the pros and cons of attending a single-gender college

Posted : February 2, 2008
Last Updated : March 7, 2019

the pros and cons of attending a single-gender college

Much controversy exists over the subject of single-gender education, which is the practice of educating male and female students in separate classes or schools. While many students benefit from these types of schools, they are not for everyone. As with any college or university, it is important to research the school, ask questions, tour the campus, etc. so you can make an educated decision when choosing a school. To help you decide on whether or not a single-sex college is a good match, check out these pros and cons.


Proponents of all-female and all-male colleges believe that single-sex education allows students to:

  • Be more focused on academics. In co-ed colleges and universities, many students can become side-tracked by members of the opposite sex. Some students may pay more attention to that cute guy or girl in their psychology class than lectures. Because of this, their grades may begin to suffer. In all-female and all-male colleges, there is more focus on student goals and less on dating. People in favor of single-sex education suggest that a single-gender environment allows for a more conducive learning experience with fewer distractions for both males and females.
  • Be more comfortable. Some students, particularly female students, are more comfortable expressing themselves among the company of other members of the same sex. When these students are not worried about trying to impress members of the opposite sex, they are more willing to express their opinions during classroom discussions, group projects, etc. This allows the students to gain more self-confidence and helps them overcome their insecurities.
  • Take on non-stereotypical leadership roles. Males in single-sex schools have opportunities to take on leadership positions in what would normally be considered female activities and vice versa. For example, males may feel more comfortable studying or taking leadership roles in the arts, while females may take leadership roles in male dominated areas, such as student government or engineering.


Critics of single-sex colleges argue that these types of schools:

  • Do not prepare students for real life. It's inevitable that males and females will have to work with each other at some point during their careers. Many people argue that a single-sex education deprives students the opportunity to learn how to work well with members of the opposite sex.
  • Foster gender ignorance. Opponents of single-gender colleges not only believe that the experience will hinder males and females from learning how to work well with each other but also hinder them socially. Those students who may attend a single-sex college and do not interact with members of the opposite sex outside of school may have a difficult time understanding the opposite gender. This may prove detrimental to these students when dating or forming friendships.

As previously mentioned, single-gender colleges are not for everyone. Only you can decide if this type of college is a good fit for your learning ability and personality.

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