Single-Sex Education: Could it be for You?

Unless you’ve grown up receiving a single-sex education, you’re probably not too eager to pursue one during your college years. Not only are the hormones raging, but you may feel that a single-sex educationwill prevent you from experiencing the “real world.” However, if you open your mind to the possibility of a single-sex education, you may realize that there can be real benefits.

I’ll use myself as a prime example.  I always pictured myself at a large university, and had been looking at four Big Ten schools during the college research process. Then, two years ago, amidst the insanity that surrounds the college hunt, my father set up a college visit. He lives in New York City and knew someone who was affiliated with Barnard College, near Columbia University in Manhattan. I pulled out the giant Fiske Guide to Colleges and flipped to the Barnard page. After reading a couple sentences of the description, I quickly figured out what my dad had failed to mention: Barnard is a women’s college. I marched up to him and told him to cancel the visit; there was no way I’d ever consider going to a women’s college. No way. Not ever. Why should I even go visit?

A few hours later, I found myself walking around the city-based campus with my stepmother and eleven other girls. We peered into dorm rooms, the dining hall, and some classrooms. I was introduced to an admissions officer, and was handed a university pamphlet. I was surprised at how similar I was to the other students I saw. They all seemed completely normal. Even our tour-guide seemed relatable, reminding me of someone I would be friends with at home. After the visit, I walked through the university gates and stepped out onto Broadway. I was in complete shock. I had fallen in love with the campus, and the people I’d met. And, the idea of single-sex education was, dare I say, beginning to look appealing? When I went home that day, I began to research the advantages of a single-sex education.

Here’s what I found. In a single-sex educational environment:

  • Social Pressures are lifted (males may not feel the need to compete with each other, while females may feel more comfortable speaking up and taking risks in the classroom).
  • Academics, extracurricular activities and campus events will target a certain segment, gaining more interest from the student body.
  • Males and females learn differently in the classroom. Teachers are skilled at teaching to your specific needs.

I kept Barnard in my top three schools for the rest of the application process, ignoring all of my friends’ shocked expressions when I told them that I wanted to spend the next four years surrounded by females. I envisioned myself among strong, intelligent women in a close-knit community, with all of New York City at our disposal. I also realized that the opportunities of a co-educational atmosphere weren’t completely absent at a single-sex school.

While I didn’t end up cheering on Millie, the Dancing Barnard Bear, I learned a very valuable lesson about keeping an open mind about single-sex education. I never thought a women’s college could be for me, but after visiting the campus, meeting students, and researching the advantages of a single-sex education, I had changed my mind. With that being said, be motivated to find out exactly what might be the best fit for you, and don’t be afraid to look in the most unexpected places. Single-sex schools may not offer the “typical” college experience, but still may be a perfect fit for you.

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.
Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in News-Editorial Journalism with an interdisciplinary minor in Leadership Studies. Emma enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and snuggling up on the couch with her cat, “Louie.” She also spends her time volunteering and hanging out with family and friends.
Emma Weissmann

Latest posts by Emma Weissmann (see all)