National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 2016).


Copyright © 2016 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


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.