I need some frank, no-nonsense "inside" information about Rutgers' Douglass Residential College. I do not intend to disparage Douglass, and I apologize in advance if my post offends Douglass affiliates. I am well aware of Rutgers' excellent academic reputation, but I know next to nothing about Douglass, which is why I am writing. I need this information for my daughter.
My daughter is a self-motivated and hard-working academic high-achiever who intends to take her education to the Ph.D. level in preparation for a career in academic research. Her academic and career goals are well-defined. She has been reared with post-feminist gender-neutral values, so she feels neither "entitled" nor "restricted" because of her gender. She does not consider her gender to be an educational, professional, social, or personal obstacle.
My daughter has always attended public schools where half of her classmates and most of her teachers have been male. She has never attended gender-segregated classes; even her P.E. classes have been integrated. She has never felt intimidated by her male classmates or male teachers, and she has faced gender discrimination only once, by a social activist male middle school teacher who expected students--especially female students--to regard him as a "guru." My daughter makes friends easily and gets along well with both male and female classmates, although her closest friends have been male (because many of her female classmates have been either back-stabbingly competitive and catty, or overly-emotional and air-headed). She has preferred her male teachers for similar reasons; none of her male teachers have dissuaded her from applying to selective colleges, from pursuing her intended college major (in which women have been and remain underrepresented) or from pursuing an academic research career.
My daughter did not apply to gender-segregated colleges, and she intentionally refrained from playing the "gender card" (or any other "card") when applying to her prospective colleges. She was thrilled to have been accepted by Rutgers (all three campuses) and by Rutgers' Honors program. Rutgers awarded my daughter some generous merit-based scholarships, and a need-based financial aid package (of loans and work-study) which--unfortunately--still leaves Rutgers unaffordable for her as an out-of-state student. She has recently been contacted by Douglass Residential College, and invited to apply for Douglass' scholarships. She will be applying for these scholarships, which might provide the resources she needs in order to be able to afford to attend Rutgers. However, she has a number of legitimate concerns about Douglass.
My daughter is concerned that as a Douglass resident, she will not only be geographically isolated, but will also be academically and socially isolated from Rutgers' main campus. She is concerned that the Douglass environment will be either stridently feminist (she does not consider men to be The Enemy), or touchy-feely feminine (she does not need gender-based "motivation" and "nurturing"). She has no problem with single-gender housing, but she is concerned that gender self-segregation at Douglass will be hard-line to the point of anti-male bigotry. She is concerned that Douglass residents will be cliquish and elitist, and hostile not only to non-Douglass residents but also to fellow Douglass residents who associate with non-Douglass residents. She is concerned that she will be required to participate in "collaborative" group-study sessions (she prefers to study and work independently), unnecessary tutoring sessions, intrusive "personal growth" sessions, and excessive community service/outreach and "leadership" activities. She is particularly wary of Douglass' academic and career "mentoring" programs. (She recently learned that one Douglass academic/career-themed dorm's academic coordinator's educational and career goals are shockingly--perhaps intentionally--in conflict with the goals of dorm residents.)
If Douglass provides my daughter with the ability to afford to attend Rutgers, then she will become a Douglass resident. However, she needs to know if her concerns about Douglass are justified. If she has the opportunity to choose between Rutgers/Douglass and other colleges where she can also afford to attend (but can do so without committing to a gender-segregated environment), then she needs to make an informed decision about which college is best for her.
Please tell me about your past and present Douglass experiences, whether good, bad, or in-between. Thank you