Many of the women’s colleges in the U.S. that were founded to provide women with quality education when women’s rights in the U.S. was still taking root, continue to stand strong and are still known for their academic standards and their brilliant young women graduates. Many of these women who graduated from these colleges have gone on to establish themselves in various fields; there are politicians, lawyers, activists, writers, actors, artists, teachers and entrepreneurs.
Wellesley College is a liberal arts college and a member of the Seven Sisters and is known for the endowments it receives. The College’s exchange programs with renowned universities, a variety of academic majors, and the Wellesley Centers for Women are some of its highlights.
Founders: Henry and Pauline Durant
Location: Wellesley, MA
Alumnae: Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright
A private liberal arts college, Smith College is a member of the Seven Sisters and is known to be the largest of its members. It is also a member of the Five College Consortium. There are around 50 areas of study at Smith. In addition to that, there are other programs like the Smith Scholars Program and Poetry Center.
Founder: Sophia Smith
Location: Northampton, MA
Alumnae: Gloria Steinem, Sylvia Plath
Bryn Mawr College
A member of the Seven Sisters and of the Tri-College Consortium, Bryn Mawr College is a liberal arts college. It includes co-ed dorms, and Bryn Mawr students can take classes at the Swarthmore College and Haverford College. The college is known for its challenging academic standards and traditions like Parade Night.
Founder: M. Carey Thomas
Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
Alumnae: Marianne Moore, Sarah Jones
Simmons College offers undergraduate degrees to women, and graduate degrees to men and women. It is inclusive of transgender applicants. Its integrated programs allow students to acquire an undergraduate and graduate degree in four years. It is known for its MBA program for women.
Founder: John Simmons
Location: Boston, MA
Alumnae: Nnenna Freelon, Anne Williams Wheaton
A member of the Seven Sisters, Barnard College is a liberal arts college. It has tie-ups with Columbia University, Juilliard, and the Manhattan School of Music. The College known for its competitive standards offers around 10 academic programs, 28 academic departments, and over 50 majors.
Founder: Annie Nathan Meyer
Location: New York, NY
Alumnae: Martha Stewart, Twyla Tharp
Scripps College, known for its beautiful campus, offers its students the option of taking courses at other Claremont colleges. The school is also known for its Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities, post-baccalaureate premedical program, and an interdisciplinary science program called Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence.
Founder: Ellen Browning Scripps
Location: Claremont, CA
Alumnae: Beth Nolan, Alison Saar
Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar College is a liberal arts college located in the foothills of Blue Ridge Mountains. The college offers 35+ undergraduate programs as well as graduate degree programs and pre-professional programs. It is known best for its equestrian program. There are plenty of opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom.
Founder: Indiana Fletcher Williams
Location: Sweet Briar, VA
Alumnae: Molly Haskell, Sally Miller Gearhart
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College started as the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. It is the first college to be classed as the Seven Sisters, and is a member of Pioneer Valley’s Five College Consortium. Students can choose from over 50 majors or design their own major. The college has students from over 70 countries.
Founder: Mary Mason Lyon
Location: South Hadley, MA
Alumnae: Emily Dickinson, Dr. Virginia Apgar
Spelman College is a historically Black college and a member of Atlanta University Center Consortium. The liberal arts college began as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. It is known for providing an excellent education to women of African descent. Its graduation rate is 76 per cent.
Founders: Harriet Giles and Sophia B. Packard
Location: Atlanta, GA
Alumnae: Alice Walker, Keisha Knight Pulliam
The 160-year-old Mills College continues to offer undergraduate degrees for women, while its five graduate programs are open to both men and women. It has been recognized as the Best Value School in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
Founders: Mary Atkins, Cyrus and Susan Mills
Location: Oakland, CA
Alumnae: Sofia Coppola, Aerial Gilbert
Though many of these colleges started out to provide education for women at a time when the fight for equality was in its nascent stage, it is the quality of education that sets them apart today.