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

Students share what they love most about their experience

"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 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 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


 FEATURED SCHOOL     OPEN HOUSE      SCHOOL EXPO EXHIBITOR

FILTERS:
 
  •  
  • Name
  • Cost
  • Hawthorn School for Girls (est. 1989)   101 Scarsdale Road, Toronto, Ontario, M3B 2R2
    (York Mills / Leslie)

    • Nursery/Toddler to SK (Coed)
    • 1 to 12 (Girls)
    • 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.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Accelerated
    • Christian
    $10,000 to $31,400 /year
    Day Coed Girls 10000 1-17 Toronto,

    Elmwood School (est. 1915) Open House: Feb 01   261 Buena Vista Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1M 0V9
    (Buena Vista Road / Springfield Road)

    • Preschool to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (375 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.  
    • Progressive
    • International Baccalaureate
    • Standard- enriched
    $12,956 to $22,980 /year
    Day Girls 12956 2-17 Ottawa,

    Trafalgar Castle School (est. 1874)   401 Reynolds Street, Whitby, Ontario, L1N 3W9
    (Brock Street / Hwy. 2)

    • 5 to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (140 students)
    • Boarding school (70 students)
    Located just 45 minutes east of Toronto, Trafalgar Castle School offers world-class curriculum in a small-school environment that inspires and encourages growth. * Day and boarding * All Girls * Grades 5 to 12  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Standard- enriched
    $21,860 to $52,230 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls 21860 10-17 Whitby,

    St. Margaret's School (est. 1908)   1080 Lucas Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, V8X 3P7

    • JK to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (220 students)
    • Boarding school (130 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.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $9,500 to $49,300 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls 9500 3-17 Victoria

    Branksome Hall (est. 1903)   10 Elm Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1N4
    (Bloor Street East / Mount Pleasant Road)

    • JK to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (834 students)
    • Boarding school (66 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.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • International Baccalaureate
    • Standard- enriched
    $29,590 to $56,855 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls 29590 3-17 Toronto,

    Buffalo Seminary (est. 1851)   205 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo, New York, 14222
    (Soldiers Circle / Chapin Parkway)

    • 9 to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (178 students)
    • Boarding school (47 students)
    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.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Accelerated
    US $19,840 to $46,715 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls 19840 14-17 Buffalo,

    Linden School (est. 1993) Open House: Jan 25   10 Rosehill Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4T 1G5
    (Yonge / St. Clair)

    • 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.  
    • Progressive
    • Standard- enriched
    $14,000 to $19,400 /year
    Day Girls 14000 3-17 Toronto,

    Heritage (est. 1984)   5600 Heritage School Dr, Provo, Utah, 84604
    (Heritage School Dr / River Run Dr)

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • 7 to 12 (Girls)
    • Boarding school (115 students)
    Heritage offers expert care for at-risk adolescents including those diagnosed with Mood Disorder, depression, anxiety, defiance towards authority figures and those on the Autism Spectrum. Learn more on our website.  
    • Progressive
    • Student- paced
    • Troubled Teens, Special needs
    • Spanish immersion
    US $138,000 /year
    Boarding Boys Girls 138000 12-17 Provo,

    Havergal College (est. 1894)   1451 Avenue Road, Toronto, Ontario, M5N 2H9
    (Lawrence Avenue West / Avenue Road)

    • JK to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (860 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.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Standard- enriched
    • Christian
    $30,820 to $55,500 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls 30820 3-17 Toronto

    Holy Name of Mary College School (est. 2008)   2241 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ontario, L5H 2K8
    (Mississauga Rd / Dundas St W)

    • 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.  
    • Progressive
    • Accelerated
    • Christian
    $16,350 to $44,500 /year
    Day Girls 16350 10-17 Mississauga,

    Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie (est. 1905)   628, chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, Quebec, H2V 2C5
    (chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine / Avenue Claude Champagne)

    • 7 to 11 (Girls)
    • Day school (1050 students)
    • Boarding school (60 students)
    École secondaire francophone privée pour jeunes filles située à Outremont, Qc. Les frais de scolarité sont de 3 800 $ par année. Elle offre les profils Éducation internationale, Danse-études et Musique-études.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • International Baccalaureate
    • Standard- enriched
    • French immersion
    • Arts-intensive
    $4,000 to $9,150 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls 4000 12-16 Montreal,

    Study (est. 1915)   3233 The Boulevard, Westmount, Quebec, H3Y 1S4
    (The Boulevard / Place Breaside)

    • K to 11 (Girls)
    • Day school (365 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.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $18,415 to $20,735 /year
    Day Girls 18415 5-16 Westmount,

    Collège François-Delaplace (est. 1963)   365 Compton Street East, Waterville, Quebec, J0B 3H0
    (Rue Compton / Rue Principale)

    • 7 to 12 (Girls)
    • Boarding school (200 students)
    COLLÈGE FRANÇOIS-DELAPLACE is a private Traditional / academic boarding school in Waterville, Quebec. The school offers programs for grades 7 to 12 with enrolment of 200 boarding students.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    • French immersion
    • Christian
    • Sports-intensive
    $7,950 to $30,300 /year
    Boarding Girls 7950 12-17 Waterville,

    Sacred Heart School of Montreal (est. 1861)   3635 Atwater Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, H3H 1Y4
    (Atwater / Docteur-Penfield)

    • 7 to 11 (Girls)
    • Day school (230 students)
    The pre-eminent All Girls English Catholic high school in Montreal, with 156 years of experience graduating young women of action with solid skills and tools for success.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    • Christian
    $13,764 /year
    Day Girls 13764 12-16 Montreal,

    Villa Maria (est. 1854)   4245 Decarie Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3K4
    (Av de Monkland / Boulevard Décarie)

    • 7 to 11 (Girls)
    • 7 to 7 (Boys)
    • Day school (1400 students)
    Villa Maria offers programs from grades seven to 12 in Montreal. Its average class size is 28 to 32 students.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    • French immersion
    • Christian
    $4,175 /year
    Day Girls Boys 4175 12-16 Montreal,

    Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc (est. 1954)   2221 Elmira Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 1H3
    (Iris St / Woodroffe Ave)

    • JK to 8 (Girls)
    • Day school (108 students)
    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.  
    • Progressive
    • Gifted
    $14,825 /year
    Day Girls 14825 3-13 Ottawa,

    Venture Academy Troubled Teens Program (BC)   2040 Joe Riche Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1P 1G7

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • 7 to 12 (Girls)
    • Homestay school
    Venture Academy is a therapeutic private school providing educational and clinical support services, individualized instruction and engaging interaction to get students back on track and restore confidence.  
    • Traditional
    • Student- paced
    • Special needs , Troubled Teens
    Varies /year
    & Homestay Boys Girls 12-17 Kelowna

    Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School (est. 1909)   525 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Westmount, Quebec, H3Y 3H6

    • K to 11 (Girls)
    • Day school (325 students)
    Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School offers programs from kindergarten to grade 11 in Westmount, Quebec. Its average class size is 18 students.  
    • Progressive
    • Accelerated
    • French immersion
    $19,150 to $20,440 /year
    Day Girls 19150 5-16 Westmount

    Queen Margaret's School (est. 1921)   660 Brownsey Avenue, Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 1C2
    (Brownsey Avenue / Government Street)

    • 8 to 12 (Girls)
    • Preschool to 7 (Coed)
    • Day school (250 students)
    • Boarding school (90 students)
    Queen Margaret's School is an independent co-ed day school Preschool to Gr. 7 and all girls day/boarding school for Gr. 8-12 in Duncan, BC.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $5,100 to $52,400 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls Coed 5100 2-17 Duncan,

    Trafalgar School For Girls (est. 1887)   3495 Simpson Street, Montreal, Quebec, H3G 2J7

    • 7 to 11 (Girls)
    • Day school (140 students)
    • Homestay school
    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.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Standard- enriched
    $15,875 /year
    Day Girls 15875 12-16 Montreal

    Crofton House School (est. 1898)   3200 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6N 3E1

    • JK to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (885 students)
    Crofton House School in Vancouver, BC is a university preparatory school with JK to grade 12 classes. Tuition starts at $16,000.  
    • Progressive
    • Standard- enriched
    $18,960 /year
    Day Girls 18960 3-17 Vancouver

    St. Clement's School (est. 1901)   21 St. Clements Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 1G8

    • 1 to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (470 students)
    St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Standard- enriched
    • Christian
    $28,350 /year
    Day Girls 28350 6-17 Toronto

    Bishop Strachan School (est. 1867)   298 Lonsdale Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1X2
    (Bathurst St / St Clair Ave W)

    • JK to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (825 students)
    • Boarding school (80 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.  
    • Traditional
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Student- paced
    • Christian
    $31,190 to $59,100 /year
    Day & Boarding Girls 31190 3-17 Toronto,

    York House School (est. 1932)   4176 Alexandra Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6J 2V6

    • JK to 12 (Girls)
    • Day school (656 students)
    York House School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Vancouver. Its average class size is 16 to 20 students.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Standard- enriched
    $19,600 to $23,100 /year
    Day Girls 19600 3-17 Vancouver

    St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School (est. 1891)   1080 Linbrook Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 2L1

    • Preschool 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.  
    • Progressive
    • Standard- enriched
    • Gifted
    • Christian
    $9,000 to $26,300 /year
    Day Girls 9000 2-17 Oakville,

    Venture Academy Troubled Teens Program (ON)   3761 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Minesing, Ontario, L0L 1Y0

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • 7 to 12 (Girls)
    • Homestay school
    Venture Academy is a therapeutic treatment and education program for students who may be struggling with ADHD, learning challenges, underachieving, behavioural issues, and a variety of clinical diagnoses.  
    • Traditional
    • Student- paced
    • Troubled Teens, Special needs
    Varies /year
    Boys Girls 12-17 Minesing