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Testimonials: What it's like an all-girls school

Students share what they love most about their experience

Find a list of schools  

"I have never seen a group of young women more sure of themselves."

Our Kids Media traveled to several all-girls' schools to chat with some of the young women about their school life and they took a few minutes out of their day to highlight the benefits of education in a single-sex learning environment. Check out the video to hear more!

(Thank you to the young women of Branksome Hall, St. Clement's School and St. Margaret's School. This video was produced by Our Kids Media videographer Luke Krajcarski)

Other current students and alumni also shared their experiences at an all-girls school, including how this type of environment shaped their success. Read their stories below.

Plenty of extracurricular activities

Six years ago, her parents were down to two choices: a coed option or the all-girls’ environment of St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School (which is also a Reggio Emilia and gifted school in Oakville, Ontario). And as she finished up Grade 12 as head girl at St. Mildred’s, Alexa Vogel was more than satisfied with the decision her parents ultimately made.

“Personally, I love it,” says Alexa, 18. “The girls aren’t afraid to voice their opinion, because they aren’t second guessing and thinking ‘will a guy think this?’”

Not that contact with the opposite sex is completely lacking. The school arranges mixed social events, while Alexa has several male friends from her extracurricular activities, such as travels that have included work at a hospital in Africa and a semester studying in Australia. In fact, she’s quick to suggest that outside activities for all-girls’ school students are important for getting them used to socializing in mixed environments. “If there are clubs and sports or something that a child in a single-gender school can get involved with that’s in a coed environment, I think that makes a big difference,” she says.

—Lisa Van de Ven

Inspired by a “be yourself” environment

Ask Jacqueline Nivet how she went from student council president to helping to save the world, and she’ll point back to her education for the answer.

Nivet currently works for the United Nations World Food Programme, which comes to the rescue of millions after their darkest hours. She says that a focus on helping others was instilled in her during her years at an all-girls school, which places an emphasis on character education. 

“If I had stayed at my old school, I would be a completely different person today,” she says.
The school she attended changed everything about her life, she says—her interest in school activities, her academic capabilities, her sense of belonging, her confidence in the contributions she could make, and above all, her friends, who constantly challenge and push her to be a better person. 

“I know I would never have achieved even half of what I have without them or without all that the school has given me over the years,” says Nivet.

While she attended Hawthorn School for Girls (a Catholic school in Toronto, Ontario), from Grade 5 to OAC, she became student council president, as well as co-developer and co-editor of the first student publication.

“I think those two activities were most influential for my later career choices: acting as a leader, serving others and writing,” she says.
It’s been a decade since she graduated, and Nivet has travelled and lived abroad in a number of countries. Despite the distance however, her closest friends are still from her school days.

“It’s not a coincidence,” she says. “Students could really be themselves without the peer pressure we heard about in other middle and high schools.”
Nivet will always value the friendships she made at school.

“No matter what our career choices or countries we live in now, we are all still Hawthorn girls at heart,” she says. “We have so many memories and experiences that we still share.”

—Julie Greco

You can take chances

In an all-girls school, there is one less variable in teaching. “Research shows that girls really like a more communicative, collaborative approach to learning,” says Elizabeth Falco, head of school at The Study, in Westmount, Quebec. “As a teacher in an all-girls classroom, you can cater to that.” Confidence often blooms as a result.

“Girls change when boys are out of the picture and opportunities that might not have existed in a coed environment are suddenly available. Possibilities seem infinite. There are no limits in their imagination about what they can do.”

At Trafalgar Castle School in Whitby, Ontario, Amy, 18, agrees. There, most of the teachers and all of the students are female. “You can be more yourself instead of trying to impress the boys. You can take chances. You can try anything and not be afraid.”

—Heather Greenwood Davis

“We both said, that’s the school!”

“We were trying out different schools. My mom wanted me to go to an all-girls school. We came to an open house (at Trafalgar School for Girls in Montreal, Quebec), and as we were walking out, we both said, that’s the school! Because it’s so homey, you feel comfortable there.”

First impressions turned out to be accurate for Jenna, 13, who has just finished Grade 7. “I enjoy going there every day to see my friends—and the teachers. I’ve tried all different things, soccer, and I was manager of the basketball team. I was in the junior drama production and I am in the choir. Some days I get to school at 7:30 and don’t come home until 5:30. I see Mr. Dowd (principal Geoff Dowd) more than I see my parents.”

Her mother’s preference for an all-girl school? “At first I thought it would be weird because I had gone to a coed elementary school. But it’s actually nice because everyone is so comfortable, everyone can say things freely without feeling embarrassed.”

—Frank Jones
 

Additional Notable Alumni

Girls school alumni include women leaders who testify about the value of single gender education in video and testimonial, including:

  • Anne Rohmer, TV host and Branksome Hall graduate 
  • Dr. Susan Quaggin, professor of Medicine at the U of T and Branksome Hall graduate
  • Jane Lockhart, Interior designer, TV host and Branksome Hall graduate
  • Claudia Dey, Author, playwright, and St. Clement's School alumnus
  • Karolyn Smardz Frost, Historian, archeologist, Governor General's Award-winning author and St. Mildred's graduate 
  • Dr. Carolyn Bennett, a Liberal Member of Parliament and Havergal College graduate 
  • Gillian Apps, a two-time Canadian Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey and Havergal College graduate 
  • Emily Murphy, Canada’s first female judge and Bishop Strachan School graduate 

Research provided by the National Association for Choice in Education shows that 82 per cent of recent girl’s school graduates are satisfied or extremely satisfied with the how well their schools instilled self-confidence and that 84 per cent give their schools top marks for providing leadership opportunities.

Series: Girls Schools

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List of Testimonials: What it's like an all-girls school

 
FILTERS:
Type
Grades
  School Name Type Cost

St. Margaret's School (est. 1908)  

  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • Day school (266 students)
  • Boarding school (118 students)
St. Margaret's School (est. 1908) is an independent school in Victoria, BC, offering empowering education for girls from JK to Grade 12. At SMS, girls don't just get equal opportunity; they get every opportunity. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Vancouver
  • Traditional
$14,180 to $65,490

User
reviews (5)

• User reviews (5)
Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls 14180

Trafalgar Castle School (est. 1874)  

  • Whitby, Ontario
  • 4 to 12 Girls
  • Boarding school (80 students)
  • Day school (140 students)
Located in Whitby, Trafalgar Castle School is an all-girls day and boarding school inspiring students in Grades 4-12. For nearly 150 years, Trafalgar Castle girls have become women of impact. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
$22,545 to $59,515


MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls 22545

Elmwood School (est. 1915)  

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • Day school (370 students)
Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from JK to Grade 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Ottawa
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
$13,500 to $25,660


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 13500

Hawthorn School (est. 1989)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Girls/Coed
  • Homestay school
  • Day school
  • Homestay school
Hawthorn School is an all-girls school in Toronto that offers programs from toddler to grade 12. Our unique mentoring program is tailored to each girl to help them reach their full potential. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
  • Liberal Arts
$12,500 to $36,500


Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Homestay Girls Coed 12500

Branksome Hall (est. 1903)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • Boarding school (66 students)
  • Day school (900 students)
Branksome Hall is an all girls school in Toronto, from JK to Grade 12, including 56 boarding students. Tuition ranges from $28,995 to $31,245 for day students. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
$32,570 to $64,305


Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls 32570

Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc (est. 1954)  

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • Day school
In our all-girls environment, academic achievement in both official languages is the norm. A Joan of Arc Academy bilingual education prepares the women leaders for the challenges of tomorrow. Come and see the difference. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Ottawa
  • Progressive
$15,750


Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls 15750

Havergal College (est. 1894)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • Day school (870 students)
  • Boarding school (50 students)
Havergal College is an all-girls school in Toronto for students in JK to Grade 12. Preparing Young Women to Make a Difference Since 1894. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
  • Liberal Arts
$32,750 to $59,875

Our Kids
Review

User
reviews (1)
• Our Kids Review
• User reviews (1)
Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls 32750

The Bishop Strachan School (est. 1867)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • Day school (825 students)
  • Boarding school (75 students)
Located in Toronto, The Bishop Strachan School is Canada's oldest independent JK to Grade 12 day and boarding school for girls, welcoming students from Toronto and around the world. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
  • Progressive
$32,060 to $60,730

User
reviews (1)

• User reviews (1)
Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls 32060

The Linden School (est. 1993)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • Day school (115 students)
The Linden School provides a challenging academic program for girls from JK - Grade 12. We create opportunities to discover the joys of learning and foster the development of critical thinking and physical well-being. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
  • Progressive
$15,400 to $20,950

User
reviews (2)

• User reviews (2)
Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 15400

St. Clement's School (est. 1901)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 1 to 12 Girls
  • Day school (470 students)
St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
  • Liberal Arts
$29,900


Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 29900

The Study (est. 1915)  

