Skip Navigation

Why is Smith a Women’s College?

Why is Smith a Women's College


Smith College was founded at a time when there were practically no choices for women who wanted an education equal to that available to men. The idea of such a college was a radical notion in 1871, but its success has been dramatic and undeniable. And for more than 140 years, Smith has stayed true to its mission of providing women with the best education available in the liberal arts and sciences.

Today, of course, women have many options, but we have only become more convinced that, for many women, a women’s college is the best option. Providing the academic challenge, personal attention and wide-ranging opportunities you’d look for in any college is still our most important goal, but, as a women’s college, we think Smith offers some special bonuses.

In a recent study by Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research, far more students at women’s colleges reported having regular interaction with faculty members than those at coed institutions. They also reported with greater frequency that their colleges helped them learn more about themselves, hone their quantitative analysis skills and develop a desire to help their communities.

It’s a fact that students who spend more time with professors do better academically and are more sure of their career choices.
At Smith, women are the focus of all the attention and all the opportunities.

Having a wide variety of female role models tends to boost the aspirations and career achievements of female college students. More than half of the professors at Smith are women as are many top administrators. Our alumnae are leaders in many fields.
At Smith, faculty and alumnae offer outstanding role models.

Leadership experience in college provides training and encouragement for leadership positions in your life, your community and your profession.
At Smith, all of the leaders are women.

Smith offers social and academic exchanges with four nearby colleges, weekend parties and events drawing students from the many colleges in New England and elsewhere and many student organizations, club activities and athletics, all of which makes for a lively life outside of classes.
At Smith, women can have a great social life. (Really!)

At Smith, there are no stereotypes about what women should do, but there are unlimited expectations about what women can do. Smith is a great training ground for careers that might still be considered non-traditional for women.
At Smith, any career choice is an appropriate one.

More than 48,000 Smith alumnae are ready to help students step into internships and careers. Even the Ivies can’t boast a network of thousands of successful women willing to share inside information about their professions with both undergraduates and other alumnae. It's a lifetime guarantee!
At Smith, the “old boys’ network” is an “ageless women’s network.”

Of course, the world is coeducational. But Smith women enter it more confidently than women graduates of coed schools.
After Smith, the future is wide open.

Video: Becoming a College Woman

Studying archival photographs from the early days of Smith College, Susan Van Dyne, Professor Emerita of the Study of Women and Gender and Chair of the Archives Concentration, traces the changing styles, attitudes and modes of dress of Smith students, who defied Victorian-era convention to express themselves through academics, athletics and dramatics. These self-consciously crafted and carefully curated images allow us to witness the emergence of modern womanhood.