The New Gender Gap: Why Over 60% of College Graduates are Female

October 21, 2014

Today, over 60% of college graduates with bachelor’s degrees are women. This is a total reversal of the graduation breakdown by gender of only 50 years ago. So why the change? Research shows that not only are fewer are men going to college these days, but even those that do are dropping out at a much higher rate than their female counterparts. 

The next question that naturally arises is what might prompt these students to quit school. Are women generally more committed to school work? Are men less capable of dealing with the strain of college? While these speculations are difficult to quantify studies have found several other tangible reasons as to why the gender gap is becoming so prominent in colleges.

Financing and money factor prominently into this college graduation gender gap. Studies have shown that men are not as willing to go into debt: male students are less inclined to take out student loans than their female counterparts, and are more inclined to believe the best route is to leave school and begin working full time, rather than accumulate thousands of dollars of student debt to finance their education. Indeed, it’s been shown that men who don’t attend college, or drop out before finishing their education, are at less of a financial disadvantage than are women who make that same decision. Women who drop out of college are likely to receive about 7,000 dollars less than their male  coworker, regardless of whether those men finished college. Since it is so much harder for a female college dropout to find a job that pays enough to keep up with the cost of living, women have greater incentive to strive to attain a college degree, with which they can attain a much higher salary. Men, on the other hand, can expect to receive the same entry-level salary whether or not they hold a degree - so the time and money required to attain a college degree just isn’t as worth it.

Other studies have shown that the reason fewer males attend college is a result of their overall high school experience. Boys generally reported disliking school more than girls. This has been attributed, in part, to the societal norms regarding masculinity: Male students are less likely to get involved in foreign language  classes, music, art, and drama, because those classes are widely considered to be more feminine. . However, male students who do participate in those classes attained higher overall grades in school. Researchers say that dealing with the facts presented above would help tremendously in closing the gender gap and promoting equal college attendance amongst all young people, regardless of gender.

 

 



Browse Successful Application Files

lmelcher
Columbia ‘20


Accepted to Columbia, Brown, UPenn, Rice, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UC Davis, UCSD, UCSC, USC

Hey! I'm a John Jay Scholar at Columbia, and I'm from Los Angeles. I'm planning to major in Art History and do ballet and theater. Hope I can help!
jpm13
Rochester ‘20


Accepted to Rochester, Rutgers, Fordham, College of NJ, Drexel

Hey! I'm a freshman at University of Rochester Class of 2020 interested in double majoring in Biology and Spanish, eventually applying to med school. I'm passionate about studying science, doing research and learning new languages.
VivienneEve23
UC Berkeley ‘20


Accepted to UC Berkeley, Brown, Claremont (CMC), Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Northwestern, Pomona, Stanford, San Diego, Vanderbilt, UCSC, UCSB, UCSD, UCLA, Cal Poly, Cal Poly Pomona, Washington

UC Berkeley Class of 2020
htownbrown
Stanford ‘22


Accepted to Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, UPenn, Pomona, Williams, Amherst, Claremont (CMC), Northwestern, Vanderbilt, USC, JHU, UC Berkeley, UT Austin, UNC, Tulane, UMich, Georgetown

An aspiring lawyer who wants to make a difference in the world.

New Posts

Summer Prep for Every Grade in High School
Summer Prep for Every Grade in High School
March 15, 2019

What should you do as a high school student over the summer? If that's a question you're asking yourself, relax. Spend your summer break wisely, meaning find a good balance between enjoying your time off...

Load More Posts