All women colleges?

cynical1inthecorner's picture

I've been thinking about college a lot, and have been researching my different options in regards to different school. Y'know--size, location, and, of course, gender.

I've never really liked the whole "all-girl" school thing. My instinctual reaction is that it simply isn't practical, as it isn't at all like the real world. That, and there'd be way too much estrogen in the air. Talk about bitchy-ness!

But I dunno. A few of my friends are going/planning on going to an all-girls college. And I've been looking at some of the websites of places like Smith and Mount Holyoke...and, oh, I don't know.

What do you guys think about it? Do you think all-womens colleges are a good idea, educationally and socially?

peanut_gallery's picture

I like the idea

Educationally, I think that women work better together. In eighth grade, my math teacher had all-girl's tables and all-boy's tables because according to her, "Studies have shown that girls speak up more in class when they're at tables together, and boys speak up more in general." I don't know if that's true or not, but it's an interesting idea and one worth considering. The whole reason all-women's schools were founded in the first place was to give women a sanctuary, way back in the day. Socially, I find that if girls are in close quarters, they'll all bond like crazy. Sure, there'll be bitchiness and such, but in general, girls aren't really as bad as everyone makes them out to be. I speak with experience. (Also: An all-girl's college opens the dating options by a lot. Just sayin'.)

Sidera cadentia somnos suadent.
(Aeneid 2.9)

milee13's picture

I actually attend an all

I actually attend an all womens college in California called Mills. I haven't encountered the whole estrogen overload and bitchiness thing you've mentioned at my school, and it is amazingly queer friendly.

dreamers imagine someday's picture

That's awesome, Mills is my

That's awesome, Mills is my first choice college. I am really hoping to get in.

V is the bomb, he blows with anarchy!!!

milee13's picture

It was originally my second

It was originally my second choice, but towards the end of the application process it had become my first. I had some issues adjusting during my first semester because of my work schedule and because I was taking classes that I really wasn't interested and somehow ended up having no free time to hang out with anyone. But it's much better this semester and I'm enjoying the experience a great deal more.

Did you go to the prospective student overnight last week? I didn't host because I was working, but some of my friends did.

It's an amazingly supportive environment, and I hope you get accepted (and a decent aid package) if this is where you really want to be.

dreamers imagine someday's picture

No I wasn't able to go to

No I wasn't able to go to the overnight, I was working overtime for the SF Archdiocese. I wanted to come, but it was a good thing because I had a seizure the day after. Hahaha, I need not worry for social activites, because I have Tourette's syndrome...I have only a few good friends.

V is the bomb, he blows with anarchy!!!

dreamers imagine someday's picture

I go to an all girl high

I go to an all girl high school and plan to go to an all girl college, believe it is not bad at all. It is easier to be relaxed in such places. The bitchiness is worse when the boys are around, because of the romantic drama. But really all girl schools are great.

V is the bomb, he blows with anarchy!!!

cynical1inthecorner's picture

I've never been in an

I've never been in an all-girl environment for long (I've gone to Girl Scout events and stuff, but that's never for more than a week) so the bitchiness idea wasn't based on fact or anything, just me guessing.

milee13--did you go to a coed highschool? If so, what are the differences between coed and all-girl environments?

Rumor has it there more queer-friendly, and although that's important to me, education is my main priority. Sooo...

If I did go to one, I'd go to one in the East--like Smith or Mount Holyoke (or if I'm uber lucky) Wellesley.

milee13's picture

I went to a coed public high

I went to a coed public high school and somehow managed to end up at a private single sex college. I love it to be perfectly honest. It is most definitely more queer friendly than most schools, and it also offers a good education, it's in the 365 best by the Princeton review and also one fo the top 20 liberal arts colleges on the west coast.

Your east coast school choices are all fantastic--Smith is an incredible school. Too be honest I only applied to one womens college and that had little to do with my choice to come here, but I feel it has made all the difference. I feel comfortable and safe in my current environment, and I also feel that I am gaining experience that I would get nowhere else.

When it comes down to it, womens colleges just generally tend to be smaller which means you can have more contact with your professors.

Mills has a co-ed graduate program and an English First language school on the campus so there are men--they just aren't in the lower division classes, and there aren't a whole lot of them--and the EF students only share the dining commons and student union/center.

