Florida A&M University has impacted many local high school graduates.
After all, FAMU is the No. 1-ranked public HBCU in the nation and has award-winning schools and colleges on its campus.
Most would think that Tallahassee graduates would effortlessly choose FAMU to for their higher education. In this case students have several other options for universities, so why do Tallahassee graduates choose FAMU?
Some said they were constantly worried that if they chose FAMU that it would feel like a repeat of high school, interacting with the same people and doing the same things. They never wanted to feel stuck in their hometown.
However, once the Tallahassee graduates came to FAMU, some said that it is like living in “A Different World.”
Kendall Williams is a Leon High School graduate who is studying broadcast journalism at FAMU. Williams explained her reason for choosing FAMU.
“I definitely say that one of the main reasons I chose FAMU is for the convenience. Being from Tallahassee and going to FAMU is completely different. I still feel like I have a sense of independence but it’s also nice to be able to have my parents and go home for a home-cooked meal,” she said.
Williams said she was deciding between FAMU and Howard University, and that FAMU was something that she “couldn’t pass up.” “FAMU is in my town and Howard is so far away and so expensive but when I was deciding I felt like it was almost dumb of me not to attend FAMU. It was an opportunity that I could not pass up. FAMU is the No. 1 public HBCU, and the No.1 School of Journalism & Graphic Communication with so many resources and such great networking and such a great school overall. To have it in my backyard and not go was just not an option,” Williams said.
In addition, students have advantages when being from Tallahassee. Students have opportunities on campus to make connections in almost every department just by being acquainted with the same people.
If a student needs something they are able to reach out to those people and also go to more genuine relationships as well. This is helpful when students need more information about job opportunities and scholarships, or just to have a listening ear.
FAMU knows that going to college isn’t easy or cheap. Therefore, FAMU tries to help students by providing several scholarships opportunities each year; especially to Tallahassee residents.
Camille Zanders is a third-year accounting major from nearby Quincy who is attending FAMU through a scholarship that she earned from FAMU.
“I don’t feel like I was forced to stay in Tallahassee. Being that FAMU is the only HBCU in Tallahassee, it was also the most financially responsible decision for me. FAMU is a great school that has not only given me the opportunity to stay in state, but attend on scholarship. This has helped a lot with paying for tuition specifically and scholarships from Tallahassee as well have definitely given me benefits as a Florida resident anywhere,” said Zanders.
Juancarlos Simmonds is a psychology major major at FAMU who graduated from Lincoln High School. Simmonds said that despite being a Tallahassee resident, people only talk about Florida State University or surrounding predominantly white institutions. As a result, “FAMU really was not on my radar until my senior year of high school when I attended homecoming. I just fell in love with FAMU ever since, so I chose it for the FAMU experience,” Simmonds said.
He mentioned that Tallahassee is his comfort zone because he is used to being in reach of his family and friends. “I also believe that I was just scared to leave Tallahassee and I didn’t want to go to FSU so in a sense I was kinda cornered into going to FAMUk,” Simmonds said.