Shweta Karikehalli
Shweta Karikehalli
January 28, 2019
5 minute read

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

Find highly-qualified and talented women at these schools.

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

Looking to diversify your talent pool? Women’s colleges are excellent sources of highly-qualified entry-level candidates and can help add more female representation to your company, especially if you’re filling roles in science, tech, engineering, and math.

Today, women make up 57 percent of undergraduate enrollment in colleges across the United States. While most colleges today are coeducational, about 47 women-only colleges remain in the United States and Canada and offer their students a unique cultural and academic experience. Women’s colleges enroll hundreds of thousands of college students every year, and accepted students come from all backgrounds. A study completed in 2013  by the Women’s College Coalition found that women’s colleges, relative to other coeducational colleges and universities, enrolled the greatest proportion of students identifying as African American (26.9 percent), Native American (3.3 percent) and “other” race/ethnicity (4.6 percent). The study also found that women’s colleges are second only to public universities in how many Chicano/Latino students enrolled (14.2 percent). According to the study, the most popular initial major choices were in health professions (21.2 percent), biological sciences (12.6 percent), psychology (9.2 percent) and the humanities/English (6.9 percent).

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

Smith College

Location: Northampton, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: About 2,600 (2,450 on Northampton campus, 150 studying elsewhere).

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, but it also has 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 and World Report’s 2019 edition of Best Colleges, Smith College ranked as 11th in National Liberal Arts Colleges. The most popular majors at the college were research and experimental psychology, economics, political science and government, biology/biological sciences, and English language and literature.  

Wellesley College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,508

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. Undergraduate students there can also 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 third best liberal arts college, according to U.S. News’s 2019 report. tied with Swarthmore College.

Scripps College

Location: Claremont, California

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,059

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Admissions at Scripps College is highly selective, with a 33 percent acceptance rate. According to U.S. News’s 2019 report of best colleges, the school’s ranking is 30 for National Liberal Arts Colleges. Students 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, and there are plenty of study abroad opportunities. More than 86 percent of Scripps College graduates have had an internship prior to entering the workforce, and they offer a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program for both men and women, of which there is a 98 percent acceptance rate into medical, dental, and veterinary schools according to their website.  

Bryn Mawr College

Location: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,334

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Ranked by U.S. News as 27th for National Liberal Arts Colleges, 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 PhD and is highly committed to the proliferation of STEM education—according to the college’s website, 27 percent of degrees from the graduating classes of 2014‒16 were in STEM which is 2.5 times the national average. In addition, in those same years, the percentage of degrees awarded to Black women and Latinas that were in STEM were 2.7 and 2.6 times the national averages, respectively. One of Bryn Mawr’s alumna was recently 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: 2,604

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. Through a partnership with the nearby Columbia University, Barnard students can take classes, play sports, and form connections at the Ivy League school. Ranked 25th for National Liberal Arts College by U.S. News, Barnard College has a 17 percent acceptance rate and its impressive writing program produced authors who 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: 270

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 40 cultural, academic, social, religious, or volunteer organizations on campus for students to practice leadership skills. It is ranked 9 by U.S. News’ Regional College Midwest Rating. The most popular majors at the school include business management, marketing, social sciences, and psychology.

Mount Holyoke College

Location: South Hadley, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,210

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, over 50 majors, and high post-graduation employment rate —96 percent of the class of 2017 were either working or in school six months after graduation. 28 percent of students currently are majoring in the humanities, 25 percent in social sciences, and 36 percent in science and mathematics. There is also the unique option to design one’s own major at the school. U.S. News ranked it as 30 for National Liberal Arts Colleges.

College of Saint Benedict

Location: Saint Joseph, Minnesota

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,937

School Type: Private, Liberal Arts Women’s College

Through a partnership with Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, The College of Saint Benedict shares curriculum and resources with the men’s school. Both CSB/SJU have produced 30 Fulbright Scholars in the last five years, according to the schools’ website. Their graduates have gone on to participate in space research, win $50,000 grants from environmental agencies, and be named the top physicians of the year for their state. The College of Saint Benedict's ranking in U.S. News’s 2019 ranking of Best Colleges is 86 for National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Spelman College

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 2,137

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 41 percent makes it one of the most selective women’s colleges in the nation, and students typically major in biological and biomedical sciences, English, physical science, psychology and 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’s 2019 ranking of Best Colleges is 51 for National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Simmons College

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Size of Undergraduate Student Body: 1,763

School Type: Private Women’s College

Simmons University is ranked 12th for Best Library and Information Studies Program by U.S. News. Other popular majors at Simmons College include nursing, kinesiology and exercise Science, and communications. Ninety-one percent of Simmons College graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation according to their website, and students come to Simmons College from 47 different states and 22 different countries. The Simmons College School of Business was ranked the No. 1 MBA with the "Greatest Opportunity for Women" by The Princeton Review for five years in a row.

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.

Download our guide “Beyond The Ivy League” for more information on expanding your recruitment reach and finding students at the top public schools, HBCUs, and HSIs.

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