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Going to College for an MRS degree

KhipperKhipper Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
edited August 2009 in College Confidential Cafe
A group of us were sitting around chatting. Someone used the expression about women going to college for an MRS. degree. Some of the younger people had never heard the expression. Someone explained that in the past some women went to college more to get a husband than to get an education.

One of the women in the group said that one of her high school classmates directed her college plans to include husband. My friend, who grew up in the Detroit area, said her classmate was a very smart but very homely young woman. The young woman in question, my friend said, chose to go to an engineering school on the upper peninsula of Michigan, a school where men outnumbered women by a very large ratio. My friend said her high school classmate managed to graduate with both a degree in engineering and a fiance.

While we all laughed, another person in the group said he thought for sure that his cousin's daughter chose to go to VMI for both its engineering program and its large difference in the number of male to female students. Again, the young woman graduated with an engineering degree, a military commission and an engagement ring. Like the first woman, she was very smart, very athletic but very plain.

So the question is ... despite the best intentions of feminists and others, do women still consider college a place to hunt for a husband?

Please discuss
Post edited by Khipper on

Replies to: Going to College for an MRS degree

  • BatlloBatllo - Posts: 3,047 Senior Member
    In these uncertain economical times, a smart young man should be looking for his MRdegree. The new trophy wife is a high earner.
  • coureurcoureur Registered User Posts: 11,386 Senior Member
    I have no idea what percentage of college students will admit out loud that they are looking for a spouse. But on the other hand even if you aren't intentionally looking you don't have to think too hard to realize that college is perhaps the last time you will be surrounded by thousands of attractive, smart, single people of your own age. Once you get out in the work force the pickings will likely be a lot slimmer.
  • hampsterhampster Registered User Posts: 153 Junior Member
    in more religious or conservative schools. At more mainstream and politically liberal colleges, my impression is that students tend to want to experiment more and figure out what career paths they want to pursue. I don't think these are mutually exclusive from hunting for a spouse, but they only have a few years.
  • shoot4moonshoot4moon Registered User Posts: 1,154 Senior Member
    In all seriousness, I think this is a critical factor to consider when choosing a school. My daughter looked at me like I had three heads when I suggested that perhaps she did not want to go to a school where there was a 40/60 ratio men to woman and a 40% performing arts rate (she isn't into performing arts). My reasoning was that a smart woman is looking for a smart man, and vica versa. College is the perfect place to investigate opportunities.. Think about it - you are exposed to new people every year - you see how they live and and how motivated they are - you eat every day with different people - when are you ever going to do that again???

    In looking at the comments about teh schools, I am paying attention to what students say about "dating" vs "hooking up" for the same reason - I think a guy or gal who squanders these years on meaningless relationships is beyond foolish. That said, I am also STRONGLY advocating a college where most people live on campus because in my experience (undergrad lived on, grad lived off) it is WAAAAAAAAAY more fun. And that's what college is all about!
  • shoot4moonshoot4moon Registered User Posts: 1,154 Senior Member
    One more thing.... I think the true definition of feminine power (I prefer that to feminism) is to always keep your main goals in mind and be willing to go for them without reservation or concern about your sex or what other people think. There is a huge portion of the population (of course, not everyone) who believes strongly that one of their main goals is to be able to savor their children's lives, avoid full time daycare, and spend as much time as possible being with their kids. I am not talking specifically about women, although I think smart women should carefully consider this. There is also a percent of men who look for a woman who has considered this, and are motivated to find a smart, motivated woman who is willing to arrange her work life around her kids. I picked my profession (speech pathology) with the idea that it is a fabulous field to work full or part time in, and has a variety of options for making more or less money in my projected 45 year career. I picked a man who fully appreciated that some years I would make more - some less. We picked a house that we had the same freedom. I now own my own private practice with a partner, make over 100K part time, and work out of my house so that I can be with my kids after school and volunteer in the classroom. And THAT my dears, is true feminism. I set my goals and achieved them with hard work and preplanning. Not one single time have I felt held back by being a woman. Snap. Oh, and by the way, I did NOT meet my husband in college, but my boyfriend when I was there married one of my best friends, and we are all still extremely close.
  • jessiehljessiehl Registered User Posts: 3,328 Senior Member
    So the question is ... despite the best intentions of feminists and others, do women still consider college a place to hunt for a husband?

    I'm sure there are some who do (though I would point out that simply having met your mate in college does NOT mean that you "consider college a place to hunt for a husband"), but why are we looking at only one side of this? What about the men who consider it a place to hunt for women? Heaven knows that I've seen enough discussion by men of the attractiveness of women at various colleges that they are considering to last me several lifetimes. Come to think of it, when I've seen those threads, they're almost ALWAYS by men about women.

    In the OP, the supposed evidence that these women went to college to find men is 1) that the women were "plain", 2) that they met mates in college, and 3) a relative's speculation. Sorry, not convinced. And your "plain" woman might be someone else's idea of beautiful.

