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Unhappy at elite college... Should I transfer to an "inferior" local school?

EyeballerEyeballer 5 replies1 threads New Member
I am a sophomore at an elite private school in New England. I have gotten mostly A's, with a few B+'s, and have gotten involved in a few organizations, but I am dreading going back this semester more than anything. If I transferred to an "inferior" school closer to home, will that hurt my chances of getting into law school in a few years? Further complicating things, my current institution has no distribution requirements, so I am worried that I will have to retake most of my first two years. Has anybody else been in a similar position or have any advice on what I should do? I can't imagine being here for another 2 1/2 years.
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Replies to: Unhappy at elite college... Should I transfer to an "inferior" local school?

  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 1030 replies98 threads Senior Member
    edited January 23
    What issues are you facing? You may end up facing similar or different issues at other college as well.

    Instead of transferring and retaking/paying two years worth of courses, just take a semester off for an internship or take a semester abroad to break the negative rhythm.

    Do discuss your situation with your parents, academic advisor and mental health counselor before making any decision.
    edited January 23
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  • spano30spano30 12 replies0 threads New Member
    I don't think transferring to a school closer to home would hurt your chances of being admitted to law school down the line. However, maybe consider transferring to a different boarding school, or see if there are any boarding schools you could attend as a day student (closer to home for you). The benefits you stand to gain from being at an elite boarding school can be plentiful and maybe the spot you are at right now simply is not a good fit.

    However, if you consider all of the above options and the best decision for you is still to attend an "inferior" school closer to home, then do it. Your well-being is more important than any diploma or prestige offered by such schools. You will still, hopefully, have many more years as a student and if you aren't enjoying the experience, then it will be very hard for you to stay motivated along the way.
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  • EyeballerEyeballer 5 replies1 threads New Member
    I just don't "vibe" with the campus culture, despite my best efforts, but when I visit my friends at their colleges, I feel like I'm in a much better place socially. Right now I go to class and the few activities I'm involved in, and spend most of my time alone in my dorm. In high school I had a social life, so I don't really know what's wrong. People have told me that the first year is rough and that I'll "find my people" but it isn't any better after 3 semesters here.
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  • EyeballerEyeballer 5 replies1 threads New Member
    I'm actually in college, but I can see how the way I typed it was confusing, sorry!
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  • happy1happy1 23335 replies2310 threads Senior Member
    edited January 23
    Another idea might be to spend your junior year in a study abroad program and then you will just have a year left. On top of that you should check to see if you have enough credits to graduate a semester early (maybe take a summer class or two if need be...just be sure the classes are approved in advance).
    edited January 23
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2638 replies6 threads Senior Member
    Social life is much different in college. All that fun frat stuff you see, a lot of it is illusion. The students that party like that are the ones with the worst grades. If you want a high GPA, college is going to be mostly busy and dull, with almost no free time for yourself or friends. This IS the true college experience. Sure, you'll make friends, and probably find a significant "other." But you're there to earn an education and get into law school.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 1030 replies98 threads Senior Member
    happy1 wrote: »
    Another idea might be to spend your junior year in a study abroad program and then you will just have a year left. On top of that you should check to see if you have enough credits to graduate a semester early (maybe take a summer class or two if need be...just be sure the classes are approved in advance).

    These are really good alternatives to giving up two years and an academically strong college for an assumption that grass is greener on the other side.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 1030 replies98 threads Senior Member
    edited January 23
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    Social life is much different in college. All that fun frat stuff you see, a lot of it is illusion. The students that party like that are the ones with the worst grades. If you want a high GPA, college is going to be mostly busy and dull, with almost no free time for yourself or friends. This IS the true college experience. Sure, you'll make friends, and probably find a significant "other." But you're there to earn an education and get into law school.

    That’s not the case everywhere and shouldn’t be. Academics are a huge part of undergrad but we are also talking about 4-5 years of young lives. They’ll never have their youth back. Majority can maintain a good balance. Look up happiest colleges to find places where it’s easily doable to have a balanced experience.
    edited January 23
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5986 replies1 threads Senior Member
    Can you tell us which university you would be planning to transfer to? If we knew which schools we were talking about it might allow us to give more accurate advice.

