Can Homecoming Influence our College Choices

By N. Hamilton

HOUSTON – Homecoming is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as the act of returning home, and the Homecoming at Booker T. Washington High School, and Prairie A & M University was just that!  

Coming home to the people who knew you before you embarked upon any portion of success.  They knew you when you were struggling to become the person you desired to be and they loved and guided you regardless.  

Walking through the aisles at Booker T. Washington and Prairie View’s Homecomings, you could see multiple generations of graduates in the stands, sitting by their RV’s and chilling underneath their tents.  The array of beautiful silver hair represented the distinguished and successful alumni, the partially mingled grey hair represented the middle-aged graduates still rising up the ladder of success, and the blue, gold, black and afro-centric hair of the new generation of graduates permeated the yard represented the struggle to graduate and achieve the success of their predecessors.

Remembering the small nuances of the pushes to do better, the reminders of when work is due, the threats when work has not been submitted and the hugs received when you have made an accomplishment is an irreplaceable value that goes unspoken when referring to African-American High Schools and Universities.  

This warmth cannot be duplicated and you cannot get this feeling from anywhere but home; which is why they call it Homecoming!  

In the wake of both Homecomings, the plight of decision at Booker T. Washington is still looming over students, who are soon to be graduates of which universities or colleges are best for African-American students to attend?  

The most obvious question is will our students do better emotionally, socially and intellectually at HBCU (Historically Black College or University), or a PWU (Predominately White University)?  

Will our students receive this same type of parental guidance when attending a predominately White high school or university?  Will they receive the one-on-one attention? Will there be an obstruction or motivation to continue in times of struggle?

How about that hug that may be needed when one’s family needs money and deadlines are approaching?  On the other end of the spectrum, if they persevere, will the job offers be fast and furious and of a high caliber?

Our students did some research and in a single study which stated, “Two researchers’ new study of degree attainment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities versus predominantly White institutions, also known, in the study, as PWIs, found that the chances of graduating in six years for Black students are significantly higher at the Black colleges, when controlling for key variables.”

The study, called “Degree Attainment for Black Students at HBCUs and PWIs: A Propensity Score Matching Approach,” found that Black students who attend HBCUs are between 6 percent and 16 percent more likely to graduate within six years than those who attend predominantly White institutions.

The findings of the 2017 report also state, “A Look at Black Student Success,” were consistent with Franke’s study once the data was limited to low-income, freshman students. For those figures, Nichols’s study found that HBCUs graduate Black students at higher rates (38 percent versus 32 percent for comparable PWIs) despite their students’ having lower standardized test scores and greater financial need (Chronicle for Higher Education, 2017).

With so much information in our global society, our students must continue to research to see what best works for them.

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