Most colleges in the U.S. are coed, but at some schools, students may find themselves questioning whether that’s true. Many college campuses have huge gender gaps, with one gender group making up 60% or more of the student population, sometimes as high as 98%. At the root of these gaps is frequently the nature of study, with engineering and technical schools often attracting more male students, and fashion or liberal arts colleges supporting a largely female population. Another common factor is the history of the institution: schools that were once single-sexed often have a hard time convincing a new gender to attend.
Whatever the reason, these 10 schools each have a huge gender gap, and we’ll explore here how that gap came to be.
Founded in 1861 as a women’s college, it’s not too surprising to find out that Vassar is dominated by the ladies. These days, just 42.6% of the Vassar population is male, and it’s a historically high percentage at that. But it could be even lower: Vassar’s applicant pool is believed to be about 70% female. Reports indicate that Vassar’s historically high percentage of male students is expected to rise further in the coming years, bucking the national trend of larger female populations with undergraduate male enrollment that has been rising slowly but steadily since 1994.
Embry-Riddle is the largest and oldest aviation school in the world, and with more than 40 aeronautics degree programs available, it is considered to be one of, if not the, best places to learn anything and everything about space flight. But things are a little unusual on this campus, as there are very few women to be found. Of the nearly 4,500 students enrolled, a whopping 85% of them are male. This is not surprising, however, considering that women are not very well-represented in aeronautics: female pilots represent just 6% of the total pilot population. ERAU is working to attract more female students, creating a Women’s Ambassador Program to pair students with “big sisters” for a more female-friendly campus.
The historically black Howard University tends to attract more women than men, with a 67% female population among its more than 7,000 students. Howard is actually quite famous for its female population, with Howard regularly ranked as a school with the most beautiful and well-dressed women. Experts credit the skewed ratio at Howard to a lack of black men in collegeoverall.
Women were excluded from Virginia Military Institute until 1997. Amazingly, it took a U.S. Department of Justice discrimination lawsuit to overturn this policy, and even then, it took several years of appeals to make it stick. Given this history, it’s not at all surprising to find out that VMI is lacking in female cadets. We can’t imagine that women feel welcomed, and the numbers seem to agree: female students make up just 9.2% of the population, with reports of rampant sexism and even cases of rape on campus likely pushing down the numbers even further.
As one of the country’s top 10 engineering schools, Milwaukee School of Engineering offers its students a prestigious degree. Incredibly, nearly all of those degrees go to male graduates, with a male to female ratio of 80/20. Still, Milwaukee’s numbers beat the overall national average. In recent years, female engineering graduation rates have been hovering around 18%.
Like Milwaukee School of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology struggles to attract women to its engineering-based education. The school has just a 35% female population. But Georgia Tech is working to create more programs to increase its female enrollment, including a Women in Engineering Program and a chapter of The Society of Women Engineers.
Rochester Institute of Technology’s male to female ratio is holding steady at about 2:1, with male students outnumbering female ones, especially in engineering. In recent years, RIT has really pushed to attract more women to its campus, creating the RIT Commission for Women to develop new initiatives and transformations to better support women on campus, a resource that supports and works closely with RIT’s Women’s Center that advocates on behalf of the women of RIT.
Texas Woman’s University has barely had any male students in its 100+ year history. In 1903, TWU opened as the Girls Industrial College, and since then, has remained nearly entirely an all-women’s school with just a small 9% population of male students. The university began accepting men to its health sciences graduate school in 1972, and after public pressure, opened all of its programs to qualified men in 1994.
Located in the fashion hub of New York City, FIT is considered to be one of the best schools for getting into the fashion and art industry. Very few men make it into this school, with just a 15% male population. But very few students are accepted period, with just a 39.1% acceptance rate.
Another NYC school with low male enrollment is NYU, with just 38.5% of the student population being male. Although NYU reports it is not having trouble recruiting more male applicants, the number of males admitted to the school continues to stay low, and the school does not have plans to “socially engineer” its selection process to favor males.