I started out at a public school in a diverse town for kindergarten to third grade. The school was “international” themed (all of the public schools had a different theme and parents would tour them, then choose their top picks for their child to attend) and we were always learning about different cultures and putting on performances. When I moved, I attended my new public school for a year and then my parents decided that the sports focus was too heavy.
My parents moved me to a co-ed Catholic school for fifth to eighth grade. All of the students in my class, except the few going to public high school, had to take standardized and school specific tests, and write essays, and attend open houses for competitive private high schools. Imagine it like a slightly less intense college application process. Although I was allowed to apply to a few different schools, my parents were adamant about me attending a single sex school. They wanted me to focus on my studies (I was already pretty distracted by cute guys at age 14 haha) and knew I would have an increased chance of getting much needed scholarship awards.
And that's how I ended up at Lacordaire Academy (you can spot me on the homepage)! The most charming, fun, inquisitive environment is created at the Academy and I am forever grateful for the instructors that I had. In my classes (my largest class was 7 and my smallest class was 2) I learned to listen to the opinions and ideas of others and to learn from more than just a book. My classmates came from a variety of backgrounds: monetarily, culturally, religiously (despite it being a Catholic school), etc. and their experiences all informed my education. There was something unique and special about being in the all girls environment where we didn't feel fear or embarrassment when speaking up about any issue. The teachers empowered us to explore and debate and I developed a confidence in my academic ability there that I doubt would have been as strong anywhere else.
While I did end up coming to a co-ed college, I miss the all girls element of the classroom and cannot reccommend such an experience enough. I recently found out about the Women's Contemporary Leadership Program over the summer at Wellesley College (the #1 women's college) up in Massachusetts. If you're a rising sophomore, junior, or senior you can attend this 5 week program and take 2 courses for credit. Additionally, you'll get to participate in roundtables with faculty and outside panel members, attend special seminars (learning to golf is one!), and live on Wellesley's campus (so picturesque, right?).
Even better is that HerCampus is awarding a scholarship towards the program! You can take a look at the application here.
My best friend Ally lived there last summer when she worked as a photographer for another program and I had the opportunity to visit her. We were so close to Boston that we got to explore the home where John Adams was born (see ecstatic me below)! Being on the campus feels like Hogwarts and I'm pretty sure you are instantly smarter the second you step foot through the gates haha
In all seriousness though, developing leadership and independent thinking skills is beyond important, and a program like this can prepare you to utilize such skills as you move through your education and beyond. There's a simple application process that you can check out here if you think this is a way you'd like to spend your summer!
What has your education been like? How do you think different genders in the classroom impacts learning?