Contributed by: Nicole
Ah, winter. A time for cable knit sweaters, falling snow, pumpkin flavored whatever, and for some... the beginning of the anxiety that is college applications. We here at Simmons know the quest for higher education isn't always a walk in the figurative park, or whatever figurative location you prefer to cut through.
As a current student, it's almost nostalgic to see prospective students touring the campus with wide and wandering eyes, considering I was one of them two years ago. So when I find myself talking to prospective students I like to think I'm talking to my former self, settling all her worries and fears about the college process. Therefore I'm always prepared to answer the elephant in the room when it comes to discussing Simmons; What's it like going an all women's college?
Having been asked this question more times than I can keep track of, I've come up with more than a few different answers.
1) Simmons is not just an all women's college
This answer always surprises people, and I feel that it's actually one of the most important aspects of Simmons there is. Not all of the students who attend Simmons identify as cisgender women. In fact, we're home to individuals who identify as trans* and gender fluid as much as we are to those who identify as cisgender women. In this area, we find ourselves particularly progressive as a women's college. Not to mention that it gives our school an even larger element of diversity. So while we may be formally known as a women's college, our community is a safe space for all.
2) Guys aren't hard to come by when you're in the college capital of America
Most of the time, when I'm asked about what going to a women's college is like, the follow up question tends to be something along the lines of, "But how do you deal with not having any guys around?"
The answer to this question is reliant on the location, and in the case of Simmons College, there's absolutely no crisis of a guy shortage.
As a member of the Colleges of the Fenway Consortium, Simmons is located within a mile of five other colleges, with Boston University and Northeastern as our close neighbors as well. And seeing as you're in Boston, College Town USA, there are hundreds of thousands of other students to meet. So really, you're only going to find a lack of guys in class and dorms.
Additionally, Boston offers more than its fair share of attractions for students http://theunofficialguide.net/ . Seriously, while the Simmons community is amazing, there's nothing quite like having an entire city at your fingertips.
3) A women's college offers an education with more benefits
The bad news is that old white dudes are still running the government and getting flustered over "womanly" things like reproductive rights. And as long as Robin Thicke has a career making women uncomfortable, (really Alan Thicke, come and pick up your son, he's creepy), gender equality will continue to be a fight worth fighting for. Studies have found that women alumnae of women's college education rated their college experience higher than female alumnae of a co-ed institution.
And according to research conducted by The Women's College Coalition in 2012, women who attend women's colleges are more likely to be accepted into graduate school or be hired for their first job, earn a graduate degree, and acquire leadership roles in student activities. The same study also found that a women's college education is more effective in developing the critical skills required for a career, such as writing, speaking, critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and teamwork.
4) There's a significance when it comes to women's colleges
Did you know that roughly 25% of the women who make up congress attended an all female university? And that 33% of the female board members working at Fortune 1000 companies did as well? Plus, women's colleges boast some pretty famously cool ladies; Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sylvia Plath, Gloria Steinam, Zora Neal Hurston, Alice Walker, Gabrielle Giffords, Helen Keller, and Sofia Coppola. While perhaps not household names, Simmons College alumnae include the Princess Mother of Thailand Srinagarindra, jazz singer Nnenna Freelorn, journalist and correspondent of PBS Newshour Gwen Ifill, African American activist Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee, and producer of acclaimed films such as Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Little Women, Denise Di Novi.
5) A sense of community like no other
Going off of my experience here at Simmons, I feel that the community that a women's college breeds is far more welcoming and close knit than that of coed schools. Without guys in the vicinity, women and individuals who don't identify as cisgender men (remember?) are more comfortable exchanging ideas and expressing themselves. Personally, I feel that being a women's college, Simmons therefore allows for many diverse kinds of people to come together within a safe space to share all of their ideas. At Simmons you'll find a large LGBQTA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Trans*, and Asexual) community, students of color, students of different religious affiliations, students with disabilities, students of different economic backgrounds, and even students from around the globe! The diversity within a safe community is embedded in our values. It's what broadens the horizons for every student who sets foot onto our campus.