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The Appeal of All-Girls Schools

Have you heard the latest on Lindsay Lohan/Britney Spears/Paris Hilton/? For most parents, news of young celebs' exploits elicits a sigh and an increase in anxiety about the future - especially when it comes to the future of their own daughters.

It's no secret that today's teens are growing up fast, living with an all-access pass to the age of information. No topic is taboo in our sex-saturated society, and kids are experimenting with their bodies and their minds. What's a concerned parent to do?

On the battleground for their daughters' innocence, many parents are turning to all-girls' schools to fight the good fight. According to the UK's Independent Schools Council, for instance, the number of girls at independent schools has risen by 14.5 percent over the last 10 years, compared to a rise of just 4 percent for boys. In the last three years alone, the number of girls has risen by 2 percent, compared with a rise of 0.6 percent for boys.

Heart Appeal
The simple truth is that many parents prefer single-sex education for their daughters in order to spare them the distraction that boys may present. At all-girls' schools, students can avoid excessive concern about their appearance along with fears over how boys will perceive them for their academic talents. The classroom becomes a place of learning rather than a place to analyze the body language of boys and determine dating compatibility. And girls can forge lasting friendships with each other without the stress of competing for boys' attention. Ultimately, at all-girls' schools, girls are free to be confident in themselves and in their abilities without worrying about the expectations of the opposite sex.

Mind Appeal
And there's more to the argument for all-girls' schools. Educators have underscored the benefits of single-sex education based on neurological differences between the sexes. Males and females are known to exhibit differences in the corpus callosum, the hypothalamus, and in total brain size. Since the male and female brains are wired differently, some argue, it makes sense to separate the sexes and cater to each unique style of learning.

The Other Side
Detractors argue that girls and boys must learn to socialize with each other appropriately at some point. But do the tumultuous teen years really provide the best backdrop for mature coexistence between the sexes, or would girls (and boys) be better off postponing those lessons until they're better equipped to handle them?

As a parent, the choice is ultimately yours. For many, all-girls' schools provide a safe environment in which academic and life lessons take root, and young girls flourish. Which boarding school is right for your daughter?