    In my job I see very good graduates from a wide range of universities doing very well. I spent some time (and got two degrees) at highly ranked universities and I agree that they are not a good fit for every strong student. Just because you can do the academic work does not imply that you would want to be a student at a highly ranked school. Also, university rankings are based on some specific criteria, but those criteria say very little about which school will be a good fit for you or me or my kids.

    My inclination would be to send in your transfer applications now. Then decide when you start getting acceptances.

    Meanwhile you also might want to look into spending a year abroad next year as another option.
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  • WhrlingCollegesWhrlingColleges 54 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I do believe that acceptance at a well -ranked law school would be more likely if you are applying with a degree from an elite college. The competition is tough at that level and you need to set yourself apart from the thousands of applicants coming out of mid-level public universities. Can you try to transfer into an elite public university instead of one that is attended by your friends? Chances are slim but it might be worth a try. I also love the idea of studying abroad or interning for a semester. Other than that, I’d suggest trying to stay unless you’re despondent and your health and grades are likely to suffer. The type of law school you get into could drive the direction of the rest of your life in dramatic fashion.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30017 replies181 threads Senior Member
    Law schools care mostly about grades and LSAT scores, so moving to a different university isn't likely to be a problem.

    Since you are miserable socially, a semester off to re-group and consider options could be in order. Think about that too. You could get a job and/or do some volunteer work while you think things through.

    There also could be the option to do a domestic exchange semester or year. Have you investigated that?

    Could there be good academic reasons for you to transfer? For example, does the "inferior" local U offer courses that you can't get where you are now?
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1982 replies27 threads Senior Member
    The students that party like that are the ones with the worst grades.

    This statement is ridiculous. It completely depends on the individual. Some people have a "work hard, party hard" lifestyle and do very very well in college.

    As to your situation go back with your best foot forward. When the time comes put in a transfer application and then you will have the option at a later date. Try not to think about it too much right now.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7218 replies69 threads Senior Member
    There is hole in the middle of your thesis:

    You say that want to leave your current school b/c after a year and a half it still doesn't 'fit'. Fair enough.

    But... if that was the core issue surely you would be looking for other schools that meet all of what you are looking for- academics, social, etc. Yet, the only school you are looking at as an alternative is one that you call "inferior", but is near home and where your HS friends are.

    And although I don't know where you go to college, there is a decent bet that your winter break is just coming to an end and you have been having a happy time with your pals at Home U, and are not looking forward to going back to your own college where you sit in your dorm, unhappily, by yourself.

    So. How is this not mostly wanting to go where everybody knows your name? That would be fair enough also- it's just a different conversation and decision metrics.

    Have you actually checked online to see how the classes you *have* taken map to the distribution requirements of Home U? It might not be as bad as you fear. But, if you really would have to do 2 extra years of college, then imo- and depending on your parents finances, perhaps your parents also- taking 6 years to do a 4 year degree so that you can "be in a better place socially" is not a great use of time or money.

    ps, if you are spending most of your time in your dorm alone- and that is not something that makes you happy- then you need to own that your 'best efforts' may need revising. Have you declared your concentration? are you spending a lot of time in that department? My collegekids found that as people started declaring, they developed a whole new friend group with the other people in their subject area. A lot of them started as just foxhole buddies- in a lot of the same classes / doing the same work & exams- but some of them turned into real friends.

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  • EyeballerEyeballer 5 replies1 threads New Member
    I'm definitely looking into study abroad for my Junior year fall and an internship for my senior year fall!
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  • EyeballerEyeballer 5 replies1 threads New Member
    This is true to an extent, and I definitely see this with some of my HS friends, but I'm making mostly A's, some B's, and have some amount of free time that I'd like to spend with someone.
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  • EyeballerEyeballer 5 replies1 threads New Member
    I declared a double major last semester
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