Why a Women's College?

Mary Lyon with text overlay: Why a women's college: Top 9 Reasons

1. Now more than ever

At Mount Holyoke, the first of the powerful Seven Sisters colleges, social activism is in our DNA. The Princeton Review saw this when it named us the #1 Best School for Making an Impact in 2021. Mount Holyoke has long been committed to access and social justice.

Photo of students in 1916 holding a sign supporting the right for women to vote

1916: Supporting the right to vote

Photo of students in 1985 protesting against apartheid in South Africa

1985: Protesting against apartheid in South Africa

Photo of students in 2018 standing up in support of the #MeToo movement

2018: The #MeToo movement

Today, taking a stand means acting on both a local and global scale: To expose and bring an end to injustice and inequality worldwide. To safeguard the status of women. To promote human rights and LGBT rights and dismantle gender oppression. The world needs our graduates — who share the conviction and readiness to make their lives stand for something bigger — now more than ever.

2. Equality + power = empowered

Here, it’s not about leaning in. It’s about standing among — and following in the footsteps of — brilliant women at work. Who win cases, make deals, run governments, write code, manage startups, debate global politics, conduct experiments, save patients, edit dissertations and perform on stage. Who approach gender and other complex issues with urgency. It's about choosing a place where you are surrounded by peers, role models and mentors who see you and value you. Who take you seriously without you having to ask. Who push you to aim high, take risks, ask questions, make mistakes and break restraints — knowing that such actions can spark momentous and meaningful change.

Graphic of a number of student faces with the overlay quote: "I never have to ask to be taken seriously" by Mariana Jaramillo ’20


A quote by Suzan-Lori Parks ’85, "Be bold. Envision yourself living a life that you love."

3. An enviable academic experience

Rigorous. Relevant. Spirited. Inspiring. The learning landscape at Mount Holyoke is shaped as much by curiosity and intensity as it is by collaboration and guidance. Your guides? Our faculty, who were named #1 in the nation, per the 2020 Princeton Review, based on student surveys. From classes on renewable energy and critical race theory in education to wearable circuit workshops at the Fimbel Maker & Innovation Lab, you’ll find people who brim with passion. Who seek the whys and hows of human behavior. And who forge multidisciplinary connections and relationships quicker than you can say “intersectionality.”

Montage of photos of students, faculty and alums

Get to know us: #WeAreMountHolyoke

Community encourages conversation. Diversity elevates it. Meet some of the students, faculty and alums who call the community at Mount Holyoke home.
Alexi C Arango    Assistant Professor of Physics

Innovative, dedicated faculty

Mount Holyoke’s faculty are active scholars, research scientists and creative artists — who are passionate about their disciplines and about teaching.
Photo of a group of students on the Restoration Ecology boardwalk

Areas of study

Featuring 48 majors, three academic centers (dedicated to leadership, the environment and global initiatives) and a 700-acre Campus Living Laboratory.

4. For the love of STEM

Tired of being one of the only girls in your AP biology, calculus or physics class? Many Mount Holyoke students were, too. Here, 34% of our students major in STEM, which is significantly higher than the proportion of women who typically major in math or science at coeducational institutions. Beyond access to state-of-the-art labs and maker spaces — which blend technology with the liberal arts in forward-thinking, entrepreneurial ways — Mount Holyoke students join a community that emphasizes peer mentorship, internships and research with faculty.

Photos of students with the quote "I designed Mount Holyoke's first undergraduate curriculum in neuroscience and law, an emerging field known as nurolaw, typically present only in graduate programs." by Maria Jaleh McTeigue ’18

5. See yourself as a leader. As you become one.

At Mount Holyoke, it’s not about equal opportunity to take on leadership roles. It’s about every opportunity. Fact: Powerful women recognize — and encourage — powerful women. And seeing yourself reflected in those who hold positions of influence isn’t a luxury. It’s a must. The leaders of our 100+ student orgs plan hackathons and tech conferences, publish an award-winning campus newspaper, organize Five College Model UN conferences and cultural events and much more.

Two photos show selfies of five students and a guide dog in Washington, D.C. One is inside the ornately decorated Rayburn Reception Room in the Capitol. In the other, the group poses with their professor in front of the Capitol against a blue sky.

Meet the students of the MHC Semester in D.C.

