Proponents of women's colleges say they still serve a need for some students, but it seems that they are declining in popularity. According to this year's College Board survey, just 4% of young women expressed interest in applying to all-female schools the lowest percentage in 12 years. Faced with fewer women applicants, Emmanuel College in Boston and Notre Dame College of Ohio in Cleveland this fall announced they would begin admitting men in 2001. Since 1997, four other women's colleges have gone coeducational. And in July, Trinity College in Burlington, Vt., announced it would close. While the most prestigious schools, such as Barnard, Mount Holyoke and Wellesley, remain strong, women-only colleges have declined to 64 from 88 in 1989.
Cara Vazquez, 17, a high school senior in Southampton, N.Y., thinks attending a women's college "would be unnatural after being in a coed environment my whole life." But Ann Donick, a guidance counselor at Vazquez's school, believes some women still achieve more at an all-female college, where "their intelligence and value are never questioned, which is still not always the