A Historically Black College or University, or an HBCU, is an option that less and less African American students are considering nowadays, much to the dismay of those schools.

Of course a major part of this decline is the lack of necessity.

HBCUs started because black students who wanted a higher education weren’t allowed into white colleges, so they created their own.

Obviously, black students are no longer prohibited from attending non-HBCUs, so those schools are attracting more and more black students.

Unlike state schools, most HBCUs don’t receive government funding, leaving them to rely on alumni donations.

This results in a strong contrast between HBCUs and other schools. Over the summer, I visited both types of schools and the main differences were cosmetic; HBCUs were often old and dreary as opposed to other schools where everything is new and shiny.

The differences between the two schools aren’t all bad. Growing up, I’ve always been encouraged to attend an HBCU.

Both my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my mother attended Tuskegee University, which was founded by Booker T. Washington.

Every one of them has argued that an HBCU provided them with a culture other colleges couldn’t offer me.

I know from visiting Tuskegee during homecoming throughout most of my childhood that there truly is a family environment.

My mom’s friends treated my grandparents as if they were their own parents. Even when I visited Hampton University’s  open house, the community felt more like a family than any other college I have visited thus far.

Another great thing about an HBCU is the amazing history you’re surrounded with each day.

While touring Howard University a few days ago, I was reminded of alumni like Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Thurgood Marshall.

I think that when you chose a college, you should go wherever you feel you would be the happiest as well as where you would be most successful.

Black students who are overlooking HBCUs should take the benefits into consideration. HBCUs are unlike other schools in some negative ways, but the positive sides to them outway the negatives.