Small School to Big College Advice? Answered
I want to go to a university, but I'm scared of the crowd. I stayed in the same school from 2nd-8th grade, and my 8th-grade class had three people total! My first high school was small, and my second was larger but was only there for half a semester because of covid. I've been in quarantine for a year. I rarely went outside my house before covid; I don't have neighbors my age, you get the point. I'm not entirely anti-social or anything (I get along with people really well even), but I'm scared that Universities might be too much for me to handle.
Any tips or advice?
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My best advice is for you to have the best of both worlds by applying to an Honors College within a Big University. They are still part of the university however limit their class size and classroom size and also create a community within a community and often are housed within their own buildings where you eat, sleep and learn with a subset of the total campus enrollment.
I have a friend who attends the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. The Clark College has 800 students versus nearly 24,000 students at U.of Oregon. The classroom size is limited to 19 students in a room. They have their own dorms and dining halls and take classes both within their own buildings and can take some electives at the main campus. Everyone still has access to all the U of O activities and facilities but they have their own unique identities within the university. So if you are looking to have a rigorous academic life and let's say a fun social life and be able to party and date outside of the Honors College, you certainly can do that and even join a Frat or Sorority. The caveat is that you have to meed a slightly higher threshold for academics and test scores. Therefore the best applicants typically do have A to A- GPAs and test in the 90%+ percentile like a 1300s SAT, and 28+ ACT.
This a shortlist of some of the honors colleges out there:
Arizona State University (Barrett)
City University of New York (Macaulay)
Clemson University (Calhoun)
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Dorman)
Ohio University (Honors Tutorial College)
Penn State University (Schreyer)
University of California – Irvine (Campuswide Honors)
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Georgia
University of Illinois (Campus Honors)
University of Kansas
University of Maryland
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University of Oregon (Clark)
University of South Carolina
The University of Texas at Austin (Plan II)
University of Virginia (Echols)
That's so interesting that your 8th-grade class had 3 people! Though I never experienced that, I went from a middle school of ~500 kids in a grade to a high school with ~60 kids in a grade, so it was a bit of an adjustment.
One main thing I noticed, is that you should be prepared for a lot of complete strangers. There's probably going to be a lot of awkward silences and uncomfortable periods before you make friends, but something that you'll experience anywhere. It was just very weird for me when I went from vaguely knowing half the grade's names in middle school to directly knowing everyone in high school. So, basically, you don't have to keep in touch with or be friends with everyone you meet. That doesn't mean, though, that you should just not try to make friends lol :).
Also, one thing to remember is that everyone is also a stranger to everyone else. The high school I attended only began in 9th grade, so everyone was a stranger to one another. I was so extremely nervous to have to learn everyone's names and try to meet new people, as I had been in the same school district for 1st-8th grade. However, when I started 9th grade I realized everyone was just as awkward and clueless as I was. So, take advantage of that. Go try to talk to people and make friends :). And also, take advantage of ice breakers. I know most people really hate icebreakers, but personally, I think they're great. If you get paired up with someone during icebreakers, maybe talk to them afterward and find out more about them. Maybe you become friends, maybe you don't. But, it's worth a shot.
hope I helped, even if only a little bit!
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