    With that said, I think that for most people (regardless of gender), even if they care, that is not why they are going to college. It's just an icing-on-the-cake factor.
  • hoedownhoedown Registered User Posts: 3,751 Senior Member
    I agree with some previous posters. Students are surely aware that many couples meet their life partner in college, and they may think of that as an extra "benefit" to college. That might drive some people to lean towards colleges where they are more likely to find someone (sheer numbers, or male/female ratio), or more likely to find someone who is compatible with their background and life goals (religious orientation, political leanings, field of study, geography, etc).

    But I find it hard to imagine that it's a huge driver in college decisions, for women in general or women who feel they aren't that attractive.
  • vincehvinceh Registered User Posts: 2,291 Senior Member

    LOL, I haven't heard that saying in years! I suspect that some students, male and female, still go off to college specifically looking for that "special someone", but with the average age of marriage going up I would guess it's a pretty small group. Of course, working toward an MRS degree gives a whole new meaning to Reach, Match and Safety.

    The other thing working against the idea of college spouse hunting is the high incidence of divorce, especially in younger marriages. So in a lot of ways it's a very short term strategy. Or, as my love-jaded former college roommate once put it, half of marriages end in divorce, which means the other half end in death, pick your poison.
  • tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
    Times have changed folks. This isn't pre-1970. Men and women go to college to pursue careers. Finding a potential spouse is an extra benefit.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,219 Senior Member
    If a young woman chooses engineering she'll quicky find she doesn't NEED a husband upon graduation: she'll make a very nice living with her engineering degree.

    The very notion of a woman looking for an "MRS", and progressive and smart enough to want to go into engineering is a contradiction in terms.
  • SchmaltzSchmaltz - Posts: 3,114 Senior Member
    "This isn't pre-1970."

    There were lots of people in the 60's and 70's who asserted that all of the traditional female urges to play with dolls, nurture the young, settle down, have families, etc., were caused by some evil male plot to keep them "in their place." And despite all the efforts to reverse that trend, we still have women as the vast majority of nurses and elementary schoolteachers, etc. Whatever the cause of the traditional female mindset, I'm a-guessin' it's going to take more than 40 years to erase the nesting urge to fit your idealized sex-role-neutral world view.
  • tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
    Schmaltz, in today's economy, both husband and wife have to work to keep a roof over their families' head. Prior to 1970, many women indeed went to college to find potential husbands (this is especially true at elite schools such as the Seven Sisters) or join female-dominated professions such as teaching, nursing, social work, libraries, etc.
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,332 Senior Member
    The very notion of a woman looking for an "MRS", and progressive and smart enough to want to go into engineering is a contradiction in terms.

    Ah, but there's a difference between looking for an MRS and "direct[ing] her college plans to include husband." The old-style MRS degree seekers generally had no interest in doing anything with their academic degrees, and were happy enough to drop out of college early if they got married before finishing. A young person who wants the academic degree and the career, but also wants marriage, isn't a contradiction in terms.
  • CorbettCorbett Registered User Posts: 2,656 Senior Member
    I think this phenomena occurs more frequently in more religious or conservative schools
    Small, isolated, liberal arts colleges -- e.g. Middlebury, Bowdoin, Williams, Colby -- are often claimed to have unusually high rates of alumni intermarriage. For example, nearly 15% of Bowdoin students who graduated in the 1990s married other Bowdoin grads. The long-term rate at Middleubury is apparently even higher, at around 17%.

    Based on these numbers, the odds of finding a marriage partner at these schools appears to somewhere around 1 in 6, or 1 in 7. That's apparently high, relative to most other "mainstream" schools.
  • shoot4moonshoot4moon Registered User Posts: 1,154 Senior Member
    What an INTERESTING discussion! I am lovin' this!!! So here's what I see here. In the old days, women went to college to get their Mrs Degree, and as one posted said, that was their main goal. I think that the percentage of women who do this now (or at least would admit to it) is small. However, I still think that an important component of chosing a school is to look forward to where you want to be in 10 years. If you want to start a family, to me choosing a school where you were more likely to meet an equally motivated and engaged mate would be a critical search criterion.

    Before the women's movement, we were stuck with one path. Married - children - low paying job. Yes, some people broke out of this path, but the cards were stacked against them. Then we went through a period (which I strongly believe is ending) where you were considered "less" if you did not do career plus children. To be a stay at home mom was an embarassment - what? You aren't smart enough to have a career? Too bad for you...how backward you are - how 50s.

    Now, a powerful woman can do anything they want as long as they plan for it. In my opinion, and the opinion of many people I know, having someone else raise two of my most favorite most valued people while I was at work 40 - 50 hours a week would be the height of misery. I want to be able to be with my children as much as possible. However, snottily speaking, I know I am smart and talented. So I planned it carefully. We don't have as much "stuff." We picked a house that we could afford on one income. I chose a man who supported my efforts to do things serially - now I work part time - later I work full time. I chose carefully for a life where I get everything I want serially vs all at once.

    Truly, if you believe the message that you MUST have two incomes and you MUST work and you MUST have kids - you are missing the whole point of women's freedom and rights.
This discussion has been closed.