class homes which differed from the International students views. Just because a person is black and attends an HBCU does not mean we are all so similar that we do not get the benefit of other points of views, as you seem to think can only be achieved at a PWI. Further I disagree with your comment that PWIs create better, well rounded students. I have had this discussion with many friends who attended PWIs and they have actually stated the opposite that PWIs don’t promote intermingling and acceptance of other racial groups. On many PWI campuses, there is some kind of black student association/group which singles out blacks and gives the notion that blacks should stick together in this white community. Most black students stick together at PWIs, as is typical of most persons, you stick with your kind for the most part. Unlike at HBCUs you’re more apt to speak to persons of different races, at least I know this true at HU, because of the familial bond created at HBCUs to include everyone at the school not just in your ethnic/racial group. Further I disagree as I do believe HBCUs better prepare you for the real world in the way, which I have experienced, that the people “more out to get you” in a “white” company are other black people (mostly those that attended PWIs and feel their degree holds more weight than a HBCU one even though you are both performing the same job). HBCUs teach you tolerance, therefore you are better able to handle yourself when faced with adversity in the workplace.

      • Thenry says:

        HBCU’s are a great fit for the right student. The world is cut throat. The social environment at HBCU’s can be a lot less stressful. College level coursework is hard enough without having to deal with a professors personal issues or negative feelings about a student for any reason. HBCU’s are just as or even more rigorous than any other institution. Student personal accountability is the real issue. There are serious students and not so serious students at all Universities. It is interesting that young people are having these conversations in today’s society. I think the focus should be receiving a degree no matter the institution.

      • Rocky says:

        Just so you know, the law school at NCCU (an HBCU) is about half white students and Asian students. The H in HBCU stands for “HISTORICALLY”. That means the school was established for black people in a time when black people could not attend PWIs due to segregation. It DOES NOT mean that nobody of any other race attends any HBCU. Most HBCUs are still majority black but many of them now have diverse student populations where you do encounter students of different races and cultural backgrounds. It is a myth that you can’t and don’t get a diverse experience at an HBCU. Further, I think it’s a little sad that you think having a majority white student population is somehow more “diverse” or better than having a majority black population. Many POC students at PWIs complain about lack of diversity and just abject racism at times. That isn’t an “education in the real world”. That’s just problematic. Most urban centers these days aren’t even majority-white anymore. The city I live in is majority POC and many of the jobs that college grads will be after in my city are held by POC (black, Asian, Middle Eastern.)
        I am Asian, BTW, and I attended an HBCU for two years.


  8. Krissean says:

    This debate has really come down to how different we are as people based upon our superficial differences. Yes, at an HBCU the average student is surrounded by their “own people” (just as white students are surrounded by “their own” at PWI’s with seldom interaction with other races), but what you fail to realize is that there is diversity in the black community. HBCUs educate black students (and students of other races) from all over the country and the world. There isn’t just one type of black person. We do not think nor act alike, and we do not have the same background. For example, just in the U.S. there are huge cultural differences in black students from the different coasts. These differences allow HBCU students to have the experience of working with those with different perspectives on issues. Along with that, HBCU students do not just stay on their campuses all year. We have internships, fellowships and jobs in the “real world”; we interact with other people. So the statement of how PWI’s produce “better people” who are” well rounded and capable of working with other people” is quite a stretch. I still had to compete, by taking exams, to apply for the same Fortune 500 companies students of PWI’s want to work for.

    • donavon says:

      Ok so yeah it teaches its students about other black people in the world? The ethnic diversity is very poor in hbcu’s. Yes you have a few other races, but for the most part a PWI has more diversity from different ethnicities and cultures including those of black heritage. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but again people that haven’t been to an hbcu see them as they are and aren’t missing anything by not attending.

  9. Proud_HU_Grad says:

    All I’ll say is what good is ethnic diversity if there is no intermingling and mixing? I can have all the different ingredients to make a cake on the counter but if they never mix then I just have a bunch of ingredients that never affect or help change one another, thus each ingredient never really grows.

  10. Silas says:

    Hmm. Some of the comments and the young lady who’s the main topic , seem a little disheartening. .. This is coming from a HBCU college student. I grew up in a predominantly white, suburban town and graduated with honors. I only said that because people are pulling the race card. I had the option of actually attending JMU, but I didn’t. It was kind of the opposite with me. I wanted to experience a different culture while in college. As a child and still today, I never saw black and white. I see HBCU’s as an opportunity for students who weren’t able to attend other colleges, like PWI’s. I didn’t even know they had an acronym. To put this whole debate into common sense 101, if you never attended a HBCU, personally, you’re not able to deliver any criticisms … it’s that simple.