But I can only speak for Mills, I don't know about the others. And this environment isn't right for everyone, I just seem to be doing okay.

the mouse that roared's picture

I applied to 3 all-female schools.

The main advantages for me is that it is more empowering to be just with women in the sense that there's less sexism, and that the dating options are amazing. Smith as a school is just amazing. The atmosphere is awesome, beautiful campus, amazing food, cool people. Northampton is the coolest town, with entertainment and over 40 restaurants and little shops. Wellesley was nice, but it didn't have a writing program and it's 30 minutes from my house, so I didn't apply. Mt Holyoke has some scholarship opportunities (check out Scripps in CA if you want to try for a half scholarship), and Bryn Mawr is excellent academically, and right next to Haverford if you need a break from all girls. You can even major at Haverford.

I'm not positive I want to go to an all-girls school, though. Though I don't lust after guys, I might miss them! Also, I'm not even sure I am a girl. I do have a (straight) friend that started at Bryn Mawr last year, though, and she said that gender has become so much less of an object for her since starting there. It doesn't really factor into her evaluation of someone as a person anymore. Also, she said that Bryn Mawr is about 1/3 gay, 1/3 straight, and 1/3 bi (!). :)

So that's just my considerations on the topic. Hope it helped!

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

cynical1inthecorner's picture

I guess my problem is

I guess my problem is similar to yours...I don't exactly like/am attracted to guys, but I think I'd miss them. Which is a weird thought, 'cause I don't really associate closely with many guys.

It seems like a lot of studies say that people work better in a single-sex environment, but it just doesn't seem to mirror real life. I have yet to visit any all-women colleges (I'm planning to this fall), and I think atmosphere will be a large part of my decision.

As for the whole gender/transgendered issue, I have a friend who goes to Mt. Holyoke, and has a FtM friend who lives on her floor. I think the policy is that you have to identify as a girl when you apply, and if you choose to transition after being accepted, that's your buissness. Or so it seems, anyways.

the mouse that roared's picture

About it mirroring real life...

What college does mirror real life? You're given food, usually, and you're accruing massive debts. Your primary goal is learning, not working as a productive member of society. Same-sex colleges are just a variation on an already non-realistic world.

Genderqueerness... I don't know. I think it's more the prospect of figuring out for myself going to an all-female school when I'm not. They might be more accepting than some co-ed schools, but I'm not sure if I want to sort out my gender in that sort of environment. I'll figure it out though.

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

cynical1inthecorner's picture

Mirroring is probably the wrong word...

You're right--colleges don't really mirror the real world. "Preparing for" probably would've been better word choice. So yeah, college isn't real life--but its purpose is to educate you. And education is social and academic, so on a surface level it doesn't seem like an all-women college would prepare you sufficiently in terms of social education. (What with the whole one gender thing).

But this was my initial, instinctual reaction. I've been reading more about specific places, so that's changed my perspective quite a bit. I realize now that all-women schools aren't cloistered or anything (which was the kinda moronic concept I was entertaining when thinking about it), so its not like the girls there get no exposure to the opposite gender.

Regarding seems to me like an all-womens college would be more welcome, if only because--according to stereotypes and what you said--there seems to be more of a queer population. Of course, I have no actual experience and anyways, it doesn't matter--seeing as its all about what you feel comfortable in.

tayz's picture

Well, I'm at an all girls

Well, I'm at an all girls high school (private+catholic) here in Australia in Year 10 which is I think is almost college for you guys.

Personally I find that it's a good environment, you don't really have to worry about what all the guys think of you (if you care, anyway) and although some people seem to believe that there's this estrogen overload and extreme bitchyness, but I think there's less than co-ed schools to be honest.

Educationally. from what I've experienced/heard/been told/read etc, same-sex education is a lot more profitable and disciplined, and the quality and results are greater than co-ed.
I'm guessing because of the lack of distractions+trying to impress each other.

So, if you're think educationally, AND if the atmosphere of the school feels right, I'd go for an all-girls.

Good luck =]

Toph's picture

I was once considering and

I was once considering and very excited about an all girls school. Not about the mass of girls I'd get to see everyday, but just because it's said women perform and achieve better without males around to be dominate and all. Sadly, Stephens College didn't have many extracurriculars or intramurals. Not even a GSA! The only thing there was were sororities, but I need clubs to socialize and enjoy myself.

