This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

College Choice, Racial Identity, and Perceived Consequences for African Americans at Predominately White Institutions in the South




Garrett, Cooper

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Using a sample of fourteen African American students at a single Predominately White Institution (PWI) in the south, this research tries to uncover how African Americans make the choice to attend a PWI over a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). The participants in this study indicated that there were varying reasons for African Americans to choose to attend a PWI over an HBCU. These responses can be segregated and compared based off of the students’ racial identities. Students with self-identified weak racial identities were dissuaded, largely, because of their belief that HBCUs are not rigorous in their academics and a degree from an HBCU would not be as prestigious. The students with self-identified strong racial identities wanted a more diverse learning environment and did not view HBCUs negatively. Despite one’s racial identity, my participants said that by choosing to attend a PWI over an HBCU caused tension in the Black community and resulted in the Black community questioning their ‘Blackness,’ or commitment to the Black community.