Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why You Should Consider a Women’s College

Carrie Wofford is a Democratic strategist and graduated from Bryn Mawr College. She wrote a blog post I very much enjoyed reading, “Why You Should Consider a Women’s College.”

Highlights Include:

"Studies also show that students at women's colleges are much more likely to earn PhDs than are their counterparts at coed colleges. And they are dozens of times more likely to stick with math and hard science studies than women who attend coed colleges. Not twice as likely to stick with it but dozens of times more likely. Nobody knows why, but the vast majority of women who enter coed colleges thinking they will major in math or chemistry or some other hard science drop out of those fields (as compared to the "soft sciences" such as sociology and psychology). In contrast, women stick with those studies in women's colleges, and go on to careers in those fields. Something is going on in the classrooms at coed colleges to discourage women from math and sciences; or something supportive is happening in women's college classrooms that coed schools may need to take a look at.

Women students' success happens outside the classroom as well. The editor of the student newspaper, head of the student government and all the other positions on campus are, by definition, held by women. Such leadership roles offer a terrific learning experience.

The campus communities also tend to be nurturing and supportive. Women's colleges develop very strong community bonds, passed down through generations of female graduates. "Traditions" at women's colleges differ from those at coed, with regular "step sings," "lantern night," "hoop races," special tea parties, and "canoe sings" – not unlike the special songs and traditions a girl might find at an all-girls' summer camp, and many of them common to all women's colleges. My husband said he didn't fully appreciate my college experience until he saw me at a reunion, singing ancient songs in Greek and Latin, in the dark night, with lanterns (colored by class year) swinging from our hands.  The reality is that young men are simply less willing to stand around singing ancient songs in Greek and Latin about wisdom and beauty.

Citing all the studies about how women's colleges succeed so much better at nurturing and educating young women, Smith College offers the perfect tag line: "Of course, the world is coeducational. But Smith women enter it more confidently than women graduates of coed schools." A women's college might just be worth considering when you make your college choice this Fall."

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