There’s an HBCU for You: How to Choose a School

As you look at different schools and see what they have to offer, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in a college.

So you’ve decided you want to go to an HBCUgreat! But as much as this pares down your options, you still have a big decision in front of you. There are more than 100 HBCUs in the United States, and each one is unique. Which is the right fit for you?

Consulting our College Readiness Checklist is a smart first step. Choosing a school is a complicated, deadline-heavy process, so keeping track of each step is key. Meet with a counselor at your school to get some tips to start the process. It’s also helpful to meet with a UNCF representative at your local UNCF office. Counselors at our local offices can provide information about our different member institutions and help you find scholarships.

Graduation Ceremony at Miles College

Miles College

As you look at different schools and see what they have to offer, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in a college. Which majors are you interested in? Do you want to go to school near home or farther away? What’s your budget? With these things in mind, you can narrow down your choices even further. U.S. News’ list of the Best HBCUs is a good place to start your research. The College Board and College Scorecard each provide a quiz-style interface that you can use to generate a list of colleges and universities that suit your needs. Both sites offer a filter to only see HBCUs in your results (under the “Diversity” tab for The College Board and under “Specialized Mission” for College Scorecard).

Three people in Texas College laboratory setting

Texas College

We encourage you to check out our member institutions as well. Of all the HBCUs in the nation, 37 are UNCF members, which means that UNCF supports them directly in retaining and graduating first-generation, low-income African American students. Thanks to UNCF’s support, our member institutions educate more than 55,000 students each year and have graduated more than 500,000 students in total. On our blog, you can read about students who attended your favorite schools to get a sense of their experience.

The next step is to get in touch. Contact your favorite schools and schedule an on-campus visit. If for some reason traveling to a school isn’t an option for you or if you just want a better idea of what’s out there, you can attend a free event hosted by the Empower Me Tour (EMT)© to listen in on series of presentations, panels and interactive workshops geared toward college-readiness and career-readiness. Many recruiters at EMT events offer onsite admissions and academic scholarships on the spot.

Group portrait outdoors at Claflin University

Claflin University

Last but certainly not least, find and apply for scholarships. See what your favorite colleges have to offer and talk to your guidance counselor to learn about additional options. Make sure to apply for UNCF scholarships as well—they make a difference. UNCF scholarship recipients, in fact, have a 70% six-year graduation rate, which is significantly higher than the 41% rate for all African American college students nationwide. A scholarship may enable you to attend a school that otherwise wouldn’t have been a possibility. But whichever school you choose, we’re excited for you to unlock your potential by investing in your future at an HBCU.

Start the scholarship search with us.

Apply for a UNCF Scholarship