Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why Choose a Women’s College?


By Yuanyuan “Rebecca” Fang


Perhaps you’ve never thought about attending a women’s college on your list of possibilities. I graduated with honors from Agnes Scott College (ASC) in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia in 2013. Initially, it wasn’t a deciding factor for me as I started my application process, but it turned out to be one of the most significant and beneficial decisions of my life. Below is a list of the top ten most popular women’s colleges among international students.


TOP 10 POPULAR WOMEN’S COLLEGES


Women’s College
Location
% of Int’l Students
1
South Hadley, MA
23.4%
2
Bryn Mawr, PA
19.7%
3
Macon, GA
18.2%
4
Nevada, MO
14.0%
5
Wellesley, MA
12.3%
6
Northampton, MA
11.5%
7
Decatur, GA
10.7%
8
New York, NY
7.1%
9
St. Joseph, MN
6.0%
10
Roanoke, VA
4.9%
Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Enrollment Data (Fall 2012)


Some of the great advantages of attending a women’s liberal arts college are opportunities for social, cultural, physical, and spiritual development. The greatest advantage of a women’s college is that everything is shaped by the interests and needs for women. So, here are the top three reasons I recommend that you attend a women’s college.


#1) Women’s colleges provide great women-centered curricula

In women’s colleges, courses are designed to enhance the development of young women with a focus on sharpening writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills. These are also beneficial to international students. In ASC, First Year Seminar and “English 110” courses are required for all students in their first year of college to improve English writing and speaking. This is to prepare women for giving a voice to the world. We are taught to write and speak effectively, think analytically and consider different social and historical perspectives to be more socially aware. Also, graduating from a women’s college significantly increases your chance of earning an advanced degree, because women’s colleges emphasize student research skills. For example, 83 percent of the ASC class of 2013 completed one or more substantive research projects with faculty members across campus and around the world.


#2) Women’s colleges have a unique lifestyle with women and men (really!)

People always ask me if a women’s college really has no boys. My answer is always YES, because “it’s not a girl’s school without men; it’s a women’s college without boys.” Most women’s colleges require their students to live on campus, because it is an integral part of a women’s college education so that we can take full advantage of campus resources and have stronger connections with peers. On weekdays, we enjoy classes with all women and participate in student organizations, club activities, and athletics. On weekends, there are always events on and off campus, drawing all students of both genders together. Most women’s colleges are small communities, but they partner with area co-ed colleges and universities and offer social and academic exchanges to ensure interaction with male students and to experience different academic cultures. In my four years of college, I had the opportunities to meet many people, women and men, to experience both the all-women liberal arts college and some co-ed universities.


#3) Women’s colleges have a strong sisterhood

Small class sizes and a supportive female environment allowed me to form strong relational bonds. Like most, I was nervous when I first arrived on campus, but my thoughts completely changed when I took the time to get to know the amazing women who I know will be my lifelong friends. In addition, there are more female role models and mentors in many different fields who provide guidance, support, and encouragement in women’s colleges. This boosts aspirations and powers of achievement to female college students. Having a great women’s college experience and alumnae to share inside information about their professions helps younger sisters to step into internships and careers.


Women's colleges have been educating women for leadership and preparing women for various occupations from teachers to engineers. Whether you imagine yourself as an artist, a writer, a scientist, an actress, or a banker, a women’s college is the best place to start. I believe you will be surprised as to what a women’s college can bring to you in the future.


For a Chinese translated version of this blog please visit our Sina Blog here


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Hello everyone! My name is Yuanyuan “Rebecca” Fang, a master’s student in the Economics and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Agnes Scott College. My research interests lie in both qualitative and quantitative research, primarily in the field of higher and international education. I am currently working as a research assistant at WES.

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