Growing confidence in a single-gender school


Senior Julia Jeremiah participates in the school’s student-produced newscast, the Lancers Lately. She loves being able to express her creativity by filming segments for her Video Productions class. Photo courtesy of Danielle Torres.

Does going to a single-gender school provide students with more benefits than a co-educational school? Based on my own personal experience of transferring from a co-ed to an all girls school, I can attest that I’ve grown as not only a student but also as an individual.


According to an article called,The Pros and Cons of Single-Gender Schools,” students in single-gender schools outperformed co-ed counterparts in reading and math and are also more comfortable participating and expressing themselves in class. And if that’s not enough, students and staff from Sacred Hearts Academy, an all-girls school, said they have seen better academic and personality outcomes after transferring from co-ed public and private schools. 


Gaining confidence

Reading more about these personal testimonies can provide readers a better understanding of how the Academy’s sisterhood is one-of-a-kind and can even inspire young girls to consider the benefits of going to an all-girls school. As a staff member and parent of a student at the Academy, Kellie Fase said, “As a parent, I saw the biggest difference with Jaylie.” 


Her daughter was previously enrolled at a co-ed public school, where her passion for learning and confidence to participate in class were stumped. But, “Coming back to Sacred Hearts, it has really helped her gain back some of that confidence,” Fase said. 

Academy student Jaylie-Brynn Fase during a fourth grade science experiment testing rocks. Science courses highlight the importance of doing hands-on lab work and collaborating with one another. Photo courtesy of Kellie Fase.

Collaborating with women

But how exactly does going to an all-girls school benefit students? Not only does the Academy offer multiple higher-level classes and opportunities not found at other schools, but the school clubs and programs are led by women. The Academy focuses on the importance of working with fellow women to collaborate and support one another. You gain knowledge and find girls to relate to, which in turn, provides a support network. 


Here, women supporting women is a big thing, and you can’t find that uplifting spirit at other co-ed schools. Students stated that they’ve been motivated to try harder in school and get involved with out-of-their-comfort-level activities after attending the Academy. This is because the Academy’s curriculum encourages students to emerge themselves in sports, community service and even religious ministry. 


In the previously mentioned USNews article, proponents said that single-gender education is “an opportunity to customize the educational experience, increase confidence and strengthen community involvement.” Fase mentioned that she is “grateful for the clubs and community enrichment” focused on at the Academy and the GRIT–grace, resilience, initiative, and tenacity–instilled in students that bridges young women together to form strong bonds and demonstrate leadership. 


Through women-led programs and teams such as Girls Got Grit, Lancers Lately and BIONIC Lancers, young women of the Academy are given opportunities to work under the mentorship and guidance of women leaders and learn one-on-one about public speaking, research and technology and community service. The Academy’s positive and successful reputation is a reason why legacy students have numerous family members and friends who are graduates of the Academy.


Leaving behind distractions

Senior Julia Jeremiah, a fourth-year student, said that transferring to the Academy from a co-ed school “made her consider her future more.” She said that the best part about going to an all-girls school was having no distractions from boys, which helped her feel more comfortable and allowed her to express herself more freely in class. Jeremiah mentioned that the school set up a really good foundation of college-level classwork and life skills that improved her academic performance. She is also a legacy student, who comes from a line of Academy alumnae. 


Jeremiah also added that the hardest part about her transfer was adjusting to the cliques and possibly dealing with more drama. On the contrary, she said that going to school with boys was easier because they “balanced out the gossip.”


Transitioning to any new school can be very intimidating at first, especially if you aren’t familiar with new rules, and people already in their own cliques. But, returning students of the Academy can argue that being surrounded by women has motivated and offered them new perspectives to become better open-minded people. It can be very difficult getting used to such a new environment, but the support provided by teachers and students is so helpful in building new friendships and working on communication. 


Establishing comfortability 

In an article highlighting the academic outcomes of single-sex schools published by The Guardian, “Single-gender schools can establish more relaxed environments and less gender stereotyping, and courses can be tailored to student needs and interests.” 


The Academy provides students with “much more focused attention from faculty and staff,” according to Fase. Students who’ve transferred to the Academy stated that they never experienced such close care and support from their teachers and that it’s really the Academy that shaped them academically. 


After hearing from former co-ed attendees, it is proven that all-girls schools provide young women with the right and comfortable environment they need to succeed and express themselves in school. As Fase said, “I see many girls so much more comfortable and confident” because there are no distractions and less judgement on physical appearance. Similarly, Jeremiah said that the girls at the Academy pushed her to try harder in school and have shown her that there’s no reason to be embarrassed about being smart. 


Building strong relationships

Since many of the girls at the Academy have similar interests inside and outside of the classroom, it isn’t difficult to find the right group of friends that will help students feel included and heard. I can confidently say that I’ve built long-term friendships at the Academy with young women who motivate me to be better and still feel heard and supported–which I feel I would have struggled with at a co-ed school. 


With that being said, a good student also gets better because they’re guided by a good team of teachers. At the Academy, teachers are not only there for their students in the classroom but are often seen giving them advice after class or even going as far as supporting them in their extracurricular activities. With such a positive and relatable environment, young women of the Academy build the necessary life skills, long-term friendships and confidence that they need to excel after high school. 


The supportive and empowering environment, along with the various opportunities to give back to my community and grow in my faith, have benefited me and many other young women in our academics and values–all of which wouldn’t have been possible with the distractions or expectations at a co-ed school.