Have you ever wondered what life at a women's college might be like? Students experience so many opportunities and unexpected benefits by attending this type of higher education institution. Women's colleges have been in existence for nearly two centuries, and although there may not be as many as there once were, those that remain continue to thrive by providing a safe space for young women and nonbinary students to explore their futures. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider choosing a women’s college.
1. Equity and diversity
Women’s colleges were originally founded to support a minority, and they continue to support a wide range of students of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds to this day. Women's colleges have diverse populations of transgender women, students with disabilities, students from low-income families, and undocumented students. According to a study by Kathryn A. E. Enke published by the Women’s College Coalition, around 51% of students at women's colleges identify as people of color, as opposed to an average of 38.5% at other private liberal arts colleges. Students at women's colleges also vary in age; an average of 50.6% of women's college students are between the ages of 18–24, while other private colleges have an average of 90.9% of students in this traditional age range.
Women's colleges are safe and comforting environments for students to pursue their goals and create connections, both personally and professionally. According to a study by LinkedIn, women are 28% less likely to have a strong professional support system compared to men—but women’s colleges are working to minimize this “gender network gap.” Because of their small student populations, women's colleges are able to host more meaningful programs and events to encourage collaboration among students and faculty. You’ll find strong student-faculty support networks as well as on- and off-campus groups that strengthen relationships between students and professors, from study groups to art and other recreational activities. For example, Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, has more than 24,000 living alumnae and offers an exclusive online networking platform called Meredith Mentors, which helps students connect with professionals in their fields. Many women’s colleges also offer opportunities for students to participate in undergraduate research, internships, and other projects that offer real-world relevance and the opportunity to build a strong network.
One of the biggest limiting factors in continuing a post-secondary education is cost. Once tuition housing, and supplies are added up, college bills can put students and their families in debt for decades. As advocates for diversity and student success, women's colleges put significant efforts into financial aid. The Women’s College Coalition reports that on average, financial aid is provided to 94% of first-year students at women's colleges, while 48% of students are eligible for Pell Grants. In two great examples, Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, offers some form of financial aid to 99% of its students, while all admitted students to Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, are guaranteed $24,000 in academic merit scholarships.
There are so many opportunities that only women's colleges can bring to the table. Along with generational traditions and unique events like weekly teatime, these colleges empower and motivate their students to succeed. A few bonus benefits to consider:
- Many women’s colleges have partnerships that allow students to take classes at other women's and coeducational institutions for a truly well-rounded educational experience.
- Women’s colleges have an increased emphasis on STEM fields to encourage more women to pursue male-dominated careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
- Women’s colleges boast small, close-knit student populations—around 3,000 or fewer, with some schools enrolling in the hundreds.
Do any of these benefits interest you? Then consider adding some women's schools to your list during your college search. They could offer all the academic, professional, social, and emotional support you need as a student.
Wondering what other colleges and universities are for women and nonbinary students only? Check out this list of All Women's Colleges and Universities in the US and request information from our highlighted featured schools!