More women attend college than men, and several private colleges across the country find themselves working to recruit more men to balance out the ratio and enhance social appeal.
Yearly tuition at many private universities has topped $40,000 per year. At that price, college administrators realize that they must offer much more than an education. They must offer an experience.
That experience includes anything and everything from activities to real-life work experience to a vibrant social life. A key ingredient to a memorable social life is a good mix of men and women.
The New York Times article found that women make up 58 percent of those enrolled part-time or full-time in college. In the late 60s, there were more men, and in the mid 70s, the genders were equally represented. But since the mid 80s, there have been more women than men. That gap continues to widen.
Admission offices at universities across the country are reacting with new strategies to attract more men to their colleges with the primary purpose of creating a more gender-balanced social and learning environment.
Recruiting starts with admissions brochures sent to students at their homes. Dickinson College, a Carlisle, Penn. liberal arts school, is actively recruiting more men than women, Time Magazine reports. Since Vice President of Admissions Robert Massa started working at Dickinson College, the percentage of men on campus has jumped from 36 percent to 44 percent.
Dickinson College’s website features proportionally more pictures of men and athletics. They highlight their new physics, computer science and math buildings, and they started an international business program with the intent of appealing to potential male recruits.
Several private colleges, including Dickinson and Chicago’s DePaul University send more admissions brochures to men than women, hoping to generate more interest from prospective male students.
Seattle University switched athletic conferences, moving up to a more competitive conference where other colleges have stronger athletic programs, reports PBS’ News Hour. The University has seen a drop in their winning percentages, but hopes to see an increase in the percentage of male students on campus.
Women comprise 61 percent of the student body at Seattle University. Mike McKeon, the director of admissions, believes that “more prominent athletic programs — clearly male athletic programs — are going to help us to attract more men.”
Other colleges are also using athletics to attract male students. Shenandoah University in Virginia started a football program to not only lure football players but men who are looking for a college with a football team.
Inequality in the response?
Susan Seckor, associate provost at Seattle University, fought for women’s equality in education for many years and wonders why there was no concern when more men attend college than women.
“There’s a part of me that finds it outrageous and ridiculous that anybody would have the gall to suggest that when we’re now finally willing to recognize and applaud the gifts of over half of humanity, that there is this reaction that somehow sees it as alarming instead of exciting,” Seckor said in a PBS interview. “I think it’s a sad day, frankly, and I think it’s a disgusting day.”
A survey by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education said men still hold more of the upper management and decision-making positions at universities. The survey also found that men also earn higher salaries.
While women have made great strides, serving as college presidents of some of the nations top universities, including Harvard, UPenn, Princeton and Brown, women still account for only 20 percent of college presidents.
The debate will continue, for now, as to how to best serve the students, effectively manage the university and properly represent both sexes, in both the student body and in upper administration.