  11. TuskegeeGrad says:

    1. HBCU’s Top 10 Producers of Black Ph.D’s according to National science foundation:


    2. Top 20 HBCU’s according to Diverse issues in Higher Ed Journal:


    3. Its the 21st century as Black people we are all looking for academic spaces where we can be celebrating intellectually & culturally. The same necessity that the Black student union has a PWI is the same necessity an HBCU provides. The quality of education at HBCU’s & PWI vary based upon school & department just like at any school. My parents graduated from PWI in the 70/80’s like most Blacks & I chose HBCU. I have a balanced perspective & my HBCU educated me in my major proficiently! The low quality HBCU’s are usually public b/c of lack of state funding, thats not their fault & the “distinguished” of us are all private so you all can ascertain that dichotomy yourselves. Based upon factual data Black students from thriving HBCU’s are outperforming our Black piers at PWI based upon jobs & elite grad school/professional school enrollement. The aforementioned link is proof of that look at the schools listed. Plus college is the cherry, primary & secondary school are your ice cream. So if you have not been properly educated before you get to PWI or HBCU, you will buy an instrument you don’t know how to play & that is the main problem with Black people b/c education before 18 is poor & most students aren’t enrolled at HBCU’s they are at community colleges & low tier PWI’s in state or public b/c of money & poor grades.

  12. Thenry says:

    I do not think it is where you receive your degree from. I think the field of study will dictate your success in the workforce. I have graduated from both type schools. I have to say my experience at the PWI was less rigorous and less stressful in many ways. As a older student, I definitely appreciated my PWI Masters program because it fit with my current life situations. However, I would not trade my undergraduate experience at my HBCU. I absolutely took more classes than other institutions required for the same degree. I can say that I was more prepared for the workforce than many of my PWI counterparts. My HBCU experience also included lessons in work ethics and how to survive in cooperate America. I definitely would like my children to follow my same path and attend a HBCU only because there is more to college than academics. HBCU’s tend to focus on the entire person. Life skills are just as important as academic rigor. The social aspects of HBCU’s are amazing. If you attended an HBCU you probably learned that people are the same no matter the race. My HBCU degree has helped me land countless jobs in the mid 100’s. I have never been turned down for a position that I applied for. After all, if you select the appropriate major the employer only wants to know if you are licensed not what school you attended.

  13. Jb says:

    I see your point, but she, the tweeter, is still right! In my book, truth isn’t shade, it’s truth. Just like criticism isn’t always “hating”. People just don’t know how to take it these days so they have to categorize as something else to pacify themselves. You walk into white color world with a 4.0 from Harvard and someone equally qualified with a 4.0 from Howard, who do you think they are most likely to pick? I’ve gone to both HBCU and a PWI; they notice!

    • But where is your proof? Where is your data? Can you cite sources to back your argument? Have you attended and HBCU to speak on this perceived “inferiority?” If not then this is just your “opinion.” Best wishes.

    • thenry says:

      Th comparison of an IVY league school to any regular University is not fair. Ivy league graduates have the prestige advantage over all Universiy grads not just HBCU grad. I have to tell you that the interview makes the difference. I have sat on many interview panels (and yes I am the only HBCU grad on the panels)and the initial prestige of certain colleges will get you in the door. However, I have witnessed HBCU graduates sweep the job out of the hands of their PWI graduate counterparts. The person makes the difference. Please do not believe the hype this debate has gone on for years. I am over 15 years in the workforce. Graduate from a college and sell yourself. Do not fall into this old debate and feel inferior or think another graduate is superior. If you are lacking in an area or you feel instruction was not enough be a univeristy student and get the information yourself. The professors help to guide in a college setting not spoon feed you. It is ultimately your responsibility to become an expert in your field no college will give you everything you need to know in any profession. It is a very silly debate and unfortunately we will sit here and downgrade Universities that help to better our community. My advice is to choose your major wisely, keep it professional, and you should not have any problems. I graduated from a HBCU and I am more successful than all of my PWI counterparts. HBCuU’s educate and help you to get employed. The schools are geared towards the entire student not just academics and there are many positives in that mission.

  14. JaJuan says:

    I find this whole matter very interesting. Mainly because I attended a PWI (UNC- Chapel Hill) and an HBCU (North Carolina Central University). I won’t go into the minute details of the differences in the universities, that’s kind of pointless. What I will say is the general perception of any university without setting foot on its campus is a disservice to it’s foundation. I took offense to some comments I saw here regarding positives/negatives of HBCUs. I attended a wonderful one, with some of the best and brightest students. I have associates working on Wall Street as we speak with a beautiful NCCU degree in their office. I have a close friend who is a dentist in New York with a beautiful UNC- Chapel Hill degree in his. The level of success is measured by the individual. Categorizing levels of education only serves to threaten what we all as Americans have hoped for: an equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Be appreciative of the positives any institution offers and take advantage of them.

  15. Tamica says:

    I attended FAMU for 2 years before transferring to a PWI. The 4.0 that was easily attainable at FAMU dropped down to a 3.1 (which I struggled to get at the PWI). Now, I don’t know if it was because my white professors were racist and I was the only black girl in the class, or because all of the group work I had to do with white and asian people who clearly did not like me and shot down any of my suggestions about the work. Maybe they wrote in their peer evaluations that I did nothing and that hurt my grade… All I know is… the struggle of being a black woman at an PWI is much harder than the struggles faced at an HBCU. If you don’t know what it is like to be the only black woman in the room and constantly expected to speak on behalf of your race or have you opinions degraded or be treated inferior than you don’t know the PWI struggle. And it does affect your academic success POINT BLANK PERIOD. That supportive environment you receive from peers on an HBCU campus is not present at the PWI. Nobody wants to study with you. Nobody wants to help. A degree is a degree no matter the school… But, I’ll tell you one thing my accounting classes at the PWI seemed to be 10x harder than my accounting classes at FAMU. And I have no self hate and I don’t buy in to the belief that white people are superior. In fact… I am the complete opposite. But, at the end of the day that PWI struggle is no joke.

    • thenry says:

      I experience this everyday in the workforce. I am a HBCU graduate. These issues really has nothing to do with you and everything to do them and their ignorance. My question to you is why attempt to speak for the race? Skin color is just that…Skin. The actions of a few will never dictate the masses. I charge you to think enough of yourself not to feel inferior and prepare yourself for the rigor of your classes no matter the institution. Why did you choose to leave FAMU?? I am a strong believer in enviromental security for first time college graduates. For certain students, HBCU offer a certain level of security and support in an already difficult life situaiton. I make it a habit never to go where I do not feel valued. Success is a personal thing schools just guide and provide you with information. It is up to you to become the professional and navigate through irrelevant issues such as race and the college you attended. Just graduate! Sidenote: I graduated from FAMU and I am working at the top level of my profession in the most prestigious medical system in the United States. Colleges prepare you for entry level positions it is up to you to continue learning and become an expert in your field.

  16. Hello there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Looking through
    this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this.

    I will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. I disagree completely! As one of few people who had the privilege to attend both a PWI and an HBCU, I can say that she’s right. Being that PWIs outnumber HBCUs, it’s not surprising that some have more rigorous curriculums. I attended an “ehh” PWI and had a MUCH harder curriculum than I’m receiving now at a relatively prestigious HBCU. That said, race aside, ANY STUDENT who attends a PWI will receive a more dense education, thus making it harder to obtain a 4.0 compared to any student at an HBCU (yes, white people attend HBCUs) who will most likely receive a far less dense and simpler curriculum, making that 4.0 much more attainable. So while I can’t speak for all admissions counselor sand hiring agencies, I can say with conviction that students have to work harder for 4.0s at PWIs than they do at HBCUs.

    • thenry says:

      Horrible, unless you have attended every PWI and HBCU you can not make this statement. The student makes the difference in all these matters. In my experience my PWI was far less difficult than my HBCU. I am working at the top level of my field in the most sought after medical system in the United States by members of my profession. I am a FAMU grad. FAMU did what it was supposed to do. I was prepared for an entry level position in my field. Expertise comes with time and experience. No school prepares you to take on the world as soon as you walk across the stage. It saddens me that the students of today still have these ideas of inferiority. There is a level of ignorance and inexperience detected in many of these comments. I understand that many of the comments are made just out of lack of knowledge but it saddens me.
      Praying for the minds of our future leaders.

  18. It’s hard to believe that we are still having this conversation. Let’s figure out how to solve world poverty. That’s a debate worth having. #AggiePride #UD #Hardwork #BeSmart #MakeaDifference

  19. I had no idea this was even an issue…hard work is hard work, no matter what school you went too. A 4.0 means you worked your ass off (proud recipient of a 2.9…ok not that proud), no matter what school you went too. Hopefully this discussion has made some of you realize the error in your ways of thinking. Peace, brothers and sisters.

    ..btw check out my music 😉


  20. To be honest, it’s all about the person. I know people who attended PWI’s who work at ihop. I know grads from HBCU’s that are elected officials. So if she really wants to go there, she can look up the facts. It all depends. There are some people who work so hard while going to HBCU’s and it shows, and there some that just fly by. The same for PWI’s, it all about the person. She throw so much shade in that tweet. Usually a person who says #noharm or #noshade is about to do exactly that.

  21. Malliesmama says:

    It is absurd to think that this dialogue is being had by so many who have NEVER even attended an HBCU. I have received a degree from both an HBCU and a PWI and I can speak with great certainty when I say my program at an HBCU was just as rigorous if not more so than some of my colleagues who attended PWIs. I can say this because we had the discussion, did the comparisons and my take aways in several areas completely eclipse many of theirs because I had great professors who held me to a high standard. #GoBears #MSUpride

    Here is the issue with these asinine statements. It is not the institution but the student that determines the education. I know so many more people graduating from HBCUs who continued on to obtain graduate and professional degrees than those at PWIs. Those same people have lucrative careers in a variety a fields whereas many of our counterparts who attended PWIs have less than desirable employment. Again, that is due to the INDIVIDUAL not the institution. I had a professor at my HBCU who thought at both our institution and a PWI and he indicated that our cohort consistently produced more meaningful analysis in our assignments than his other students but he taught us all the same material. We as INDIVIDUALS had a desire to understand the material that the other students lacked. If you aren’t going to put the time and effort into something, you can not receive quality out of it! This is regardless of whether you are at an HBCU or a PWI.

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