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Unformatted text preview: 120 At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust Ti~MAR LEWIN Nearing graduation, Rick Kolm is not putting much energy into his final courses. "I take the path of least resistance," said Mr. Kohn, who works 25 hours a week to put himself through the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. "This summer, I looked for the four At Colleges, Women Are Zeaving Men gn the Dust 449 easiest courses I could take that would let me graduate in August." It is not that Mr. Kohn, 24, is indifferent to education. He is excited about economics and hopes to get his master’s in the field. But the other classes, he said, just do not seem worth the effort. "What’s the difference between an A and a B?" he asks. "Either way, you go on to the next class." He does not see his female classmates shar- ing that attitude. Women work harder in school, iVlr. Kohn believes. "The girls care more about their G.P.A. and the way they look on paper," he said. A quarter-centu W after women became the majority on college campuses, men are trailing them in more than just enrollment. Department of Education statistics show that men, whatever theft race or socioeconomic group, are less likely than women to get bache- lor’s degrees--and among those who do, fewer complete their degrees in four or five years. Men also get worse grades than women. And in two national studies, college men leported that they studied tess and socialized more than their female classmates. Small wonder, then, that at elite institutions like Harvard, small liberal arts colleges like Dickinson, huge public universities like the Uni- versity of Wisconsin and U.C.L.A. and smaller ones like Florida Atlantic University, women are walking off with a disploportionate share of the honors degrees. It is not that men are in a downward spi- ral: they are going to college in greater num- bers and are more likely to graduate than two decades ago. Still, men now make up only 42 percent of the nation’s college students. And with sex disclimi- nation fading and their job oppom~nities widen- ing, women are coming on much stronger, often leapfrogging the men to the academic finish. "The boys are about where they were 30 years ago, but the girls are just on a tear, doing much, much better," said Tom Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Oppor- tunity in Higher Education in Washington. Take Jen Smyers, who has been a power- house in her three years at American University in Washington. She has a dean’s scholarship, has held four internships and thi’ee jobs in her time at American, made the dean’s list almost eve W term and also led the campus women’s initiative. And when the rest of her class graduates with bachelor’s degrees next year, Ms. Smyers will be finishing her master’s....
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- Spring '08