Is It a Myth That Women’s Colleges Are Safer?

In the US, less than 20% of arrests for most crime categories consist of women. It’s exactly because of this why you may be wondering if attending a women’s college can help keep you out of harm’s way.

A report said that up to 72% of women’s college alumni members felt safe on campus. On the other hand, only 64% of private co-educational female alumni members felt free of danger. Less than half of female alumni members of flagship state schools said that they felt safe on campus.

Can’t wait to start earning a degree but fear that something bad might happen to you in the process? Read on.

In this article, we will discuss just about everything that could help you graduate from college in one piece, such as which women’s college you should include on your college list and which institutions for higher education, both all-women and mixed-gender ones, are considered some of the safest schools in the US to attend.

But before anything else, let us answer this pressing question…

Women's college
Women’s college

Why Do Some Women Prefer Going to Women’s Colleges?

In general, the top reasons why some women prefer attending women’s colleges are a smaller student population, less gender inequality, and women empowerment. Most women’s colleges also have partnerships with local colleges, some of which are elite.

Before you fill your college list with nothing but women’s colleges, there is something that you need to know. And it’s none other than attending women’s colleges, believe it or not, is not for every female student.

For instance, you might want to consider attending a co-educational college or university if you feel that not having all the socialization and romantic prospects you can get can keep you from having the most enriching academic experience possible.

Keep in mind that well-rounded applicants are what employers prefer to hire.

Speaking of which, after graduation, you will be competing not only with female applicants but male applicants, too.

It’s due to this exactly why, if you feel that the competition against male classmates can help to increase your job market value, then a women’s college may not be the best kind of institution for higher education for you.

But there are many perks that come with attending women’s colleges, which is why some female junior and senior high school students are eager to apply to them. Some examples are:

Smaller student body

Most women’s colleges have less than 3,000 students. That’s a good thing because it means that only a few people will have to share the facilities. Also, a smaller population usually means a smaller student-to-faculty ratio.

More gender equality

Unfortunately, sexism is something that still exists in this day and age. Attending a women’s college means that it is less likely for you to feel discriminated against because of your gender.

Female domination

Some women tend to perform less well in programs dominated by males. With all programs certain to be female-dominated at women’s colleges, having a poor performance should be the least of your concerns.

Robust alumnae base

It’s not uncommon for graduates of women’s colleges to have strong ties to their alma mater. This will come in handy when the time comes when you have to take your resume from one company to the other to apply for a job.

Co-ed experience

Many women’s colleges are partners with local co-educational institutions. This allows the students of partnered institutions to take classes at both schools, thus allowing female students to interact with male counterparts.

Three young women as students or trainees studying or internships

Do Women Feel Safer Attending Women’s Colleges?

The fact that some female students admit to feeling safer at women’s colleges is nothing new. As a matter of fact, they are not the only ones that attain peace of mind while earning their degrees at women’s colleges but transgender women, too, whom a lot of today’s US women’s colleges admit.

Earlier, we established the fact that there’s a wide variety of reasons why some college-bound females prefer to go to women’s colleges instead of their co-educational counterparts.

Knowing that they are safer there than anywhere else is just one of the many different reasons.

According to the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), which is a Switzerland-based publisher of open access scientific journals and has supported academic communities since 1996, women’s colleges have long provided women a safe environment where they are placed right in the center of academic pursuits.

These days, however, cisgender women, or females whose gender identity is the same as their sex assigned at birth, are not the only ones who find that women’s colleges are safer institutions.

Some transgender women also prefer going to women’s colleges over co-educational institutions because, pretty much like the majority of their cisgender counterparts, transgender women also feel that, because female empowerment takes precedence, these schools are much safer places where they can complete their chosen programs.

Fortunately for them, there are only a few women’s colleges that do not accept transgender women.

A lot of women’s colleges in the US these days have a published policy about welcoming transgender women on their campuses.

As a matter of fact, in 2014, Mills College, which is a private women’s liberal arts college in Oakland, California, was the very first US women’s college to have explicitly allowed anyone who self-identifies as female to apply.

It’s not just various women’s colleges in the land that are supportive of transgender women who would like to get their hands on a degree. Cisgender women attending women’s colleges, too, are as accommodating.

