The ratio, as it is called, is a popular topic of conversation—as well as a joke—on campus. Speculations run rampant, considering numbers between three to eight female students for every male student at Vanguard.
Although the former is not too far off, according to the Office of the Provost, the actual ratio at is at two girls for every boy.
But a question remains: why?
According to senior Maggie Dillion, she believes that a possible explanation for why more woman are attracted to Vanguard lies in their spiritual relationship.
“Women tend (emphasis on tend) to be more self-aware in their relationships—especially in their relationships with Christ,” Dillion said.
Dillon may not be too far off.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Christians tend to be majority female. This could provide a reasonable explanation for why Christian universities have a higher female population.
Dillion, as a religion major, appreciates Vanguard’s focus on teaching that both men and women are equally called by God for ministry.
“I wasn’t attracted to Vanguard because I am a woman, but I do appreciate their emphasis on the empowerment of females,” Dillion said.
According to religion department chair April Westbrook, there has often been an even split between men and women in her 18-year tenure. Westbrook believes that Vanguard creates an environment where the female students are empowered through peers and especially faculty encouraging them and challenging them to deepen their maturity with God.
“I think there’s a lot of role models of strong women in all kinds of fields and levels of authority . . . . In regards to preaching, we see men and women with no difference, it’s natural and organic [and places emphasis] in the affirming of gifts and ministry in people’s lives,” Westbrook said.
Uplifting and empowering the female students seems to be a priority of Vanguard. Yearly they host events such as “JAYA” (Just as You Are) Week and “Wild & Free,” which stress girls’ natural beauty and their worth beyond material things. This year, Vanguard has also established female-focused empowerment sessions called Gather the Women.
At these events, girls are encouraged to be vulnerable with each other and to use that to create relationships with others. According to sophomore Sarah Busler, she believes Vanguard is more attractive to girls because of these relationships.
“I think Vanguard’s majors, departments, and even dorms cater more to girls. Because girls mature faster, when they are looking for a college [they look for one] that is intentional about community and intimate relationships. I think girls are more attracted to those qualities than guys,” Busler said.
It is no secret that the Catalina dorms are the nicest (and newest) dorms on campus where sophomore and transfer girls get to relish in air conditioning and walk-in closets. Meanwhile, the sophomore boys are required to stay in Huntington Hall for an additional year. However, are the nice dorms a major selling point for girls or are the dorms so nice because of how many girls there are? It’s all really up to the individual why they choose Vanguard over some other college.
According to sophomore Kayla Higgins, she believes that reason for there being more females than males on campus falls on their individual interests and their upbringings.
“I think that for both genders there are things about Vanguard that can be attractive in different ways,” Higgins said.
Vanguard’s ratio has even been speculated by some to be from the lack of a school football team.
However, not every male student at Vanguard is an athlete. Busler accredits the different interests as males tend to be more interested in pursuing STEM majors which Vanguard has a smaller selection of and at a more expensive price than another college.
“Because of our society’s gender norms, men are expected to choose a career path that is secure so they can provide well for their future family. While I don’t agree with this way of thinking, I think if Vanguard grew those departments the ratio would look more balanced,” Busler said.
As it would seem, there are many things that factor into a college decision, regardless of your gender. For each student, there are different aspects of a college that are more important to them. Some, like Dillon, look at the type environment. Others, like Busler, look at the types of people and majors offered. What attracts people to certain colleges depends on the person as an individual.
Vanguard is attractive to all types of people for various reasons. It has much to offer in terms of equal representation in the religion department, faculty members from diverse walks of life that desire to mentor their students, and well-established environments that foster student growth. Vanguard may have more females than males, but the reasons behind that disproportion depend entirely on the individual.