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Top 40 Historically Women’s Colleges in the U.S.

GVC-Top All Womens Schools

The list of all-women’s colleges in the US is a small but selective one. The United States leads in higher education, and it is no different for women’s colleges. Most of them have a rich history of being ahead of their time and originating during a time when educational opportunities for women were severely limited. While they are few, they have continued their tradition of offering excellent education to women over decades and creating influential leaders for the nation. Women’s colleges span a wide range of academic philosophies, religious affiliations, and price ranges.

Many of these all-women’s colleges later incorporated a coeducation model and began accepting men as well, though female students still make up the majority of the membership. However, they have maintained their uniqueness of smaller class sizes, high teacher-student ratio, and a focus on experiential education. They have gone on to produce successful students around the world, promoting not just women’s empowerment in male-dominated fields but educational strength for all. The selection of majors offered in these schools vary from liberal arts to the health sciences and programs with a strong vocational calling as well.

In this ranking, we have explored the top all-women’s colleges in the US and what makes them stand out among their coeducational peers. We used College Navigator and the US News and World Report to research and find women-focused universities in the United States.  Students who wish to attend a women’s college will benefit from the information provided here. There is data about tuition, enrollment, academic offerings, student support, financial aid. There’s information about campus resources and life in a fun, secure, community-oriented environment. We have not ranked the colleges but have listed them on high to low tuition rates. We have considered the annual average tuition for undergraduate programs.

#40 Barnard College

Manhattan, New York City

Enrollment: 2,573
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): 6.6%

Website

Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college that’s continued to excel as one of the top women’s colleges from the 19th century. Founded in 1889 by Annie Nathan Meyer, it is focused on empowering young women to pursue their passions. The college provides the highest-quality liberal arts education to promising and high-achieving young women. It’s one of the most selective academic institutions in the nation. It offers rigorous academic standards and robust student-support. Barnard graduates go on to excel in careers thanks to the powerful and comprehensive education they receive here.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $58,068

#39 Smith College

Northampton, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 2,600
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
ROI ( College Factual): 6.9%

Website

Smith College is a private women’s liberal arts college that offers exceptional undergraduate programs for women. Founded in 1871, the school also offers graduate and certificate programs for men. For more than 140 years, Smith College has provided the best education available in the liberal arts and sciences. An open curriculum promises a culture of uncompromising quality and encourages women of high ability to explore many fields of knowledge. A world-class faculty of scholars and mentors, along with the 48,000 Smith alumnae, provide the academic challenge, personal attention, and wide-ranging opportunities for scholarship, leadership, and service.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $55,830

#38 Scripps College

Claremont, California

Enrollment: 989
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI: N/A

Website

Scripps College is a private liberal arts women’s college that’s known for its extensive interdisciplinary core curriculum and historic campus. Founded in 1926, it was one of few institutions dedicated to educating women. As a member of the Claremont Colleges, it continues to champion qualities of both mind and spirit. It teaches women to develop their intellect and talents through active participation in a community of scholars. The school offers a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a robust intellectual community. The rich residential experience is also designed to shape the next generation of women leaders who can contribute to society through public and private lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $55,024

#37 Wellesley College

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 2,474
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7%

Website

Wellesley College is a private women’s liberal arts college known for its education excellence. Founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, the school fosters the highest standard of readiness for its graduates. Thousands of accomplished, thoughtful women committed to making a difference have graduated from this institution for 100 years. Wellesley’s full-engagement academic philosophy challenges its students to exceed their highest personal and intellectual expectations. The school’s commitment to women is evident in its philosophy, which is focused on providing students with an unmatched educational experience.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $53,732

#36 Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 1,640
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7.4%

Website

Bryn Mawr College is a women’s liberal arts college and a part of the Seven Sister colleges and the Tri-College Consortium. Founded as a Quaker institution in 1885, it has a rich tradition of offering academic excellence and education that enables students to turn their passion for learning into a life of purpose. A leader in educational innovation, it provides a wide array of majors in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities for close to 2000 students. A vibrant faculty of scholars and teachers support students in their educational journey with a particular focus on putting learning into action.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $53,180

#35 Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 2,255
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7.4%

Website

Mount Holyoke College is a private liberal arts college for women and transgender people of both sexes. Founded in 1837, it has changed the landscape of higher education for women and the people of the region. More than 38,000 Mount Holyoke alumnae have benefitted from the philosophy of the school, which helped women hone the power of their voices, develop their intellect, and cultivate courage so that they can lead agile, creative, and brave lives. The school led the way in women’s education by preparing them for leadership roles in all fields. Its excellent and distinctive academic programs exemplify and demonstrate the profound value of a liberal arts education.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $52,040

