Wellesley College

Wellesley College

In 1742, the Bethlehem Female Seminary opened as the nation's first boarding school for women. The school later evolved into what's known now as Moravian College, and it stands as a symbol for educational equality among the sexes.

Though Moravian is now coeducational, many women's colleges still exist. Using our Smart Rating system, StartClass has ranked the top 25 women's colleges in America. Smart Rating is based on financial affordability, career readiness, admissions selectivity, expert opinion and academic excellence.

For this list, we considered colleges deemed by the Institute of Education Sciences as women's colleges. Though a few of these schools have some coeducational programs, such as at the doctoral level, they are still designated as women's colleges. All data is the most recent available from the National Center for Education Services.

#25. Mount St. Mary's University

Smart Rating: 81

Mount St. Mary's was founded in 1925 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, a women's Roman Catholic congregation that originated in 1650. The school currently has two campuses — one in Brentwood and one in Los Angeles, near the USC campus.

#24. Mary Baldwin College

Smart Rating: 82

Mary Baldwin College is a private liberal arts university located in northern Virginia. It was originally founded in 1842 as the Augusta Female Seminary by Presbyterian minister Rufus William Bailey.

#23. Bay Path College

Smart Rating: 84

Bay Path is a private university situated in southwest Massachusetts. It was originally founded in 1897 as the Bay Path Institute and now offers coeducational master's programs in addition to its all-women bachelor's degree programs.

#22. Columbia College

Smart Rating: 84

Founded in 1854, Columbia is among the oldest women's colleges in the country. It became operational in 1859 and had an original class of 121 women and 16 faculty members.

#21. Judson College

Smart Rating: 84

Judson was founded by members of Siloam Baptist Church in 1838, becoming one of the first women's colleges in the country. It's named after Ann Hasseltine Judson, the first American woman to serve as a foreign missionary.

#20. Meredith College

Smart Rating: 84

Meredith was chartered in 1891 and opened with just over 200 female students. It was originally called the Baptist Female University and moved to its current location in 1924.

#19. Sweet Briar College

Smart Rating: 84

Sweet Briar College is located in central Virginia. The school was founded in 1901 and officially opened in 1906 with 51 students.

#18. Converse College

Smart Rating: 85

Converse was founded in 1889 and is located in northern South Carolina. The school is named after Dexter Edgar Converse, a local pioneer in the cotton mill industry. His contributions to the establishment of the women's college were considered so valuable the school was named after him.

#17. Mills College

Smart Rating: 85

Mills was originally founded in 1852 as the Young Ladies' Seminary and was located in Benicia, California. Missionaries Cyrus and Susan Mills bought the school in 1865 and renamed it Mills, and the college was moved to its current location in 1871.

#16. Agnes Scott College

Smart Rating: 86

Agnes Scott College is located in northern Georgia and is named after the mother of George Washington Scott, the college's primary benefactor. It was founded in 1889 as the Decatur Female Seminary and was renamed Agnes Scott College in 1906.

#15. Ursuline College

Smart Rating: 87

Ursuline College is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college located in northeast Ohio. The school was founded by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, a women's religious group, in 1871. It was the first women's college in the state.

#14. Notre Dame of Maryland University

Smart Rating: 87

Notre Dame of Maryland is a Catholic university that was founded in 1873. The school was the first Catholic college for women in the U.S. to award four-year baccalaureate degrees, and its first graduating class had six women.

#13. Cedar Crest College

Smart Rating: 87

Located in eastern Pennsylvania, Cedar Crest is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1867. The school's student-faculty ration of 9:1 ranks in the top 10 percent nationally.

#12. St. Catherine University

Smart Rating: 88

St. Catherine is a private Catholic liberal arts university located in southeastern Minnesota. The school was founded in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and is named after St. Catherine of Alexandria.

#11. Scripps College

Smart Rating: 88

Scripps was founded in 1926 and is one of the seven Claremont Colleges. The school was founded by pioneering philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, whose goal was to establish a college that would "develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully."

#10. Hollins University

Smart Rating: 89

Founded in 1842, Hollins is one of the oldest women's colleges in America. It is the oldest chartered women's college in Virginia, and it now has coeducational graduate-level programs.

#9. Simmons College

Smart Rating: 89

Simmons was founded in 1899 by John Simmons, a local businessman. Known for its progressive nature, the first African-American student graduated from Simmons in 1914, and the school was one of the only private colleges that did not impose admission quotas on Jewish students during the early 1900s.

#8. Spelman College

Smart Rating: 92

Spelman was founded as Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1881 and is one of the oldest historically black female colleges in the country. The school changed its name to Spelman Seminary in 1884 in honor of Laura Spelman Rockefeller and her parents, who were longtime antislavery activists.

#7. College of Saint Benedict

Smart Rating: 93

The College of Saint Benedict is a liberal arts school located in central Minnesota. The school is partnered with the all-men's Saint John's University, and its average ACT score of 25 ranks in the top 30 percent nationally.

#6. Saint Mary's College

Smart Rating: 93

Saint Mary's was founded in 1844 and is located only two miles from the University of Notre Dame. The school has an average SAT score of 1650.

#5. Mount Holyoke College

Smart Rating: 95

Mount Holyoke is a liberal arts college located in western Massachusetts. It was founded in 1837 by Mary Lyon, who had previously founded Wheaton College in 1834.

#4. Smith College

Smart Rating: 95

Smith College is a member of the Seven Sisters, a loose association of seven liberal arts colleges in the northeast that are historically women's colleges. It was founded in 1871 by Sofia Smith, who inherited a substantial estate from her father.

#3. Barnard College

Smart Rating: 95

Barnard was founded in 1889 and, at the time, was the only college in New York City available to women. It was named after Frederick A.P. Barnard, who was the 10th president of Columbia College.

#2. Bryn Mawr College

Smart Rating: 95

Bryn Mawr was founded in 1885 and is located just outside of Philadelphia. The college was built as a dying wish of physician and Quaker Joseph W. Taylor, who wanted to establish a college "for the advanced education of females."

#1. Wellesley College

Smart Rating: 95

Wellesley was founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, and the school had 18 students in its first graduating class. Notable alumni include Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Diane Sawyer.

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments