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Jessica Smith raised an arm and pointed across the lobby of the university student center like an ornithologist who had just spied a rare breed in the underbrush. It was, in fact, an unusual bird that Smith had spotted, especially on this campus: masculum collegium discipulus. A male college student.
Women out men by more than six to one here at Carlow University, where Smith is a senior and an orientation leader who was preparing to welcome incoming freshmen. Where men once went to college in proportions far higher than women—58 percent to 42 percent as recently as the s—the ratio has now almost exactly reversed. This fall, women will comprise more than 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U. Department of Education. Some 2. And the trend shows no of abating. By , the department estimates , 57 percent of college students will be women.
There are also new degree programs in fields such as business meant in part to appeal to men. Carlow has a lot of competition. Reeling from a years-long decline in overall enrollment, colleges and universities nationwide are vying for all the students they can get, and suddenly paying new attention to bolstering the of men who apply. So while much attention has been focused on the controversy over gender-neutral bathrooms on campuses, she said, the much bigger gender issue behind the scenes at universities and colleges is how to draw more men.
The problem has its origins as early as primary school, only to be fueled later on by economic forces that discourage men from believing a degree is worth the time and money. Maybe [admissions officers] should be going into middle schools and start talking to fifth-graders about the benefits of college education. Or even earlier than that. Girls at the primary and secondary level worldwide far outperform boys in reading, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. To them, he said, it means a lot of sacrifice for a vague payoff far in the future.
Bullock is the coordinator of programs to support male students, many of them from Appalachia. Men may also feel they have more alternatives to college than girls do. As opposed to a four-year college, they could go to an month [vocational-education] program and make just as much money. That was the choice of at least one high-school classmate of Vinny Bucci, the male Carlow student Smith pointed out across the student center. I need to do something with my life. Other male returnees are breadwinners. Is there going to be a job two years from now when I walk across the commencement stage?
Men who do enroll in college, at whatever age, are more likely than women to drop out, and they graduate at lower rates, the Education Department reports. But it just has gone nowhere. Not only are there not programs like ours that are supportive of male students, but at most college campuses the attitude is that men are the problem.
A lot of them are white. The male students under his care are black, white, and Hispanic, Bullock said, and they all face similar pressures. He escorts them to the counseling and advising offices and texts them every day to make sure they get to class on time and know when tests are scheduled. He also works with them on study habits and time management. Alex Santiago was one of those boys who decided late to go to college.
Even popular culture tended to discourage him. Then something happened, said Santiago, who at 22 is now a senior at Clark University majoring in economics and paying part of his tuition by driving a delivery truck for an auto parts wholesaler. But something clicked in me that was that I have to get things together now if I want to become something in the future.
One of his male friends from childhood is in jail. Others have kids of their own. This post appears courtesy of The Hechinger Report. Popular Latest. The Atlantic Crossword. In Subscribe. A rare male student at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, where women out men by more than six to one, Vinny Bucci said his male friends from high school chose vocational training over college. In colleges and universities nationwide this year, more than 56 percent of students are women.
Max Petrosky.Single college male
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