On Tuesday, January 24th Admissions Live hosted Eric Felix, Admissions Counselor at the University of San Diego. Eric has been in higher education the past five years now. He has spent much of his time involved in college outreach programs. More recently, he is focusing on equity, access, and student success.

While the gender gap in higher education is not a new challenge, it is a resilient trend with added layers in today’s educational climate. In the following transcript from Tuesday’s show, Eric sheds light on this issue and its effects on higher education today. In addition to the widening gender gap, the educational challenges for men of color specifically are of national concern and are demonstrated very clearly in this short video from the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. Please watch.

Transcript taken from the live broadcast, January 24, 2012.

Ashley: Why are we here discussing this topic today? How did you become interested in this topic?

Eric:  I’ve been working in higher education for five years now. I’ve always been motivated and passionate about college outreach programs. Over the last few years my focus has been on equity, access, and success. Working and doing my graduate program at one of the largest state universities in California, I didn’t realize the gender imbalance. After transitioning to a smaller private institution the gender gap was extremely visible.

As I hit the road this past year I began to notice less and less male students attending my high school visits and also less stopping by at college fair booths. Though anecdotal, the missing men phenomenon was an issue that grew into concern. In talking with colleagues at similar institutions on the west coast we began to have discussions, share research and find best practices to identify, recruit, and enroll men. Just as we would utilize other recruiting strategies for other student characteristics or enrollment goals we wanted to achieve.

What we are talking about today isn’t a new topic, but a re-surging issue with added layers. Today, we are not only focusing on the missing men, but missing men of color. It is my hope that this show encourages public discussion, shares research, and promotes best practices.

Projections:  By 2020 men will represent 41.1% of college enrollees.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics’ “The Condition of Education 2011”

Eric’s comments on the data:
In my experience the “urgency” of this phenomenon has followed the release of the American Council on Education’s “Gender Equity in Higher Education” reports originally released in 2000, updated in 2006, and 2010. In the latest the major takeaway was “stabilizing of the college gender gap.”

New research has emerged from a variety of organizations addressing the disparity in educational attainment between genders and offered recommendations

Ashley: The men who are represented in this data – If they are not attending college, where are they going?

Eric: There are fewer men graduating and fewer men deciding to go to college straight from high school. Many are considering other options – entering the workforce or military. They are also more likely to question value of college education and it’s affordability.

Those that are attending college straight from high school are choosing large “flagship” public institutions. These colleges haven’t faced the same issues as smaller private/public 4-year institutions. And most engineering or technical schools have the opposite problem

Ashley: How would you describe the higher ed landscape in relationship to gender? What is the admissions profession facing?

Eric: At a macro-level the landscape of higher education is defined by the current statistics and projections for the future.  At a micro-level, each institution has enrollment goals they are trying to meet. Every year we develop targets to recruit a freshman class with a variety of characteristics (usually dictated by the board of trustees, AVP, or campus community needs). These characteristics include religion, ethnicity, career interest, geographic location, and gender.

Ashley: What are the questions we need to be asking ourselves?

Eric: With a decreasing amount of college-ready men in the pipeline, what changes do we need to make? How do we do our job effectively to meet the enrollment goals of our institution and how will our recruitment practices/strategies need to change?

Is the target goal really 50/50? No. A critical mass is necessary but varies by institution type.

Ashley: I face the opposite challenge at my institution, where our gender imbalance is weighted nearly 60% male. If you are enrolling the women, and I am enrolling the men then why is it important to have have a gender balance in college?

Eric: Many reasons – There are certainly social and economic ramifications, perspective in the class, residence halls, not to mention Title IX.

Ashley: How do we face these challenges? What tools do we have at our disposal?

Eric discussed the following strategy considerations:
Remember the little things like including men in all photos, using gender neutral language and possibly an added emphasis on recreation and athletics. Considering marketing materials that generated specifically for men and delivered only to men may be the best tool, as this option will meet their need while not alienating or deterring women from applying.
Recruitment Travel
Consider strategic recruitment travel that will include more all-male high schools and visits with student groups or community based organizations. Consider – Young Black Scholars (100 Black Men), JROTC, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club and NCAN.
Student to Student
Make sure to represent male students on campus that can act as role models for student success. Keep these considerations when hiring male tour guides, ambassadors and student blogger. Male groups on campus can also get involved in the recruitment process by providing outreach or representation during campus programs.
Transfer Students
Many male students are taking the community college or military service route to their Bachelor’s degree. Spend time making this process an easy switch.

University System of Georgia

African American Male Initiative (System-wide recruitment/retention)
Houston Community College
Minority Male Initiative
CUNY System
Black Male Initiative


Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions, by sex and attendance status: Selected years, 1970 through 2009 http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98

Trends in Higher Education Infographic http://visual.ly/trends-higher-education-0?view=true

Percentage of high school dropouts among persons 16 through 24 years old (status dropout rate), by sex and race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1960 through 2009 http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_115.asp

Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2009

Affirmative Action for Men (2006)

Redefining the Gender Gap (2008)

Gender Gap Stops Growing (2010) (See Viewer Comments Too)

College Gender Gap Appears to be Stabilizing (2010)

Infographic: An Inside Look at College Admissions Today

The Gender Gap in College: Maximizing the Developmental Potential of Women and Men

The Vanishing Latino Male in Higher Education

Masculinities go to community college: Understanding male identity socialization and gender role conflict

Why are so few Men of Color Graduating High School?


INIGRAL, the creators of the Schools App on Facebook. Check out their webinar series about how private social networks can increase yield and retention. That happens Wednesdays at 2pm Eastern time.  
, a Google-funded mobile game about going places, doing challenges and earning points.
How can you use SCVNGR to make your visit day experiences better? Learn how D’Youville College engages students through a fun game on their cell phones.
WELCOME TO COLLEGE, creators of web & mobile applications to help institutions measure their most critical recruitment tool, the college visit. Also home of MARV, the Mobile Automated Research Vehicle, who is building energy around the importance of college visits and gearing up for a very exciting few months traveling the country visiting High schools & Colleges.
ZINCH, the leader in social admissions.  It can cost over $80 to generate a single inquiry using traditional recruitment methods.  Zinch partners with over 1,000 colleges and universities to help them attract and enroll best-fit students using significantly more effective outreach methods.  Zinch is truly changing the way students and colleges find each other.  To learn more e-mail outreach@zinch.com or tweet @socialadmission

Book review by Bill Gates: Change .edu: Rebooting for the New Talent Economy http://bit.ly/AlickF
Common App. 4.0, coming in 2013 http://nyti.ms/wCJHXR
State Support for Colleges Falls 7.6% in 2012 Fiscal Year http://bit.ly/yrhCGc

Unsolicited Shout-out of the Week: Emily Okey, production assistant for the Live broadcast.


Episode Host

Ashley Budd

Ashley Budd

Ashley Budd is a digital strategist and designer based in upstate New York. She specializes in bringing offline experiences online. Ashley is assistant director of social media strategy at Cornell University serving Alumni Affairs and Development. Prior to joining the social media team at Cornell, Ashley spent more than five years in Enrollment Management and Career Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Ashley speaks about college admissions, digital fundraising, communication and media technologies.
Category: Admissions Live
  • http://twitter.com/samcoren Sam Coren

    Fantastic insights Ashley and Eric! While the academic community has been catering to girls for decades to strive for equal opportunities, one of the unintended consequences was perhaps sending the wrong message to boys. This has a ripple effect come time for students to figure out what they’ll do after high school. Hoping that schools will start empowering both genders equally in the future.

    Also, thanks for featuring StudentAdvisor’s infographic on admissions. :)

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  • http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html mayfieldga

    Until we begin looking at differential treatment from an early age and show just how
    our individual environments create different mental/emotional/social conditioning; how average stress is made up of layers of mental frictions that take up real mental energy, and how differential treatment creates real advantages for girls today, we will continue to be at a loss to explain the growing Male Crisis.  Please do not buy
    into the genetic models, for they will only make it much worse for Male students.

