Women’s College – Outdated or No?

I attended a private institution for my college education. At the time, I didn’t think much beyond the fact that, even though it was pricey, it offered me a scholarship. Bear, who graduated high school a year earlier, was in the same situation.

From my late Junior year well into my Senior, I received so many pamphlets and informational packets from colleges across the state. One that sent more paperwork my way than any other was Salem College, an all women’s school. They drew my consideration enough that I applied and got in. They were also private, but without the shiny financial aid that my final choice offered.

This August marks six years since I started college in the mountains of North Carolina. I was the stereotype and followed my husband to college. I don’t regret it at all because, with or without his influence, I love where I went to college. I love that area, I love the town, I love the atmosphere of Asheville, just a ways up the road. I’ve been gone nearly two years and I still miss it dearly. But when considering with the hindsight of 20/20 what my life has become, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d gone to one of the other colleges I applied to. Especially when I came across this blog just over a week ago, it made me wonder what would have happened if I had attended a women’s college, and whether or not there is any value left in single sex institutions.

There’s an idea out there that a lot of women attend college with the thought in the back of their minds that they’ll find their husband. When I think about it, most of my female inner circle in college were taken already. The ones that weren’t were more focused on their academics and having fun with their friends. Honestly, I wonder if it just seemed that way because I wasn’t that close to them, or if because we were at a private college, the stakes were higher for them to make it count, and not in a marital sense.

I do know women who went to college and had plans for wonderful careers, but at the same time they were also sniffing around for their future husbands. I feel like I cannot judge them one way or another because I was already in a serious relationship in high school, and engaged by my second semester of college.

My point in this rambling about the quest for a husband in college is that that is part of why some seem to shy away from all women’s colleges. If I hadn’t already met Bear in high school, would this have been a concern for me? Would I have tossed every scrap of information Salem College sent me in the trash? I don’t think so, but I cannot say for sure…

My first instinct is to say women’s colleges are outdated and need to fade into the past, just like all men’s colleges. But upon further introspection, I think they still have value. They still have value as a safer environment for women to grow and learn and explore who they are, without the pressure of searching for a mate or appealing to the opposite sex in any way.

So Salem, maybe I would have gone your way with the right scholarship. I would probably be in an entirely different place right now, but it would have been just as valuable of a journey as the one I did take with Bear and everyone else I met at a little college town in the mountains. In the end, we all have our own journeys and which path we take is completely up to us. Whatever feels right and works in your current situation, trust that.

It is August and back to school season is upon us. A new wave of college freshmen are embarking on their journey towards becoming productive members of society. Maybe to celebrate the sixth anniversary of my move into Edna Moore dormitory, I’ll share a post next week with my advice to college freshmen. Hmm.

Until then, Kelswitch over and out. Y’all have a good week!

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3 Responses to Women’s College – Outdated or No?

  1. Sabina says:

    I’m glad that reading my post inspired you to think about the role of women’s colleges! I totally believe in their value NOW, but as a high schooler I wouldn’t have ever vouched for their presence.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you for the comment! And yes, your blog made me really consider it. Honestly, Salem was a contender for college for me because they sent a lot of stuff my way. I wonder now if they did that because they felt the pressure for their enrollment numbers as a single sex institution.

      • Sabina says:

        It’s possible, but who knows. I feel bad that Sweet Briar doesn’t really have an incoming class. I bet they’ll get really aggressive about recruitment soon.

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