#34 Agnes Scott College

Decatur, Georgia

Enrollment: 996
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

agnes-scott-college

Agnes Scott College is a private women’s liberal arts college located close to the metro-Atlanta area. The college was founded in 1889 and enrolls a diverse population of about 1,000 students. The student to faculty ratio is 10:1, and 100% of the tenure-track faculty hold terminal degrees. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, it emphasizes leadership and global awareness. The college is also affiliated with numerous institutions like the Emory University School of Nursing and Georgia Institute of Technology.  It offers 34 undergraduate majors and 31 minors.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $43,920

#33 Saint Mary’s College

Notre Dame, Indiana

Enrollment: 3,908
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7.6%

Website

Saint Mary’s College is a Catholic women’s liberal arts college that offers students an abundance of spiritual growth, service, and leadership opportunities. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, it allows students to engage in activities at the main campus and at the University of Notre Dame as well. The school offers five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Students have the option to participate in more than 70 student clubs and organizations on both campuses. It also offers a variety of intramural team sports that enhances  social and educational activities. Students also have the opportunity to form a close connection with the Notre Dame alumni global network.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $43,900

#32 Salem College

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Enrollment: 940
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
ROI ( College Factual): 8.3%

Website

Salem College is a private liberal arts women’s college known as the oldest educational institution for girls and women in America. Founded in 1772 as a primary school. It  evolved into Salem Academy, and into the present day Salem College. On the way, it earned a reputation of fostering independence in women. The intimate learning community of 940 women from all over the world prepares students to pursue excellence in everything they do and change the world. The state-of-the-art facilities for the sciences, athletics, and the performing arts offer excellent education and allow students to have the freedom to explore who they are and who they want to become.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $43,316

#31 St. Catherine University

St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota

Enrollment: 4,724
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7.9%

Website

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St. Catherine University is a private Catholic liberal arts university that’s home to students in a wide array of disciplines and degree options. Founded in St. Paul in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, it’s one of the first institutions of higher learning specifically for women in the Midwest. Still a college for women at its heart, the University’s commitment to academic excellence is legendary. It became a university in 2009, and today it remains a comprehensive institution with three schools and three colleges. It boasts nearly 5,000 students in programs ranging from the associate to doctoral with more than 2,000 students at the baccalaureate level.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $42,976

#30 Moore College of Art and Design

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 361
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: N/A
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Moore College of Art & Design is a private college focused on art and design with undergraduate programs that are only available for female students. The 170-year-old art and design college offers other educational programs in a coeducational setting. Moore has a history of preparing women for success as the first and only visual arts school for undergraduate women in the United States. The intimate, career-focused learning environment lets students explore the vast field of contemporary art with an ongoing series of exhibitions and programs at The Galleries at Moore. Emphasizing critical thinking, problem-solving, risk-taking, and strong communication skills, it prepares students for the evolving fields of art and design.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $41,654

#29 Cedar Crest College

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 1,885
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): 6.9%

Website

Cedar Crest College is a private liberal arts women’s college known for its bold approach to education. Dedicated to the teaching of the next generation of women leaders, it offers a curriculum designed for women who want to achieve at the highest levels. Founded in 1867, it designs curricula that are focused on preparing the whole student for life in the global community. The co-educational School of Adult and Graduate Education provides many opportunities for non-traditional and graduate students. Its graduates excel in a variety of professional settings.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $40,967

#28 Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 2,573
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
ROI ( College Factual): 8%

Website

Simmons University is a private woman-focused undergraduate university. Established in 1899, Simmons’ raison d’etre has been to expand opportunities for women. Simmons has created a model of higher education that combines education for leadership in high-demand professional fields with the intellectual foundation of the liberal arts. The four-year, private, non-profit, non-sectarian university also serves as a private co-educational graduate school offering diverse programs like nursing and health sciences, liberal arts, and information science, among others. Simmons graduates are prepared to lead in professional, civic, and personal life.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $40,850

#27 Chatham University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 2,300
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Chatham University was founded in 1869 to provide women with an education comparable to what men at the time could receive at an Ivy League school. It was first named Pennsylvania Female College and occupied the largest private residence in Allegheny County. Today it also offers coeducational academic programs from 60 undergraduate to doctoral levels to more than 2,200 students. Sustainability & health, arts & sciences and business & communications are some of its areas of excellence. Its unique Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship focuses on creating economic opportunities for women through entrepreneurial counseling, high-quality education, and training.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $39,902

#26 Hollins University

Hollins, Virginia

Enrollment: 676
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Hollins University is an independent liberal arts university that has offered exemplary education since 1842. While many women’s colleges later went on to include men, Hollins was initially established as Valley Union Seminary, a coeducational college. Six years later, it became an institution for women. It is one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in the United States. Today the school offers undergraduate liberal arts education for women, community outreach initiatives, along with selected graduate programs for men and women. It is dedicated to academic excellence and humane values.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $39,360

#25 Notre Dame of Maryland University

Baltimore, Maryland

Enrollment: 2,982
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7.6%

Website

Notre Dame of Maryland University is a private Catholic university that has prepared thousands of high performers and instigators of social change for 125 years. While it is Maryland’s only women’s college, it also offers undergraduate, certificate, graduate, and Ph.D. programs for both women and men. The school embodies the pioneering educational tradition and social justice mission to help create knowledgeable, compassionate leaders. The first class of women pursuing a four-year baccalaureate degree was welcomed in 1895 in the College of Notre Dame. Its unique transformative educational model is designed to help prepare students for the many challenges they might face in the modern workspace.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $38,925

#24 Meredith College

Raleigh, North Carolina

Enrollment: 1,600
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
ROI ( College Factual): 8.1%

Website

Meredith College is a women’s liberal arts college that has empowered young women for over 100 years. The nationally-ranked college educates and inspires students to live with integrity. It’s committed to professional preparation and creates the leaders of tomorrow. Chartered in 1891, the student body has grown to nearly 2,000 students, including the men from the coeducational graduate school. Students are engaged in research and community-based interactions that help broaden their perspectives and enhance their strengths. 97.7% of students participate in an applied learning experience like undergraduate research, study abroad, or internships.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $37,176

#23 College of Saint Elizabeth

Morristown, New Jersey

Enrollment: 2,112
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): 4.6%

Website

The College of Saint Elizabeth is a private Roman Catholic college with a strong commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society. It has a tradition of developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility. Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, it offers 22 undergraduate majors, 14 master’s degree programs, and three doctoral programs. Today, it’s known as one of the most forward-thinking coeducational, four-year, liberal arts colleges in the nation. It offers an exceptional education and groundbreaking research in areas like computer software engineering, social work, sports management, and marketing. It also offers master’s programs in applied behavior analysis, public health, data analytics, management, and social media design. It also has a doctorate in counseling psychology program.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $32,250

#22 Mary Baldwin University

Staunton, Virginia

Enrollment: 2,112
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Mary Baldwin University

Mary Baldwin University is a private Presbyterian university with a legacy of innovation and career preparation for its students. Founded in 1842 by Rufus William Bailey as Augusta Female Seminary, it was the first college in Virginia to create an adult learning program for women and men. Today it is a small, coeducational university offering a range of degree programs from bachelor to doctoral. Students have unique opportunities to become leaders in the community, classroom, and in the workplace. Along with its relatively new college of health sciences and the residential hall for the men on campus, it also offers special residential programs open only to women like the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership and the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $30,690

#21 Mount Mary University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Enrollment: 1,738
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
ROI ( College Factual): 8.1%

Website

Mount Mary University is a private Catholic liberal arts university that was Wisconsin’s first four-year, degree-granting Catholic college for women. Founded in 1913 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, it is dedicated to nurturing bold, brilliant women. It’s ranked high among the best regional universities in the Midwest in the 2020 U.S. News & World Best Colleges report.  The curriculum focuses on professional skills and also fosters personal growth through creativity, social justice, and professional success. It boasts a rich legacy that champions social justice and creativity along with excellence in education.

Average annual undergraduate tuition per semester: $15,275

#20 Russell Sage College of The Sage Colleges

Troy, New York

Enrollment: 2,633
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

The Russell Sage College is a private  women’s college in that offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to over 3,000 students. Programs are available at the historic Russell Sage College for women in downtown Troy. It offers varied interdisciplinary academics, options to study abroad, opportunities for community engagement, and a range of artistic and athletic endeavors. The comprehensive four-year college for women is integrally connected to the Sage Graduate Schools through accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. The Interdisciplinary academic programs capitalize on strengths like nimble thinking, versatility, and creativity.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $30,383

