Why a Women’s College Might Be the Right Fit for You
Navigating Your Way through the College Selection Process
Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, once wrote: “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” Melville’s quote is a good metaphor for the college selection process: Your right fit in a college is your true place. And finding it is one of the most exciting journeys on which you will embark.
The following rudders will help you navigate your way through the college selection process, on your journey to find your right fit:
- Finding your right fit is all about you. It’s about your dreams and expectations – of yourself and your college experience, both in and out of the classroom. It’s about who you are and who you will become throughout the course of your lifetime. It’s about what matters to you.
- Finding the right fit in a college – the college at which you will thrive and reach your academic and personal potential, the college that will best prepare you for life after college – is one of the most important decisions you will make. It will influence and shape many of the options you will have and the decisions you will make while you are in college and after your graduate.
- Research shows that students who are actively involved in both academic and extracurricular activities gain more from the college experience than those who are not so involved. Recently conducted research comparing the experience of female students at women’s colleges, coeducational private liberal arts colleges, and coeducational flagship public universities found that women at women's colleges are more engaged and more likely to experience high levels of academic challenge, engage in active and collaborative learning to a higher degree, and take part in activities that provide opportunities to integrate their academic and extracurricular experiences than their counterparts at co-educational colleges. Women at women's colleges tend to thrive studying subjects such as science and math, areas in which women are traditionally underrepresented.
- Women’s colleges are dedicated to giving you not just some opportunities, but every opportunity. Women’s colleges are focused on you – your education, your personal and professional development for the many different roles you will assume in life, and your advancement in the ever-changing global economy.
- A women’s college education enables students to engage with top faculty and resources. Women’s college graduates attribute their success to interaction with “a high quality teaching-oriented faculty.” They report strong benefits from mentoring, small classes and personal interaction with professors. At women’s colleges, all of the resources, from sophisticated research equipment to preeminent athletics facilities to internship and fellowship funding, are focused on and available to women students.
- A women’s college education creates leaders, communicators, and persuaders. Speaking out and speaking up – key components of leadership and civic engagement – are capacities actively developed at women’s colleges. Women’s college alumnae report more in-class experience with making presentations than their peers at other institutions and are more likely to gain leadership experience in student government and campus media.
- A women’s college education develops critical skills for life and career. As studies repeatedly underscore the need for critical thinking, global knowledge, intercultural competence, and real-world abilities, women’s colleges surpass public and private colleges in helping students learn to think analytically, bring social and historical perspective to issues, work as part of a team, write and speak effectively, make sound decisions, gain entry to a career, prepare for career change or advancement, and be politically and socially aware.
- A women’s college education proves its value over a lifetime. One of the top-of-mind questions during the college selection process is, “When I graduate, will I get a job and/or into graduate school?” Graduating from a women’s college, versus a co-ed public or private college or university, significantly increases a woman’s chances of earning a graduate degree. Women’s college graduates succeed in entering a range of career fields and graduate programs, regardless of their undergraduate major. More than 95% of women’s college alumnae believe the financial investment in their education was worthwhile and that the intellectual and personal capacities they gained are extremely important to them.
- During the past few years, we have experienced dramatic economic, political, social, technological and environmental change. Many things we previously might have taken for granted – including jobs, and requisite qualifications and career paths – have changed. Some jobs that exist today will not exist when you graduate from college or later in your career. And many of the opportunities you will have throughout your lifetime have not even been created.
- You will change careers – not just jobs – two, three or more times during your lifetime. Most likely, your education will not end with your bachelor’s degree. Increasingly, master’s degrees and additional credentials and certifications are becoming requisite. Your bachelor’s degree must provide you with a solid foundation on which to build your capacity to reinvent yourself to adapt to the constant changes that will occur in whatever paths you take in life.
- A women’s college education equips you with the portfolio of skills that employers expect: Teamwork, ethical judgment, intercultural skills, social responsibility, quantitative reasoning, oral communication, self-knowledge, adaptability, critical thinking, writing, self-direction and global knowledge. Students apply these skills to complex real-world challenges and projects that integrate problem solving, writing and analytical reasoning skills through hands-on opportunities: Internships, community service projects, study abroad experiences and senior projects.
Each women’s college has its own distinctive identity and culture. From the east coast to the west coast, from the Midwest to the south, women’s colleges are in the hearts of cities and deep in the country. Students come from all socioeconomic, ethnic, racial and religious groups, across the country and around the world. What women’s colleges have in common is an unequivocal commitment to your education. Visit the campuses, meet with students and professors, attend a class, and spend a night. Finding the right fit is about you. Women’s colleges are about you!