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Would one come away with the 'gentler sex' or the 'mean girls' impression?

shoboemomshoboemom Registered User Posts: 2,058 Senior Member
edited February 2013 in Women's Colleges
I have been reading quite a bit about some of the women's colleges, and can really imagine many of them to be a great environment for my daughter...very possibly worth the extra expense and travel to another state. I do wonder, though, if I am just creating a false picture in my head of what it might be like.
I imagine, and the websites lead you to believe, that their students form a sisterhood...I do envision that as a kinder and gentler environment overall than you might expect to find at a large, state school, but then I know that girls can be tough on each other...I know some...and I fear, perhaps some of the ones who can more easily afford these private schools, may fall into the 'mean girl' category...excluding those who do not fit in their circle, etc.
I'd love to know what you have experienced at the women's colleges.
Thank you!
Post edited by shoboemom on

Replies to: Would one come away with the 'gentler sex' or the 'mean girls' impression?

  • Mariecc1Mariecc1 Registered User Posts: 183 Junior Member
    I'm currently a senior at Wellesley. Generally speaking, I have a great deal of respect for my classmates. Wellesley students tend to work very hard, but most of them are happy to collaborate when studying for a difficult class or working on a group project.

    Every school has some unpleasant people, and I've met a few at Wellesley. However, they usually fall into the "arrogant and really uptight about their GPAs" category, rather than the "wealthy mean girls" category. And they are few and far between.

    If I had to make a general statement about my peers, I'd say that they're friendly, helpful, motivated, and hard-working.

    (Also, I should note that more than half the student body is here on financial aid, myself included.)
  • MADadMADad Registered User Posts: 1,946 Senior Member
    D attends Mt Holyoke and says there are a few rich "mean girls", but they stay with their own kind. Internationals and everyone else have been friendly.
  • teachandmomteachandmom Registered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
    Just like there will be cliques and friendly women at co-ed schools, there are cliques and friendly women at women's colleges. The difference is that without boys (ok, call them men but barely) around, it's surprising how much less girls have to dislike each other over, and they tend to act more real and not worry so much about how they look all the time!
    I attended Mt. Holyoke, and if your daughter is a natural leader, eager to excell, and admires strong women, she would do beautifully at a women's college. Think Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madeline Albright, and so many other grads of women's colleges who are leading in the world right now! Many of the women's colleges also have very strong traditions, which add a great deal to the entire college experience. When alums meet each other for the first time, there is just instant connection. The professional networking is also incredible. Many of the schools are also the ones that offer truly generous financial aid, so don't let the cost stop you if your daughter is interested.
  • BlusteryDayLoverBlusteryDayLover Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I agree, every college will have a variety of people, but I remember the first time someone asked me if being in an all women's environment at Bryn Mawr made people "catty." I was genuinely shocked because that idea had never crossed my mind. I have found that when you remove guys, it makes women become close, not turn on each other.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 3,001 Senior Member
    I went to Mount Holyoke, and my daughter is applying there, as well as Wellesley, Scripps, and Bryn Mawr. I never encountered cattiness, although I certainly met a few women I didn't like. I imagine you'd be more likely to find the stereotypical catty type at a coed school with sororities, or at a school that is less intellectual than the top women's colleges are. In my experience, the smarter the woman, the more likely she is to be interested in topics other than another woman's clothing or hair.
  • SapphireBlue2014SapphireBlue2014 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Maybe it's me, but I feel like a lot of drama from my high school between girls was caused by boys. In that sense, I think the pressure and animosity between women at these amazing colleges is lowered. I've never experienced catty behavior between me and my classmates and I think the kind of women who go to Bryn Mawr (which is where I go) or Wellesley aren't going to start problems with other women.
  • 3togo3togo Registered User Posts: 5,233 Senior Member
    edited December 2012
    When my daughter went looking for schools she was looking for a large co-ed research u and we only toured Barnard because of it's relationship with Columbia ... 1/2 way through the Barnard tour I knew where my daughter would want to go to school. Her experience at Barnard has been fantastic and it very much has been one of being in a sisterhood! Every time she comes home I marvel at the women she has become (and at the women her Barnard friends are) ... not sure how much is just going away to college for 4 years and how much is Barnard itself ... but Mom3ToGo and I have never doubted this was a fantastic choice for FirstToGo.

    PS - I'd recommend visiting a couple women's colleges ... some students find the environment compelling while others do not.
  • churchmusicmomchurchmusicmom Registered User Posts: 4,059 Senior Member
    I second what 3togo has to say about Barnard. My D, a 2009 graduate, continues to astonish me with her independence, her compassion and her intelligence and the bonds she formed while at Barnard continue to be strong.

    I don't think "gentler sex" or "mean girls" are even applicable extremes...a more apt description would be (as cliche' as this sounds) of an environment of empowerment and encouragement. At least that is what my daughter found at Barnard.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,780 Super Moderator
    I went to a women's college and I definitely think I formed a sisterhood with my classmates. Whenever I meet other alumnae from my women's college, it's like finding a sister - we hug, we shout, we excitedly exchange stories (even if she graduated many years before me). I even feel a special affinity with other women who attended other women's colleges, because there are some experiences we share.

    I think the "mean girls" stereotype is something of a myth anyway, but I definitely didn't experience that at my women's college and I don't know many women's college alumnae who would say that they did. There are mean people of all genders; being a woman doesn't predispose you to being exclusionary or awful to someone else. I will say that I think women's colleges tend to attract young women who want a more collaborative, engaging atmosphere.

    It's also just wonderful to be in a world where all of the student leaders, and many of the administrative leaders, are women!
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