Frank Answers to Questions about Gender and Kenyon Admissions
First of all, what are the actual numbers? How many applications did Kenyon get this year, and how many students did you admit? How do those numbers break down between men and women?
This year Kenyon received 4,248 applications
- 2,400 women (56.5 percent)
- 1,848 men (43.5 percent)
We admitted 1,371 students
- We admitted 761 women -- 55.5 percent of the total
- We admitted 610 men -- 44.5 percent of the total
Having admitted 1,371 students of 4,248 applicants, our admissions rate was 32.3 percent overall.
- The admissions rate for female applicants was 31.7 percent
- The admissions rate for male applicants was 33 percent
How do the SAT scores for men admitted to Kenyon compare to those of women?
The men we admit tend to have higher math scores and the women have higher critical-reading scores. The difference in the numbers is almost negligible. Here are the specifics:
SAT Critical Reading Scores
Average score for applicant pool: 666
Average score for admitted students: 694
Average male applicant score: 659
Average admitted male score: 681
Average female applicant score: 670
Average admitted female score: 705
SAT Math Scores
Average score for applicant pool: 643
Average score for admitted students: 670
Average male applicant score: 655
Average admitted male score: 675
Average female applicant score: 634
Average admitted female score: 665
What about the statistical picture nationally?
Colleges and universities nationwide, particularly selective liberal arts colleges, are seeing more women than men applying. The larger picture to keep in mind is that the percentage of male undergraduates in the United States has been declining for many years. In 1979, men made up approximately 49 percent of undergraduates. The percentage slipped to less than 46 percent in 1989 and to less than 44 percent in 1999. In 2002, 43 percent of American undergraduates were men, 57 percent were women.
Does that mean it's harder for women to get into college than men?
For the Kenyon College Class of 2010, women were admitted at approximately the same rate as men. Moreover, the admitted-student pool mirrors the applicant pool: 56.5 percent of the applicant pool were female, and 55.5 percent of the admitted students were female. It is important to note that gender is a challenge at virtually every college, but that the challenge presents itself in different ways. Schools with strong athletic programs and certain curricular traditions, such as technology and engineering, may find their applicant pool to be consistently majority-male. Schools that were once women's colleges may have consistently majority-female applicant pools, even if they have been coed for years.
Does Kenyon have a formal or informal policy that leads the admissions office to seek gender balance?
We have neither a formal nor an informal policy to seek gender balance in our admissions practices at Kenyon. We do, however, seek to create an incoming class that represents a mosaic of backgrounds, talents, interests, and opinions. Gender is just one of many factors that embodies diversity at Kenyon. Diversity is a core value at Kenyon, as noted in our mission statement, http://www.kenyon.edu/x11758.xml.
Is gender balance important at Kenyon?
Kenyon College, a coeducational institution, was a men's college until 1969. As a coeducational institution, we seek to involve both men and women across the curriculum and across all extracurricular activities. Again, we see this question in terms of diversity. Researchers across the social sciences have created an extensive literature about the educational and social/psychological benefits of diversity in terms of student learning outcomes.
How are candidates selected at Kenyon?
College admissions is a very human process, in which admissions officers select those candidates who they think will contribute to Kenyon and also become their best selves--academically and personally--while enrolled here. And as a human process, it is also imperfect. If admissions were only about those things that could be measured or described objectively, such as test scores, geography, race, and gender, we could let the computer select the class. Instead, the ten admissions officers at Kenyon take the more than 4,000 applications we receive each year, read them twice if not three times in a holistic fashion, and then select not only the best and the brightest, but those students we believe will be outstanding community members and courageous seekers of wisdom and creators of new knowledge.