Women in Higher Education

By W. Todd Furniss; Patricia Albjerg Graham | Go to book overview

Undergraduates View the Coeducational Campus

Coeducation: One Student's View

KATHERINE L. JELLY

I find coeducation more difficult to discuss now than I could have imagined a year or even six months ago. Since I am no longer an undergraduate at Yale, a newly "coeducated" college, no longer working in the Coeducation Office there, as I did for a year after graduating, I feel quite removed from the topic of coeducation. That coeducation was, and still is, a "topic" at all almost annoys me. Living and working in a coeducated society, I tend to consider that one's education should be coeducational. Yet looking back at my four undergraduate years and at my year in administrative work, I realize, sadly, that coeducation still needs discussing, that certain of my assumptions seem not so obvious to others as I, in my somewhat removed state, would expect.

As a high school senior, I applied to six colleges, four of them coeducational and two, coordinate. Because I expected coordinate education to be no different from coeducation, I chose Pembroke, the women's college in Brown University. It turned out not to be coeducational. There is no need to pursue what I saw as the problems of Brown and Pembroke except to say that I consider the subsequent decision to merge the two as a wise and necessary determination. I am led to believe that, since my time, life there-- both social and academic--has greatly improved.

My principal reasons for transferring to Yale University after my sophomore year were related to wanting to attend a coeducational school. It seemed to me that the experimental nature of Yale's coeducation would be both challenging, in that I would be helping to shape and direct the venture, and supportive, in that I would be among many other transfers. (Other reasons also entered into my decision to choose Yale, including its strong academic offerings and its superb history department.)

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