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  • Writer's pictureJulie Simons

Bryn Mawr College

Located up the road from Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, is one of the original Seven Sister Schools. Founded at a time when an Ivy League education was open only to men, Bryn Mawr is still committed to providing rigorous academics and to empowering women in the classroom.

If you identify as a woman, here’s why you should consider this TEST OPTIONAL school with gorgeous buildings that look like European castles:

1. Bryn Mawr students get the best of both worlds academically and socially because Bryn Mawr is also part of the tri-college consortium with Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, both of which are coed. Students can take courses, eat meals, and attend events free of charge at all three schools. Bryn Mawr students can also take up to 4 classes at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as long as the course is not offered by the consortium schools.

2. Many clubs are bi- or tri-college as are some departments. For example, Bryn Mawr and Haverford share a music department.

3. Every student leadership position at Bryn Mawr is held by a woman, and most of the faculty and staff leaders are women as well. The culture of women mentoring women defines Bryn Mawr.

4. Bryn Mawr values learning across the curriculum, starting immediately with the first year Emily Balch Seminar, which is an English course taught by professors from all disciplines that teaches critical thinking, communication, and awareness of different perspectives.

5. Experiential learning is also a huge part of the Bryn Mawr experience. The LILAC office helps students find and funds opportunities for internships and externships. 3/4 of students hold internships during their time at Bryn Mawr.

6. One of the most special academic opportunities at Bryn Mawr are the 360 Degree Course Clusters. 4-6 are offered each semester. A group of no more than 15 students take 3 courses housed in 3 different disciplines to explore a topic. The course ends with either a travel or praxis component. The most popular 360 Degree Course Cluster is Contemplative Traditions, which culminates in a two-week trip to Japan. Travel for 360 Degree Course Clusters is fully funded.

7. As part of its Quaker roots, Bryn Mawr operates on an Honor Code based on respect and inclusion. The Honor Code is re-ratified every semester. The Honor Code gives students the flexibility to schedule their own exams and take them wherever they want.

8. There are no specific first year dorms. Cohorts of 5-6 first year students live on halls with Customs People to support them.

9. Bryn Mawr is known for having some of the best college food in the country. Haverford and Swarthmore students often come to eat at Bryn Mawr.

10. Bryn Mawr has extremely strong and meaningful traditions that connect the community. Lanterns represent the light of wisdom and knowledge to the Bryn Mawr community. Each class has a different colored lantern, and first years receive theirs on Lantern Night in The Cloisters.

11. Bryn Mawr awards almost 3 times the national average of degrees awarded to women in STEM.

12. Women’s college alumnae are more likely to earn a graduate degree than those from co-ed liberal arts colleges or flagship public universities.


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