TEEN
10/11/2012 09:15 am ET

Women's Colleges: Is A Single-Sex School The Right Choice For You?

By Alicia Thomas

As your senior year of high school flies by, you’re faced with a million choices about where you want to go to college next year. One huge consideration that doesn’t even cross most senior girls’ minds, though, is whether or not they should attend a single-sex university.

There are negative connotations associated with girls-only schools, the majority of which are entirely false. It’s these preconceived notions that keep most collegiettes from even considering attending a single-sex university. However, there are countless benefits associated with attending a girls-only school. Is a women’s college the right choice for you?

The Stereotypes

When someone announces their decision to attend a single sex university, the response that they get is usually a stifled jaw-drop and a polite nod with wide, disbelieving eyes. “A school full of nothing but girls? Are you nuts?” seems to be their underlying message.

“You Go to a Women’s College? You Must Be a Lesbian.”
There are negative stereotypes associated with students who choose to attend single-sex universities. People assume that women’s college attendees are either super religious (and therefore chaste) or lesbians. Those assumptions lead the majority of the female population to coed universities when, in reality, single-sex universities have a lot to offer too.

Elizabeth Schmitt, a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, spoke a bit on this topic. “A lot of my friends in high school joked about me being a lesbian [when I chose to attend a women’s college], but it never bothered me. I knew that my reasons to attend Mount Holyoke were so much more important than the lesbian stereotype.”

When asked about the LGBT community on Mount Holyoke’s campus, Elizabeth said, “I’d say that there’s a very vocal minority of gay and transgender women here, but most girls are straight. The assumption [that we are all lesbians] is quite petty, and I think it unfortunately deters some students from women’s colleges. We are a supportive and allied environment if you are gay or transgendered, but I think the assumption that we are all gay is grossly inaccurate.”

“There Must Be So Much Drama All The Time!”
Generally when a lot of girls are put in one place, the catty escapades of a teenage TV series like Gossip Girl tend to ensue (or so we think). Girls are notorious for their inability to interact without injecting unnecessary drama into a situation. That’s why the idea of living on a campus full of thousands of females can put someone who likes her life to be drama-free a little bit on edge.

However, Patty Beidel, a counselor at Wilson College, a women’s college in Pennsylvania, had nothing but positive things to say about the girls-only atmosphere.

“Typically, you’d think there’d be a lot of drama, because all of these girls are thrown together in one place, but that’s really not the case,” said Patty. “The students who decide to go to a women’s college are more mature because they made the conscious decision to go to a women’s college. They’re too focused on their education to let pettiness get in their way.”

Elizabeth concurred. “I think we have an extremely strong sense of community and solidarity. It’s not like high school where there’s a lot of cattiness. We are all here because of the amazing academics and community, and I don’t ever feel overwhelmed by that!”

For more on academics, dating, and campus life, read the rest of the article at Her Campus!

CONVERSATIONS