If you’re a young lady considering schools, you may have heard some common myths about women’s colleges: they’re outdated, won’t prepare you well for living in a co-ed world, aren’t as academically challenging, and that living with women all the time is, well, sort of weird. In reality, however, women’s colleges have a lot of benefits, giving you an edge over other college graduates in an increasingly competitive global job market.
Here are a just a few reasons why every girl should consider women’s colleges:
Women’s Colleges Are Diverse
Being able to work with a diverse group of people is a valuable trait employers seek in potential employees. Although minorities are still very underrepresented on all college campuses, women’s college have a deep commitment to accepting diverse students given the history of how women’s colleges were first founded- to provide women with equal access to higher education.
Women’s Colleges Create Leaders (Especially in STEM)
It’s no secret that women are still underrepresented in the STEM fields and other male dominated professions such as medicine, law, business, and academia. Women’s colleges have a number of leadership and/or mentoring programs specifically designed to give young women hands-on experience in many of these fields.
For example, Smith College has over 30% of their students majoring in the sciences and with their open curriculum you can study science as well as any of their other 50 areas of study. Scripps College offers its women the opportunity to take classes with other Claremont College students, co-author papers, and present their research at academic conferences through the W.M. Keck Science Center.
Additionally, since there are no men to compete with, women dominate all student government leadership positions. as well as other leadership opportunities on campus. Seeing women in every leadership role can empower either the outspoken or shy student to be a leader themselves- a tangible skill you can put on your resume and take with you after college.
Women’s Colleges are Well-Known and Respected
Women’s colleges were created in response to the fact that Ivy League Schools initially only admitted men. As a result, many of the country’s first women’s college curriculum were designed with the same amount of academic rigor as their male counterparts. Barnard College, which is located right across the street from Columbia University, still maintains its partnership with its historic male counterpart. Today, Barnard College offers a number of world-class internships and research opportunities to its women that it did when it first opened and encourages its students to be independent leaders. Many other women’s colleges share these same traits and boast a number of accomplished women leaders. Take Hilary Clinton or Madeleine Albright for example, who both graduated from Wellesley.
Women’s Colleges Have Strong Alumnae Networks
Women’s colleges work hard to create an inspiring, relevant, and academically challenging experience for students, which in turn creates a highly supportive network for you to tap into once you leave college. These alumnae networks will especially come in handy when searching for job opportunities.
Strong alumnae networks also mean strong endowments since alums are more engaged and willing to donate money to their Alma Mater. If you’re a student who has high financial need, make sure to connect with the financial aid office at your women’s college of choice. There’s a good chance that they might be able to fund most of your family’s need.