                The problem is more complex than school curriculum or boy chemistry.  The
    problem involves two entirely different treatments of Males and Females beginning as early as one year of age and increases in differential treatment through adulthood.  This is creating the growing Male Crisis in the information age.  The belief Males should be strong allows more aggressive treatment of Males beginning as early as one year.  This is coupled with much “less” kind, stable, verbal interaction and less mental/emotional/social support, knowledge, and skills for fear of coddling.  This increases over time and continued by society from peers and teachers to others in
    society.  This creates more social/emotional distance from parents and other authority figures who have knowledge; higher average stress that hurts learning and motivation to learn; more activity due to need for stress relief; more defensiveness and wariness of others further hindering emotional and social growth; and higher muscle tension (creating more pressure on pencil and tighter grip) that hurts writing and motivation to
    write. It creates much lag in development creating a learned sense of helplessness in school.  This differential treatment continues on through adulthood, almost fixing many Males onto roads of failure and more escape into more short-term areas of
    enjoyment.  Also the giving of love based on achievement that many Males thus falling behind academics then turns their attention toward video games and sports, risk taking to receive small measures of love/honor not received in the classroom. 

    Since girls by differential treatment are given more positive, continual, and close
    mental/emotional/social/ support verbal interaction and care from an early age onward this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls compared with boys.  The lower the socioeconomic bracket and time in that bracket the more amplified the differential treatment from a young age and increased in more differentiated over time.

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  • http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html mayfieldga

    I feel our current genetics models, which see genetics (presently presumed as equal) and effort from those genetic models as creating various immediate, well meaning ideas to help create a more equal enrollment by gender. However, as the person said, “there are fewer Males in the pipeline”. I feel there will be even fewer as the years go by with many many more Female applicants that will push the ratios to 65% to 35% Female to Male and then slowly push them even higher. The problem is “not” genetics, effort, or feminism, but— a very real, differential treatment of Male and Female children as early as one year of age through adulthood. This allows for much more aggressive treatment of Male children as early as one year of age that continues through adulthood. This is coupled with much less kind, stable, verbal interaction and much less mental/emotional/social support for fear of coddling Males. This is creating the big differences in higher average stress for boys (defined more correctly as many layers of mental work we carry with us as people from past, present, future – experiences, fears, needs, problems, anxieties, preparations for defense – many boys have), anything that “remains in the mind as unresolved fears problems). We accumulate these layers that take away real mental energy leaving less mental energy to think, learn, motivation to learn, and shortens reflection or think time.. For boys due to more aggressive treatment at two and three creates more real fear, anxiety, and shorter reflection time, for they have no earthly notion of why it is occurring. While the higher average stress hurts their thinking and learning, this also creates more activity for stress relief (not genetic). This creates higher muscle tension that hurts handwriting. The much less social interaction along with much fewer developed communication skills for fear of coddling hurt both read and writing motivation – here we need both lower average stress and higher social vocabulary. In addition, boys are given love and honor only on condition of some achievement, status, or power. Those boys not achieving are then given more discipline and ridicule to make them try harder. Support is not an option for fear of coddling. This was designed to keep Male esteem and feelings of self-worth low, so they would keep trying “in the physical world” and even be willing to give their lives for small ounces of love and honor in combat. this is leaving many poorly trained boys then seeking sports and video games and other devices to gain tid bits of love and honor when not receiving it in school. This is working completely opposite of need in the information age. The belief boys should be strong and the false belief in genetics that denies any connection with differential treatment and lower academics, lower esteem, and other problems over-rides all good sense when it comes to raising boys today. This is where the problems begin. I hope we can begin to tackle this very large elephant in the room. Then we will be able to create more knowledgeable and skillful boys in the information age.

    Since we as girls by differential treatment are given much more positive, continual, mental, emotional/social support verbal interaction and care from an early age onward this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls compared with boys. We enjoy much more continuous care and support from infancy through adulthood and receive love and honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things: lower average stress for more ease of learning. We do enjoy much freedom of expression from much protection that makes us look less stable at times; we enjoy lower muscle tension for better handwriting/motivation; higher social vocabulary; lower average stress for reading/motivation; much more positive, trust/communication with adults, teachers, peers; and much more support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. The lower the socioeconomic bracket and time in that bracket the more amplified the differential treatment from a young age and increased and more differentiated over time. Now with girls and women taking over many areas of society, we are enjoying even more lavishing of love and honor, while boys and men still treated to be tough are failing more and are being given even more ridicule and abuse by society and yes, also by girls and women. My learning theory and article on the Male Crisis will go to all on request or can be read from my home site at http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html


      thats a good analysis but thats not true. As a man i can assure u men in general hate being treated like girls, or cuddled or any emotional interactions that would hinder on their masculinity. I was always treated with less verbal and emotional communication and i grew up to be a very smart individual and went on to be in honor role and became so good that i was force to enter the gifted classes of the top 30 kids in my high school.

