Illinois students emerge as a top Hampton U. constituency

By Winnie Marie Dortch

According to Black Excel College Profile, Hampton University is one of the most prestigious colleges; ranking in reputation and rank beside schools such as Howard, Spelman and Morehouse. Hampton is very popular on the East Coast, and for the past several years many students from the Atlantic states dominated the campus population.

However, this year’s enrollment of Illinois students at Hampton University has increased. Illinois muscled New York out of the perennial top five. The other states are the so-called “DMV” (Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.), New Jersey, and California, a new power.

“God placed me here for a reason,” says Asa Cain, a freshman from Illinois who is biology major. Cain attended Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill.

Cain said he visited Hampton University and he felt like it really fit him: “Hampton is a great school because it allows us to experience the real college life, but we also have to stay on top of our work. There is always something happening on campus so we have to be disciplined. That is one way Hampton prepares us for the world.”

Cain said he did not apply to any other colleges because he knew he would get accepted to Hampton.

“I applied to Mississippi State, New England College and Clark College in Iowa and Hampton University,” said Shaniqua Blackman, a freshman psychology major from Illinois. She attended Maria High School on the Southside of Chicago. Blackman, 18, said she heard about Hampton through students who already attended Hampton. “It is a nice city, not too big or too small,” she said, “And it was the best school out of the others I got accepted too.”

“Of the students enrolled of the 2010-2011 school year, Illinois ranked No. 3 with the highest test scores,” said Angela Nixon-Boyd, director of admissions at Hampton.

Approximately 52 freshmen from Illinois were enrolled this year. Target Hope in Chicago and Sieman Engineering Corporation and Chicago Public Schools worked with Hampton as a partner to recruiting Illinois brightest students. Even with the smaller freshmen class this year Illinois students were highly ranked, ranking No.8 from all popular states.

“I chose Hampton University because the values presented here match values of the high school I attended,” said Saferia Manuel, a freshman broadcast journalism major from the Westside of Chicago. Manuel attended Providence St. Mel College Prep. Manuel said she found out about Hampton when she attended the 100 Black Men of Chicago College Scholarship Fair that took place at the University of Chicago.

Besides Hampton, Manuel said she applied to Howard University, University of Chicago, Roosevelt University, Marquette, Alabama A&M, Tuskegee and Bradley.

“I felt at home when I visited during High School Day,” said Manuel, “And God told me Hampton was the school for me after a year of prayer and consideration.

Manuel also said there are more Illinois students because of the advertisements for Hampton and recruiting teams are doing a good job when they come to inform students in high school.

“The Hampton name itself,” she said, “Is very popular.”

Cyntavia Thornton, 20, a junior who attended Lane Tech High School on the Westside of Chicago, says Hampton is competitive.” Thorton said she fell in love with the brochures, pictures, and stories of Hampton. She believes that a lot of Illinois students are increasing their numbers at Hampton because word of mouth about Hampton in Illinois really gets around.

“With Hampton’s reputation and prestige demeanor as a university,” she said, “I feel it could compete with Big Ten universities whereas other HBCUs couldn’t academically.”

The writer is a junior at Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications