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Testimonials: What it's like at 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." Read more

List of private all-girls schools


Toronto, Ontario — St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous, and compassionate. View School Profile.

  • Girls' school, founded in 1901
  • Enriched and balanced academics at all grade levels
  • Unrivaled Advanced Placement course offerings
  • 100% university acceptance
  • Extensive athletic, arts, and co-curricular programs
1 to 12 (Girls)
Liberal Arts
Avg. Class:
St. Clement's School 31900 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

Ottawa, Ontario — Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from PreK to Gr. 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential. View School Profile.

  • Recognized for academic excellence
  • Welcoming, inclusive and diverse community
  • International Baccalaureate World School (PYP, MYP, DP)
  • Round Square and Apple Distinguished school
  • Merit- and need-based scholarships available
PS to 12 (Girls)
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
$14,800 to $28,300
Avg. Class:
15 to 17
Elmwood School 14800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

Toronto, Ontario — Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. View School Profile.

  • 13-acre downtown campus
  • Athletics and Wellness Centre
  • IB programs: JK to Grade 12
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Tennis courts, playing fields, saltwater pools
JK to 12 (Girls)
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
$34,650 to $69,850
Avg. Class:
12 to 22
Branksome Hall 34650 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Spadina/St Clair Ave W
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,830 to $64,090

The Bishop Strachan School is a leading independent JK-Grade 12 day & boarding school for girls. Students build the academic skills to thrive at university and beyond. Over $1.6 million available in financial assistance.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
The Bishop Strachan School 33830 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Lawrence Avenue West/Avenue Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $35,700 to $65,280

Havergal College has been preparing young women to make a difference since 1894.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
Havergal College 35700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $15,980 to $65,125

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.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
St. Margaret's School 15980 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $19,000 to $29,280

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Grade 12 since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • 7 to 12 Girls
  • $17,355 to $58,374

Since 1861, The Sacred Heart School of Montreal, the city’s only all girls English Catholic high school, has been graduating exceptional leaders. We offer grades 7 to 12, day school and boarding.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
The Sacred Heart School of Montreal 17355 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills/Leslie
  • NS to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $14,100 to $25,250

Hawthorn School is located in Toronto. We offer a co-ed toddler-SK program and an all girls program for grade 1- grade 12. Our unique mentoring program is tailored to help students reach their full potential.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Liberal Arts
Hawthorn School 14100 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Homestay Coed Girls
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $25,200

With over 120 years of excellence in all-girls’ education, our rigorous academic program is complemented by strong arts, design technology and athletic programs. Financial assistance is available.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Crofton House School 25200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Whitby, Ontario
    Garden Street/Hwy. 2
  • 4 to 12 Girls
  • $24,270 to $65,615

Trafalgar Castle offers a close-knit, academically challenging environment where girls feel a strong sense of belonging and discover their unique talents and interests.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
Trafalgar Castle School 24270 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Westmount, Quebec
    Mount Pleasant Avenue/Cedar Avenue
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $19,050 to $22,160

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School 19050 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/St. Clair
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $24,550 to $31,350

The Linden School is a socially-progressive community where innovative best practices in girls’ education promote and strengthen student voice, well-being, academic excellence, and global engagement.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Linden School 24550 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • $16,175

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Academie Jeanne d'Arc 16175 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • JK to 12 Coed/Girls/Boys
  • $12,840 to $17,990

With a global network of schools around the world, a rich and proud history, and a strong and unique set of core values, Sacred Heart offers not just an education but an experience that is unparalleled in Nova Scotia.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Sacred Heart School of Halifax 12840 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Coed Girls Boys

The Study  

  • Westmount, Quebec
    The Boulevard/Place Braeside
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $21,750 to $24,250

The Study, founded in 1915, is one of Canada's premier all-girls' school. Dedicated teachers offer a warm and stimulating bilingual mother-tongue environment from kindergarten to grade 11. The World Needs Great Women.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Study 21750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • London, Ontario
    Richmond Street/King Street
  • 9 to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $21,200 to $26,000

A Canadian Private Secondary Boarding school, located in the heart of London, Ontario. LIA is authorized to grant the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
London International Academy 21200 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed Girls
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Mississauga Rd/QEW
  • 5 to 12 Girls
  • $18,750

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Holy Name of Mary College School 18750 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

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!

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(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:

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

Series: Girls Schools


In the spotlight:

Latest Articles

September 25, 2019
Benefits of an all-girls education
Elizabeth Falco shares how girls are celebrated and empowered

September 24, 2019
Girls' schools
Guide to private schools for girls

August 14, 2019
How single-sex schools let kids flourish
A more in depth look at the learning differences between boys and girls

August 14, 2019
Coed vs. single-sex schools
Do girls and boys learn better together or separately?

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