Studies indicate that women and men experience college in different ways. Women are seen as placing more value on intellectual pursuits and excelling in academics than men. When men do engage with academics, both their grades and motivation soar. Men, on the other hand, tend to go into science and engineering careers more often than women.
Here are some other research results to consider as you, man or woman, enter the college experience.
• Women tend to be more stressed because they are more academically involved. Men participate in activities that help relieve stress. Both genders should look for more balance.
• Experiencing diversity really impacts men. Whether they eat, study, or date people from other cultures and races or simply take part in culture awareness workshops allows men to explore social inequities with more passion. However, they are less comfortable than women in diverse settings/situations. Men may need to push themselves more to become involved in diverse environments.
• Women who are ignored by faculty in class have lowered self-esteem and academic confidence, but when women work with faculty in research, they tend to feel gender roles should be more traditional. The opposite is true for men who work with faculty in research. They feel women should be out of the house more and more professionally involved. For both men and women, female faculty are a boon. Both develop more confidence and well being, and women’s grade point averages go up with female faculty.
• Living near home does not affect men, but if women do not live near their home they develop more independence, leadership skills, and confidence. The trick here is that today both women and men stay in closer contact with home, miles away or not, so women need to strive to be more independent for their own benefit.
Thinking through some of theses differences might just help those who are applying to college think about the kind of campus they want to be on. Here are some questions to ask:
1. Is there a good balance between academic push and recreation?
2. Is there a high percentage of female faculty?
3. How far away from home is the campus?
4. Are there programs to interest women in science and engineering fields?
5. Are there first-year programs to encourage men to become more involved in their academic programs?
6. What diversity programs are available to students?