26 Must Haves for HBCU Student’s
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
Alumni of SCSU ’85
Instructor at Edward Waters College,
@wmjackson – #MyQuestToTeach
Wm Jackson (SCSU ’85) – Sean Jackson (FAMU ’14)
Teaching educational technology at Edward Waters College
provides great joy and purpose that combines teaching as
an elementary school teacher in public education with my
teaching in higher education.
I enjoy having the best of both worlds, helping to prepare
elementary students for life after elementary school and
helping college students prepare for the working world
outside of higher education and other events that prepare
students for “real life.” HBCU students are already using tech,
but must learn to apply it to the most effective use to Brand
their SWAG and get employed before graduation.
The competitiveness of the global business markets, business
environments, international trade that has increased demand for
those with specific skills and higher degree levels has created
a demand for students to be adaptable in their ability to work in
any environment, flexible in their duties and responsibilities as
“Human Capital,” and possess higher order and critical thinking
skills that allow for problem solving skills to grow.
The skills that HBCU students learn should allow them to be able to
compete with students that attended PWI’s. The must haves must be
gained while HBCU students are preparing for the days after
graduation and beginning of careers dreams. HBCU students cannot
wait until their senior year to prepare for graduation, it must be
an ongoing process and planned beginning in their freshman year.
26 Must Haves for HBCU Students
1. Have a Resume / Vitae created in multiple formats to provide for
potential employers. Copies should be online, on a flash drive and on
a laptop or tablet and even a couple hard copies for those unique
opportunities on the train or bus.
2. Have an email with GMail with a valid email address and a professional
looking email signature. Check it on a regular basis and respond to
inquiries quickly. When you receive business cards or make contact send
an email that you were glad to meet that person. Even digitally you can
make an impression.
3. Have a Skype account that you can use for online interviews. If you’re
willing to relocate employers may want a Skype interview to get to see
you and meet.
4. Have a list of mentors to ask questions. Every college student needs
a mentor to bounce ideas off of. They provide a perspective on the world,
mentors can be online contacts as well, and digital connections can be
just as successful.
5. Have a list of references with email addresses, phone numbers, that
are legally employed, no criminal histories, and have a good academic
and professional backgrounds. Who you know still matters, when seeking
references make sure you ask the person first to be sure they are in
6. Know your GPA weighted and un-weighted. During interviews this
question may come up, hesitations and “I don’t remember,” shows lack
of academic knowledge.
7. Taken or plan to take assessments to know your cognitive and
intellectual strengths and weaknesses. Build your confidence to take
tests. Don’t be intimidated because what you think you’re being tested
on may not actually be what you’re tested on.
8. Have a library card, museum membership to show involvement in the
community. This also encourages you to participate in networking
events to meet people and gain new contacts to build your PLC or
Professional Learning Community
9. Volunteer time with your ministry, not for profits and other
groups to understand where you can fit in to contribute to your
community. The best way to gain quiet exposure is to volunteer
10. Have a documented history of community service. Keeping records
allows you to see overtime your contributions to your community and
to share this information. It also helps with memory and meeting
11. Have positive Social Media content. When people research you
online they are hoping to see good content. You never know when an
opportunity comes available when someone remembers you from an event
and wants to match your skill set with a project.
12. Attend conferences, workshops, seminars, etc. HBCU students must
be involved in these to learn more, increase their knowledge and
share their knowledge. These are awesome ways to find a mentor,
network and even future employment.
13. Have a list of accomplishments, honors and achievements with
dates put in your Vitae or stand alone.
14. Have a valid driver’s license even if you’re not driving, the
company may be willing to give you a car until you’re on your feet.
15. Have an open bank account with checking and savings even if you
have $5.00, you will need this for direct deposits.
16. Check your credit history to check against errors and identity
theft. More companies are checking credit histories so be careful
what is on your history. Monitor it because it can influence salary
17. Have a mission and vision statement for life goals and accomplishments.
18. Know how to travel within your city, know where the library is,
City Hall, Social Security Office,
Police Department, and other major points of interest.
19. Know how to use your phones GPS to help you navigate if walking
or riding your bike.
20. Start watching the news to keep up with local and current events
and the weather. Someone may try to start a conversation.
21. Talk to your parents, family and even church to see where your
help will come from if you need help and assistance. Successful people
will tell you that you should not think you can do everything
on your own, you will need help.
21. Have a copy of your Social Security Card, Birth Certificate and
22. Access to loose change and small amounts of cash always.
23. Cell phone numbers to: Taxi Service, Bus Station, Police Department
(not 911), a teacher, mentor and your minister, evangelist, priest, etc.
Prayer does work.
24. A debit card or credit card for emergencies, and maybe invest in a
gift card to use for transportation only and one for food only to help
manage your finances.
25. Checks from your bank (to help you start your direct deposit when
hired for a job).
26. Have a Paypal account to register for events and activities.
These are a lot of considerations, but for HBCU students to be successful
they must adapt to the business and educational environment to reach their goals.
Preparation – Planning – Prayer – Practice