What Are the Seven Sisters Colleges?

There are tons of great elite liberal arts college, but if you’re a female student looking for schools that are more geared toward women, you should consider applying to the Seven Sisters colleges. 

The Seven Sisters colleges are top-notch institutions that are competitive, welcoming, and perfect for anyone who wants a more focused academic environment. In this post, we’ll go over what the Seven Sisters are and which of these schools are still running today.

We’ll also discuss which schools are a part of the Seven Sisters and let you know which of them are still women’s colleges, while also talking about how you can get into these institutions. 

What’s the History of the Seven Sisters?

Founded in the 19th century, the Seven Sisters are a group of women’s colleges in the northeastern United States. The schools are:

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The Seven Sisters were created to mirror the then-exclusively male Ivy League, and each of these schools was and is considered a top college. These elite women’s colleges aimed to create opportunities for women by providing them with the best possible education. Inspired by Greek and Roman myths, their founders derived the name “the Seven Sisters” from the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and nymph Pleione.

The Seven Sister colleges were groundbreaking at their inception. In addition to catering to female students, the schools hired women as professors and staff. With the exception of Vassar (which is co-ed), the Seven Sisters still don’t admit men as students. But,  students at the Seven Sisters can usually still take co-ed classes at other nearby colleges. 

Other than Radcliffe, which officially merged with Harvard in 1999, the remaining Seven Sisters are still thriving You can learn more about the individual Seven Sister colleges here and here

 What Are The Benefits of Applying to the Seven Sisters?

You might be wondering why someone might want to apply to a Seven Sisters college. With most students, female and male, interested in co-ed campuses, the Sisters might seem a little outdated to some. Keep reading to find out the top benefits of the Seven Sister Colleges:

1. You Get A Quality Liberal Arts Education

The Seven Sisters are all intentionally small, and they offer high-quality classes. If you’re looking for a school where you’ll receive more one-on-one attention and a strong focus on academics, the Seven Sisters could be good options for you. And because the Seven Sisters typically partner with many nearby schools, you can easily expand your academic horizons and customize your college experience to your specific needs. 

2. You Have A Better Chance of Gaining Admission

The Seven Sisters are some of the country’s top-ranking colleges, both in terms of academics and campus life. While these private schools are still selective, you will have a much better chance of getting in than you might at a comparable co-ed institution. 

Barnard is the most selective of the Sisters, with an acceptance rate of only 11.5%, while most of the others have acceptance rates closer to 30%. Notably, these higher acceptance rates aren’t a reflection of the schools’ educational quality. Rather, the schools’ higher acceptance rates result from the small applicant pool. With fewer students competing for spots, it’s a little easier to get in!

 3. There Are Great Networking Opportunities 

We’ve all heard about the old boys’ club at Ivy League schools, but if you matriculate at one of the Seven Sisters, you’ll have the chance to join a sisterhood of accomplished women, with whom you can create strong interpersonal relationships, which. is important as you head into the working world. 

4. More Focused Environment For Women

Finally, the biggest advantage of the Seven Sister colleges is the campus environment. These schools are ideal for women who want a more focused environment that promotes women’s leadership, achievements, and education. Some women might prefer a co-ed campus, but if you want to foster your own success in an environment that will help you grow as a woman, then one of these schools might be the best option for you. 

Large public universities are great, but it’s easy to get lost in a sea of students. At the Seven Sisters colleges, you get the attention you need to become a strong, successful leader in college and beyond. 

How Can You Get Into One of the Seven Sisters Colleges?

The process of getting into the Seven Sister colleges is similar to that of getting into other schools. Still, there are a few extra things to keep in mind. Primarily, though—as when applying to co-ed institutions—make sure that you have a strong academic record. 

When applying to one of the Sisters, you should have good grades, great letters of recommendation, and good SAT/ACT scores. Since most of these schools are smaller, your letters of recommendation will be important as they will show off your personal strengths. In addition, if you are asked to do an alumni interview or admissions interview, always say, “Yes.” An interview is the best way to make a personal connection in order to stand out.

Students who want to attend a Seven Sisters college should research the schools they are interested in and make their interest the school obvious. As you write your personal statement or go into an interview, know why you want to attend a Seven Sisters college. 

Other than this, try to be well-rounded in academics, as well as extracurriculars. Anything you can do to make yourself look unique and ambitious should help you get into one of the Seven Sisters.

If you are interested in learning more about the college admissions process, or about college life in general, check out more of our blogs and resources here at HelloCollege. We believe that preparing for university shouldn’t be scary, and we are here to help guide you or your student through the process every step of the way.

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HelloCollege CEO Andrea Emmons has spent the last 15 years guiding students and families across the country on their path to college. Andrea knows the profound impact proactive college planning has on the lives of students and is passionate about mentoring families through the process.
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Kevin Krebs

Inspired by his parents, Kevin’s journey from a first-gen, diverse, low-income background to Northwestern University shaped him. After experiencing challenges, including student loan debt, he founded HelloCollege and has spent the last 25 years helping students successfully navigate college admissions.

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