Making decisions about life after high school can be daunting for students, but there’s an opportunity many members of our community would love to share with you: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). If you ask John Marshall Community High School Principal Ashauna Short why you should check out HBCUs, the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University grad says the choice is obvious.

“The pride and investment in each student’s success in college and the future is unparalleled,” Short said. “When you attend an HBCU, your success is steeped in history and tradition and that builds a confidence that anything is possible.”
North Carolina Central University is IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee’s alma mater; he says the decision to attend an HBCU carried on a family tradition and provided him with a positive educational environment.

“Attending a historically black university was an opportunity to fulfill a dream of family legacy,” said Dr. Ferebee. “Like many students, enrolling in the family university is an honor. Much like my parents’ experience, the learning atmosphere was extremely nurturing, and I benefited from fellow students and professors who shared the same cultural experiences.”

“IPS students seeking to attend a college with other young people who look like them and share similar backgrounds should definitely explore their options at HBCUs,” said Larry Dunlap, President of the Indiana Black Alumni Council (IBAC). “A lot of HBCU students come from public school districts,” he added. Dunlap says HBCUs, like his alma mater Howard University, are a great fit for students coming from urban public schools who are looking for an environment where they’ll receive devoted attention from their instructors, peer mentoring from upperclassmen and plenty of positive motivation to graduate and succeed.

“HBCUs offer support structures to increase success and graduation for students,” said Principal Short. “If someone is looking for someone great in their field, they will definitely recruit from an HBCU. HBCUs are alma maters to engineers, lawyers, educators and countless professionals around the world.”

So what steps should you take if you want to attend an HBCU? First, learn about your options and which schools would interest you most. The IBAC has a list of every HBCU along with contact information and school websites here. Although most HBCUs are located in the southern and eastern United States, the IBAC brings schools to IPS every year to make it easier for students to learn about the many opportunities out there. The HBCU College Fair is held at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School; the 36th annual event will take place on October 1, 2015.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, making the trip to visit one or more HBCUs can help you determine whether you should apply. You may not be able to even think about other schools once you’ve visited an HBCU. “After the visit,” said Principal Short, “students are not able to settle for anything other than the ultimate college and maturing experience.”