'Sisters' Colleges Recruit in Middle East

Single-sex education remains strong in region
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 3, 2008 10:31 AM CDT
Barnard College, along with other Sisters institutions, toured the Middle East to recruit students.   ((c) WalkingGeek)
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(Newser) – Facing fewer applicants than comparable co-ed institutions around the US, representatives of top women’s colleges toured the Middle East this spring on a recruiting mission, the New York Times reports. While women’s colleges have become a niche market for US applicants, single-sex education remains widespread in the Middle East. But attending one of them can be a shock to students expecting protected environments, honoring traditional women's roles.

"The American colleges, for all their white-glove history and academic prominence," the Times writes, "are liberal strongholds where students fiercely debate political action, gender identity and issues like “heteronormativity,” the marginalizing of standards that are other than heterosexual. Middle Eastern students who already attend these colleges tell of a transition that can be "jarring."