Ditching Boys: Why Attending a Womens' College is a Great Idea

Last Updated Aug 31, 2009 8:58 PM EDT

If someone asked me to name the 10 most amazing experiences of my life, this would be No. 4 on my list: Attending an all girls' school.

Spending four years at a girls' high school was life changing. I not only received a first-class education, but I regained the confidence that slipped away during my middle-schools years and I discovered that boys aren't the only ones who can be leaders.

Because of my love of girls' schools, I was fascinated to stumble across research that bears out what I experienced as a teenager. The longitudinal study, which surveyed alumni from a 27-year-period, found that undergrads who studied at women's colleges rated their schools more highly than females who attended state universities or even coed liberal arts colleges.

Graduates of womens' colleges also ended up attending graduate school at significantly higher rates. Fifty three percent of alumni from women's colleges earned a graduate degree versus 38% of women at other liberal arts colleges and 28% of women who attended public flagships.

Many girls overlook women's colleges because they equate them with convents. There are, however, many opportunities for women to interact with men at nearby institutions or even take classes with them. Wellesley College, for instance, just announced a partnership with Babson College and the Franklin W. Olin College Engineering that offers courses taught jointly by profs at all three schools.

Here's another plus for women's colleges: you can capture some incredible bargains. Below you'll see schools that offer phenomenal packages for young women who require a lot of financial need, as well as schools that also dole out money to affluent girls.

Women's colleges that award great need-based financial aid packages:
Average need-based grant
  • Wellesley College $34,528
  • Barnard College $33,907
  • Bryn Mawr College $28,170
  • Smith College $26,530
Sample of women's colleges that award grants to affluent girls:
Average merit grant
  • Scripps College $18,022
  • Mills College $17,285
  • Mt. Holyoke College $15,610
  • Agnes Scott College $15,673
  • Sweet Briar College $11,977
  • Smith College $7,651
Intrigued? You can find a list of women's colleges at the Women's College Coalition.

Agnes Scott College image by Boxercab. CC 2.0.

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