Affirmative Action for Boys

To close the gender gap on campus, college and university admissions officers often favor boys. Is that a good idea?

Rob Howard / Corbis

Back in olden days--in 1974, to be exact--Mr. T. Harding Jones of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton lamented how "coeducation has ruined the mystique and the camaraderies that used to exist" on campus. Admitting girls to Princeton, he predicted, was "going to prove a very unfortunate thing."

I landed at college a few years later, at the very moment the number of female undergraduates nationally reached parity with that of men--though my school was still 3-to-2 male. Like my peers, I suspect, for every pterodactyl who thought I had no business being there, I found three gentle mentors who smoothed the...

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