The Most #GIRLBOSS Colleges

Whether they’re in the classroom, on the playing field or promoting feminism, collegiettes at these 10 colleges are making positive changes in the world. Inspired by Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of #GIRLBOSS, we came up with a list of schools where girls are empowered, supported and really smart!

10. MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE (South Hadley, Massachusetts)


In the realms of alumnae success, academics and feminism, Mount Holyoke College excels. MoHo’s amazing gender studies program in particular contributes to the environment it fosters, where girls can (and do!) change the world. This school had a powerhouse of inspiring female graduates, such as Emily Dickinson; the college’s current president, Lynn Pasquerella; and the founder and CEO of Care.com, Sheila Lirio Marcelo.

“Mount Holyoke harbors a strong sense of women empowerment,” writes a collegiette in HC’s Complete College Guide. “It prides itself in the diversity of the student body, which includes not only just women from around the world, but also a population of LGBTQ young students.” No wonder this inclusive community has so many powerful women!

“I think Mount Holyoke is a place filled with girl power because it is a community filled with the brightest independent women that are willing to take on any role and any challenge,” says Leen, a senior at Mount Holyoke. “Mount Holyoke girls inspire each other to be better and do better. It is also a great place to be a woman because you are constantly surrounded by supportive women who encourage you to be yourself and speak and act freely.”

With their amazing academic program and inclusive community, Mount Holyoke College is a place that supports and inspires its women!

9. THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles, California)


The weather’s certainly not the only amazing part of this school. Whether these girls are participating in “Take Back the Night,”, an annual vigil to raise awareness for victims of sexual violence, or doing fellowships at the Center for Feminist Research, the busy women of USC are committed to making their campus—and the world—better for women. To support the killer female athletes at the school, USC is among the top 25 schools in the country that spend the most on their female athletes, coming in at a whopping $140,176 per athlete.

“I’ve found that USC is an extraordinarily open and accepting community,” says Kelly, a senior. “There are also plenty of events promoting sex positivity, feminism and inspirational women speakers. But if anything, it's the whole community of positive and forward-thinking students that makes USC.” This school is ready for a world where men and women are equal!

8. AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (Washington, D.C.)


If you’re looking for an inspiring group of women in Washington, D.C., look no further than American University’s Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, which began the “Why YOU Need Feminism” campaign at American University. The women (and men) of American University came up with amazing statements, such as, “I need feminism because my ambition shouldn’t be a turn-off,” and, “I need feminism because I want to wear a dress… while being the one who wears the pants.”

American also has an amazing Feminist Art History Conference that celebrates a wide variety of disciplines and topics related to feminism and art history.

“With so many girls on campus, there is a great sense of girl power!” says Claire, a senior at American. “So many undergraduates are involved with a cause that moves them and are active in their communities. It’s great to go to school in such a feminist community.”

At American, female ambition is ingrained into the culture!

7. VASSAR COLLEGE (Poughkeepsie, New York)


This college isn’t all female anymore (it became coed in 1969), but its support of its women has stayed just as strong ever since Vassar College demonstrates a long commitment to excellence in the study of gender and female leadership. According to Synonym.com, Vassar College has one of the best undergraduate women’s studies programs in the country—students in the program “tailor their own course of study with guidance from a program adviser.” Vassar is a school extremely focused on gender equality.

“Vassar began as an all-women's college, and going coed never changed its commitment to empowering women,” says Rachel, a ‘96 grad. “Today, Vassar students work hard and play hard. They honor creativity and fierce authenticity, no matter who it's coming from. Plus, we have one of the coolest women's studies programs around.”

What’s more important than creativity and authenticity? Queen Bey, Sheryl Sandberg and Hillary Clinton would all be feelin’ that.

6. THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (Washington, D.C.)


With a great program for female entrepreneurs and an increasing feminist presence on campus, George Washington University is an awesome place to be a woman. Whether you want to join the Feminist Student Union or intern with an organization that supports women, you can find your feminist place at GW.

“I think [GW is] a good place to be a girl because there are so many ways to get involved in women's organizations off campus,” said Kaly, a sophomore at the school. “I have friends interning with EMILY's List or NARAL Pro-Choice America. But we also have sororities that focus on being involved in the community.” No matter how these ladies want to make a difference, GW (and D.C.) offer amazing resources for girls with ambition.

In a 2013 article in The GW Hatchet titled “Why We Need Feminism at GW,”, Sarah Blugis, then a sophomore, wrote about the steps GW should take in the future and the steps it’s already taken.

“The University has a very active Feminist Student Union, a female Student Association President and many progressive, tuned-in students dedicated to bettering the welfare of women,” Sarah wrote. “Additionally, GW has recently reformed its sexual assault policy, giving survivors an unlimited time to report crimes.”

Even the school administration has taken steps to give women a stronger voice in the community—this school knows a little something about girl power!

5. THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY (Berkeley, California)


Whether you want to be a computer programmer, a professional basketball player or both, UC Berkeley will support you to do whatever you want to do. If you’re an ambitious pre-frosh interested in coding at Berkeley, you can do CS KickStart, a one-week program (that’s totally free!) targeted to girls interested in computer science.

In addition, UC Berkeley invests the fifth-highest amount of money in the country in its female athletes. Paying $200,224 per woman, according to Kaarme, Berkeley proves girls run the athletic world, too! Move over, boys.

“UC Berkeley is a place filled with a lot of girl power because it’s a place that allows females to express themselves without the fear of being judged,” says Monica, a junior. “There are currently more women then men attending the university, which empowers females even more to achieve their dreams and projects.”

If you’re interested in gender equality at Berkeley, the resources available to students are amazing. The Gender Equity Resource Center at Berkeley offers programs for students on self-defense, sexual harassment and gender identity. No wonder women at Berkeley are such great students, athletes and activists!

4. FRANKLIN W. OLIN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING (Needham, Massachusetts)


Collegiettes at Olin are interested in building bridges, making machines and studying how the world works. Olin College of Engineering aims, according to its website, to “graduate engineering innovators who will be leaders in solving the pressing global challenges of today and tomorrow.” In 2011, the school offered an additional $180,000 for women’s undergraduate research courtesy of the Clare Boothe Luce Program of New York’s Henry Luce Foundation, Inc., according to Boston Business Journal.

“It is inspiring to be surrounded not only by such intelligent, talented and passionate people, but to have so many of them be women,” says Chelsea, a senior. “Olin is also pretty open to and aware of discussions surrounding the gender gap in STEM fields, because the administration strives so hard for gender equality in our own population.” Olin is bursting from the seams with girl power—what an incredible circuit (no pun intended) of people!

3. HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE (Claremont, California)


If you dream of becoming Facebook’s next big programmer or a stellar electrical engineer, check out Harvey Mudd College! While many colleges still see a lack of women in their STEM fields, Harvey Mudd actively empowers women to choose these majors. Named one of the top 10 colleges for women in STEM fields by BestCollegesOnline.com, Harvey Mudd College continues to make great progress in getting women into engineering and the sciences. According to U.S. News & World Report, under the leadership of school president Maria Klawe, 40 percent of computer science majors (compared to only 10 percent five years ago) are now women.

Klawe, the first female president of Harvey Mudd and a celebrated mathematician and computer scientist, has been a driving force behind the positive changes for women on campus for the past eight years. She brings female students to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Computing of Women and has separated computer science classes by level of programming experience to make people with a lack of prior knowledge about programming feel less intimidated, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“Harvey Mudd is a great place to be a woman in STEM because we are surrounded by amazing female role models,” says Sarah, a sophomore at Harvey Mudd.

2. WESTMINSTER COLLEGE (New Wilmington, Pennsylvania)


You might think that the best colleges for butt-kicking women in STEM fields would be in Silicon Valley or tech hubs like Austin, Texas. But look no further than rural New Wilmington, PA—the home of Westminster College. According to Forbes, 36 percent of Westminster College graduates in 2008 were STEM majors, and more of them were women then men—a rarity in the world of undergraduate education. The math and computer science department is 50 percent female, according to Westminster statistics.

“The academics at Westminster are fantastic. They are by no means easy, and regardless of major, you are well prepared for life after college,” says a former student on Niche. “The professors allow you to build rapport with them, and they actually care. Within my four years here, my department has become like a family.” Girls here go to class with pride and ambition!

At Westminster, girls can rock computer science classes and not be labeled as geeks for loving math (anything but!). That’s the kind of girl power we love!

1. BARNARD COLLEGE (New York City, New York)


Who run the world? Barnard girls! This women’s college in New York City is overflowing with powerful women. The president of Barnard, Debora Spar, wrote Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, which, according to The Huffington Post, “calls on all women to ‘kill the myths’ that make them feel inadequate.”

A collegiette featured in HC’s Complete College Guide explains why she chose Barnard: “I applied to Barnard because I wanted a place where women worked well as both individuals and as part of a larger community that did include males,” she says. “It felt like the best of both worlds, a way to foster education and ideas produced by women while not unrealistically separating ourselves from men.”

Barnard supports women in all of their endeavors. The college ranked among the best colleges for women athletes according to CollegeXpress. The school also hosted a Wikipedia “edit-a-thon,” which aimed to add more important women to the site as part of the Rewriting Wikipedia Project. Overall, Barnard consistently demonstrates a commitment to making the world a more empowering and inspiring place for women.

Check out the rest of Her Campus's 2014 College Rankings here!