  • Westmount, Quebec
  • K to 11 Girls
  • Day school (385 students)
The Study offers a bilingual mother tongue programme in both English and French from kindergarten to grade 11 in Westmount, Quebec. The average class size is 12 to 18 students. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Montreal
  • Progressive
$20,140 to $22,675


Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 20140

Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School (est. 1909)  

  • Westmount, Quebec
  • K to 11 Girls
  • Day school (320 students)
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School is a Tier 1 school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 11, located in Westmount, Quebec. For every girl who has a mind of her own, we have a school to nurture it. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Montreal
  • Progressive
$18,764 to $21,417


Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 18764

St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School (est. 1891)  

  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • Day school (550 students)
Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Graduating Year since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto, Halton-Peel
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
$17,000 to $27,600


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 17000

Villa Maria (est. 1854)  

  • Montreal, Quebec
  • 7 to 11 Girls/Coed
  • Day school (501 students)
  • Day school (1117 students)
Villa Maria offers programs from grades 7 to 11 in Montreal. Its average class size is 30 to 34 students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$5,000 to $5,700


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Girls Coed 5000

Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie (est. 1905)  

  • Montreal, Quebec
  • 7 to 11 Girls
  • Day school (1150 students)
  • Boarding school (60 students)
École secondaire francophone privée pour jeunes filles située à Outremont, Qc. Les frais de scolarité sont de 4 500 $ par année. Elle offre les profils Éducation internationale, Danse-études et Musique-études. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
$4,500 to $10,700


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls 4500

The Sacred Heart School of Montreal (est. 1861)  

  • Montreal, Quebec
  • 7 to 11 Girls
  • Boarding school (18 students)
  • Day school (230 students)
Since 1861, The Sacred Heart School of Montreal, the city’s only all girls English Catholic high school, has been graduating exceptional leaders. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$16,795 to $52,814


MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls 16795

Trafalgar School For Girls (est. 1887)  

  • Montreal, Quebec
  • 7 to 11 Girls
  • Day school (120 students)
  • Day school (120 students)
Based in the heart of downtown Montreal, Trafalgar School for Girls is a diverse school community that challenges and inspires girls to love learning, build confidence and shape a better world. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$18,000


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Girls 18000

Queen Margaret's School (est. 1921)  

  • Duncan, British Columbia
  • PS to 12 Coed/Girls
  • Day school (209 students)
  • Day school (161 students)
  • Boarding school (97 students)
Queen Margaret's School is an independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$6,250 to $46,700

User
reviews (1)

• User reviews (1)
Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Boarding Coed Girls 6250

London International Academy (est. 2002)  

  • London, Ontario
  • 9 to 12 Boys/Coed/Girls
  • Boarding school (175 students)
  • Day school (5 students)
  • Boarding school (175 students)
A Canadian Private Secondary Co-ed Boarding school, located in downtown London, Ontario. LIA offers academic courses from Grades 9-12 and is authorized to grant the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). [View profile]
  • Traditional
$9,200 to $41,900


HighSchools Boarding Day Boarding Boys Coed Girls 9200

Xyna International School (est. 2010)  

  • Brampton, Ontario
  • 6 to 12 Coed/Girls
  • Homestay school (10 students)
  • Day school (50 students)
  • Day school (50 students)
Xyna International School offers programs from Gr 6 - 12 in Brampton and Woodbridge. We have separate Girls Only & Co-Ed Campuses. Our Fee is very affordable and we do offer transportation services. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
  • Progressive
$7,000 to $22,000


MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Day Coed Girls 7000

Buffalo Seminary (est. 1851)  

  • Buffalo, New York
  • 9 to 12 Girls
  • Day school
  • Boarding school
Independent day and boarding school for college-bound girls. Our STEAM curriculum is unique, and creative, independent thinking is valued. Located in Buffalo, NY, girls access the best of city living. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
US $21,900 to US $52,750


HighSchools Day Boarding Girls 21900

Holy Name of Mary College School (est. 2008)  

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • 5 to 12 Girls
  • Day school
Holy Name of Mary College School in Mississauga, is an independent Catholic school for girls in grades 5-12 offering an enriched university preparatory programme. The average class size is 12 students. [View profile]
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto, Halton-Peel
  • Progressive
$17,250


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 17250

Odyssey Heights School for Girls (est. 2017)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 1 to 12 Girls
  • Homestay school (2 students)
  • Day school (50 students)
Odyssey Heights School: starts at 9:55am with dance, yoga, or outdoor fitness; 25-35 Overnight OE3 trips are included in tuition, there's a "No Homework Ever!" policy; Equestrian curriculum, small group French, 1:1 iPads [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
$25,950 to $54,875


Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Girls 25950





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