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I have a slight dilemma and would appreciate any opinions you might have, whether positive or negative. I am a current sophomore at a top LAC and applied to transfer to a medium-sized public university for the spring. Let's assume that they're on the same level academically/in reputation because they are-I don't want to name the two schools because I would like to remain anonymous. However, I would like to discuss this decision and see if the decision is valid, or if I should suck it up and stay where I'm at. Both are excellent, excellent schools academically, and I am grateful that I am fortunate enough to decide between the two. I need to be admitted to the university first, but I do want to have a decision made before the letter comes in case it is an acceptance.
Bullet Points (In case you don't want to read the novel):
*Social problems-no real close friends, only friendly acquaintances
*Feeling sad and alone often
*Only 1 professor specializing in what I want for my career
*Small size not great for introverted personality
*School with a great academic reputation
*Major advisor giving me GREAT opportunities-summer internship
*Leadership in 2 organizations
*I will be able to study abroad
Medium sized school:
*Fresh start socially
*Bigger size allows me to escape/remain anonymous when necessary
*Better, more intensive program for my extracurricular/fine art interests
*More volunteer opportunities
*Real football game
*Same great reputation academically
*Will push me to work harder to establish myself as a W&M student, make friends, and become as adjusted as everyone else
*More well-known where I come from
*Will have to start over with professors and organizations and work five times as hard to establish myself
*Harder to get leadership positions
*Will have to cut ties with professors, friendly acquaintances
*I may not be able to study abroad
At the LAC, I have had some social issues. I don't have any really close friends, although I have a lot of friendly acquaintances/"friends". While I realize that the ball is generally in my court, it is very cliquish and has been hard to make good friends with people after first semester freshman year. Whenever my eating house doesn't serve meals, I eat alone. Since the school is so small, it's been difficult to be introverted/anonymous at times when I need to be. Here, I feel alone and sad quite often. I have made a lot of mistakes and learned from them...but at a small school, I feel like my mistakes have to define me because it defines my reputation. I was also sexually assaulted on campus and have to see the guy every single day...there is no escaping anything at a small school.
At a bigger school, I feel like I have the opportunity for a fresh start. I don't have to be weighed down by my mistakes anymore. I'm also looking for more professors to talk to about my specific career interest (there is only 1 professor with this experience at my LAC) and more alumni connections. Both schools have excellent academic reputations. Getting to know professors is do-able at both schools-it is MY effort that will help me get to know professors, regardless of school size.
I'm also very, very good at my extracurricular/fine art, and I'm the leader of my team. However, it's not as intense as I would like it, and the medium university's team is. They also have a lot of classes I could take in that department, whereas my LAC only has 1 professor whom I don't like, and 2 classes. I would like to go to a REAL football game with more than 10 people in the stands. I want more opportunities to volunteer with children and adolescents. I would like something to do on the weekend other than going to going to senior apartments and drinking, then going to frat parties. Sometimes, I do NOT want to drink, but YES, there is a lot of pressure. I have been called a loser (seriously, not in a joking way) for not wanting to go out on a Friday night because I had a test. I would rather live my life with a motto other than "OMGZ YOLOOOO BLACK OUT OR BACK OUT." Going out can be super fun, but I'd like other options besides going out and eating popcorn by myself, which I feel like W&M can give me.
I also feel like the experience of transferring could really help me grow up, push me outside of my comfort zone, and work even harder for what I want.
On the other hand, I may not be able to study abroad if I go to the medium sized university. I am the head of an organization and the Vice President of another at my LAC. I also just declared my major, and my advisor has been nothing but helpful and supportive about my career. He has high hopes for me...at our first advising session, he basically said, "So you'll do this, then this internship, then research in my lab, then an Honors thesis..." I had been 100% decided on transferring until this session. Would it be stupid to give up these opportunities? My answer is leaning towards "Yes" for this question. I also guess that I can put my leadership in my fine art/vice-presidency of another organization on resumes and stuff. At the medium university, I would have to completely start over everything-professors, organizations, friends-and I don't know if that is really smart.
The question: Should I suck up my social sadness, try my best to improve it, and take advantage of my career opportunities at the LAC?
Thanks for any opinions you have. Should I stay or should I go?