Not enough men on campus

The shortage of men is changing social life on college campuses, reports the New York Times.

Women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a recent report by the American Council on Education. Researchers there cite several reasons: women tend to have higher grades; men tend to drop out in disproportionate numbers; and female enrollment skews higher among older students, low-income students, and black and Hispanic students.

Without an engineering school, the University of North Carolina is nearly 60 percent female. Female students who tire of “girls’ night out” must pursue the available males aggressively.

Some colleges are practicing affirmative action for males to keep the gender ratios in line. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is analyzing “admissions data from 19 public and private colleges to look at whether they were discriminating against qualified female applicants,” reports the Times.

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  1. Michael E. Lopez says:

    I can’t comment on undergraduate social life… I try to stay out of my students’ lives as much as possible.

    But this should be expected as the natural result of an expanding college population. The intellectual ability distributions for men are flatter than for women. Men have greater distributions at the extremes than in the middle ranges. Women have a bigger “bulge” in the center of the distribution curve.

    If we assume that admission to college is strongly merit-based, then we should expect that a super-small college population is going to be strongly male-biased. As you increase the size of the population, the relative percentage of women will grow to a certain point, then stablilize, and then eventually drop down to return to something like a 50-50 split when the college population is the entire population.

    I suspect that the most selective institutions in the country are likely to retain something closer to a 50-50 split, and that the gender imbalance is greater at large state schools. Just by way of a few examples:

    Harvard: 1047-1027 male bias in class of 2009.

    Yale: Some sort of mild male bias… hard to tell exactly what.

    Princeton: 2591-2238 male bias in total student population (may include graduates… not sure)

    MIT: 49-51 male bias in class of 2009

    These are obviously not dispositive of anything, and I remain open to the existence of systemic counterexamples. But I’m allowed to spout off unverified theories on the internet.

  2. Looks like I went to college ten years early… would have made my social life much easier.

  3. Hmmm. My wife teaches in computer science. This semester her class has 37 students, all male. It would be interesting to see data with regard to the level of gender segregation in various fields. Rather than doing gender balancing directly, schools could restrict / expand enrollment in specific fields.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Note that the USCCR is investigating to see if qualified females have been non-admitted in favor or less-qualified males.
    Seems to me that we need a critical mass of the minority in order that the majority will have a complete educational experience.

  5. Not enough men? Since when has that ever been the case? How about this post i read:

    Not enough free speech is a greater concern.

  6. Female students who tire of “girls’ night out” must pursue the available males aggressively.

    Yeahhhh – that’s what they have to do. they’d never look into alternatives.