Hanover College Triangle on
Co-Eds and the Value of a College Education
January 13, 1930
At the beginning of the twentieth century, an increasing number of men and women were starting to attend college. Young people were beginning to see a college education as necessary for finding a job with a decent income. In 1929, an estimated 71 percent of families had an income of less than 2500 dollars. A college education was an integral part of getting ahead. The proof that America was experiencing a change in the nature of work is Calvin Coolidge's 1925 quote, "The business of America is business." College at this time was not only for men, but for women as well.
According to Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, women attending college were divided into two distinct groups. The majority of middle-class women attending college were looking to have fun and find husbands for "proper marriage." Theirs was a social purpose, and they were largely unconcerned with grades and more concerned with fashion. This contrasts heavily with the "strong-minded" women who made it to college. These women were from "modest backgrounds," "identified with professors," and were "preparing themselves for paid work." While the women serious about their college education were viewed as outsiders, the middle-class women were generally accepted in so far as they fit into male competitions. "College men reworked their code to incorporate into it sexual play and conquest." - Kelly Eckstein, '09
Sources: Judith S. Baughman, ed., American Decades 1920-1929 (New York: Gale, 1996), III, 82, 79; Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Campus Life. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987), 193, 201-2, 200, 127.
N.B. The text below is transcribed verbatim, including the occasional typographical error.
"The Administrative Column: Does College Pay?," Hanover College Triangle, 13 Jan. 1930, 1; "Are Co-Eds Smarter Than Men," Hanover College Triangle, 13 Jan. 1930, 2.
The Administrative Column: Does College Pay?
When students enter a college or university, their enthusiasm is fired by
a burning ambition to succeed in life and to make good in school in order to
lay a strong foundation upon which to build after they have graduated. They
believe that an education will prepare them for bigger and better work, and
they have enough faith in it to be willing to undertake four years of difficult
study and financial drain. ome [sic] students kep [sic] that enthusiasm and
ambitio [sic] throughout their four years in school and they do make good in
their scholastic work. Too many, however, begin to weaken when the "going
gets tough" and when the mid-semester reports are published in the form
of yellow slips, some of that number permit their spirit t [sic] be broken and
they fall by the wayside. They forget what was upper most in their minds when
they entered the institution. They wonder if, after all, an education is as
valuable as it is given credit to be.
That a college education develops one's mind, taste for the better things in
life and his personality, and strengthens his character is verified by the comparison
between the man with the higher education and the one who neglected to get it.
And that one's earning power is increased by education is shown by statistics.
One economist has figured that a college graduate earns $150,000 between the
ages of 22 and 60 as compared with $78,000 earned between aes [sic] of 18 and
60 by his impoverished brother whose education ceased with high school.
If those students who get discouraged would remember that their pre-college
conception of an education was the correct one, they might not feel so uncertain
about its value.- Purdue Exponent.
"A college girl makes an ideal wife," Charles E. Hughes said in an
address in which he advised college men to marry college women. "And I
am speaking from personal experience," he added.
Are Co-Eds Smarter Than Men
Judging from the scholastic standing published recently an unprejudiced observer
could easily say that the intelligence of the coed is above that of the man
student. Such an opinion would be natural, but the sons of Adam hesitate to
hand the intellectual crown to the lovely daughters of Eve without challenging
their right to it.
There are several factors to be considered. No one can deny that woman thinks
faster than man, but does she think clearer or deeper? We'll be probed if we
know. The number of outstanding women in the field of though appears insignificant
in comparison with the number of men. That would seem to prove something, don't
The coed seems to take herself more seriously regarding her academic work than
do her brothers and she is to be commended for it. Yes sir. She, however, is
more prone to wheedle the professor by sitting on the front row and conspicuously
hanging on to his every word. The college man, as a rule, feels himself to be
above such methods, and regards them with utter scorn very often much to the
wary professor's relief.
Moreover there seem to be more distractions for the college man than for the
college woman Subject to many regulations, the coed is pretty nearly barred
from wasting much time in campus loafing places. She also is not likely to plunge
into extra curricular activities, at least to the extent that the man does studying
and dating are the chief activities of college for her.
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