What Are Some All-Girl Colleges in the U.S.?

Women's colleges encourage and support the educational and social needs of women. Read this article to learn the benefit of attending an all-girl college, and find out more about several prominent women's colleges in the United States.

Overview of U.S. All-Girl Colleges

In 2016, there were approximately 42 women's colleges operating in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Education. Only about two percent of women applying to college choose an all-girl college, says FastWeb.

Important Facts About All-Girls Colleges in the U.S.

Wellesley College Smith College Barnard College
Common Courses English, film, religion Modes of thinking, history, art Music, literature, math
Degree Levels Bachelor's degree Bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees Bachelor's degree
Prerequisites High school diploma, or equivalent High school diploma, or equivalent High school diploma, or equivalent
Online Availability Partially; only available for a few courses Fully for select majors Not available


The U.S. Women's College Coalition (WCC) says that if you attend a women's college you may have higher self-esteem after two years of college attendance than your peers at co-ed campuses. You may also be more likely to score higher on standardized achievement tests and graduate. Additionally, as an all-girl college student you're more likely to graduate with a degree in a male-dominated discipline, such as economics, mathematics and science. The WCC studies also suggest that if you attend a single-sex school, you might be more successful in your career and make more money than your co-educational counterparts.

Many alumni of women's colleges are prominent figures in business, politics and other professional fields. One example is former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who graduated from Wellesley College. Along with Wellesley, Smith College and Barnard College are examples of top women's postsecondary institutions in the U.S.

Wellesley College

Founded in 1870, Wellesley College is a private, liberal arts college for women located near Boston, Massachusetts, with an undergraduate student population of approximately 2,323, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). U.S. News and World Report ranked this institution in the top 10 of national liberal arts colleges for 2016. If you're a student at Wellesley College, you can take advantage of an agreement it has with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and take courses at MIT to supplement your education. You may have heard of some of Wellesley's notable graduates, which include the first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright and award-winning journalist Diane Sawyer.

Smith College

If you're looking for something a little bigger than Wellesley, Smith College is among the largest liberal arts women's colleges in the U.S. with an undergraduate population of 2,563, as reported by the NCES. Smith was founded in 1875 and is located in Northampton, Massachusetts. The college was ranked 14th among national liberal arts colleges for 2016 by U.S. News and World Report. A survey of Smith seniors found that more than 90% are satisfied with their overall college experience. Historic feminist movement leaders Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem are among Smith graduates.

Barnard College

Barnard College is a private liberal arts college for women located in New York City and founded in 1889. As a student there, you would be one of 2,573 undergraduate students, based on NCES data. Barnard College has an affiliation with Columbia University through which you can take courses on both campuses, as well as participate in student organizations on either campus. U.S. News and World Report ranked Barnard College #29 among national liberal arts colleges for 2016. Famous graduates include anthropologist Margaret Mead, Pulitzer Prize winner Anna Quindlen and entrepreneur Martha Stewart.

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