When looking at colleges I was worried about applying to a women’s college. I mean, an application wouldn’t hurt – but was it worth the fee if I wasn’t going to go? As far as I knew, women’s colleges were too expensive and they didn’t have everything a co-ed university would have. Still, my aunt, a proud women’s college alumna, encouraged me to apply to Meredith College by telling stories of the friendships and fun adventures she had during her time there, and I am glad that I chose to go to school here. In fact, I have my acceptance letter framed at my parents’ house!
Here are just a handful of my favorite things about going to a women’s college. I hope you’ll take a chance on an application too.
Traditions? You mean it’s old fashioned? Nope! Women’s colleges are pretty well-known for fun and unexpected traditions that you might not see at a co-ed university. With special dinners and dances, as well as an endless supply of t-shirts, there is hardly a month that goes by at Meredith that doesn’t have some unique event that brings the student body together and builds community.
My personal favorite is Cornhuskin’, which we say you have to experience to understand. The interclass competition is extremely fun and alumnae often attend to cheer on their classmates; one class of alums even brought pizza to our class’s dance rehearsal at midnight!
I had always heard that women’s colleges had a sisterhood, but wondered what that meant? Now, I understand. It’s a bond that all students share after experiencing the same traditions and fun during their time at school. I have several people on campus whom I recognize, and despite not actually knowing them, I feel like I can trust them – because they’re a part of the sisterhood. This built-in camaraderie makes navigating group projects a bit easier, too.
My biggest concern (as well as my dad’s) was whether I could afford a women’s college. It’s a private school so it’s super expensive compared to state schools, right? Well, yes, but only on paper. The Women’s College Coalition (womenscolleges.org) notes that nearly 95% of full-time freshmen receive some financial aid when they attend a women’s college – at Meredith, more than 95% of first-year students receive financial aid. The average amount of aid at Meredith for first-year students is close to $28,000 and more students graduate in four years or fewer than at many co-ed colleges. Scholarships (merit and need-based), loans, and other forms of financial aid, with an emphasis on graduating in four years, mean that I paid exactly what I would have paid to go to a nearby public institution. My dad was thrilled!
I was a bit worried about being talked down to by professors going into college, regardless of which school I chose to attend. Luckily, I chose to attend a women’s college. A study at Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research found that students at women’s colleges report more interaction with their professors than students at co-ed schools. It’s true. I have developed friendships with several of my professors and they genuinely care about me as a person. I’ll stop by their office to chat pretty often and we sometimes sit and have tea while talking about our favorite books or films. Sometimes I pop into their other classes just to say “hi” because I liked the course when I took it.
I love going to school at a place where we look out for one another. In fact, we have an honor code ceremony when we first arrive at Meredith, in which we basically agree to do just that. What does that mean? It means that we agree to be honest and behave responsibly. In practical terms, it means that if I forget my books somewhere on campus I can generally trust that they will be there when I return. It’s a good feeling to know my classmates are looking out for my best interests just as I look out for theirs.
Despite being somewhat hesitant to look into a women’s college, I couldn’t be more grateful that my aunt encouraged me to give it a shot. I’ve had the best college experience I could ask for, and will take the friendships I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned onto the next stage of my life. I’ve learned that the sisterhood that develops at a women’s college is one of the strongest links between people, and that the traditions that I thought might be tedious, well, they bonded me with my classmates. Together, we can handle anything that comes our way!