      I grew up in poverty with no emotional connection or verbal communication and abuse yet m intelligence is above many people who were raised with care and love and constant communication. As a child i would become furious when my mother would kiss me or cuddle me, to me it was disgusting and unmanly, young boys of every age hate it when they are cuddled they like to be free they like to go out and get hurt and do mischief and jump run ride bikes or anything that proves that they are really young men. It is in our biology to be independent, to try and fail on our own or succeed on our own.

      I know that colleges are a hateful place for men and very hostile to my gender yet i still go. The only reason im going to college is because its the only way that i can get into my career, want to be a geneticist one day. And there arent any other methods to become one but through college and an internship through college.

      There are many careers that men can do that have apprenticeship that dont require you to attend college, but the career im n love with requires me to have some type of college degree thats my luck i tell you. I want to change that one day I want to create an apprenticeship for all the math and science careers for men that dont require you to do electives or force you to go to college. You just say what science career you want and you start your apprenticeship hands on and get you certified certificate from the apprenticeship institution and get a job right out the course.

      Men dont go to college because we know that college is useless. The internet alone has all the answers we need, after all we live in the age of information and we all have it at our finger tips.

      To summarize men dont need cuddling, or emotional connection or to be treated like some girl. We want to be in danger, we want to go out and be brave and break things and build things. We want to get hurt and fight and be rough as rough as humanly possible. We hate when people treat us like we are some little girl, little boys and men of all ages hate being treated like girl or cuddled sheltered. Being manly means being able to go out in the world and making it on your own with no one by your side to support you ever. Because if you make it on your own you are the epitome of masculinity and manliness.

      When i get my degree and go into my career as a geneticist i will be proud that i got there on my own. I grew up poor, grew up alone, i was never never sheltered and when my mother tried to i hated it it made me very upset and pushed us farther apart.I was forced to join the military to pay for my education I spent days with no food and spent months in the cold with nothing but my hopes and dreams and my manliness. But when i make it i will be proud that i made it with my own sweat my own two hands and two feet and no one will take away or get any credit when i become a great scientist.

      Im happy i grew up a man, and not some sheltered pansy, i grew up a man just like nature intended it to be in a dangerous world where everyone hated me and tried to crush me at every turn but i never give up and i never quit, thats what it is to be a man.

      • http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html mayfieldga

        My theory shows how individual environments greatly affect thinking, learning, motivation to learn and affects our mental/emotional health. I feel the extra aggression and less support does create higher average stress; lower social vocabulary; higher muscle tension that hurts handwriting; and creates more activity for stress relief. When I said coddling, I meant the slang or less than correct view of simply providing more tactful, skillful, knowledge, skills, and such, not- cuddling, lol.
        We need to look way beyond our own selves and for anyone who wants to improve their life and yes, get a degree in college, look at more variables that “are truly hurting thinking, learning, motivation to learn, and our mental health. We need to redefine our average stress as many layers of mental work that do take up real mental energy. I feel the extra aggression given Males to make them tough creates a host of experiences; preparations for defense; acclimated tension; anger; and other created defense mechanisms that add to their higher average layers of stress that take away real mental energy. This also creates shorter reflection time and improper pace and intensity in approaching newer mental work.
        This is creating a large lag in Males going to college and remaining in college. The numbers are attempted to hold at 60% to 40% Male to Female, but not they are afraid due to fewer Males able to go to college, this could easily go to 65% to 35% Female to Male. This is not the result of genetics or effort. Those boys/men are just as intelligent and are just as ethical in their work as girls and women, but the differential treatment they experience is creating a terrible imbalance in achievement. I am saying environmental treatment, they are saying genetics and effort. I think it is wonderful you are doing well, but the average boy is losing. I am open to any other, environmental variables we can use as tools to help balance the playing field.