#19 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

St. Mary’s, Indiana

Enrollment: 1,703
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

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Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has a rich history as a women’s college and has been empowering students to make a difference in their lives and their world. It is the oldest Catholic College in Indiana, and since 2015 also includes men in all programs. Founded in 1840 by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and five other Sisters of Providence from France, it has helped shape the fabric of both early Catholic education and women’s education in America. The academy received the first charter for the higher education of women in the state of Indiana in 1846 and was incorporated as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1928. Keeping true to its tradition of aspiring higher, the schools empower its students to meld intellect, spirituality, ambition, and imagination in order to succeed.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $29,950

#18 Carlow University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 2,254
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7.8%

Website

Carlow University is a Catholic liberal arts university which was called Carlow College until 2004. Founded in 1929, by the Sisters of Mercy from Carlow, Ireland, it was initially a women’s college until 1945. Today it is a private, co-educational, Catholic university known for its 13 athletic teams that reflect the university’s Irish heritage and roots via the name Celtics. Located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Tech, Ed, and Med” district, it offers an exceptional education and networking opportunities for over 2000 students. Money magazine ranked it as the top “50 Colleges That Add the Most Value” in the United States.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $29,652

#17 Mills College

Oakland, California

Enrollment: 1,255
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Mills College is a private liberal arts and sciences college that prepares students to become leaders in science, engineering, technology, and math. Founded as the Young Ladies Seminary in 1852, it became the first women’s college west of the Rockies. It has consistently ranked as one of the top colleges in the West for academic quality and excellent value. It helps working women complete their educational dreams with flexible scheduling options, one-on-one advising, and a choice of popular majors. The personalized education is designed to change lives. Its programs, resources, and a network of support encourage meaningful change.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $29,340

#16 Brenau University

Gainesville, Georgia

Enrollment: 1,754
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

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Brenau University is a non-sectarian, privately owned institution. For over 100 years the institution has had a rich tradition of educating women through its exemplary bachelor’s, master’s, and specialist degrees delivered via five campuses throughout Georgia. The Women’s College is part of the Undergraduate School, which along with the Sidney O. Smith Graduate School, provides excellence in single-gender education.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $29,050

#15 Midway University

Midway, Kentucky

Enrollment: 1,606
Student-to-Faculty Ratio:19:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Midway University provides advanced instruction in a broad range of subjects based upon a strong liberal arts curriculum. Established in 1847, it began as the Kentucky Female Orphan School by Dr. Lewis Letiq Pinkerton with other progressive leaders. Together they raised funds to launch a revolutionary educational experiment of educating orphaned women. Dr. Pinkerton’s comprehensive liberal arts curriculum and career preparation helped women at the time. It has evolved over the years to meet the educational needs of today’s women and men. Its historic Pinkerton Bell is a reminder of its gold standards and is now rung for any happy occasions.

Average annual undergraduate tuition per semester: $12,250

#14 Columbia College

Columbia, Missouri

Enrollment: 18,000
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): 8.1%

Website

Columbia College is a private, nonprofit liberal arts and sciences college that has been offering students exemplary higher education for more than 160 years. Founded in 1851, it was first called Christian Female College but changed to its current name in 1970. The college offers associate and bachelor’s degrees, as well as master’s degrees at the main campus via its main campus and a total of 30 venues nationwide. It’s known for its quality educational programs, experienced faculty, and small classes that focus on individual achievement. Columbia College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $24,320

#13 Trinity Washington University

Washington, D.C.

Enrollment: 2,100
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
ROI (College Factual): 6.6%

Website

Trinity Washington University is a Catholic university committed to the Education of Women through the design and pedagogy of the historic undergraduate women’s college. Among its five schools, the undergraduate College of Arts & Sciences maintains its original status as a liberal arts women’s college. Founded in 1897, the institution offers a broad range of educational programs that emphasize knowledge, skills, and values of progressive learning in all graduate and professional programs. The Integration of Liberal Learning with Professional Preparation through applied and experiential learning opportunities offers a unique advantage to students.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $24,220

#12 Wesleyan College

Macon, Georgia

Enrollment: 3,224
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
ROI ( College Factual): 6.8%

Website

wesleyan-college

Wesleyan College is a private, liberal arts women’s college that has continued to educate women for 180 years. Founded in 1836, the Wesleyan College Historic District has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2004. Its academic offerings include 30 undergraduate majors and 33 minors, eight pre-professional programs.  Fields of study include allied health services, engineering, dentistry, law, pharmacy, seminary, medicine, nursing and veterinary medicine. 

