Is there a gender bias in college admissions? Sometimes, yes. Depending on the school, either men or women have higher admissions rates by as much as 14 points!
Schools such as Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark, Georgia Tech, Caltech, MIT, and others favor women.
Schools such as William and Mary, Pepperdine, George Washington, Tufts, Brown, and others favor men.
Why the Male/Female Bias?
Schools such as MIT and other tech and engineering focused colleges tend to have much more men apply than women. Men are typically more interested in studying math and engineering, thus it is unsurprising that some of the top tech schools in the country end up on more college lists of male students.
Women tend to be more interested in liberal arts schools, applying to them in much larger amounts. These schools who get more woman applicants than men show a preference to male applicants to ensure their campuses don’t become all female!*
Although schools may have an incentive to accept one gender in higher amounts than another, this does not necessarily mean they accept applicants who are undeserving. Applicants who go against the grain choosing majors and schools not typical for their gender tend to be better applicants, according to a representative at MIT.
Could this Benefit your Student?
Students should definitely pay attention to gender imbalances when applying to colleges. They can instantly get a leg-up on the competition just by applying to schools that are more likely to accept their gender (providing it’s actually a school they want to go to).
Not only that but students who represent a minority on campus, whether its gender, ethnicity or another factor, can quality for more financial aid than other students. Colleges frequently use scholarships to attract desirable students to their institutions. If your student is an underrepresented gender on campus they may get more aid from the college to convince them to attend.
Knowing your student is underrepresented on campus is a bargaining chip families can also use to negotiate financial aid packages. Families have successfully used this tactic to appeal their financial aid offer and receive thousands more in financial aid.
College Cost Cutter is a program that can help you analyze and compare financial aid offers, discover hidden costs, and understand your bargaining position in negotiating your offer.
*We realize that women can be just as interested in and as strong in math and science as men, as men can be just as interested in and adept in liberal arts studies. For whatever reason, it is simply true that men tend to apply in greater numbers to science and tech programs, while women tend to apply in larger numbers to liberal arts schools. Whatever subject your student is interested in, it is helpful to understand if it can potentially give them an advantage or disadvantage.