Dear B. Scott,
My entire family is college educated and went to local HBCUs in and around Atlanta. I’m a rising senior in high school and I’ve been accepted to most colleges on my list, including the alma maters of both my parents and brother. There’s only one problem…
I don’t want to go to an HBCU.
It’s not that I don’t love Black people, I just don’t feel I would be comfortable at a historically Black institution. I’m the youngest sibling and I was raised in the suburbs with primarily White kids my whole life. I know I’m going to college, and I know I want a good education but I don’t want to let my parents down. They’re so proud, even arguing amongst themselves which one I’m going to pick —but I just don’t want to. I’m afraid I’ll be miserable. It’s not even about the money, because I’ll be taking out loans wherever I go.
How do I tell them? What do I say? Do you think they’ll be mad?
Dear Love Muffin,
Kudos to you for making it this far and choosing to pursue higher education.
Deciding where to go to college is a much larger decision than what most people realize.
Your college years happen at a time where you truly figure out who you are as a person and many of the experiences you’ll have will shape and define not only your future career, but also your outlook on life.
Your parents probably want what’s best for you and are projecting their desires onto you because their college experiences left such a lasting impression on them, they just want the same for their baby. I’m sure it’s hard for them to wish something else for their child that they’ve never experienced.
I can talk from experience that the culture at HBCUs is vastly different than that at PWIs (Predominately White Institution). It sounds like you’ve already made your decision, but I would encourage you to do your research and go on several campus tours of both PWIs and HBCUs with your parents. Show them that you’ve considered ALL of your options, and then discuss your choice with them.
Like I said before, your parents want what’s best for you. They might be disappointed that their child won’t be following in their footsteps, but at the end of the day it’s your education.
When it’s all said and done, you are the one that has to decide what’s best for not only your future, but your peace of mind. Relax, don’t stress yourself out, and go with your intuition.
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