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A Women's College

The Plus Factor

Perhaps you’ve surprised yourself by including a women’s college on your list of possibilities. Many of our students start out the same way. They find that Barnard offers everything they’re looking for—a small liberal arts experience with the resources of a major research university, all in New York City--but may not know what a single gender learning environment is like. The fact that Barnard is a college for women may not be the deciding factor as you start your process, though it is for some, is not unusual; and for many just like you, it may turn out to be the most unexpected, and most salient, benefit.

Once you’re at Barnard, you’ll see what it’s like to live and learn in a place where everything on campus—from classes to career services to the dining hall—is shaped by the interests and needs of women. Professors, advisers, and deans are fully committed to the success of women. Programming, support services, events, and lectures are all designed to enhance your development as a young woman. Experience being part of a powerful sisterhood who provides encouragement, support, and lasting friendship, and alumnae who offer guidance. At Barnard, you’ll find a safe place to express yourself, to discover who you are and who you want to become, and to grow in confidence.

Women in Sciences

Women are advancing in the sciences like never before, but much still needs to be done to reach a critical mass of talent and opportunity for newer female scientists. Secure footing in underrepresented fields requires careful examination of the best way to achieve long-term goals. Faculty here are front and center in pursuing groundbreaking scientific research, employing cutting-edge technology and resources, and revolutionizing methods of teaching and learning. Our enviable student/faculty ratio offers majors a rare opportunity to participate in research with outstanding leaders of the scientific community. And it turns out that students at women’s colleges are more likely to study math or science, graduating with majors in math and/or the sciences at 1.5 times the rate of women at co-ed institutions. Why? Perhaps because here they find an environment where their interests and abilities are encouraged—no matter what interests them.

Mentors and Role Models

Barnard, faculty members serve as mentors and role models in all academic areas (65% are women). Your fellow students will come to campus with a wide range of talents and perspectives and challenge you to reach new levels of growth. And Barnard alumnae, who lead in so many endeavors, frequently return to campus to share their insights and to offer career advice, internship connections, and job leads. With this kind of environment, it’s not surprising that so many of our graduates go on to make an impact on the world. Graduates of women’s colleges constitute only about 2 percent of all female college graduates. But they make up nearly 20 percent of women in Congress and 30 percent of a recent Business Week list of rising women stars in corporate America. For more details on this research, go to www.womenscolleges.org and click on “Women’s Education.”

A Co-ed Experience

With several institutions of higher education in the neighborhood, including Columbia University across the street, the Barnard student has the opportunity to meet many people, men and women, both on and off campus. Throughout a student’s time at Barnard, she may take classes at Columbia (and Columbia students take classes at Barnard). She may join—and lead—student organizations and service programs on both sides of Broadway. She may eat in Columbia’s dining halls and attend University events—and Columbia students can do the same at Barnard. Plus there’s all of New York City, where she can meet interesting people through internships, volunteer projects, parties, concerts, and more.

The Women’s College Advantage

In comparison to students at co-ed colleges, students at women’s colleges participate more often (both in and out of class). They report higher levels of academic challenge and more interaction with faculty. They have more opportunities for leadership and access to female mentors and role models. Their campus environments are more likely to encourage diverse interactions and promote a multifaceted understanding of diversity. And they develop higher degrees of self-understanding and self-confidence.

Barnard students are wide ranging in their interests and passions, but they also share in a distinctive experience that creates an enduring bond: they live and learn in an environment where women always come first, where they’re surrounded by other smart and inspiring women, where they have access to opportunities such as the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Their paths may diverge once they graduate, but despite time and geography, they are always united by the fact that they are Barnard women.