Coed vs. Same Sex Colleges

Making the decision about where one should attend college is one of the most important decisions of a young adult’s life. And, for some, especially those who have grown up in a same sex school environment, one question that may arise is whether or not they should pursue a same sex university.

While many of the once numerous same sex universities have chosen to integrate in the last several years, there are still a number of same sex schools in existence. The Women’s College Coalition provides a list of several all female schools. Many of these schools are small and liberal arts oriented. There are an abundantly fewer number of men’s colleges, though Univsource provides a list of several.

Now, the larger question here is does one university experience provide more than the other? That is difficult to say. Every college experience is different. It is important to focus on the universities that will provide the bests programs for your areas of interest and the most advantageous learning environment. So, the question becomes is the same sex learning environment more successful than the co-ed one?

Some people seem to think so, at least for women. A recent study conducted by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research concluded that women’s colleges provide a better education for their students then coed counterparts. The study found that a number of factors help women achieve at a greater level on standardized tests than students in the same grade at coed universities. These factors include classroom conditions, teaching styles, and social environment. Now, this is one limited study, and it isn’t to say that all women should consider same sex schools, but it does at least force one to consider the possibility.

Further, many parents in particular assume same sex schools are more “straight laced”, at least as far as social activities and sexual deviancy are concerned. But, this is not the case. Many graduates from same sex universities admit to still attending frat parties, and having relationships, and those other things one might be wishing to shelter their children from. So, if the reason for considering a same sex university is an issue of exposure, you can count on the fact that if your kids want to be exposed, they will be.

Another draw to same sex universities is often their religious affiliation. Some students prefer to be in an environment with like minded individuals, because they feel more comfortable learning there. This is also something to consider. It can be nice when thinking about leaving home to have people you feel like you might fit in with. However, many would argue that a more diverse college experience teaches a young adult integral life skills to meeting and associating with the many different kinds of people there are in this world.

With the small number of same sex universities still in existence today, the question of whether or not a same sex school is right for you has become a much less prevalent issue than it used to be. But, with the options available, it is still a different type of educational experience worth giving some thought to.


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