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $23,990

#11 Stephens College

Columbia, Missouri

Enrollment: 850
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Stephens College is a private women’s college that offers its students the best of both worlds — the social benefits of living in a college town and the advantage of an intimate, supportive campus community that a girls’ college can provide. Founded in 1833 as the Columbia Female Academy, it’s the second-oldest female educational establishment in the United States.  Stephens College is focused on creating graduates who are better prepared and more confident than their co-ed peers, in part, by offering innovative career preparatory programs. Access to numerous leadership opportunities ensures that Stephens graduates become effective leaders as well.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $22,500

#10 Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar, Virginia

Enrollment: 300
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Sweet Briar College is a private women’s college that has been making history since its earliest days. Established in 1901, the college granted a B.A. degree for the first time in 1910, helping women make history for over 100 years. Its alumnae have been political leaders, scientists, innovators, doctors and veterinarians, community leaders and decision-makers, and disruptors. The unique, innovative, and energizing women’s leadership core curriculum is designed to empower women and create the next generation of leaders. The close-knit family of faculty, coaches, alumnae, and friends continue the traditions of the Honor Code and self-governance pioneered by Sweet Briar’s first class. Together they support and encourage students to excel.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $21,420

#9 Cottey College

Nevada, Missouri

Enrollment: 350
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Cottey College is a private women’s college that’s provided women with excellent educational opportunities for more than 130 years. Founded by Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard in 1884, it continues to offer a comprehensive and symmetrical curriculum for women that prepares them for the world. It is currently owned and supported by the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a philanthropic women’s organization. It has been as #2 Best Value School, #4 Largest Proportion of International Students, #2 Lowest Student Debt Load at Graduation, and #2 Best Regional Colleges by 2020 U.S. News & World Report Regional Rankings.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $20,500

#8 Converse College

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Enrollment: 1,329
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

converse-college

Converse College is a private university that has been named among the top private colleges in the nation for “excelling in access and success” by the U.S. Department of Education. Established in 1889, it consists of an undergraduate women’s college and also offers coeducational graduate, online, and summer programs. It was among the first 15 women’s colleges founded in the United States. Named by Forbes and others as one of America’s Top Colleges, Converse has been offering quality education, research, service, and social mobility to create successful global citizens.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $19,500

#7 Judson College

Marion, Alabama

Enrollment: 322
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Judson College is a private Baptist women’s college that has been offering the best of education for 175 years. Founded by members of Siloam Baptist Church in 1838, it is the fifth-oldest women’s college in the United States. The founders strongly believed in education for women, and Judson alumnae are women who worked to improve society from its earliest days. Its Christ-centered and student-centered philosophy continues to fulfill its mission of helping young women get the best education, make intelligent choices, and contribute to improving society. From the very onset, the school was focused on providing women the same quality of education that men received at Harvard and Yale.

Average annual undergraduate tuition per semester: $8,620

#6 Colorado Women’s College

Denver, Colorado

Enrollment: 152
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Colorado Women’s College provides not just excellent education but opportunities for women to become engaged citizens and leaders in all sectors of society. Established in 1909 as a private independent institution, the school has focused on offering an academic and extra-curricular foundation for women to unleash their full potential generation after generation. The school merged with the University of Denver in 1982, offering its students more extensive learning and networking opportunities. It continues to operate as a division within the University with its day, weekend, evening, and online programs. For the past 130 years, it has remained a center of excellence for women.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $17,112

#5 Bennett College for Women

Greensboro, North Carolina

Enrollment: 780
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
ROI (College Factual): N/A

Website

Bennett College is a private historically black liberal arts college for women and a United Methodist Church-related institution. Founded in 1873, it began as a school. It was originally a coed institution to educate freedmen and train both men and women as teachers. In 1926 it became a four-year women’s college and strongly believed that education should be related to humanitarian ends. The high-quality college experience it offers provides women with a strong academic and co-curricular foundation that encourages their personal development and prepares them to meet the needs of an ever-changing society.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $15964

#4 Alverno College

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Enrollment: 2,605
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

Alverno College is a Catholic, Franciscan college liberal arts college primarily for women. The four-year, independent institution offers an abilities-based approach that combines liberal arts education with career readiness. It is home to one of the most diverse student bodies in the state. Nearly 1,700 students and faculty are a part of this inclusive, vibrant community. Graduates go on to work in diverse fields. 

