Why We Chose the All-Girl Environment

Courtesy+of+Mr.+Thompson
Courtesy of Mr. Thompson

Courtesy of Mr. Thompson

Courtesy of Mr. Thompson

Claire R. '17, Spread Page Editor

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Despite what “Mean Girls” or “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” may suggest, showing up and enjoying school isn’t a crime and neither is preferring a single-sex environment in high school. In fact, going to an all-girls school gives you a huge advantage in the way you perceive the world, how you represent yourself, how you treat others and where you lay the foundation for your future. Luckily, cliché high school movies don’t set the standards for what we’ll face after graduation and while we may not be getting the “typical high-school experience” at Ursuline, we are getting so much more than we recognize.

“[Executive Summary: Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools: Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College] identifies several areas in which single-sex education appears to produce favorable outcomes for female students, especially in terms of their confidence, engagement and aspirations, most notably in areas related to math and science,” said Linda J. Sax PhD.

While we do still get a prom, Friday night football and the opportunity to interact with boys, there is no denying that we are not getting a similar experience to many other high schoolers. But co-ed high schoolers across America may not be getting some of the amazing advantages that we are: a school day dedicated only to learning and improving, a place where we can feel less social pressure with more academic encouragement and the bond that we are now forever a part of as an Ursuline girl.

“Female graduates of single-sex high schools also show higher levels of political engagement, greater interest in engineering careers, measurably more self-confidence in public speaking and a stronger predisposition towards co-curricular engagement,” stated a UCLA study on all-girls school grads.

Academic excellence is Ursuline’s forte and our most prominent benefit: I couldn’t count the number of times a stranger has asked if “it’s it as hard as everyone says it is.” But rigorous academics are not a bad thing, as we also have a reputation for being hard-working and motivated young women. Additionally, Ursuline (and all-girls schools in general) are also known for their devotion to producing well-rounded, socially and psychologically intelligent girls who have the confidence to go after the things they want.

“Going to an all-girls school has helped me focus on school and not worrying about superficial things like appearance and looking silly. I got the confidence to speak up in class and everyone in my classes are super encouraging to each other and I’m not sure that we would have learned these same values had we been distracted with the drama of boys,” said Zoe Prendergast ‘17.

Maya Francis, another senior, touched on the ability to forget about appearance and focus on accepting others, saying, “I can really be myself in an all-girls environment. No one judges me for what I look like and I never feel like I have to wear makeup or do my hair: I’m 100% the real me. I’ve gone to an all-girls school since 4th grade and everyone is just so accepting of one another- more than boys can be.”

For us at Ursuline, high school is not a 4-year commitment, but a lifetime guarantee. Our bond extends far beyond the walls of our school, as our network of sisters is international and consistently expanding: this includes Ursuline alumni, Ursuline sister schools around the globe, all-girls graduates of any kind and the community of women as a whole.

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