Image description
Sarah Mariski
Noodle Expert Member

April 30, 2020

Women-centered colleges have too many myths associated with them. Don’t let that stop you from pursuing your dream education.

A women-centered educational experience is not right for every prospective student. However, as someone who previously attended a single sex high school and is now halfway through their college experience at Simmons University, I can attest for this education positively shaping my life. Unfortunately, myths and stereotypes scare off potential students. High school seniors often see women-centered institutions as unconventional or something to make fun of. The opinion of others should not instill fear of pursuing the college which best suits you. To combat this, I will debunk common myths and detail what it’s actually like attending a women-centered college.

Women-Centered Colleges Are Unnecessary

Historically, women were not allowed to apply to certain colleges, leading to the creation of women-centered educational institutions. Now, no such rules exist, so are these institutions necessary? Women-centered colleges focus on empowerment of the student body and giving individualized attention to students. Many changemaking women such as Hilary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Katharine Hepburn, Benazir Bhutto, and Zora Neale Hurston attended women-centered colleges. They attribute their success to their education. It is important for graduates to know their worth entering the workforce and for some (including me), attending a women-centered institution gives them powerful confidence.

Students Have No Social Life 

This is a myth stemming from the fact that students at a women-centered institution see men less than their coed peers. However, the understanding that women-centered colleges are places where fun comes to die has no ground. Students enjoy nightlife as much as those from any other college. The understanding that students at women-centered colleges never see men is also a myth. Many institutions are part of a consortium that allows students to cross-register classes at nearby coed universities. My college is surrounded by coed schools. Students are allowed to take part in certain club sports and organizations that span nearby colleges.

Students Are Either Gay Or Desperate For Men

As in any college, there will be gay people. On the other hand there will also be a population who who seeks attention from the opposite sex. However, this does not encompass the entire population. In my experience, students at a women-centered college are hardworking, goal-oriented, and determined to put their career and happiness first. Relationships are formed when the opportunity comes.

Students Are Overly Catty And Competitive

Unrealistic depictions of young women on television perpetuate the stereotype that if a college is women-centered, the student body must be extremely cliquey, competitive, and filled with drama. In my experience, the amount of drama is equivalent to any other coed school and when it does happen, it’s contained to a small group of people. It never affects the overall environment. As for competitiveness, I have found great support among my peers. My core friend group is made of students from various majors. We are incredibly supportive of each other’s goals and achievements, however different they may be.

Women-Centered Colleges Don’t Prepare You For The Real World

Does any college truly simulate the “real world?" It’s common knowledge that in the real world, you need to work with a variety of people. Therefore, it’s silly to believe that students at women-centered colleges will be shocked upon hearing they must work alongside men. Graduates of women-centered colleges are actually more likely to go into male dominated fields. I see this first hand as a majority of my school participates in STEM fields such as biology, physics, chemistry, neuroscience, and computer science. My experience is that I entered college introverted. Two years later, I can speak my mind without fear of judgment.

There’s no reason to be apprehensive when considering a women-centered college. Such colleges provide their own set of unique student experiences and career opportunities. If you think a womens-centered institution is right for you, check out Barnard, Wellesley, Smith, Simmons, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Scripps, or Spelman.

Want to become a Noodle contributor? Email: