College gender ratios

by Finn

As college looms closer and closer (and for those with toddlers, it’s sooner than you think), there are many factors to consider as our kids narrow down their choices.

One possible factor is sex assault, and the impact of gender ratios on that:

What a massive sexual assault survey found at 27 top U.S. universities

Unequal Gender Ratios at Colleges Are Driving Hookup Culture

Hookup culture isn’t the real problem facing singles today. It’s math.

Is this something you are, or will, consider, or encourage your kids to consider, as they make their college choices?

One takeaway for me is to be glad that DD liked Caltech and, at least at this point, has that on her lists of colleges she might want to attend.

WCE and I have discussed here some of the benefits to females of majoring in engineering, and this is another benefit, which we haven’t discussed previously.

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136 thoughts on “College gender ratios

  1. My kids attend(ed) single sex high schools, and an even gender balance was very high on their lists of criteria.

  2. The gender ratio is something I mention to any young woman who is looking at colleges – it is something that most people don’t really think about, and of course it isn’t mentioned on a tour.

    I hadn’t thought about it in relationship to sexual assaults/hook up culture but it makes sense. The guys don’t need to commit because there is always another girl around the corner.

  3. I was aware of the ratios when I applied to college and didn’t apply to any schools where women were a majority. There were fewer of them then (Vassar, for example, was 60/40 women at the time) than there are now.

  4. I remember looking at the gender ratios in the 90’s when I was looking at colleges. I definitely was not interested in any school with even a 60:40 ratio of women to men, although my alma mater was a bit more than 50% women when I went there. It was more like how they described U of Florida – hookup culture somewhat common among the underclassmen, with more serious relationships among the upperclassmen. Quite a few of my classmates are married to each other. Moreso than other schools? I don’t know.

  5. It wasn’t something I considered entering college. I guess partly because I had a boy friend at the time. I went to a college that had a significant larger percentage of men.

  6. Nice link there between the numbers and the hookup culture. I hadn’t thought about that at all; when I was in school, most places were still on the male side of the split, so it wouldn’t have occurred to me to mention that to DD as an issue. Now that’s definitely on the radar.

  7. DS is a junior. There are a lot of factors that he is considering in selecting a college–sex ratio is not one of them. Whether he will be able to gain admission, programs/majors offered, affordability, geographic location, and sports teams all rank much higher for him than the % of women.

  8. My college is 47.5% male and 52.5% female and I remember it being about the same when I was there. I remember a big hook up culture and then people starting to pair off towards the later years. My college seems to have a lot of alumni who married each other. Out of my group of four best friends, 3 of us are married to fellow alumni.

    I had a high school boyfriend that I dated through a lot of college (until end of junior year) so that wasn’t on my radar screen in selecting a college. I met DH senior year of college and he had just broken up with his previous girlfriend a few weeks prior to meeting me. I think we are both just relationship people.

  9. The third article looks at the dating scene beyond college and compares the gender imbalance to post-WWI Europe, after so many of the potentially competing bachelors died “facing the guns.” It suggests that NYC has the worst dating pool for college-educated women who hope to marry a college-educated man. The West is better, or they have to go blue collar.

    So in terms of mating, if you’re not engaged or nearly engaged at college graduation, where you initially settle after college is probably even more consequential.

  10. My youngest sister moved to NYC right after college and I remember her saying no one even thinks of settling down until after 30. She happened to meet her husband who was still a PhD student at around 29/30 and they got married a few years ago. Some of her college friends in NYC are just getting married now in their mid 30s. In Atlanta, by the age of 30 I knew very few people that weren’t already married.

  11. My two remaining single friends from the Navy are in NYC and Boston. Over the past 12 years, they’ve each broken it off with so many attractive, intelligent, successful women that I stopped counting long ago. They both claim to want a family at some point, but it’s always a few years in the future. Very soon they’ll be limited to younger partners if they’re still hoping for biological children, but I’m not sure this has entered the thought process.

  12. “Very soon they’ll be limited to younger partners if they’re still hoping for biological children”

    Some might call this a feature, not a bug.

  13. I think we are both just relationship people.

    I’ve mentioned before how I’m puzzled by the unhappily single people I know. Maybe part of it is that they aren’t “relationship people?” Perhaps they like the idea of being in a relationship but don’t like the reality of being in a relationship?

  14. “Very soon they’ll be limited to younger partners if they’re still hoping for biological children, but I’m not sure this has entered the thought process.”

    Or that’s a benefit. “I keep getting older, they stay the same age.” :)

    One of the things that I hated about my brief stint in the South was that at the age of 23-24, everyone in my dating pool was already thinking about marriage, and I was nowhere near ready for that.

    I met DH when I was 27 and married at 30. I did have a serious boyfriend through most of college, but we broke up not too long after graduation as we both moved and went our separate ways.

  15. “Some might call this a feature, not a bug.”

    True, but their stock will inevitably decline with age (unless they can compensate with significant wealth). In terms of the dating market and relative numbers, they’re at their peak right now. If they still want a 36-year-old 10 years from now, they’ll probably be venturing into bimbo territory.

  16. Very soon they’ll be limited to younger partners if they’re still hoping for biological children, but I’m not sure this has entered the thought process.

    That comment just speaks for itself.

  17. If they still want a 36-year-old 10 years from now, they’ll probably be venturing into bimbo territory.

    36? Try 26. I don’t think the significant wealth number is nearly as high as you think. That said, I took it that they were in professional jobs and earned an over 6 figure income.

  18. Milo, the numbers will still be in their favor. With the smaller pool of college-educated men, the younger women will be more open to the older men.

  19. Rhett, now that I’m thinking about it, out of my four best friends from college, we all went to college with a high school boyfriend, then broke up with the high school boyfriends mid to late college and not long after met our college boyfriends/husbands.* So maybe my friends are all relationship people too.

    * Except for the one who got back together with her high school boyfriend and ended up marrying him. And she was the one who most immersed herself in the “hook up culture” so maybe it was a I’ll have fun now kind of thing but I’m still going to end up with my high school boyfriend.

  20. “I don’t think the significant wealth number is nearly as high as you think.”

    That could be.

    “That said, I took it that they were in professional jobs and earned an over 6 figure income.”

    Yes.

    I’m just thinking of the beautiful, late-20’s physician whom one of them dated for almost two years and then dumped for no good reason (when he was also late-20’s). Are you really going to have that same opportunity when there’s a 10- or 15-year age difference?

  21. Is this any different from the 80s, when I was in my 20s? All those articles about how you were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than get married if you were still single after age 30(? 35?). Of course the terrorist thing seems lots more realistic now. Mom was always clipping those articles and sending them to me. Eventually people do get married, though.

  22. I’m not convinced by the gender ratio/hookup article. It could well be a case of correlation instead of causation. The notion that college women are forced to hook up against their will because otherwise the guy will move on is kind of insulting to those women. I think that college kids hook up because they CAN and neither their parents nor the colleges nor society in general have persuaded them that they SHOULDN’T. College women who want a more traditional dating relationship can find it. It’s surely much easier now, when like-minded student can find each other online, than it was back in the day.

  23. Are you really going to have that same opportunity when there’s a 10- or 15-year age difference?

    I would say so. That being a physician thing is a big turn off for a lot of guys.

  24. I kind of agree with Anonymous @ 11:49. I don’t think women are for the most part hooking up against their will, it’s just part of growing up and being in college. And as I said, I definitely remember it being crazier the first two years of college than the last two.

  25. In my culture there is a sort of an age window for both men and women if they want to go the marriage route. The mid twenties/young professional age is when most people find a partner. They may or may not get married right away so the women could be in their late twenties, the men early thirties. It gets harder once the women are in their thirties and the men hit thirty five. At that point friends/relatives make very little effort to suggest dates/prospective partners.

  26. “That being a physician thing is a big turn off for a lot of guys.”

    Well that’s just a level of stupid I can’t analyze.

  27. “I kind of agree with Anonymous @ 11:49. I don’t think women are for the most part hooking up against their will, it’s just part of growing up and being in college. And as I said, I definitely remember it being crazier the first two years of college than the last two.”

    Me too. I also would say it is more likely caused by the fact that they types of institutions that have a large male population are also more likely to have a more serious culture. Even among elite colleges there could be a “work hard play hard” culture or more of a serious academically focused culture. I can guess which you are more likely to see at Dartmouth vs. Cal Tech!

  28. I know some women in business school who viewed serious relationships with men as a burden to be avoided, as they focused on building their careers. They didn’t want someone at that point in their lives (mid-late 20’s) who would limit possible geographic moves, international travel, working long hours, etc.

  29. My older kid would like Georgia Tech. My younger kid seems to like big cities, so she could very well end up in a big metro. Both my kids wouldn’t like a college where the atmosphere is one of intense academics and there was no fun to be had. At the same time they would not be looking for party schools either.

  30. I was at a a school where there was a clear divide between those who partied and those who studied. I hung out with those who partied. I was emotionally immature and completely not ready for any serious relationship. I had fun stringing a few boys along but they were also not very emotionally invested either. All around me were girls who got involved with guys who according to me were not worth their while, and from what I heard, after all these years, few of them are still together. I did get involved with a guy just to have a boyfriend at one point, and my parents hated him. That probably made that relationship last more than it otherwise would have. Everything just clicked into place when I finally met DH.
    For my kid, the college horizon is far off and I don’t know what the criteria will be at that point for college selection.

  31. The gender balance was definitely something I wanted my kids to consider (I even had a column on the spreadsheet!) but I don’t think it impacted their decisions at all. Two are at schools with a roughly 50/50 split. Our DD is not only at a university with a 60/40 F/M ratio, but in a program that is about 85% female. The university is in a big city, so I am hoping that the small-campus hookup culture is not as prevalent. I will likely not hear anything about it from DD unless there is a major problem (knock on wood.)

  32. Like some others, I do also wonder about the extent to which location and existing social norms play into things. My undergrad, everyone expected to go Do Things, and there was little focus on long-term relationships; I know a few who met and married (very few), but I suspect that was more by accident than design. Whereas when I went to UT, I felt like I was already over the hill, because so many people came in with long-term SOs, and many, many others paired up before graduation. Based on that, I would expect schools that are located in more socially conservative parts of the country (especially those that draw from the local population) to have fewer hookups and more LTRs, and the reverse being true for schools in more liberal areas or that attract a more liberal student base. But I haven’t looked at the data to see if that holds true, though some of the anecdata in the articles would suggest that I’m wrong.

  33. I think a lot of schools, even the top schools have people that do serious partying. I don’t think you will find the elite schools on the top ten list, but would you expect to see Lehigh? It is in the top ten with a lot of usual suspects.

    Also, for those of you that think that your kids are not interested…you never know. I came out of an extremely competitive, brainy, HS and I didn’t party much in HS. Everything changed in college, and I didn’t attend a school with a greek life.

    Many of these kids are already exposed to a much heavier drug and alcohol culture in our tote bag communities in high school. i think the problems described in the attached materials are real, but I think some of the culture of hook ups etc, temp girlfriends/boyfriends starts much earlier than college.

  34. I agree with Anon 11:49 that the hookup culture is largely the result of choices by college age students. BYU is a majority female school with ~1/3 married males and ~1/6 married females and it isn’t known for its hookup culture.

    Since I wanted to get married and came from a part of the country where if it didn’t happen by 30, it likely wouldn’t happen, I prioritized marriage in my 20’s, with a plan to pursue a PhD at 30 if it didn’t happen. My sister (turning 39) is still single.

    I enjoyed the exchange between Milo and Rhett about the desirability of a physician wife. Rhett, why do you think many men don’t want to be married to a physician? When I was single, I recognized that getting a PhD in engineering would make me less marriageable, but WHY that was so has always puzzled me. My third level manager is from rural Iowa, has a PhD from Berkeley and (to my knowledge) is single. She may have been a career person from childhood who wanted to get the heck out of rural Iowa from childhood- I don’t know her personally.

  35. The results from that linked sexual assault survey are not very useful, and create a false impression of high levels of assaults. Among their definitions of sexual assault is forced kissing, which may be (or may not be) a significant problem in some cases, but is a type of incident that certainly should be pulled out from other more serious types of assault for meaningful reporting. Additionally, the response rate was unusually low, and there were other issues that make me question the survey results.

  36. “Rhett, why do you think many men don’t want to be married to a physician?”

    That’s what I’m wondering. I could see if someone were very career-oriented and, for that reason, preferred someone who could be totally supportive of that logistically. I think my Boston friend, however, would be very happy to have a physician spouse covering the expenses and health insurance so he could quit his 9-5 and focus full time on his rapidly expanding, highly leveraged real estate investments.

  37. Rhett, why do you think many men don’t want to be married to a physician?

    They prefer to be the more accomplished/higher earning one in the relationship. I think it’s changing certainly, but some men still feel that way.

  38. I think a lot of the top party schools tend to be in the middle of nowhere type places. Not a lot of other things to do… I can believe Lehigh being up there.

  39. Yeah. What Rhett said. I know a number of mid-late thirties women physicians who state they want marriage and families, but haven’t found a partner. I don’t know of any guys in that demographic who are single and don’t want to be. Height and education are both characteristics that women can marry up on, but not down.

    DHs parents were never thrilled with the fact that I have a higher degree than he does- this is not how they expected to get a doc in the family.

  40. I think my Boston friend, however, would be very happy to have a physician spouse covering the expenses and health insurance so he could quit his 9-5 and focus full time on his rapidly expanding, highly leveraged real estate investments.

    He would likely be happy with the money. But, would he be happy with the resulting relationship dynamic?

  41. “Rhett, why do you think many men don’t want to be married to a physician?”

    I’ve commented here before on how it seems that most of the female physicians that we know are married to male physicians.

    It never occurred to me that a contributing factor to that was men not wanting to be married to physicians. My hypothesis was that was primarily due to selection bias on the part of the female MDs, and their preference for a husband who is similarly educated (Mark Zuckerberg’s wife is an exception).

    Other than already being married, I personally see no reason to not want to marry a female physician, in general.

  42. “I prioritized marriage in my 20’s, with a plan to pursue a PhD at 30 if it didn’t happen.”

    My guess is that most women would widen their scope at that point, rather than define such a narrow target.

    OTOH, WCE is definitely not most women.

  43. “But, would he be happy with the resulting relationship dynamic?”

    I would think so, but, then again, he’s still single.

  44. “Height and education are both characteristics that women can marry up on, but not down.”

    Sure they can marry down in both characteristics. Many choose not to, but that does not mean they cannot.

  45. I am definitely not most women. :) My roommate got me out of the shower for phone calls from guys several times before she realized that they just wanted help with their calculus/physics homework, and it was fine to take a message and I’d call them back later. I told Mr. WCE that story early in our dating relationship, and he deadpanned, “I’m not calling you because I need help with my calculus homework.”

    I also wonder how the level of “nookie” (by which I mean more than just sexual intercourse) varies vs. how much people talk about their access to “nookie”. My freshman year college boyfriend knew lots of my lab partners and probably heard lots of jokes about my inaccessibility. He never hinted to them that he was getting any nookie. The Cal Tech/MIT friend-of-a-friend I stayed with last year commented that while there was always competition for the few women at those schools, “A gentleman never kisses and tells.”

  46. LOL WCE!

    The weirdest rejection that I got in college was a guy who said he didn’t want to date me because he wanted to be a Catholic priest. Of course, he is now a lawyer. (biglaw litigator)

  47. “they just wanted help with their calculus/physics homework”

    My guess is that some guys weren’t only interested in help with their homework.

  48. But as Ada commented, it’s so much easier (at least for me) to be attracted up than down. The math/com sci/economics/physics major who helped me when I was struggling with computational linear algebra AND convinced his smartest-guy-in-my-class friend to be my project partner was very attractive.

  49. “They prefer to be the more accomplished/higher earning one in the relationship.”

    So you think that even some male MDs don’t want to marry female MDs because they wouldn’t necessarily be the more accomplished/higher earning one in the relationship?

    I guess I can buy that.

    WCE, is that same dynamic the reason you thought a PhD in engineering would make you less marriageable? As opposed to, say, the fact that you would be older once you got that PhD?

    OTOH, you were a female majoring in engineering who wanted to get married. You probably had no shortage of suitors, some of whom may have been shy and used homework help as a pretext to talk to you outside of class.

  50. My guess is that some guys weren’t only interested in help with their homework.

    Yup.

  51. A campus where hooking up is the norm may cause students (both male and female) to make a default assumption that any evening social encounter that ends up with one to one time is expected to include some sort of sexual act. If judgment is even partially impaired at that point, it may be hard to express a clear no or to convince the more importunate of the two that no further contact is desired. That is very different from sexual contact initiated deliberately upon a person who is so weak or drunk (or who has been covertly drugged) that (usually s)he has no physical ability to resist or to consent to the details or number of persons involved in the act(s).

    I can’t comment upon the research on campus sex ratios, since InMyDay® the first type of encounter occurred often enough on campuses where women were in very short supply, without a pervasive hook up culture or significant impairment on the guy’s part to share the blame.

    I always focussed the lecture to my kids (both boys and girls) on the drinking and drugging part of campus life, pointing out that impairment usually leads to a situation that you cannot control in many ways, not just with respect to unwanted physical contact.

  52. Finn,

    I wonder if you’d find that when two MDs marry the husband tends to be the one with the higher rank. Would you tend to see male surgeons and specialists married to female pediatricians and primary care doctors?

  53. WCE, you could easily earn $90-100 for a 45- 60 minute tutoring session if you want to move to a tote bag town. I bet you would be fully booked all of the time. I’ve been amazed to learn about how many people have tutors for their kids – especially in math, physics and chem. At all academic levels. The good tutors seemed to be fully booked, and they charge that same rate all over this metro area. I am pretty sure that my friends with HS kids in fairfax county pay 80-90 for similar services.

  54. Within my religious community, I’m already kind of an outcast and I only have a master’s so a PhD would have made that worse. For our annual church choir performance in past years, I sang Tenor 1 (I’m an alto II with low range and church choirs are always short of tenors) and Mr. WCE did the dessert potluck prep. The bulletin always acknowledged that the desserts were provided by The Ladies of Our Church and I would always joke to him that he should complain about being left out.

    Getting a PhD at 30 was both a career move (I think I would have enjoyed being a professor/research engineer if I had no family obligations) and a last-ditch effort to meet men who might be attracted to me before my biological clock ran out. The science/religion aspect of my personality always made it very hard to seriously date.

  55. Anon @ 11:49 was me. I’m sure that someone can explain why my desktop remembers my name but my phone does not.

    “The results from that linked sexual assault survey are not very useful, and create a false impression of high levels of assaults”

    According to DH, who does this for a living, the college sexual assault data are very sketchy and do not support the commonly-accepted assertion that 1 in 4 (or maybe 5) women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. Apart from the overly broad definition of “sexual assault,” these reports are based on anonymous surveys with less than a 20% response rate, so there are obvious selection problems. Very few reporters have the background to question these studies — they just run with them and the assertion becomes self-perpetuating.

    And the suggestion that gender ratios are driving the hookup culture is based on even flimsier evidence — the author relies entirely on posts on a college review website to measure the extent of a college’s hookup culture.

  56. But as Ada commented, it’s so much easier (at least for me) to be attracted up than down.

    That goes back to the evolutionary gender split: Males are attracted to women who are physically attractive because they will be better childbearers and women are attracted to the men who are better protectors and providers.

  57. We can generalize about what men and women want in a partner, but it it boils down to the individuals in each relationship. I wouldn’t want to be married to someone that wouldn’t support me as the head of investment banking. I know that my DH would be thrilled if I was earning more money than him. He wouldn’t like the hours or the travel, but I would have never dated a guy for a long time that I knew wouldn’t support a marriage of equals.

    I have a few friends from college that became doctors. One of my room mates is a successful specialized doctor, and her husband is a surgeon in pediatrics. They have four kids, work crazy hours, but they make it work. They met in residency. She knows a lot of doctor couples, and I bet she would say the same thing – it boils down to the couple. Some people want to be married, and be the one with the more important job. Other people are happy with a marriage of equals.

    To continue to generalize about male surgeons wanting to marry female peds/internists in 2015 is insulting to both genders.

  58. WCE, is your religious community anti-education? E.g., would an MD also be an outcast?

    Or is it anti-female education? E.g., would a female MD also be an outcast?

    In either case, I’m wondering why you remain part of it. Is it the lack of any more compatible community?

    For a while, some of the violin teachers at my kids’ school had “studio moms,” but I caused that to be changed to “studio parents.”

  59. Lauren, why is it insulting to make a statement that is [if you had enough data] either statistically true or false? Is it because it’s insulting to make generalizations without acknowledging the statistical anomalies?

  60. “default assumption that any evening social encounter that ends up with one to one time is expected to include some sort of sexual act.”

    Elaine: Hey, guess what? I’m going to the Super Bowl with Tim Whatley.

    Jerry: What?

    Elaine: We went out for coffee last night and he offered me a ticket.

    Jerry: What about the label maker?

    Elaine: Ah, well.

    Jerry: Wait a minute, that’s my ticket! You didn’t even want to go.

    Elaine: It was totally out of the blue. We went upstairs to his apartment, you
    know, to look for the label maker.

    Jerry: So, how did you get up there? Did you say you had to use the bathroom?

    Elaine: No.

    Jerry: Then how’d you get up there?

    Elaine: I said, “Do you wanna go upstairs?”

    George: And there’s you ticket.

    Elaine: What?

    Jerry: That’s why you’re going to the Super Bowl.

    Elaine: Why?

    Jerry: You go out with a guy one time, you ask him to go upstairs like you’re
    Mae West? Of course he’s gonna try and get you alone for the weekend.

    Elaine: You mean just because I asked him to go upstairs, he thinks he’s going
    downtown?

    Jerry: Obviously.

    Elaine: You’re crazy.

    George: Well, what happened when you got upstairs?

    Elaine: As soon as we walked in, he got a call from one of his patients with an
    impacted molar or something so he had to leave. I didn’t even get a chance to
    look for the label maker.

    Jerry: Yeah, well I don’t trust this guy. I think he regifted, he degifted,
    and now he’s using an upstairs invite as a springboard to a Super Bowl sex romp.

  61. “I always focussed the lecture to my kids (both boys and girls) on the drinking and drugging part of campus life, pointing out that impairment usually leads to a situation that you cannot control in many ways, not just with respect to unwanted physical contact.”

    Exactly. And I have pointed out to my sons that even a male who is stone cold sober is vulnerable if he is alone with a woman who — intoxicated or not — decides to accuse him of sexual assault. He will be named and vilified and she will remain anonymous.

  62. Finn, I don’t know how to explain it. The conservative Christian church is not anti-education for women but the cultural ideal seems to be that wives will be full-time homemakers or perhaps “have to get a job when the children grow up”. The culture has slowly changed over the past 20 years but there are still niches that are very conservative. My brother knew an awesome, attractive, future physician’s assistant in college but didn’t pursue a relationship with her because she didn’t want to be a full-time SAHM. That mindset is very common, in contrast to the expectation of equal roles that Lauren describes.

  63. ” you could easily earn $90-100 for a 45- 60 minute tutoring session if you want to move to a tote bag town.”

    Wow. I wonder if DS could get a job this summer as a tutor. He just took his SAT; if he does well, perhaps he should inquire at one of the local places that does SAT prep.

  64. As the article explains, given that the ratio of males to females on campus is declining, it makes sense that changes in the operational sex ratio will affect mating behavior

    In the evolutionary biology of sexual reproduction, Operational sex ratio (OSR), is the ratio of sexually competing males that are ready to mate to sexually competing females that are ready to mate,[1][2][3] or alternatively the local ratio of fertilizable females to sexually active males at any given time….

    The theory of OSR hypothesizes that the operational sex ratio affects the mating competition of males and females in a population

    I’m not sure how much of this was covered in the articles.

    The idea that sex ratios alter sexual behavior is well-established. Analysis ofdemographic data from 117 countries has shown that when men outnumber women, women have the upper hand: Marriage rates rise and fewer children are born outside marriage. An oversupply of women, however, tends to lead to a more sexually permissive culture. The same holds true on college campuses. In the course of researching our book Premarital Sex in America, my co-author and I assessed the effects of campus sex ratios on women’s sexual attitudes and behavior. We found that virginity is more common on those campuses where women comprise a smaller share of the student body, suggesting that they have the upper hand. By contrast, on campuses where women outnumber men, they are more negative about campus men, hold more negative views of their relationships, go on fewer dates, are less likely to have a boyfriend, and receive less commitment in exchange for sex.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2286240/pagenum/all/#p2

  65. WCE, is there something in the Conservative Christian doctrine that says women should be SAHM? Or is it just a part of the CCC culture separate from the doctrine?

    If you’re outcast because you’re not a full-time SAHM (aren’t you still a part-time SAHM?), then I don’t see how it would matter whether you have your PhD or not. And being a part-time SAHM, wouldn’t you only be partly outcast?

    BTW, is Mr. WCE outcast for doing dessert prep?

    I’m just curious; I don’t mean to badger you. Feel free to ignore as much of this as you like.

  66. Hourly tutoring fees easily exceed $100. I personally know a Manhattan tutor who charges $250/hour for SAT tutoring.

  67. A few years ago, high school tutors were charging about $20-40/hour. Parents are happy to pay that. IIRC, the high school organizes a system whereby honor society students tutor for about $20/hour. I’m trying to remember if some of the tutoring is free and counts as community service.

  68. “To continue to generalize about male surgeons wanting to marry female peds/internists in 2015 is insulting to both genders.”

    In Rhett’s defense (not that he really needs mine), he did not generalize.

    He pointed out that some men, not all, don’t want to marry physicians, then wondered if some, not necessarily all, male MDs who married female MDs still wanted to be of a higher rank.

    Some men prefer strudel to cheesecake, but that doesn’t mean all men prefer strudel to cheesecake.

  69. Finn, there are more conservative and more liberal interpretations of Titus 2:5, that women should be “busy at home.” I take the liberal interpretation that women should use their time well and not go around gossiping, etc. Others take a more conservative interpretation that it means AT HOME, by golly.

    In general, I would say it’s more a cultural aspect of conservative Christianity than a doctrinal one. It is also affected by larger families (more children mean more housework) and an expectation that if a wife is employed, she’ll handle her job on top of her household management responsibilities. When I compare my situation (saved money early and had kids later, work part-time) to that of career-oriented, secular friends (realized late that balancing chosen career/ children wasn’t doable for them so left career or are childless), I’m not sure which path is better. Men who equally share household management/childcare are still a minority, I think.

    I can’t tell how much of my dating difficulty was due to expectations of Christian women and how much to my obnoxious, argumentative personality. If Meme is reading today, hopefully she’ll weigh in.

  70. Favorite SWE colleague quote to her healthcare provider’s question of what she used for birth control. “My personality”

  71. WCE. I am assuming that you are referring to my experiences from 20 to 35 with evangelicals. At my Ivy, the evangelical girls with career aspirations, pretty much all of them, were disqualified from the marriage plans of the same college boys for the reasons you cite. The several elite college married women evangelicals of my acquaintance who did have strong careers ended up divorced. My ex, who started out egalitarian before his conversion, was quickly instructed in the error of his ways and I was admonished as well. Of course, those of us who had unruly ethnic hair were also advised to straighten it and not to bring exotic foods to pot lucks, except on international night. There was then, as there is now, a conflation of culture with doctrine.

  72. I went to a school with a 4:1 female:male ratio. And 75% of the men were gay, attached, or otherwise not desirable. I went on 2 dates with men at school. But DH and I stayed together so I wasn’t without company! :)

    I always found that I scared men off. I figure I’m either too dull or too smart or both. In college I thought it was because I didn’t want a hook up. As a post -college grad I can’t figure it out. Probably smarts, career, or who knows what.

    I figure if I didn’t have DH I wouldn’t be married now because of the above reasons. Low self esteem may be there too. But I don’t know if that’s me or is that tied into everything above. Like s chicken or the egg thing.

  73. There was then, as there is now, a conflation of culture with doctrine.

    The single MOST irritating feature of the churches I know.

  74. Higher powered/paid specialties tend to be more male dominated, and primary care tends to be more female. So, the two doc relationships may still have uneven earning power that tends more towards male dominated, but hard to say if that is due to mate sorting or just probability.

    In residency, we used to talk about guys that date nurses and guys that date doctors. There seemed to be a pretty firm separation.

    I met DH when I was in college, a women’s college. So, there’s that.

  75. The highly accomplished male pairing with a less accomplished or equally accomplished female is typical in my culture. A good family friend was bemoaning the fact that his daughter was too highly accomplished (Ivy League law degree, White House job) and it was proving difficult for her to find a husband. It seems that she intimidated the guys.

  76. I found out that my MIL’s expectation is for DILs to be educated and start off in their chosen professions but then go to part time or be a full time SAHM once kids came. She doesn’t get that part time may be difficult in many careers. When SIL became a SAHM, MIL thought that there would be gourmet home cooked meals, a house cleaned by her and all homemade sweets and snacks. The reality has turned out much different. Lots of takeout, a house cleaning service, and taking exercise classes with friends.

  77. I have a sister who simply refuses to date any man who makes less than she does. That is hard, because she makes a lot, and divorced well. I think it is beyond silly.

  78. PTM, isn’t she also over 60 and quite overweight? I’m thinking you might not have to worry about getting a new brother-in-law anytime soon.

  79. WCE, I was surrounded by militant atheists and the nominally but not observant religious, and I think most men don’t want an argumentative wife. Even litigators :)

    You may have strong opinions, though, as long as he agrees with you.

  80. RMS, this particular sister is quite thin and very attractive. She is over sixty but she really keeps herself looking good. She also most often is accompanied by a man (slightly younger) who, in fact, satisfies her income criterion.

  81. Those rates are for teachers or people with advanced degrees to tutor HS students. The kids that are peers or college student get much lower hourly rates. Also, Chem, physics tutors that are good are in demand so the rates are higher.

    Rhett, I worked with a lot of men that had wives in law, finance or similar. You’re right that some dropped out, but many stayed. It’s been approx 25 + years, and a lot of them are still working in banks or law firms. I saw what you’re hoping to find, but it is changing. I spend as much time now in my school community as I do in my finance community. There is a visible shift that I can see that more women are equals. I don’t know if it is the high COL, or just a generational shift. When I meet these younger women in my elementary school, I meet doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, lobbyists, designers etc. I just don’t meet a lot of people that are not working.

  82. “Those rates are for teachers or people with advanced degrees to tutor HS students. ”

    I’m assuming “those rates” are $100/hour and up.

    “The kids that are peers or college student get much lower hourly rates.”

    Would that be the $20-$40/hour? That would still be great for DS, who is now paid minimum wage (7.75/hr) for a job that sometimes includes helping kids who are struggling, IOW, tutoring.

    “Also, Chem, physics tutors that are good are in demand so the rates are higher.”

    He’s been a TA for chemistry. Hmm, maybe I’ll suggest tutoring during the upcoming summer; a lot of kids take bio and chem during summer school. Tutoring bio would be good prep for taking AP Bio next year.

    Hey, maybe I should brush up on calculus, and tutor part time when I retire.

  83. “To have lost his life in a lake and have nature just sort of gobble him up is just shocking.”

    @Rhett – this was a quote by his daughter. Sometimes we forget how powerful nature is.

  84. SSK,

    When the third one was announced, Doris Fisher was hear to utter an audible sigh of relief.

  85. Finn, I earned $10 for an hour of tutoring in 1990. One of my teachers asked me to tutor his daughter for the SAT. Rates should be higher now, especially for people like your son who can help people get from the 90th percentile to the 95th+ percentile.

    I never took a class but from what I’ve heard, they are focused on the middle, not helping people move within the top decile.

  86. I taught for one of the big prep companies. I think they only take college kids and older. It was miserable, scripted, and I was bad at it. Definitely aimed at raising the 60th percentile to the 75th. Based on my experience, I would never pay for an sat class for my kids. I would use the money to bribe them into 20 hours of butt in seat time, and half a dozen practice tests. (I did find value in MCAT review, as that is a much more content driven test).

  87. Totally unrelated to anything, tonight’s episode of The Goldbergs was the funniest thing I have ever seen. Download it illegally if you have to, but it is must-see TV.

  88. Rhode – I was also too intimidating for guys when I was in HS; in college it was a lot better. I met DH while I was in law school so I didn’t have to worry about it after I was already a lawyer.

    HM – love that guide. Rhett – he sold the company in the 70s (I think) so may not be too soon! :)

  89. This one applies to my house !

    Copy: “We’ve partnered with American Girl™ to make baking more fun than ever!”

    Drew Says: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Oh, God. Oh, God, the Second Axis 0f Evil has formed at last! They’re wasting no time transitioning my little girl from $100 dolls to demanding a full-fledged $10,000 Viking rangetop. Don’t you see? They’ve made American Girl into a gateway drug to BIG KITCHEN! GAHHHHHHHHH. What kinda message are you people sending? I don’t see American Girl partnering with Office Depot! WAY TO REINFORCE GENDERED NORMS AS ESTABLISHED BY THE PATRIARCHY YOU SLIME!!!!!

    The aprons are cute, though. Bet my little girl would go apeshit for those.

  90. L – for me, it was grad school. Either I finally came into my own, or was surrounded by geeky people so I didn’t stick out so much. Every now and again, I still wonder… if I wasn’t with DH, would I be married now. My gut reaction tells me no – and I don’t know if it’s because I can’t imagine it, or if I really wouldn’t have met anyone.

  91. I got male attention in high school, and you know why?*+ Because we had really rigid tracking so I was surrounded by AP Geeks (as we fondly referred to ourselves). The guys (who are all the successful Silicon Valley types now) had no choice but to date from the girl-geek pool. Tracking. It’s so important!

    * No, it’s not because I was putting out. Shut up. I totally wasn’t.
    + “Because you’re not really all that bright, Rocky, so you weren’t that off-putting.” Shut up! I won the high school English prize.

  92. DS just completed an SAT prep class ($750) and I think it was worth every penny. It forced him to take a lot of tests, and the specialized instruction was very helpful to him. He is continuing to use the resources available to him as an alum to take additional tests and have the test prep company score and analyze them (trends, etc.).

    FWIW, the composition of the classes differ depending on when the class is held. You want the summer classes with the kids who are trying to make NMF and/or get a perfect score. The teachers do more or less advanced instruction, based on the class composition.

  93. We will probably do a paid SAT class for the reason Houston mentioned: it will provide a structure that will require DD to take practices tests and thus will probably generate more practice with less whining than we could accomplish on our own. Plus DD doesn’t have intuitive test-taking ability like DS and I do — she doesn’t naturally think/plan strategically — so I think she will benefit disproportionately from instructors breaking down how to take the test.

    But the strange thing is that I am now wondering whether we should do a prep class before the PSAT. That seems bass-ackwards, because I still think of the PSAT as practice for the “real” test, the NMSF implications make it an important test on its own. Has anyone done that? I guess I’ll wait and see how she is doing on the practice ones (i.e., if she’s below the 95%, which is likely, why bother?). But it just seems weird to be even thinking about test prep when you’re not even at the SAT level.

  94. Speaking of college, I just found this account in a NYT article stating that the Yale house master’s wife (isn’t it okay to be obnoxious on Hallowe’en) resigned her position. A student was f berating the master (her husband)

    One student was shown in a video posted on YouTube confronting Dr. Christakis as he clasped his hands. “It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not!” the student was heard yelling. “Do you understand that? It is about creating a home here!”

    Well, that is the crux of the matter, isn’t it. What is the point of college – vocational prep, an intellectual space, or a transitional “home” between childhood and adulthood.

  95. liked this one

    “Copy: “For dedicated cheese enthusiasts”

    Drew Says: You better be dedicated if I’m gonna shell out $300 to have a wheel of coffee-rubbed Danish whipboy cheese delivered to your doorstep for half a year. You have to be very wealthy or very peculiar to be that devoted to funky cheeses, and if that’s the case, then you can jolly well buy your own from your local cheesemonger.

    By the way, I’d like to know how many orders they get of this shit every year. Do they have a warehouse of foot cheese ready to go? How much of a market can there possibly be for cheese clubs? Who ARE these people with all this disposable income? When I get money, I stash it away, because I know that college tuition and house loans and head cancer are coming for me ANY day. Who are all these free-spirited people with endless money to burn? Aren’t we supposed to be struggling as a country? I WISH I WERE SECURE ENOUGH TO BUY ALL THAT CHEESE.

  96. Wine,

    This was my favorite:

    Copy: “Our cookie press is a baker’s dream come true. Just fill the barrel with dough and pull the lever.”

    Drew says: COOKIE GUN. Fuck yeah! Load me up and I will take out an entire cookie swap with that fucker. PEW PEW PEW 50 snickerdoodles right in Priscilla Purrington’s grill. YOU CAN TAKE MY COOKIE GUN FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS. That’ll teach her not to have a grosgrain table runner.

  97. LFB: We scheduled the SAT prep class to end 2 weeks before the PSAT in junior year, so the lessons would be fresh. A separate PSAT prep class (though they exist) might be overkill.

    Also, DS has decided not to take the ACT. Not sure how people decide which test (and prep class) to take.

  98. The PSAT is “officially” taken in 11th grade, but most totebag kids are at schools that also offer the test to 10th graders. IMO, it’s best to wait until after the 10th grade results to start scheduling SAT prep classes. There is plenty of time at that point, and the classes work best, again IMO, if there isn’t too much of a time lag between the end of the classes and the test date.

    We paid for test prep for the older two. The youngest was OK working on his own with some online test prep materials. It really depends on the kid. And I agree with Houston that the composition of the class matters, but in our case the classes were affiliated with the schools that the boys were attending, which was a big plus. They had friends there, and the instruction was better focused for their needs.

    On the disgrace at Yale — DH heard a rumor through the grapevine that Harvard doesn’t want this couple to return. Apparently, they are too toxic. And the guy is a superstar. So DH wants his school to make them an offer. And here’s what the Harvard Crimson reported in 2012, when the Christakis couple announced their departure to Yale:

    “Earlier this month, the Christakises published an op-ed in Time criticizing the College administration’s response to flyers with inflammatory language distributed on campus. In their article, they critiqued administrators for prioritizing issues of free speech over “more pressing problems for our students, such as the sexist and dangerous behaviors that still go unchecked behind closed doors” in student social spaces.”

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/12/19/christakis-house-masters-yale/

    There is no need for The Onion.

  99. Thanks, Houston — that makes sense.

    Louise: the one that counts is Junior year (I think). But DD’s school had all the 9th graders take it this fall as practice (and I assume will do so again next year). Even back IMD(tm), we took a practice PSAT in 10th grade before the “real” one in 11th.

  100. We have a local prep company that has different levels of classes–one is specifically for kids at the 90th percentile, and another for kids at the 95th trying for NMSF or perfect scores or whatever. I’ve heard good things about some of the online courses as well.
    FWIW, DD did no prep, and DS did one specialized class before the ACT but nothing before the PSAT or SAT.

  101. Occasionally, gender equality is mentioned on this blog as a social goal/natural good. While I think legal gender equality is mostly achievable and a good thing, the differences between men and women seem to preclude social gender equality, which affects professional equality. (As LfB has pointed out, equal opportunities don’t necessarily result in equal outcomes.)

    I’m jealous of RMS’s high school peer group and live here in part so my children can hopefully have a high school experience not too different from hers. I sure hope they continue to track heavily in high school.

    I’m also thinking about SAT prep courses and realizing that as in many other academic areas, the composition of the class creates an unequal experience. I can see where Scarlett’s sons would have a positive class experience with their peers. Comparably able students in an average or below-average school would probably find the courses unchallenging and less helpful so in such a school, on-line instruction would probably be a better choice.

  102. So much to comment on!

    Rocky – you crack me up!

    The Hater’s Guide is a perennial delight. LOVE it. And seriously – who wants the monthly cheese shipment? If you like cheese that much, don’t you have a local store where you go nerd out about cheese? I also like the commentary on the $25 bacon-wrapped dates. For TWELVE!

    I think we are a long way from normalizing women and particularly mothers as breadwinners (as defined as making more than 50% of household income). And as long as it is not normalized, it will be something that is a bit out of the ordinary. And some people don’t like things that are out of the ordinary. It’s not easy going against cultural norms. I kind of have my own little personal “support group” of other breadwinning working moms honestly. And that’s not at the I-Banking/Big Law level, that’s at Rhett’s proverbial “VP of 5th 3rd Bank” level. It’s probably more common for lower-middle-class and true middle-class (nurse & cop) type families to have a female breadwinner – I think I’ve actually seen that stat in one of the many hand-wringing articles about this issue. It is absolutely not the norm in Totebag land. I don’t think that’s offensive, I think it’s just fact.

  103. I love the haters guide. But, I have in my house a junior Sandra Lee who would love to work for retailers like WS and figure out what sort of kitchen and home gee gaw she can get consumers to open their wallets for.

  104. The origins of the term (which did not include hanging by an angry mob):

    Lynch served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Convention from 1769 until 1778, when he became a militia colonel. After the Revolution, he served in the Virginia Senate from 1784 to 1789.

    In several incidents in 1780, Lynch and several other militia officers and justices of the peace rounded up suspects who were thought to be a part of a Loyalist uprising in southwestern Virginia. The suspects were given a summary trial at an informal court; sentences handed down included whipping, property seizure, coerced pledges of allegiance, and conscription into the military. Lynch’s extralegal actions were retroactively legitimized by the Virginia General Assembly in 1782.

    “Lynch’s Law”, referring to organized but unauthorized punishment of criminals, became a common phrase, as was used by Charles Lynch to describe his actions as early as 1782.[citation needed] The Oxford English Dictionary, however, notes that “The origin of the expression has not been determined.”[5] Variations of the term, such as “lynch law”, “judge lynch” and “lynching”, were standard entries in American and British English dictionaries by the 1850s. In 1811, a man named Captain William Lynch claimed that the phrase, by then famous, actually came from a 1780 compact signed by him and his neighbors in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to uphold their own brand of law independent of legal authority. The obscurity of the Pittsylvania County compact compared to the well-known actions of Charles Lynch casts doubt on it being the source of the phrase.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lynch_(judge)

  105. ‘Louise: the one that counts is Junior year (I think). But DD’s school had all the 9th graders take it this fall as practice (and I assume will do so again next year). Even back IMD(tm), we took a practice PSAT in 10th grade before the “real” one in 11th.”

    I know I keep pounding this issue, but the above quote illustrates the differences in educational opportunity are one of the drivers of income inequality.

    At my kid’s high immigrant/first generation/nonTotebag high school, my daughter was the only sophomore to take the PSAT this year. She and her friends tried to sign up at the school, but were refused. I approached her school and was refused. I called around and found another high school where she could take the test, but no other parents did that. No ninth grader took the PSAT at her school.

    The difference in opportunities for nonTotebag kids versus Totebag kids is striking. And most of these kids don’t have information/access/a parental advocate to either find out what opportunities are out there or how to access them. Their issue isn’t lack of cognitive ability or executive function, it is lack of information and lack of a helicopter parent to advocate for them.

  106. I envy all of you whose kids’ schools have them taking the PSAT in the 9th grade. At my kids’ school, they only take them in 10th (practice) and 11th (when it counts).

    An option for those like Murphy, whose kids’ schools don’t have them taking the PSAT before their junior years, is to take the SAT. This year is weird due to the format changes, but they usually have similar formats.

    I thought about having DD take the SAT when she’s in 8th grade, since then it would totally be practice (my understanding is that some schools will look at all SAT results from 9th grade on), but decided not to, in large part because all the changes going on would limit the value of that as preparation for her SAT.

  107. Finn, I took the ACT in 7th, 9th and 11th grade and I think you should consider letting/encouraging your daughter to take the SAT in 8th grade. As you learn things, knowing that you will need to know it on a standardized test helps it “stick”. Mr. WCE took the SAT in 7th grade and 11th grade and he put no effort into maximizing his score.

  108. WRT PSAT prep, I’ve mentioned here that for kids with NMSF potential, the potential financial payoff to doing well in the PSAT (well, actually the NMSQT) is quite large. Many schools offer generous merit aid to NMF, and you can’t be a NMF without first being a NMSF, which requires doing well on the PSAT/NMSQT.

    Also, for most kids (CO 2017 kids like mine and Houston’s are exceptions, due to the format changes), PSAT and SAT prep overlap.

    At my kids’ school, many kids take SAT prep classes in the summer after sophomore year, then take the PSAT in October and SAT in December, with the class prepping them for both.

    DS took a different approach. He did self-prep the summer after freshman year, taking a bunch of practice tests, some from the college board website as well as some he got from his HS college counseling office, then took the SAT early in his sophomore year. He did well enough that the benefit of an additional prep class would be minimal, so he skipped the class and, instead, worked during the summer after sophomore year.

  109. “Mr. WCE took the SAT in 7th grade”

    Did Mr. WCE apply to a program for gifted kids, like the one at Johns Hopkins?

    I believe a lot (most?) of the kids who take the SAT in 7th or 8th grade do so as part the application process for such a program.

    My niece did that. Her score exceeded the admission requirements for Flagship U, so she didn’t bother taking it again, and went through HS without any SAT-related stress. Needless to say, she did not take a prep class.

    I asked DD about taking the SAT this school year, and she demurred. Perhaps I’ll ask again early next (calendar) year.

    Another thought would be to have her take some practice tests. Less stress than taking the actual test, but perhaps the same benefit WCE mentioned, “knowing that you will need to know it on a standardized test helps it “stick”.”

  110. Finn, yes, Mr WCE and I both did our testing as part of talent search screening. I got to take a practice (old but authentic) ACT at math camp after 8th grade and it was fun to see my score climb since I had learned new material and improved my speed. For me, having time to do all the problems on subtests thoroughly with extra time to check my answers was key to scoring well on the ACT.

  111. “I’m jealous of RMS’s high school peer group and live here in part so my children can hopefully have a high school experience not too different from hers.”

    Remember where RMS grew up, where the public schools are probably among the most competitive in the country. Her classmates probably included the kids of professors at one of the premier universities in the world.

    From what I remember of your past posts, your kids’ current school does not provide that sort of peer group. Would other feeder schools into their HS provide that, perhaps the kids of profs at the land grant U?

  112. My kids’ school is not as good as RMS’s, but it’s what we can afford. With the dramatic increase in housing prices near the university, our school is adding classes as young families move away from the university and some of the elementary schools near the university have closed. One of my friends who was a chem e professor moved to another state because their family couldn’t afford a house near the university.

  113. “I think we are a long way from normalizing women and particularly mothers as breadwinners (as defined as making more than 50% of household income).”

    That may vary regionally.

    When I was a kid, having two parents working was the norm. I’d guess that in many cases there was not a large difference between the spouses in terms of earning, given that many parents worked in agriculture or tourism.

    It continues to be the norm here to have two working parents (in households that have two parents), and it is very common for both parents to have similar jobs that, I suspect, result in similar paychecks.

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