I have recently been told about the Seven Sisters and wanted to know more about it for my daughter

The name Seven Sisters comes from Greek Mythology representing the seven daughters of Titan Atlas and Pleione. The Seven Sisters was a consortium of seven colleges in USA founded around mid to late 19th century to offer liberal arts education for women. Many of these colleges were founded before the women’s suffrage to encourage academics on par with the male dominated universities. The Seven Sisters are considered equivalent to the Ivies boasting of outstanding academic credentials and low acceptance rates.


The seven colleges originally were: Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Radcliffe College (merged with Harvard College), Smith College, Vassar College (became coeducational in the late 1960’s after it declined to merge with Yale University) and Wellesley College. As only five retain their original vision, they are now called the Five Sisters. All these colleges are located on the north east coast of USA and are affiliated to larger Ivy League Universities. The student population tends to be rather small with total numbers not exceeding 3,000 in any college. The fact that more than 80% of the students graduate in four years is a testimony to the academic rigor of these colleges.



Even while these elite women’s colleges are extremely well endowed and do help students seeking financial aid, tuition fees for full fee paying students is around $ 45,000 per year. Though independent, the admissions offices tend to do joint recruiting events. All of the Five Sisters share resources and courses with affiliated larger Ivy League Universities and other colleges. For example Mount Holyoke offers dual degree options in Engineering with Caltech. These partnerships between the Five Sisters and other colleges, makes their STEM degrees of exceptional quality. Students tend to explore and enroll easily for courses/classes that may be male dominated at the partner institutions. 


The colleges boast of a remarkable and varied alumni from Madeleine Albright, Julia Child, Hillary Clinton, Emily Dickinson and Jane Fonda, Katherine Hepburn to Meryl Streep. In addition to being connected with each other their alumni network has a strong bond with the university and its students. These women colleges are also acknowledged for being extremely supportive in finding jobs for their graduates.


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