Why A Women's College Matters
By Kathryn Enke '05 for the CSB Winter 2016 Magazine
The fact that Saint Ben's is a college for women is not the deciding factor in the minds of most incoming students these days. But that does not mean it won't be one of the most transformational aspects of their years here. Here are six important reasons why a women's college matters today.
Women's colleges nurture and challenge
At Saint Ben's, each student is encouraged to become a critical thinker, courageous leader and passionate advocate for the causes she finds important. National data show that women's colleges achieve excellent outcomes for a diverse group of students, including first-generation college students, students of color and low-income students.
Women's college grads are high achieving
According to a research study conducted for the Women's College Coalition, graduates from women's colleges — when compared to female graduates of coeducational colleges:
- earn more doctoral degrees,
- are more likely to attend medical school,
- attain higher positions in their careers,
- earn higher incomes,
- are more involved in philanthropic activities.
Women's college grads have more self-confidence
Research has demonstrated that women tend to underestimate their abilities and have less self-confidence than men. Women's colleges like Saint Ben's aim to change that. In a national survey of alumnae, women's colleges received higher ratings for effectiveness than both coed private colleges and major public universities in helping women:
- be prepared for their first job,
- develop self-confidence and initiative,
- learn to solve problems and make decisions.
Women's colleges provide strong female role models
At CSB, role models positively impact the attitudes and ambitions of young women. Women make up the majority of the president's cabinet and the majority of the Board of Trustees. We also have over 23,000 alumnae and a community of women of faith who are mentors and role models.
Women learn to live in community
Living with others with a variety of viewpoints can be hard. At Saint Ben's, we have the Sisters of Saint Benedict beside us daily as Benedictine role models. With their guidance, we seek to live in respectful and supportive community with others — to collaborate, not compete with other women.
Women's college grads report higher degrees of satisfaction
At CSB, 96 percent of our alumnae rate their experience as good or excellent. Over the last 25 years, over 90 percent report they would choose Saint Ben's again if they could start college over.
Kathryn Enke, Ph.D., is a Saint Ben's alumna and the Chief of Staff in the College of Saint Benedict President's Office.