Five students spend the semester building careers in public policy and advocacy as they work, study and live in the nation’s capital.
Image of Model UN students

Investigate. Debate. Negotiate.

Four members of MHC Model UN share their stories.
Board members of the Mount Holyoke Model United Nations pose with their Distinguished Student Organization Award citation (from left): Maham Khan '19, Marwa Mikati '17, Kim Foreiter '19 and Edith Amoafoa-Smart '19.

Make an impact

Our community boasts diverse and seemingly endless possibilities for involvement both on- and off-campus.

6. Own your social scene

Let's cut to the chase: Social life at many colleges is defined by a single dominant norm — a prescribed thread of what having a good time looks and sounds like. At Mount Holyoke, social life is defined by choice. As in choosing from cultural events and social programming on campus or within the Five College Consortium. Or running the Seven Sisters trail with your rowing team. Or watching — or performing — classical Indian dance. Or seeking out apple cider doughnuts with your improv troupe or a cappella group. Or snapping pics on Mountain Day — one of the many highly anticipated College traditions. Odds that the friends you make will be lifelong? Very high.

Photo of three students playing Scrabble on the large board in the Community Center

Over 100 student organizations

Student organization events and programs celebrate the depth and breadth of our diverse community, and provide a great opportunity for making connections.
Image of students at Convocation.

Mount Holyoke Traditions

From Convocation to Milk and Cookies and the Laurel Parade, traditions bring the community closer together and create memorable moments to last a lifetime.
Graphic that reads: 5 things to love about the Five College Consortium

The Five College Consortium, by definition?

Ask five people and you’ll get five different answers. Which is to say, Five Colleges is a whole lot of everything. All of it amazing. Watch the video!

7. An Inclusive and global community

Mount Holyoke's expansive commitment to access and inclusion is reflected in our student body. Big picture: One in four students is international. One in four domestic students identifies as a student of color. More important than our compositional diversity is the fact that we recognize all identities as multidimensional, intersectional — and we explore that fact in class, in community, in our cultural centers and in our residence halls. And did we mention that we lead the way in welcoming transgender and gender non-conforming students? Bottom line: An incomparably dynamic environment in which to live and learn.

Photo of a group of international students

Thinkers and doers from around the world

Students across the globe are drawn to Mount Holyoke because of the powerful living and learning experience the College provides.

Citizenship of current international students

Hover over the image to see the countries represented in our student population.

8. Open doors to opportunity

Some secrets of the 2%? Though women’s college graduates make up 2% of the college graduate population, they are more than twice as likely as graduates of coeducational colleges to receive doctoral degrees. More than 20% of women in Congress and 33% of women on Fortune 1000 boards graduated from a women’s college.* Within 10 years of graduation, nearly 80% of Mount Holyoke alums pursue advanced study.

Graphic of students with quote overlay "Mount Holyoke has taught me how to be an advocate for change, not just when it benefits me, but for the greater good" by Brandy Williamson ’18

Employers — specifically in finance, business and STEM — intentionally seek out graduates of women's colleges because of their potential to lead out of the gate. Unafraid to challenge conventions, the 2% are also poised to excel as entrepreneurs in a globally connected economy.

*Data from “Why a Women's College,” a 2014 study by Collegewise counselors.


9. One word: Alums

Engaged alums are a given. Our network of more than 38,000 alums around the world share their time, insight and connections — these of course being code words for power. Alums of women’s colleges arguably constitute the most influential professional women’s networks on the globe.

At Mount Holyoke, the bench of female “firsts” is deep and varied. From the first woman in the presidential cabinet to the first woman of color to win an Oscar for best director. These leaders in their fields are actuely aware of the shoulders they stood on to achieve success. And are ready to do the same for the next generation: They're the reason The Princeton Review named us #10 for “Best Alumni Networks” in 2021.

Meet some Mount Holyoke alumnae who have made their mark since the College’s founding — by a woman — in 1837.

Alumnae outcomes

Advanced degrees and career success

Grpahic of colored circles depicting types of outcomes: employed, graduate of professional education, etc.

Within 10 years, nearly 80% of alumnae pursue an advanced degree at top-level institutions. Mount Holyoke alumnae across the decades pursue rewarding careers in fields ranging from medicine, law and business to communications, finance and consulting.