Need help getting accepted to an HBCU grad school? Dr. Fred Bonner—professor and endowed chair in educational leadership and counseling, and founding executive director of the Minority Achievement, Creativity and High-Ability Center at Prairie View A&M University—gives his best advice in an interview with gograd.com.
What are some of the top reason’s students should seriously look at HBCU grad schools as their best graduate option?
There are a number of reasons that HBCU graduate schools should be considered as the best option:
- HBCUs provide holistic nurturing. Both the academic and social needs of students are addressed by administration, faculty, and staff in the HBCU context. All too often in majority settings, students, particularly black students, must live a bifurcated existence; namely, their needs related to academic and classroom endeavors supersede their needs for mentoring and nurturing along social dimensions.
- Faculty in the HBCU context serve as role models and guides to assist the student to negotiate and navigate the postsecondary terrain. This mentoring and role modeling in the HBCU environment are nuanced with cultural inferences and understandings that provide a more authentic rendering of what the students are experiencing.
- Being in an environment where students are able to interface with like-minded peers is critical. Students are able to “see themselves” on campus—the literature is clear in stating the importance of peer mentoring and support in the postsecondary context.
- Students are placed in an environment in which their academic potential and success are the expectation and norm, as opposed to being viewed as an outlier.
Any tips for students on what to look for when choosing the best graduate programs at HBCUs?
Students should “do their homework” and find out how programs are ranked—they should look into the various course offerings. What are the majors and minors offered in the program of interest? Who are the faculty members in the respective colleges, schools, departments, and programs? What are their areas of expertise? How is the curriculum structured—what courses are offered and how often? Is the program a face-to-face, online, traditional, cohort-based program? What has been the program’s graduation rate? What is the graduate school graduation rate? What are graduates doing with their degrees? Are they finding employment in their intended area of focus?
Anything else you’d like to add about HBCU grad schools?
HBCU graduate schools are ‘citadels of excellence,’ and I am not surprised that the extant literature indicates that in many fields—particularly the STEM fields—more than 50 percent of the graduates and working professionals have had some educational experience in the HBCU context.
Follow Dr. Bonner’s advice, and you can make your dream of going to an HBCU grad school a reality.
Source: Reprinted with Permission by Dr. Fred Bonner