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Womens Colleges

Women’s colleges in the United States often share histories of struggle, as founders labored to address gender inequality and provide students with academic opportunities on par with the male-dominated universities of their times. Many of the colleges included on our list were established before women’s suffrage was achieved in 1920, so it is not surprising that these institutions continue to promote the advancement of women as academic and community leaders.Prospective students might wish to pursue their education at a women’s college so that they can be surrounded and influenced by female role models. According to a 2012 Hardwick Day report, 81% of women’s college graduates reported that their institution was “extremely or very effective” in preparing them for future jobs. Women’s colleges often serve as supportive social and academic systems, allowing scholars to explore their full potential without the worry of gender bias.The colleges in the following list are members of the Women’s College Coalition (WCC), an academic association dedicated to gender equity in academia. Member colleges from the U.S. and Canada participate in collaborative research initiatives, admissions events and academic advocacy for women. We’ve selected these 20 WCC member colleges because they exemplify dedication to the advancement of women through their history, rankings and noteworthy academic programs.

Acceptance and graduation rates are from the 2011-2012 academic year and come from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Tuition prices were found on U.S. News and World Report’s website. The schools on our list are presented in no particular order.


  1. Wellesley College – Wellesley, MA


    • Acceptance Rate: 30%
    • Graduation Rate: 92%
    • Tuition: $45,078


    In 1870, Pauline Durant founded this private college to provide female students with the opportunity to study hard sciences and liberal arts. Noteworthy alumnae include former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This college is the home to the Wellesley Centers for Women, an interdisciplinary research and outreach program that has contributed to national policy making initiatives, such as the Violence Against Women Act. The U.S. News and World Report ranks
    Wellesley as #4 on its list of National Liberal Arts Colleges.

  2. Barnard College – New York, NY

  3. Scripps College – Claremont, CA

  4. Bryn Mawr – Bryn Mawr, PA

  5. Simmons College – Boston, MA

  6. Mills College – Oakland, CA

  7. Spelman College – Atlanta, GA

  8. College of Saint Benedict – St. Joseph, MN

  9. Saint Mary’s College – Notre Dame, IN

  10. Midway College – Midway, KY

  11. Saint Catherine University – St. Paul, MN

  12. Smith College – Northampton, MA

  13. Salem College – Winston-Salem, NC

  14. Sweet Briar College – Sweet Briar, VA

  15. Converse College – Spartanburg, SC

  16. Stephens College – Columbia, MO

  17. Mount Holyoke College – South Hadley, MA

  18. Agnes Scott College – Decatur, GA

  19. Moore College of Art and Design – Philadelphia, PA

  20. Hollins University – Roanoke, VA

Tolulope Owajoba
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