Selective HBCUs: A Competitive OptionReport as inadecuate

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Online Submission, Paper presented at the ASHE Annual Conference (Charlotte, NC, Nov 17-19, 2011)

Despite the number of arguments in support of or against the value and relevance of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), there is little literature that takes an in-depth look at the diversity among HBCUs and the students who choose them. The purpose of this study was to explore the college choice motivations and academic experiences of academically competitive students who attend selective HBCUs. The current study analyzes interview data from eight African American alumni of selective HBCUs. Participants reported their motivations for attending selective HBCUs hinged on their interest in enhancing their academic knowledge, as well as their cultural appreciations for HBCUs and their historical mission of providing culturally rich education to African Americans. Participants also reported positive academic experiences at these selective HBCUs, noting relationships with faculty and administrators, as well as opportunities to expand their social and professional networks.

Descriptors: African American Students, Black Colleges, College Choice, Competition, Student Diversity, Student Experience, Interviews, Student Motivation, Student Interests, Culturally Relevant Education, Scholarships, Racial Factors, Family Influence, Alumni, Reputation, Institutional Characteristics, Educational Environment, Expectation, Teacher Qualifications, Relevance (Education)

Author: Blacknall, Tiffany; Johnson, Jennifer M.


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