It’s Graduation Time: HBCU vs. Public Universities Commencements

In the African American community going off to college is usually a big dream for teenagers.  A small percentage get in on full academic and/or athletic scholarships, while others struggle to find alternative scholarships not given by the school.  As graduation approaches, the seniors in the Class of 2012, realize that their lives are about to forever change.  They have made it through!! But wait… is this the culmination of their journey or just the start of a new one?  These celebrations sometimes consist of African drums and tribal cloths.  Private Historically Black Colleges and Universities seem to celebrate graduation on a larger scale than a public university. To understand why this is so, we must dig a little deeper.

Statistics show that students in college have a 57%-43% split favoring women.  Of those, men are more likely to drop out between the 4-year period.  I am a firm believer that this occurs because the school system doesn’t take into account that men mature at a slower rate than women.  I know, I know! Some of you are probably saying they shouldn’t be “babied” because they mature slower!  And I agree, but we can try to help them by assisting them with the support and encouragement they would require to complete their matriculation through college.

Now, on the other hand, we can look at race or ethnic background.  It has been researched that African-Americans have a 42% graduation rate, while Whites uphold a 62% graduation rate.  Why is the African-American rate drastically lower than Whites?  I concur that the problem lies well before the students even get to college.  It has everything to do with the different types of elementary, middle, and high schools that the two races attend.  African-Americans are exposed to less throughout their secondary education.  This may be due to lack of funds from parents or poor socioeconomic conditions.  This key factor allows their counterparts to have an advantage when it comes to performing and excelling in college.  Yes, I said it!  Maybe this explains why graduation in HBCUs are celebrated on a bigger scale, to the point where Spelman College asks Oprah Winfrey to be their 2012 Commencement Speaker (Congratulations Spelman!) and where Morehouse College asks The Rev. Al Sharpton to speak at their Baccalaureate Service!! Or… maybe it does not.

Leave me a comment below stating your opinion!

Dr. O

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