What Are the Seven Sister Colleges?

Foliage at Wellesley College, one of the famous Seven Sisters liberal arts colleges.
Foliage at Wellesley College, one of the famous Seven Sisters liberal arts colleges.

The seven sister colleges are a collection of colleges in Northeast of the United States that were created to give women the same chance in education like men were given in the Ivy League colleges. The name “Seven Sisters” came into use in the year 1926 when a fundraising was held for the colleges. The colleges were majorly meant for women who were interested in studying the liberal arts. Currently, only five of the Seven Sisters are still exclusively women’s colleges. Vassar College has become coeducational and Radcliffe College merged fully with Harvard University in 1999, creating the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study was established. Here are the “Seven Sister” colleges;

7. Barnard College

Barnard College was founded in 1889 as a Liberal arts women’s college by Annie Nathan Meyer. The College is located in New York City. It was created after Columbia University declined to admit women into their institution. Columbia University started admitting women in 1983. However Barnard College is now it is affiliated to Columbia University through shared academic programs and joint sports programs. The students from Barnard College are also represented in senate meetings at Columbia University. Currently Barnard college students receive degrees from Columbia University and get to graduate during the Columbia University graduation. The college is dedicated to environmental issues and has been involved in a lot of environmental cleaning and teaching young children how to take care of the environment. Some of the notable alumni include Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union.

6. Bryn Mawr College

The Bryn Mawr College was established in 1885.The college was formerly exclusive for women. However, in1931 it became inclusive and men were allowed to enroll for the graduate programs with the undergraduate programs remaining exclusively to the women. One of the unique aspects of the college is that it was the very first college to offer women graduate degrees and doctorates in the US. The college was also the first to offer social work doctorate in the country. Bryn Mawr College is keen on environmental conservation. Having signed the “American College and University President's Climate Commitment,” the college encourages their students to use public transport with waste in the school recycled, energy saving bulbs used in all campus premises, and food that remains after meals is also donated.

5. Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College is among the first seven sister colleges. The institution was established in 1837 by Mary Lyon and was initially known as Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. It is located in South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States. The college was chattered in 1888 when it was still referred to as Mount Holyoke Seminary and College. It was renamed Mount Holyoke College in 1893.The College is a top ranked private liberal arts college. It puts a lot of emphasis on connected learning, environmental literacy, arguing and writing, leadership, technological and excellence in speaking, notable by its beautiful campus. Mount Holyoke has different unique traditions with the most popular being the Mountain Day, which takes place in the fall when all the students go for a hike up at a nearby mountain

4. Smith College

Smith College was founded in 1871 and officially began operations in 1875 .It is a private and independent liberal arts college for women. Located in Northampton Massachusetts, Smith College is also famous for its athletic prowess since 1986. Also, a unique event in the college was the first women basketball game played at Smith College in 1893.The Smith College is also known for being a pioneer in offering undergraduate degrees in the field of engineering to women. Another unique event that happens annually in the college is the Otelia Cromwell Day, which began in 1989. The day is named after the first African American to enroll as a student in the college. On this day the students attend lectures, several talks, and discussions on different themes each year.

3. Wellesley College

Established in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, Wellesley College is a private women's liberal arts college. The collage is situated in Boston town in the United States. It was formerly known as Wellesley Female Seminary and was renamed to Wellesley College on March 7, 1873.The college is known for having the second oldest physics laboratory in the United States. The students in the college are allowed to also register in other colleges like Babson .The college awards alumni who have done laudable things in their fields. The award is given every year and has been done since 1970. Some of the most notable alumni are Hillary Rodham Clinton, former US first lady and Secretary of States, and Soong Mei-ling the former First Lady of China, who studied English literature and philosophy at the college.

2. Vassar College

Vassar College was established in 1861 by Matthew Vassar as the first institution of higher education that granted degrees to women in the United States. It is one of the most selective colleges and has been co-educational from 1969. The College ranks high in the liberal arts college category in United States of America. Vassar College is famed for its innovations, and a lot of pioneering achievements in the field of education, and for the magnificence of its campus. Vassar College is located in Poughkeepsie town, New York, in the United States. The College currently has a gender ratio at the national average. It is also known for the unique initial development plan which had a museum in it, a first of its kind in the United States.

1. Radcliffe College

Radcliffe College was established by Author Gilman in 1879 as a women’s college. The college is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts and formerly existed as an annex to Harvard University. The college founder longed to establish a college of higher education that surpassed what was offered in the then female colleges. He had a discussion with Charles William Eliot who was the then Harvard University president and requested him to let lecturers from the university to teach a group of female students. During that time the idea of women pursuing higher education was not welcomed. In1963, after a lot of resistance, the students from the formerly women liberal arts college were allowed to get Harvard University degrees .The Radcliffe College is now fully part of the Harvard University and managed by the university.


More in Society