Also, like mentioned, I was scared I would miss the boys. Not sexually, but just the company of them. Sure, they're boys, but they're fun! If you're female companions aren't into being laid back and dirty then you could go hang out with your male friends. That's what I do at school. For some reason girls seem to be more offended when you burp, but maybe that's just the girls here.

Don't think too hard about whether you want all female or co-ed. Look at what the school itself has to offer. Clubs? Organizations? Sports? Intramurals? Study abroad opportunities? And most importantly look at what majors they offer. You don't want to start at a school and find out they're not offering your major. That'd be horrible.

Oh, and tuition is also important. Compare scholarships offers versus tuition cost to see which is a better deal.

All these things are important in choosing a college. Sum it all together and think about what offers you the greatest experience.

Oh, and about the queer friendly deal, you don't have to go to an all girls school for that. On it give you information on different colleges. I spotted that some really good schools are on the most gay friendly list. I didn't even know they had a list like that! :D Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin is one of those schools.

By the way, what grade are you in? Because time is also an important factor. Anyway, sorry I typed so much and seemed to be lecturing. I'm just really excited about going to college, and I try to help those wondering how to select. I'm not 100% sure on my choice, but I'm still happy about it. I can't wait to join the GLOW (Gay, Lesbian, Or Whatever) club at Truman State. YES!

~May the spirits guide your every assure you please her in all the right places XD

cynical1inthecorner's picture

I'm a...*cough*...sophmore.

I'm a...*cough*...sophmore. Yeah, I know I'm a bit ahead of the game and a massive dork. Shut up.

Anyways, I've been browsing schools 'cause I took the PSAT and asked them to give my info to colleges, who then proceeded to email me. A lot. Y'know the whole "light at the end of the tunnel thing?" Well, college is kinda like that. If I can survive through highschool, I can make it to college.

Okay, enough excuses. I don't mind that you typed a lot--after all, I'm pretty excited about it too. Even if I am a few years early. :) Thanks for that advice, btw.

QuakerOats's picture

I kind of agree with you on

I kind of agree with you on the not practical side, but I also know that statistically female-identified students do better academically in all-girls environments, and I think at the college level it can be a wonderful social environment. I've been thinking about doing a summer program at Bryn Mawr just to have experienced it. I just wish the gender binary system didn't make things so hard for trans people....I don't know how to equalize this-- have an all trans college available?

Army_your_green's picture

Don't give up on an all-women's college!

Well, I attend an all-women's college. I would first like to say that you are totally wrong about the bitch factor. I have noticed that without men, there is a way nicer and less bitchy aspect to women. I go to Mount Holyoke College, which is absolutely great in my humble opinion. The gay community is very open and large in comparison to the size of the school. Since your writing at Oasis, I assume that is a good thing right? For me, the only people I have experienced going through hard times adjusting to an all womens school are some of the straight desperate girls. Academically its a wonderful school. Don't worry so much about the real world. Sure the "real world" demands interaction with men, but it's not like being at an all-women's institution will make you forget how to deal with them. Plus, I feel that it allows women a certain amount of freedom in growing intellectually and becoming more assertive. That will certainly help you in a positive way when entering the "real world".

He always leaves with some wise parting words like "you can't miss the bear!"

Army_your_green's picture

I forgot to add that at

I forgot to add that at Mount Holyoke and Smith you are part of a 5 college consortium which allows you to attend classes at different schools in the Pioneer Valley. Basically I am letting you know that you will see other men if you so desire. You don't have to be locked up in your institution surrounded by women. Plus, there is a trans community on campus. So, there are some girls who have actually transitioned into men.

He always leaves with some wise parting words like "you can't miss the bear!"

Sovietkitsch's picture


I've got an offer to an all girls college at Cambridge University (Newnham). It wasn't the one i applied to, but it was allocated to me after my first choice filled up.
At first I was really disappointed that it was an all-womens college. I thought that it would be too closed in and boring, particularly because I'm mostly friends with guys right now. But actually, after reading into it, I found that most of the girls there did not choose it as a first choice, but loved it there anyway. When I visited the college there were lots of leaflets and posters for the LGBT society and the gay night in a local club. I think that considering you have to live there for the best part of 3 years, women would probably create a better living (and working) environment. There are always men around if you really want to find them! The important bits are the course, and the uni.
So I'm going to accept the offer. (In any case, It's Cambridge!)
Juat the grades to get now :-/