        • Frustratedbrother

          Extra aggression to make us tough? In todays society a fair amount of messages suggest being docile or to consider that we’re potential rapists.
          Why does no one give a shit about how many of us are in prison, have committed suicide or are thinking about it.
          That’s not about aggression, a fair amount of us were raised by our mothers, ‘being tough’ wasn’t the MO growing up. If anything boys are trying to be boys, being scolded for it, and it leads to internal conflict. A lot of degrees are useless, and who wants to spend 20-40 thousand on something if you won’t profit off of it, or just barely profit off of it if you can go to work immediately and instead of going 20k in debt you make 20k in profit. No wonder brothers go to the military, money and food, clear profit and direction.
          A degree in women studies isn’t going to put food on the table for most men and certainly not after paying 21k for it. Degrees worth a damn in science,math, etc aren’t being marketed to us either and neither are financial initiatives to help pay for them.

          If one things still holds true. A man has to seize the world by his own hands, because opportunities are being geared to helping women get into programs with the expectation that a man will just find his way into uni naturally.

          • http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html mayfieldga

            It doesn’t matter how Male children react, the actions are in place as early as one year of age that allow more and increasing aggressive treatment of Male children. The book psychology of sex differences says Male toddlers are given more discipline for dependency bids and for independence bids. This more aggressive treatment can and is allowed by society from teachers and peers. Even if the mother is not applying more aggressive treatment, this is occurring in general, that increases and is more accepted in lower socioeconomic brackets and more time in those brackets.
            We need to understand it is not about simply funding or care but a whole array of more harsh, less supportive treatment for Male infants through adulthood that are creating Male children who are not ready to read on level or write on level. This more aggressive, less supportive treatment is allowed by society in the name of making Males tough, but is really simply an allowed catharsis upon boys who are more vulnerable, knowing society, as you say, will not care.
            We need to understand the fundamentals of learning that “require lower layers of average stress; lower muscle tension; higher social vocabulary; and more continued “support from parents, teachers, peers, and society”. The very differential treatment given boys from infancy through adulthood create substantial lags in academics from first grade that only increases as they grow. Even if high school graduates are given the same funding, the problem with a lack of accumulated academic skills, is already causing many Males who enter college to drop out before they graduate. Many more Males simply do not qualify academically in the first place. Note, definitely not from lack of intelligence or effort, but – many lags in support and more aggressive treatment over the years.
            — We need to see how boys and girls are “equal”, but just how that differential treatment is creating more successful Females and less successful Males. We need to redefine our average stress as many layers of mental work our minds are dealing with “that are maintained by our minds and ‘take up real mental energy leaving less mental energy” to think, learn, reflect, etc. The toughness created in Male children is really higher layers of anger, fear, preparation for defense, and more distrust/uneasiness of adults/teachers. This also creates improper pace and intensity in approaching mental work, which only exacerbates their already, higher average stress. It creates more activity for stress relief; and also poor handwriting from the higher muscle tension, which creates a tighter grip on the pencil and more pressure from the hand, which then creates poor handwriting and much more fatigue. Bottom line, – we need to understand just how differential treatment is creating very real differences in learning for students. We need this to release girls and boys but today, especially for boys, from the terrible, false belief in genetics and sheer effort. Note, society is now, due to more Females doing so well, falsely believes boys are just not as intelligent or simply not working hard enough. We need to look more closely at how we can use these environmental variables as tools to help all boys and girls improve their lives.

  • Lecram Hernández

    Experts and educators have been warning for years about the problems of a female oriented educational system, and now we’re seeing the damage. Thanks feminism.

  • Mahatma Ghandi

    Ashly, The reason for the college gender gap is simple. Educational institutions have become hostile places for males.

  • Jamie Johnson

    …the reasons for not seeking higher level education are MANY. I’ve been to college, almost have 2 degrees finished (psychology with a background in economics, and Molecular biology) and I honestly see no reason to go back, and I will tell you why: as soon as you walk in the door for your first class, as a male, you get the automatic impression that you are not even wanted there in the first place. They are perfectly happy taking your money, but when it gets down to the meat of it you are bombarded on a near daily basis about how shitty, and privileged your are because you have a penis. Classes, student organization, and posters all have the same underlying message: Because you are a man your are automatically privileged and a potential rapist. It’s either cow tow or shut up. You speak on men’s issues BAM you get hammered by the angry mob. Teachers do it, and the other students do it. So please tell my why the hell should I even go back when it’s just easier for me to get a vocational degree?