There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what it’s like to attend a women’s college, and, as two exceedingly proud women’s college graduates, we’re here to dispel all (okay, maybe most) of it. Researchers tell us that less than 5% of high school-aged women will even consider applying to women’s colleges, and that’s just not enough.
The truth is, young women often never look at women’s colleges because of the preconceived notions they have about what it’s like to be a student there. And that’s just not ok with us. When we counsel students on their college options, we encourage them to be open-minded. The more thoughtful your college search, the more likely you will end up on a campus that is fantastically well-suited to you. So, without further adieu, our takedown of the most common myths about women’s colleges:
The myths, debunked
As alumnae of women’s college and former women’s college admission reps, these are things we’ve heard about the women’s college experience. And while it pains us to give these stereotypes more of a spotlight, these are the honest questions and statements we often faced as students and employees of these institutions.
You’ll be unprepared for the co-ed (“real”) world
False. Women’s colleges are not nunneries. There are male faculty and staff, and many women’s colleges are part of co-ed consortiums—some even a few feet away.
It will be full of sleepovers and late-night pillow fights
False. If you want it to be, sure! But, let’s be honest, that only really happens in sitcoms and romantic comedies.
You’ll have no social life
False (noticing a trend?). Women’s colleges are small communities, and because of that, they oftentimes plan many events on campus—or organize ones off campus. It’s all about taking advantage of the opportunities. If student government hosts an off-campus ice skating social, are you any less likely to go if you attend a women’s college? Unless you have a dreadful fear of ice skating, then, mostly likely not.
But how will you find a significant other?
Yes, some people still find a partner in college, but most people meet them out in “the real world.” You’ll meet people in college through friends, at events, club outings, or even in class. Otherwise, there’s always online dating!
Fights happen every day
False. And we’re pretty sure the Real Housewives TV series is 99% to blame for this one. But, really, there’s a reason so many women’s college mission statements emphasize community and empowerment. They also recognize that when women (and people, in general) believe in each other and support one another, a lot more gets done.
Everyone becomes a lesbian
Colleges in the United States are forbidden from taking campus statistics on sexuality. If they did, however, they’d likely find that these numbers are roughly the same at most small, liberal arts college—and that the number of people who are open about their sexuality has a lot more to do with the comfort and safety of a campus. If this is still a concern for you, try walking around a campus, staying overnight, or talking to current students.
Related: Great Colleges and Universities for Women and Nonbinary Students
Even if you don’t end up applying to a women’s college, we hope that will be because you thoroughly weighed the pros and cons of a single-sex education. If you don’t end up believing that a women’s college is the best fit for you, that’s okay too—they’re not for everyone. Either way, at least you’ll never again fall victim to any of these far-too-prevalent myths!
If you want more information about women’s colleges, we encourage you to download our free e-book, Why a Women’s College? Whether you’re a counselor or student, there’s something in it for everyone.