Choose universities based on academics, not extras

In one of my classes, we conducted a debate on affirmative action. One of the issues discussed was why we choose the schools that we do.

In the heat of the discussion, one of the participants on the pro side of the debate raised an issue concerning recruitment to FAMU. His question to the class was, “If you were a senior in high school looking for a good college or university to attend, would you be as excited about attending FAMU if you saw a bunch of white people in the admission brochure, knowing it is an HBCU?”

Of course, I couldn’t fathom how seeing a few white people in an HBCU admission brochure would detract from the school itself. After all, there are many white students at FAMU, and we all know that FAMU has a slew of excellent degree programs.Would the face of a black person in the admission brochure of an Ivy League school scare off a white student? I doubt it.

Personally, I came to FAMU because of the professional master’s of business administration program in the School of Business and Industry. With almost 90 percent of its graduates being hired by Fortune 500 companies with high-starting salaries, who could resist?

Students enrolled in the pharmacy program probably came here because the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is one of the top-ranked in the nation, one that most Ivy League schools can’t touch – or don’t even have a program for.

Our engineering, nursing and journalism programs can share the same acclaim.In essence, the person who came because almost everyone is black, because the Marching 100 is “tight,” or because the football team was moving to Division 1-A will be back at home soon because that is not what FAMU is here for.

The promise of any college or university should lie in the possibilities inside the classroom and the same should be said for its students.

So, why are you here?

Karen E. Marsh is a senior business administration student from Denver. She is the deputy opinions editor for The Famuan. Contact her at