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ERIC Number: EJ1104387
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0151
How Gender Differences Shape Student Success in Honors
Dinan, Susan E.
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, v17 n1 p289-304 Spr-Sum 2016
In 2014, Jonathan Zimmerman published an op-ed in the "Christian Science Monitor" in which he wrote, "The last time I checked, [men] held most of the important positions of power and influence in American society. And yet, college admissions offices lower the standard for young men--effectively raising it for women--simply to make sure that the men keep coming." This comment was not surprising as, seven years earlier, the "U.S. News & World Report" had published "Many Colleges Reject Women at Higher Rates Than For Men," in which Alex Kingsbury memorably asserted: Using undergraduate admissions rate data collected from more than 1,400 four-year colleges and universities that participate in the magazine's rankings," U.S. News" has found that over the past 10 years many schools are maintaining their gender balance by admitting men and women at sometimes drastically different rates. The schools that are most competitive--Harvard, Duke, and Rice for example--have so many applicants and so many high achievers that they naturally maintain balanced student bodies by skimming the cream of the crop. But in the tier of selective colleges just below them, maintaining gender equity on some campuses appears to require a thumb on the scale in favor of boys. It's at these schools, including Pomona, Boston College, Wesleyan University, Tufts, and the College of William and Mary, that the gap in admit rates is particularly acute. This reality is entrenched in admissions offices that seek a gender balance on campus, and the academic community should consider the ethical and practical consequences of admitting less-qualified men into U.S. colleges. Two important questions are: (1) whether the practice of admitting young men with lower grades either validates or undermines the predictive power of the admissions evaluation criteria; and (2) whether young men who are by many measures less qualified are as likely to succeed and graduate as their female peers. Those who direct honors colleges and programs need to consider the implications of the gender imbalance for their communities.
National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt Residence Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A