Having officially accepted women to their undergraduate program in 1837, Oberlin College was the first university postsecondary institution to become coeducational. Following Oberlin, other colleges across the United States began to open their doors to female undergraduates. However there were some universities that stayed single-sex, such as the Seven Sister schools, which praised all-female education, and found that their students would thrive separated from men. In her book, Separate by Degree: Women’s Students’ Experiences in Single-Sex and Coeducational Colleges, Leslie Miller-Bernal states, “women’s colleges have always lived under a banner of controversy…as they developed and became an important part of American higher education, stereotypes have often been used to describe them…but they have also been damaging in their ability to obscure the educational value of women’s colleges and to confuse, if not terrify, potential applicants” (Miller-Bernal p. xv). This banner of controversy that Miller-Bernal goes on to describe is one of the many reasons why single-sex colleges merged to become coeducational institutions, to avoid some negative connotations that might have been associated with their schools, as well as to attract more potential applicants who might have been more interested in the school had it been coeducational. Coeducation, while it plays a large part in how men and women were, and are currently, educated, also affects in what ways the students are educated. In coeducational institutions, the gender demographics affect campus climate outside of the classroom, as well as inside of it; it is important to investigate how coeducation of women affected the gender demographics of student majors, by potentially further developing female-dominated majors, or bridging the gap to male-dominated fields.
Waiting over 100 years to co-educate after Oberlin College, Trinity College officially became a mixed-sex college in 1969. The reasons for Trinity’s acceptance of women were a mutually beneficial decision for both the college and the students; the dean of faculty, Robert Fuller, proposed said reasons to President Lockwood, to explain how Trinity would benefit from accepting women. Fuller explained that studies suggested that men and women educated separately may be at a disadvantage, because they would not be fully prepared for the world after college in which they did not have the option of only working with people of their own sex. At the time at which Dean Fuller was writing this memo he addressed the falling number of applications that Trinity received, and declared that it was because men, at the time, wanted to go to mixed-sex colleges. Therefore, because the number of applications was decreasing, Dean Fuller suggests that the number of talented students at the college was shrinking because there was not as large of a set to choose from. Fuller subsequently gave the President gave three key reasons as to why Trinity could only succeed if it decided to accept women. The first reason present was to accept women would cause Trinity to draw a more talented group of applicants, therefore Trinity would have more talented students; the college could replace less talented men with more talented women. Second, the distraction associated with having a mixed-sex classroom would rapidly diminish with a constant presence of women. Lastly, admitting women would “be continuing [Trinity’s] tradition of undertaking whatever actions are necessary to protect its excellence;” this final piece of logical reasoning, as well as with those previously stated, shows that Dean Fuller truly was focused on protecting the excellence of Trinity, and proved himself right when one year after his memo was read by President Lockwood women were accepted to Trinity College, and the college’s coeducation was official.
Presently, it has come to the attention of colleges and universities just how large of an impact that the coeducation of women has had on the nation’s higher learning institutions. From an article in the New York Times: “Department of Education statistics who that men, whatever their race or socioeconomic group, are less likely than women to get bachelor’s degrees – and among those who do, fewer complete their degrees in four or five years. Men also get worse grades than women…faced with applications and enrollment numbers that tilt toward women, some selective private colleges are giving men a slight boost in admissions”. This present-day divide is the ironic inversion of what coeducation was like in the 1900s. When women began at mixed-sex institutions they remained in a passive state, letting men remain dominant in fields that stereotypically were not appropriate for women, such as the sciences or the humanities like political science or economics. This dominance has slowly diminished, and has allowed women to find equality in the gender demographics regarding student majors.
 Fuller, Robert. “The Admission of Women Undergraduates to Trinity College.” Print.
 Lewin, Tamar. “At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust.” New York Times. 9 July 2006. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/education/09college.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all>.