Thousands attend Black College Fair at Laney College

Laney College hosts Black Recruitment Fair

HBCU Fair 2

Hundreds of Bay Area students attended the third annual Black College Recruitment at Laney College on September 14. Many were accepted “on-the-spot” by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) present.

“The response of the Bay Area was tremendous and the community came out in record numbers,” said Dr. Alan Rowe, CEO of the United College Action Network (U-Can). “The recruiters were happy in the way they were received and the number of students accepted tonight was about 700.”

Many students brought their transcripts, SAT and ACT scores along. That helped the recruiters determine their eligibility for admissions and scholarships.

Tuskeegee Recruiting

Tashauna Burnette and Kaley Bragg, seniors at American High School in Fremont, were both accepted into ten colleges, including their favorite: Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“It’s amazing. That’s where we want to go. It’s our dream to go to college and be roommates,” Bragg said. The young women had previously visited the college in April as a part of the Young Scholars Program. Burnette is interested in studying Sociology while Bragg is interested in Zoology. The young women came to the event prepared with their transcripts and SAT scores. They even had their own business cards.

RecruitingDozens of recruiters from HBCU’s pitched their institutions to students and their families to see what would be the best fit.

“Every school they apply to may not be the best place for them,” Philander Smith recruiter Gregory Douthard said. “We want to get them the experience on campus, with college visits.”

Many parents and family members came along to assist their children and younger siblings with applications.

Claudine Shine, mother of Oakland School for the Arts senior Jalen Preston, also credited her son’s involvement in the Young Scholar’s Program as helping to prepare him for college. Her objective Wednesday night was to find the best, affordable college for her son.

“Our goal is to apply for an HBCU and receive a President scholarship that will pay for all of the tuition or at least half,” Shine said.

Brittney Robinson of Oakland was heading to her class when she stumbled upon the event. She was later accepted into two colleges: Morgan State and Grambling State University.

“I was excited … inside,” Robinson said of not wanting to break her professional cool by screaming. “I didn’t know this was even going on. I kind of ran into it and took advantage.”

Over 1,800 students and their families attended the event, according to Laney College Dean of Student Services Newin Orante, who added that, “There’s more work to do after the event.”

“It went really well. We’re intent on seeing what the registration numbers are and find out how many of our OUSD and Laney College students came,” Orante said, since many OUSD students come through Laney.

Encinal students

“Whether our youth make it to these colleges or not, the primary goal is to show them there are options and opportunities,” Orante said.

With no Black Colleges west of the Mississippi–besides the Charles Drew Medical School in Los Angeles–Shine said she’s not worried about her son leaving home. “I think that’ll help him grow. Sometimes as African Americans, we keep them in the nest too long,” she said.

Shine added, “We need to do like the birds and push them out the nest and let them fly.”

And with tuition for higher education becoming less affordable for many Black students, the Historically Black Colleges and University are another option, Rowe said.

As for getting into college, two young scholars, Burnette and Braggs, have advice for their peers:

“Stay on top of everything. You have to work hard,” Burnette said.

Kaley said a high school counselor tried to discourage her when she was a high school freshman, doubting that she could even go to college.

“Don’t let anyone get in the way of your dreams,” Kaley said.

For more information about U-CAN, visit

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