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Top Tips For Women Applying To College

Woman graduating from college

It’s no secret that getting into the best colleges in the U.S. is incredibly hard for all applicants, but if you’re a woman, it’s a lot harder than it should be. There is a fairly wide gap between acceptance rates for men and women in a lot of schools but it is particularly bad when it comes to the schools at the top of the leaderboard. What you might not realize is that the reason for this is because a large number of schools do not have to abide by discrimination laws. A public school that receives state funding has to follow laws that make it illegal to discriminate by gender. However, the elite schools that are not state-funded do not have to follow these rules; they are exempt from Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination. That means it is perfectly legal for them to discriminate against you because you’re a woman. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to get in at all, but it is going to be an uphill battle. If you’ve got your sights set on a top college, here are a few tips to help level the playing field.

Perform Well In High School

This might seem obvious but it’s still worth mentioning. On average, women tend to perform better than men at high school, but men are still getting into colleges more easily. That means you don’t just need to outperform them by a small amount. If your grades are significantly higher, it is more difficult for an admissions officer to justify taking a man with lower grades instead of you.

Grades aren’t usually enough on their own. Make sure that you are engaging in plenty of extra curricular activities. Having these on your application will take it to the next level and differentiate you from your male peers. Advanced placement courses can give you a good head start because you can start earning college credits while you’re still in high school, that way you can prove that you’re capable before you’ve even applied.

Make Your Essay Stand Out

Admissions will be based on your grades to some extent but when there are so many applicants, that isn’t enough to choose between candidates. The essay is often the thing that makes or breaks an application so make sure you put enough focus on it. Veer away from anything boring that admissions officers are likely to have seen a thousand times before. Seek the advice of a college essay specialist before submitting the application and they’ll be able to tell you whether your idea is unique enough. If it isn’t, you’ll need to do a rewrite. The best essays are personal ones that say something about who you are as a person. Admissions officers want to get a sense of the applicant through the essay. Think of it as your chance to prove you have all of the same qualities as your male counterparts, and that you are as capable as they are.

Online Presence

Online activities can be factored into her college application process
Your online presence may be considered in the college admission process. Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

People will often tell you that your online presence is important when you are looking for jobs, but we forget about it when it comes to applying for college. The truth is, it’s just as important. It’s another way for admissions officers to get a good sense of who you are as a person to help them inform their decision. The first thing to do is get rid of anything inappropriate that you might have on there. Instead of posting pictures of you on a night out, make posts about any educational achievements that you’ve made. Think of it as a showcase of all of your skills and talents.

34 thoughts on “Top Tips For Women Applying To College”


    I can’t believe my child is at this stage already. I’m nervous for her so this summer she’ll be getting on more essays and preparing for her final year. This article is good information

  2. I had an opposite experience with getting into college. I had worser grades, SAT scores, etc… and got in due to diversity. So in some cases, being in the minority actually helps.

  3. Isn’t it funny that they accept more men, but more women still graduate? There are more women (esp women of colour) with degrees than men in America, and many other countries.

    It’s truly discouraging that any organization would hold on to archaic beliefs fed by race or gender.

    Social equality is looking more and more like a distant dream.

  4. Christy, I had to read the first paragraph a few times to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. How can some colleges not have to abide by sex discrimmination laws?? Here the law is across the board…unless there is postive discimminatio​n​ which is another discussion altogether! This is an excellent article for women, and arguably​ anyone, applying to colleges, university and a good reminder to everyone about online presence and what is actually out there!

    1. It’s a loophole in U.S. law, it seems, Annika :( The fact is shocked you – and rightly so – shows how much work still needs to be done in Western society! I’m glad in the UK there’s not this issue.

  5. Excellent advice! All of it is very sound. It’s also really important to not post unflattering pictures of oneself on social media sites, even if they believe they have their privacy settings locked down (the picture may still be visible via a friend’s profile, what with tagging and whatnot). It’s such a shame that women are *still*, in 2017, facing an uphill struggle to get into the best universities. My theory is that this stems from the persistent inequality in pay, which would give females less of an opportunity to contribute back to those universities in donations. If males continue to command higher salaries, then they may be seen as having the potential to write fatter donation checks. But that’s just my theory 😉. Thank you for writing such a thought-provoking post! Those are my favorite kind 😁👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼💓

    1. Your theory sounds like a highly plausible one, Laina! Males still seem to dominate our wester society, although it’s not the case in every country. I found that out when I wrote an article here about Iceland. You’re an awesome supporter <3 :)

    2. Thank you so kindly! Oh wow, I would love to know more about the societies in which females are more dominant – or at least much more equal – that would be too cool to at least have greater equality 😁👍🏼👍🏼. I’ll go find the Iceland article! 👏🏼👏🏼

  6. The essay tips are so on point honey… an original subject would probably be “a winner”- On a side note, as I read that I thought of an episode of Gilmore Girls, i whihc they mention that writing an essay about Hillary Clinton and how inspiring she was…. well, was a little bit a cliche… Lori admired her so much…. And that when Hillary´s career was just beginning;)
    Being qualified is undoubtedly a qualitative question. Here we have both Public and Private universities. But, unlike USA; Public university is excellent (for almost all careers) In you want to enter, a course called Common basic cycle, annual duration is compulsory.- And I still remember I learnt in the CBC by the way :D
    Great post, hun… have a beautiful week … Hugs!

    1. Hi Aqui, great to learn more about the educational system in Argentina. It’s alike yet different… Cheers to your mention of the CBC! Oh that does sound a bit over the top with the Gilmore Girls episode – they were trying to make a political statement ;) I hope you’re having a beautiful day. Blue sky day here ~ Come out for a walk with me soon okay xx Thanks for the beautiful comment and all the likes <3

    2. I am glad that you like the comment… Oh , yes, you are so right as to them trying to make a “political statement”!. Sigh… I found a similar “wink” in “The Good Wife”, another favorite series, BTW. Oh … and, let me say that I was delighetd to read on Twitter that you had read Eliot´s “Four Quartets” (complete)… I did so too… And then listen to a great reading thatI´ll be sharing with you soon. It is like 50 minutes long… But absolutely worth it…. :D Let´s go for a walk and talk about “Time”, ;) Hugs honey :D

    3. Awww your comment here made my day, Aqui :) During our walk, I know that time will go quickly (or so it seems!) which means we’d better get talking right away ;) As to Eliot’s poetry, it’s wonderful. And I always like your shares from videos and posts so keep them coming! I know sometimes it takes a few days for me to respond to the messages but I do so and with delight I’ll have you know! Huge hugs xxoo

  7. Hi Christy. It seems like a lot of people (female and male) tend to post “unfortunate” photos. One has to wonder what they were thinking…
    College seemed like the one place where I didn’t run into huge double standards… at least not the first time (1980s), but that was a small college with no athletic teams.
    Then when I went back to get my degree (around 2000), it was a technology degree… Yeesh! Anything “IT” (information technology) is hugely chauvinistic. I’ve heard a couple of executives at my gov agency say they’ve never encountered anything of that kind. I have to think they’re deluded.
    Good luck in everything you do, my friend. Hugs.

    1. Oh Teagan, yes, IT is gaining ground when it comes to female students but still males are the majority… I wonder if your execs don’t want to rock the boat or offend anyone.. unfortunately the head in the sand approach isn’t helping but instead prolongs all.. Having your support makes me smile and for that I thank you :) PS I’m glad you went back to school and that you are sharing your creative side via your blog. Hugging back xx

    1. Mary, I feel that way too – I still can’t believe this is still how it is in 2017! We’ll get there but it’s taking longer than many people hoped…

  8. Just a random thought. Shouldn’t the admission panel be made up of 50% men; 50% women? Equality at the source might cure the problem if/provided the women on the panel weren’t under pressure from outside. If so, the women should be ‘whistle-blowers’. I don’t understand this world. Get’s me down when ‘a’ wants to score over ‘b’ all the time. I enjoyed this read, by the way. As a proper (certified, like in an applicant to a college) dyslexic, so often I don’t read longish posts. I hung in there.

    1. That you took the effort to read a longer post is a high compliment indeed, George! You’re also correct that the panel ideally ought to be equal. I’m glad you raised that point. Starting at the source is the way to get to the equality results we want. May the remainder of your weekend be as wonderful as you are.

    2. Gosh Christy, Lord George picks up on a very valid point. No idea that things were this unequal over your side of the pond. Great post and well done you for highlighting this. x

    3. George is right on the ball with his comments here, Shey! I’m glad you saw that too. I thank you both for the wonderful conversations and friendships :)

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