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $14,328

#3 Spelman College

Atlanta, Georgia

Enrollment: 2,171
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
ROI ( College Factual): 7.5%

Website

Spelman College is a private, liberal arts, women’s college and a global leader in the education of women of African descent. Founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, it is part of the Atlanta University Center academic consortium in Atlanta. A historically Black college, its student body comprises more than 2,100 students from 43 states and 10 foreign countries. Spelman is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It’s dedicated to academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. 

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $12,971

#2 College of Saint Mary

Omaha, Nebraska

Enrollment: 1000
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI ( College Factual): N/A

Website

The College of Saint Mary is dedicated to academic excellence and service-learning opportunities for women. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, it helps women develop a greater sense of self-worth and confidence. It offers an array of affordable degree programs across disciplines like nursing, fine and performing arts, occupational therapy, legal studies, physician assistant studies, and teaching for career changers.  The school believes in the power of education to help women realize their potential.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $10, 685

#1 Texas Woman’s University

Denton, Texas

Enrollment: 15,000
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
ROI ( College Factual): 8.8%

Website

Texas Woman’s University is the nation’s largest state-supported university primarily for women. Since 1994, it also offers co-educational facilities and has health science center branches in Dallas and Houston. It offers degree programs in the liberal arts, nursing, health sciences, the sciences, business, and education. A member of the Women’s College Coalition, TWU serves the citizens of Texas in many ways, like offering a liberal arts-based curriculum that prepares students for the real world and graduating more new health care professionals than any other university in Texas.

Average annual undergraduate tuition: $7,796

A Guide to Women’s Colleges

Women’s colleges are among the most prestigious schools in the country and are known for producing so many notable world leaders. Most of the women’s colleges in the United States were founded in the mid-late 19th century to provide women with access to higher education. For centuries most colleges have been limited to men, but there was an awakening around this time which led to the slow but steady growth of opportunities for women. The goal was to provide women with an education of the same caliber as their male counterparts in Ivy League schools. Today, these schools are among the most competitive liberal arts colleges in the nation.
Most of these colleges were a result of the efforts of Christian missionaries. Most of these colleges also started as liberal arts colleges and later went on to offer programs in STEM. Smaller and close-knit communities, healthy teacher-student ratio, and entrepreneur philosophy characterized these schools. Women’s colleges have a large number of extracurriculars that are both unique and tailored to their students.

Who Can Attend a Women’s College?

Women get a preference for admission, of course. Co-ed colleges accept male applicants; however, merit and gender are still prioritized. In the 21st century, some women’s colleges have revised their admissions policies to admit non-binary and transgender women. 11 out of the 40 schools in the Women’s College Coalition have updated their policies to include trans women. These include Mills College, Simmons College, Mount Holyoke College, Scripps College, Wellesley College, Bryn Mawr College, Smith College, Barnard College, Bennett College, Hollins University, and Spelman College.

Are Women’s Colleges More Selective?

Women’s colleges share the common goal of wanting their students to succeed and graduate as aspiring leaders in their fields. Some women’s colleges are more selective than others. Schools like Barnard are very selective and have high tuition rates but are still much sought after because of the high quality of education they offer. No women’s college is identical to another, and they all have their own appeal. All these colleges have a number of features that make them an excellent fit for many young women. Each school has unique course offerings, networking, and internship opportunities to offer a 360-degree curriculum.

Class Cross-Registration Options

Some of these women’s colleges are located near bigger universities, which allows students the ability to cross-register and take classes at those schools. This means that they can attend an elite women’s college with all the benefits of its supportive, empowering environment and also take advantage of the resources of a bigger school if their majors require so.
Students usually cross-register during the second semester of freshman year at a more prominent university. They are then granted access to better equipment, a more extensive network of peers and professors who can help them excel in their field.

Benefits of Applying to A Women’s College

Supportive Network
Learning in an all-women’s environment helps students gain confidence in their field. The environment is designed to help encourage women to gain more voices in their classrooms and clubs. Women’s colleges also have some of the highest 4-year graduation rates in the country

Higher Acceptance Rate
Acceptance rates at women’s colleges are higher than coed schools, even with their selective process. The reason is simple gender filtering, and instead of competing against 6,000 applicants, students complete for half of that. Less competition increases one’s chance of admission.

Strong Alumni Network
Many women’s college alums go on to become leaders in their field. Studying in a historically women’s college grants one access to a robust alumni network.

Smaller Class Size
The lower class size at liberal arts Women’s colleges are of the best benefits students can enjoy. They allow a higher number of students to have greater access to more professors. It also deepens one’s connection to the greater college community.