The 10 Best Women’s Colleges
High school students today have a plethora of college choices, from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities. Another option for college-bound female students is to attend a women’s college. Women’s colleges provide students with a host of benefits including small tight-knit campuses, robust alumni networks, and a commitment to the success and wellbeing of women. Attendees of women’s colleges are also more than one-and-half times more likely to major in a STEM field than their counterparts at co-education institutions.
Another great reason to attend a women’s college is that a number of them are thriving and can count themselves among the best schools in the country.
The 10 Best Women’s Colleges
Looking for a great women’s college? Below are the ten best women’s colleges in the country.
1. Wellesley College
Location: Wellesley, MA
Acceptance Rate: 20%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1410-1530
Wellesley College is a small school that provides its students with huge opportunities. Wellesley College offers more than 50 majors (ranging from astrophysics to theatre), an alumni network sometimes referred to as the “most powerful women’s network in the world,” and a multitude of research and internship opportunities. Wellesley also offers selective double-degree programs with MIT and a combined five-year BA/MA program in International Economics and Finance with Brandeis University.
2. Barnard College
Location: New York, New York
Acceptance Rate: 14%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1145-1530
Barnard was founded in 1889 as a response to Colombia’s refusal to admit women (Columbia didn’t admit women until almost a century later in 1983). Barnard is an independent institution with its own policies, endowment, and trustees. However, Barnard is affiliated with Columbia—it’s considered one of the university’s four undergraduate colleges—and its students have access to libraries, facilities, and activities on both campuses. The unique structure of Barnard allows its students to experience life at a small college while reaping the benefits of attending a larger institution.
3. Smith College
Location: Northampton, MA
Acceptance Rate: 37%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1390-1510
Smith College opened in 1875—it was founded in 1871—with a class of just 14 students, but today counts itself among the largest women’s colleges in the country. Smith is home to 50 areas of study (from astronomy to world literature), more than 140 student clubs and organizations, and 11 varsity sports. What you won’t find at Smith College is dorms or Greek life; rather, students live in 41 self-governing community houses which accommodate between ten and 100 residents.
4. Scripps College
Location: Claremont, CA
Acceptance Rate: 35%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1400-1510
A Scripps education is built on the foundation of the college’s core curriculum—an integrated sequence of three courses that explore how institutions, socially constructed categories such as race and gender, and other cultural frameworks influence how we see the world. Scripps College is a member of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium along with four other undergrad schools (Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Pomona Colleges) and two graduate institutions (Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute). Each school in the consortium is an independent institution with its own mission and identity, however, the consortium allows students to attend a small, tightly-focused college while enjoying the benefits offered by larger schools.
5. Bryn Mawr College
Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
Acceptance Rate: 38%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1290-1460
Bryn Mawr College has offered both undergraduate and graduate degrees since its founding in 1885 and was the first women’s college to offer a PhD. Bryn Mawr is one of the “Seven Sisters,” a consortium of highly selective women’s colleges in the Northeast created in the 1920s to provide an equivalent to the male-dominated Ivy League. Bryn Mawr balances its single-sex education with a variety of co-educational opportunities through partnerships with the nearby schools of Haverford, Swathmore, and the University of Pennsylvania.
6. Mount Holyoke College
Location: South Hadley, MA
Acceptance Rate: 52%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1340-1470
Founded in 1837, Mount Holyoke was the first of the “Seven Sister” colleges. Mount Holyoke is also a member of the Five College Consortium in western Massachusetts (along with Amherst College, Hampshire College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst). The Five College Consortium allows students to cross-register for courses, offers numerous shared clubs and projects, and operates a free bus system that links the five campuses. The website Niche ranks Mount Holyoke as the 7th most liberal college in the country.
7. Spelman College
Location: Atlanta, GA
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1070-1240
In addition to being one of the best women’s colleges in the nation, Spelman College is also one of the country’s top HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and the oldest historically Black college for women in the U.S. One-third of Spelman students go onto graduate or professional school immediately after graduation and Spelman is recognized as a leading producer of Black female medical students and doctoral candidates in the STEM fields.
8. Simmons University
Location: Boston, MA
Acceptance Rate: 83%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1080-1250
Simmons University is unique in that its undergraduate program is women-centered while its graduate program is co-educational. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Simmons’ full-time faculty are women. Simmons provides students with both the experience of attending a small, supportive college and life at a bustling big city university. Simmons is located in Boston, one of the nation’s centers of higher education—over 70 colleges and universities found in the greater Boston area—and provides numerous research, internship, and career opportunities.
9. Saint Mary’s College (Indiana)
Location: Notre Dame, IN
Acceptance Rate: 82%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1065-1250
Saint Mary’s College is a small Catholic college sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, and there is even a convent on campus. Community service is an important aspect of the Saint Mary’s experience; roughly three-quarters of seniors perform volunteer work or community service. Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame (located across the street) have a close connection—Saint Mary’s students can take classes at the university, participate in extracurricular activities like writing for The Observer (Notre Dame’s newspaper) or the marching band, and can attend activities like football games.
10. Agnes Scott College
Location: Decatur, GA
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Middle 50% SAT Score Range: 1170-1390
Agnes Scott College is a top-ranked women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church that the website Niche ranks as the 54th best Christian college in the country. Agnes Scott College is notable for its innovative SUMMIT core curriculum, which focuses on global learning, leadership development, professional success, and digital literacy—and ensures students are prepared for life post-graduation. Agnes Scott awarded every undergraduate admitted in Fall 2022 the Agnes Assurance Scholarship—a $22,000 renewable merit-based scholarship.
What Are My Chances of Acceptance?
Wondering what your chances of gaining admission into one of the best women’s colleges in the country are? CollegeVine can help! Our free chancing calculator uses a variety of factors including academic performance, test scores, and extracurricular activities to estimate your odds of admission at hundreds of colleges across the country—including women’s colleges. In addition, it offers insight into your college profile and highlights areas that you can improve.