In Step With U.S. Trend: Women Outnumber Men At UF For The First Time
GAINESVILLE — Single men at the University of Florida are going to be very happy, but they’re going to have to hit the books to keep up with the women.
For the first time in UF’s history, the number of female students has exceeded the number of males.
Of the 42,104 students enrolled at UF in fall 1998, 21,158 of them were women and 20,946 were men, a difference of 212. But while that may seem like the leading edge of a new trend, UF actually is in the mainstream when it comes to female enrollment.
“We’ve almost been behind the curve,” said Bill Kolb, UF’s director of admissions. “We’re the last of the state schools to go over the 50 percent mark for women, probably because of our large degree programs like engineering that have historically drawn more men than women.”
One reason women are slowly outpacing men in UF admissions is that admissions officials are putting more weight on grades and less on standardized tests than in previous years, Kolb said.
“Men tend to do better on tests and women tend to do better in classroom performance and grades,” he said. “We’ve found that grades tend to be a better indicator of how you’ll do at the university level.”
Kolb said that the percentage of women enrolled in universities is growing across the nation, and there is no sign of a slowing in this trend. He hopes this shift will increase equality in the workplace over time.
“Women are not salary-equal at this point,” he said. “You would hope that this type of trend would move toward a change in that.”
Vera Rivers, the president of the National Council of Women of the United States, said young women are growing increasingly eager to pursue higher education because of the increasing number of women in the workforce.
“We are going to see many changes brought about by this increasing equality,” she said. “As we help young women open their minds to opportunities, they’ll be stimulated to learn and achieve new things.”
The increasing percentage of female students at UF could be a big perk for men already at UF and for high school-age males who hope to attend UF some day.
“The message I would have for young men who want to go to UF is to hit the books right now,” Kolb said.
- Kristin Harmel
- Bill Kolb