The Top Women’s Colleges to Find Entry-Level Candidates

Find highly-qualified female talent at these schools.

Today, women make up nearly 60% of undergraduate enrollment in colleges across the United States — a major increase since the 1960s when just 41% of higher education students were female. While most colleges today are coeducational, there are just over 30 women-only colleges remaining in the United States and Canada (down from 230 schools in 1960), according to the Women’s College Coalition. These schools offer their students a unique cultural and academic experience. Women’s colleges enroll hundreds of thousands of college students yearly, with accepted students from all backgrounds. 

A 2020 study by The Center For the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University, in collaboration with the Women’s College Coalition, shows that women’s colleges are much more diverse when compared to co-ed liberal arts colleges. For example, 16.6% of students at women’s colleges are between the ages of 25-65, compared to just 6% of the general college student population. Women’s colleges also enroll 43% of students of color, compared to 30% at co-ed schools. Finally, 43% of students at women’s colleges are low-income, compared to only 32% of students at co-ed schools.

If you’re looking to recruit exceptional and diverse talent from colleges nationwide, consider targeting women’s colleges. Here are some of the top-ranked schools across the country.

Smith College

Location: Northampton, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,183 

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Founded in 1871, Smith College is one of the largest liberal arts schools for women in the country. Despite the liberal arts label, the college also offers robust STEM programs such as neuroscience, statistical and data sciences, and engineering. Alumni from Smith College include well-known physicians, authors, playwrights, physicists, and CEOs. According to U.S. News, Smith College ranked 14th in Best Value Schools, 13th in National Liberal Arts Colleges, and 21st in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs. The most popular majors at the college are research and experimental psychology, economics, political science and government, biology/biological sciences, and computer science.

Wellesley College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,461

School Type: Private, Non-profit, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Located just outside of Boston in scenic New England, Wellesley is known for its strong science program, which includes the second-oldest physics lab in the country. Boasting prominent alumni like Madeleine Albright, Diane Sawyer, and Hillary Rodham Clinton,  the Wellesley Alumnae Network is known as the most powerful women’s network in the world. Undergraduate students at the college can expect to be fully immersed in faculty research projects if they choose, something that helps prepare undergraduates for the real world. The most popular majors include biological and biomedical sciences, economics, and research and experimental psychology. Wellesley College was ranked the 5th Best Liberal Arts College and 6th in Best Value Schools by the U.S. News.

Scripps College

Location: Claremont, California

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,095

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Admissions at Scripps College is highly selective, with a 30% acceptance rate. According to the U.S. News report of best colleges, the school is tied as the 33rd Best National Liberal Arts College. Students at Scripps College are required to take a diverse curriculum, including courses in the fine arts, letters, natural sciences, social sciences, race, and ethnic studies, foreign languages, and mathematics. Their mission “is to educate women to develop their intellects and talents through active participation in a community of scholars, so that as graduates they may contribute to society through public and private lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity.” The school offers plenty of study-abroad opportunities, and 85% of graduates have had an internship prior to entering the workforce. Scripps College also offers a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program for both men and women, of which there is a 98% acceptance rate into medical, dental, and veterinary schools.  

Bryn Mawr College

Location: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,780

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Ranked by U.S. News as 31st for National Liberal Arts Colleges and 34th in Best Value Schools, Bryn Mawr College is a four-year liberal arts institution that also offers graduate degrees. It’s known for being the first women’s college to offer graduate education through a Ph.D. and is highly committed to the proliferation of STEM education. In 2022, the most common majors declared were Psychology, English, Sociology, Mathematics, and Biology. One of Bryn Mawr’s alumna was profiled by Harper’s BAZAAR for her efforts to get more scientists involved in politics through her nonprofit, 314 Action.

Barnard College

Location: New York City, New York

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 3,043

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Barnard College is a small, liberal arts school located in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Founded in 1889 as a college for women, Barnard is a self-sustaining entity under the umbrella of Columbia University. Students can take classes, play sports, and form connections at the co-ed Ivy League school. Ranked 18th for National Liberal Arts College by U.S. News, Barnard College has a highly selective 11% acceptance rate and a student-faculty ratio of 10:1. The school’s impressive writing program has produced renowned authors who have penned famous works such as “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “The Namesake,” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

Cottey College

Location: Nevada, Missouri

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,924

School Type: Private, Independent, Liberal Arts Women’s College

At the time of its founding in 1884, Cottey College was the only nonsectarian college owned and supported by women. The four-year liberal arts school emphasizes leadership, with over 25 cultural, academic, social, religious, or volunteer organizations on campus for students to practice leadership skills. It is ranked #1 by U.S. News Regional College Midwest Rating and #12 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. The most popular majors at the school include Research and Experimental Psychology, Biology, and Secondary Education and Teaching.

Mount Holyoke College

Location: South Hadley, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,342

School Type: Private, Research, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Founded in 1827, Mount Holyoke College was the first college of the Seven Sisters, a group of prestigious women’s colleges that were the female equivalent to the formerly male-dominated Ivy League schools. Today, Mount Holyoke College is known for its many research opportunities, with 48 majors and a high post-graduation employment rate — 90% of the class of 2020 were either working or in school six months after graduation. A large percentage of students currently are majoring in Psychology, Biology, and English and Literature. U.S. News ranked it as a tie for 36th for National Liberal Arts Colleges and 40th in Best Value Schools.

College of Saint Benedict

Location: Saint Joseph, Minnesota

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,557

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Through a partnership with Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, College of Saint Benedict shares curriculum and resources with the men’s school. Together, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University has produced 50 Fulbright Scholars since 2014, according to the school’s website. Their graduates have gone on to participate in space research, win $50,000 grants from environmental agencies, and have been named the top physicians of the year for their state. In addition, 97% are employed, in graduate school, or in full-time service work within one year, making it the #1 college in Minnesota for getting a job. The College of Saint Benedict’s ranking in U.S. News’s 2022-23 ranking of Best Colleges is 94th for National Liberal Arts Colleges and #61 in Best Value Schools.

Spelman College

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,417

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Spelman College is the oldest historically black college for women in the United States. Its acceptance rate of 51% makes it one of the most selective women’s colleges in the nation. Students at Spelman typically major in biological and biomedical sciences, physical science, psychology, or social sciences. The National Science Foundation has recognized the college as the leading producer of Black women who earn doctorates in the sciences. Spelman College’s ranking in U.S. News of Best Colleges is 51st for National Liberal Arts Colleges and #9 in most Innovative Schools. Spelman now ranks as the No. 1 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) for the 16th straight year.

Simmons University

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 5,984

School Type: Private Women’s College

Simmons University has offered an outstanding liberal arts education to women since 1899. Today, the college also offers standout graduate programs in social work, management, liberal arts, library and information science, health sciences, and education. Popular undergraduate majors at Simmons University include nursing, communications, biology, and kinesiology and exercise science. Ninety-one percent of Simmons University graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation, according to their website, and students come to the university from 47 different states and 11 different countries. Simmons University is currently ranked 30th for Best Value by U.S. News.

Women’s colleges are a great way to recruit talented, motivated women to jobs that are primarily male-dominated. Use this as a guide for your next round of entry-level hiring, or check out College Consensus’s full list of rated women’s colleges here

Plus, learn about top schools for women in different majors in our guide to recruiting outside of the Ivy Leagues here


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