Based on surveys conducted in recent years where the participants are students at women’s colleges, it’s evident that the majority of cisgender women support various practices of protecting transgender women as well as an assortment of trans-inclusive policies, including but not limited to:

  • Having more gender-neutral bathrooms in public areas.
  • Allowance of transgender women to use women-only bathrooms.
  • Ability of transgender women to serve in the military openly.
  • Support for school and workplace protection policies.

Top Women’s Colleges

Wellesley College, Smith College, Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College and St. Catherine University are some of the highest-ranking women’s colleges in the US. Different college rankers use different factors, which is why a school’s ranking tends to fluctuate from list to list.

You should refrain from allowing college ranking sites to decide which institutions you should apply to. However, you can rely on them each time you are torn between colleges and universities that seem alike.

There are many factors to consider when building a college list. Unfortunately, campus safety is just one of them. It’s also a must to consider things such as academics, value, diversity, student life — anything that can make your college experience outstanding instead of terrifying.

Below, you will come across some of the top women’s colleges in the US.

Well, at least according to two college ranking sites: Niche and CollegeChoice. I have left out US News, which is arguably one of the most popular college rankers on the planet, as it doesn’t have a ranking of women’s colleges. The one it has only ranked liberal colleges that accept women only — not all women’s colleges are liberal arts schools.

So, without any more ado…

Agnes Scott CollegeDecatur, Georgia#8#19
Alverno CollegeMilwaukee, Wisconsin#19#13
Barnard CollegeNew York City, New York#1#4
Bay Path UniversityLongmeadow, Massachusetts#15#33
Bennett CollegeGreensboro, North Carolina#30#23
Bryn Mawr CollegeBryn Mawr, Pennsylvania#5#3
Cedar Crest CollegeAllentown, PennsylvaniaN/A#11
College of Saint BenedictSaint Joseph, Minnesota#11#22
College of Saint MaryOmaha, Nebraska#13#30
Converse CollegeSpartanburg, South CarolinaN/A#11
Cottey CollegeNevada, Missouri#24#34
Hollins UniversityHollins, Virginia#7#21
Meredith CollegeRaleigh, North Carolina#16#5
Mills CollegeOakland, California#18#16
Mount Holyoke CollegeSouth Hadley, Massachusetts#4#7
Mount Mary UniversityMilwaukee, Wisconsin#20#14
Mount Saint Mary’s University – LALos Angeles, California#12N/A
Notre Dame of Maryland UniversityBaltimore, Maryland#21#10
Salem CollegeWinston-Salem, North Carolina#22#24
Scripps CollegeClaremont, California#6#15
Simmons UniversityBoston, Massachusetts#14#6
Smith CollegeNorthampton, Massachusetts#3#2
Spelman CollegeAtlanta, Georgia#10#31
St. Catherine UniversitySaint Paul, Minnesota#9#8
Stephens CollegeColumbia, Missouri#28N/A
Sweet Briar CollegeSweet Briar, Virginia#25#27
Ursuline CollegePepper Pike, Ohio#26#9
Wellesley CollegeWellesley, Massachusetts#2#1
Wesleyan CollegeMacon, Georgia#29#28
Top women’s colleges rankings

Most college ranking sites consider campus safety when deciding where on the list a school should go.

For instance, in the case of Niche, the factor “Safety Grade” has a weight of 2.5%. On the other hand, campus safety is not a part of the methodology of CollegeChoice — Academic Quality and Program Offerings are some of the top factors.

Spelman College
Broadmoor, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Safest Colleges in the US

There are many safe colleges in the country, including co-educational ones. According to a group about various security systems, some of the safest US campuses include the University of Connecticut, Brigham Young University, New York University, Washington State University and Clemson University.

Want to build a college list consisting of nothing but women’s colleges where students don’t have to fear for their lives all the time, thus allowing them to focus so much better on their studies? You have plenty of options.

However, your choices can be more extensive if you don’t mind applying to schools men and women share.

Refrain from assuming that just because a college or university is not exclusive to ladies means that you should be on high alert whenever you are on campus. Checking out various college rankings of the safest institutions in the US, you will come to the realization that many of them are co-educational.

For instance, Safe at Last has a list of the Safest Colleges in America in 2021.

The website’s goal is to provide people with accurate information about various security systems, thus enabling them to choose which ones suit their needs best. Safe at Last also posts various safety guides, from health safety, sports safety to online security.

