Asked about: Scripps College

What are the largest benefits and drawbacks of an all female college?

Answers

Jessica Tomer, Jessica Tomer is the Editor-in-Chief at Carnegie Communications.

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It wasn't until after I graduated from undergrad that I learned about the many unique benefits of women's colleges; now I wish I had given them a fair shot in my college search! Here are a few of the advantages research and student surveys have uncovered in women's colleges:

  • Statistically higher classroom engagement
  • Focus on growing critical-thinking and analytic skills (not so surprisingly, most women's colleges are liberal arts schools)
  • Pervasive female leadership and role models
  • Improved student-faculty interaction (also not a surprise, as most women's colleges are smaller schools)
  • Female perspective often lacking in traditional academic narratives
  • More opportunities for extracurricular leadership

This is all in addition to the fact that students get the same—if not more rigorous—academic and extracurricular opportunities as they would at a co-ed institution. In fact, the National Survey of Student Engagement (2004) revealed that women's college students tend to feel more engaged, confident, and academically challenged.

It also doesn't appear to be a coincidence that graduates of women’s colleges are generally disproportionately represented in Congresswomen, STEM professionals, and Fortune 1000 companies leaders, considering only 50 out of nearly 4,000 higher education institutions in the U.S. are all-women schools. (That only 1.25%!) Alumnae of women’s colleges also seem to be twice as likely to earn a doctorate, according to the Women’s College Coalition.

Regarding drawbacks, I can't recall anything notable. Graduates might have to address certain perceptions about women's colleges based on stereotypes. You'll find six such myths, from "catty" students to a lack of dating opportunities, debunked here.

As suggested previously, it's worth contacting and researching Scripps to learn more about what they offer and how they will meet your needs, as you would with any college. There's no such thing as getting to know a school too well before applying!

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Brittney Miller, College graduate, current graduate student

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I completely agree with Jessica and Amy. Scripps is a unique college since it's part of the Claremont Colleges and it's possible to cross-register for courses in the other four undergraduate institutions there. Since all of the campuses are adjacent, socializing with more than just women is more than possible. At the same time, being at an all women's college can be very empowering.

Amy McElroy, Graduate of Women's College, SMU Law School; Writer, Parent of Two

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Having attended a women's college, I agree with the strengths noted by Jessica, particularly the prime opportunities for leadership and growth both in and out of the classroom. Both the male and female professors' dedication to helping women succeed prepared me to compete in the world.

As for weaknesses, if one is seeking to socialize with men, at Scripps that will not be a problem because of the 4 adjacent co-ed colleges that make up the giant campus known as the Claremont Colleges. They offer opportunities to socialize together regularly. At other women's colleges, I would suggest asking how students socialize with men. Some women's colleges have many co-ed schools nearby, perhaps in a college town. But if traveling to a school for fraternity parties is your only method of dating, this can become a drawback in terms of forming relationships.

Michael Schoch, Answers questions on Noodle

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That's a great question. Unfortunately, I am a man who attended a co-ed college so I can't offer any personal insight into this matter. What I can do is point you towards a few good resources online.

First, you should check out the Noodle profile for Scripps College. It has answers and insights from former students, some of them related to the experience of attending an all-women's college. You can get even more perspectives by using the College Locator to find other women's colleges near you and read the comments offered by their students.

If you'd like something a little more comprehensive than quick comments, try this blog post, which offers a quick list of pros and cons.

While it's a little bit old, this article on Forbes focuses in on the advantages of attending a women's college.

Another option is to simply call Scripps at (909) 621-8149 and ask the admissions department what sort of students thrive at an all-women's school.

In time, more alumni and students will hopefully contribute their experiences to this questions. Until then, try these resources and see if they don't give you a clearer picture. If they create more questions for you don't hesitate to come back and ask a follow up!

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