The website itself says that the methodology used in ranking the safest US colleges and universities incorporated local data, campus crime rates, campus transparency, local crime and law enforcement support.

So, here’s the 2021 Safest Colleges in America ranking by Safe at Last…

1University of ConnecticutMansfield, Connecticut#63 in National Universities
2Brigham Young UniversityRexburg, Idaho#79 in National Universities
3New York UniversityNew York City, New York#28 in National Universities
4Washington State UniversityPullman, Washington#179 in National Universities
5Clemson UniversityClemson, South Carolina#75 in National Universities
6Pennsylvania State UniversityState College, Pennsylvania#63 in National Universities
7University of New HampshireDurham, New Hampshire#136 in National Universities
8Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette, Indiana#49 in National Universities
9University of Maryland – College ParkCollege Park, Maryland#59 in National Universities
10Corban UniversitySalem, Oregon#12 in Regional Colleges West
11Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, Michigan#83 in National Universities
12University of California – IrvineIrvine, California#36 in National Universities
13University of MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan#23 in National Universities
14New York Institute of TechnologyOld Westbury, New York#34 in Regional Universities North
15California State University – San MarcosSan Marcos, California#41 in Regional Universities West
16Stockton UniversityGalloway Township, New Jersey#34 in Regional Universities North
17Tennessee State UniversityNashville, Tennessee#299 to #391 in National Universities
18Iowa State UniversityAmes, Iowa#122 in National Universities
19Rogers State UniversityClaremore, Oklahoma#25 in Regional Colleges West
20Elon UniversityElon, North Carolina#83 in National Universities
21Albany State UniversityAlbany, Georgia#104 to #137 in Regional Universities South
22Lehigh UniversityBethlehem, Pennsylvania#49 in National Universities
23Arkansas State UniversityBeebe & Jonesboro, Arkansas#299 to #391 in National Universities
24Bridgewater CollegeBridgewater, Virginia#168 to #222 in National Liberal Arts Colleges
25Emory & Henry CollegeEmory, Virginia#158 in National Liberal Arts Colleges
26Ohio State University NewarkNewark, OhioN/A
27De Anza CollegeCupertino, CaliforniaN/A
28Cabrillo CollegeAptos, CaliforniaN/A
29Utah State UniversityLogan, Utah#249 in National Universities
30George Washington UniversityWashington, DC#63 in National Universities

What Can You Do to Stay Safe on Campus

Besides choosing a safe college, there are things students may do in order to maintain safety on campus. It all starts during the college application process. There are also various safety steps that may be taken when already in college, such as going out with friends and being careful online.

No matter if you are attending a women’s college or one that’s co-educational, there is always a possibility that you can fall victim to a predator, which can happen when you least expect it.

However, it doesn’t mean that you should give up your dream of becoming a degree holder and having the best career after college ever.

No matter which college or university you attend, there are certain things that you may do to considerably lower the chances of your parents receiving a phone call from the authorities with bad news.

But, of course, it will help a lot if you go to a safe institution, such as one of those that we mentioned above.

Prior to building a college list, whether one that consists of women’s colleges only or a mix of all-women and mixed-gender schools, it’s a good idea to start taking your safety into account. It’s much better this way than to consider it only when you are already a college student and many, many miles away from the people who can come to the rescue.

Whether you are on campus or hanging out with your friends outside the school’s premises, there are certain things that you may do to keep safe. Some of them include:

  • Knowing where the campus safety office is and where the emergency phone stations are.
  • Using the buddy system when going out at night.
  • Parking in a lighted area or asking campus security for a ride when alone.
  • Carrying pepper spray or pepper gel or having a personal alarm.
  • Ensuring that your cell phone is fully charged.
  • Putting emergency numbers on your phone, especially the campus safety office number.
  • Making it a habit to lock doors and windows.
  • Refraining from letting anyone you don’t know inside your dorm or apartment.
  • Being careful with what you post on social media to avoid being stalked.
  • Participating in a college safety program.

Just Before You Apply to a Women’s College

Many women feel safer attending women’s college. But in case going to an institution where your classmates are all females is not really your cup of tea, fret not. That’s because there are many co-educational colleges and universities that are considered some of the safest across the country.

When building your college list, make sure that you check out the crime rate of the school as well as its location before deciding to send an application to it.

Read Next: 10 Unique Benefits of Women’s Colleges

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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