Advice on withdrawing to go to Kelley

I am a current college freshman currently enrolled at a Big 10 4 year institution. Since I committed last May, I haven’t been confident in my decision because I didn’t feel I did my due diligence in researching the schools I was admitted into. Long story short, I have been finding my first month or so very difficult because 1, I know I’m not at the best school I got into for my major (Business), and 2, the school hasn’t been a good fit for me.

As a result, I have been considering transfer options. After doing the research I should have done when choosing a school the first time around, I have realized that I should have gone to IU Kelley for business. My high school stats still meet the direct admissions requirements (3.9 weighted gpa, 31 ACT) for Kelley, so I am considering withdrawing for this school year to take care of my mental health and going to IU for next year. My question is, would there be any obvious downsides to this? I know this isn’t a very common experience, but I would appreciate some advice if anyone has done something similar. My alternative option would be withdrawing after this semester and transferring to a local community college.

Other than its rank, how is IU Kelley different than your current school.

I don’t know your school but no doubt Kelley will be larger (it’s a very large program). IU is another state flagship - and frankly, you can do fine in business from anywhere (given most majors). I’m not sure what yours is.

I would surmise - if the large in state school you are at isn’t working, it’s very possible IU won’t either.

Is this really about fit or - wow, my school isn’t ranked nearly as highly in business?

I can’t think of a B10 Business program that isn’t solid.

If the current school is too big, perhaps you need to find a smaller school?

You just started - I think leaving so quickly is a bit of a rash decision. Many struggle - to find friends, a social life, home sickness - so I’d focus on joining clubs, visiting office hours to get to know your profs and they’ll take an interest in you…even work with your career center on developing a resume.

If you have issues with depression, then go see a counselor at the campus health services.

You’re not alone - but I worry when you start with - I could have gone to a better business school. Why is it better? Because US News says? Short of very few things in life, I promise you that you can get to the same place as an IU Kelley grad.

Good luck.


I would add to those questions: why did you choose your current school? Even if you now say that you didn’t do your due diligence, something attracted you to it. There was obviously something - or several things - that you really liked about it and made you want to attend. What were those things? And then how do you believe IU would be different? As @tsbna44 notes, a lot of students have these kinds of feelings in the beginning, so I think you really need to unpack your thoughts a bit more before making an irreversible decision that may not ultimately land you in a better position than you are now.


OP, wherever you go, there you are.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.

Would you be happier at Kelley? Maybe. Or maybe not. But I can predict with confidence that you will NOT be happy where you are if you are looking over your shoulder at other options. If you end up transferring to Kelley you start all over again meeting people, finding your tribe. It is just too early to know if you made a bad decision or not- but why not focus on getting the most out of your experience right now, and see how you feel in a few months?



Thank you for the response. My biggest problem is, on top of due diligence, is that I wasn’t ever really excited to come here. I didn’t initially get into my dream school during the first round of admissions, so I wanted to go to a local state school. My dad thought it would be better for me to go to my current school because of its connections for business. Reluctantly, I agreed, knowing the school wasn’t a great fit for me but trusting him. I eventually got into my dream school off the waitlist, which I was ecstatic about, but my parents didn’t want me to go because I didn’t get direct admission into my major. This was a hard pill to swallow, but they are paying my bills so they didn’t want to take the risk of not getting my major eventually.

I completely understand giving it a try and seeing if it works out, but doing so is difficult given my heart was never really in going to this school. My lack of agency in this decision is something that should have occurred to me when choosing the school, but I’m really feeling it now. I find it is affecting my ability to get involved in the school and its opportunities because I didn’t want to go here.

I believe IU would be different because I have a number of friends going there, and I feel I would find some peace in knowing I went to the best school I got into academically. (Besides U Washington, which was my dream school). Nonetheless, I understand that withdrawing from a college is a massive decision, and one that could have consequences. Thank you so much for the advice.

  1. There is no dream school - so the fact that you got in and didn’t go doesn’t mean it’s better. All schools have bad roommates, bad profs, maybe bad food, etc. Every year, there’s kids who got into their dream school - and want out.

  2. Betting on yourself is a good thing and I don’t know your business major - but some like marketing, supply chain, etc. - is a nice to have but not a necessary to work in the area. The flip to that is - if you want finance or something like that and you don’t get in - then what - so while I think the student should decide, your parents aren’t wrong. Many wouldn’t even apply to non direct admit schools. Since you’re in state it sounds like, maybe money played a part too - IU will be well over $200K over four years as an example vs. an instate school probably $80K less.

  3. You know what - the decision has been made. You didn’t choose your middle or high school. You are here. It’s a self motivation problem if you can’t get excited. Once you’re on campus - pedigree, rank, etc. doesn’t matter - so join some clubs, get involved. Going to IU wouldn’t change this one iota - and Kelley is thousands and thousands of kids.

You don’t want to go to HS - and guess what, it’s so large, you’d likely not see your friends. My son’s best friend went to Alabama with him and they found different crowds. The idea is to meet new people.

My kid got into Purdue, Maryland, Florida and some others for engineering. Went to Alabama.

My daughter got into U of SC Honors, Florida, UMD, Washington & Lee, Miami and so many more - and goes to College of Charleston. #16 rating wise of 17 admitted to. Happens every day- in fact, her best friend there turned down Vandy, Rice and Penn.

Do you know how many people don’t go into the “best” school academically - whatever that even means. They choose safeties. You’re looking at a rank. What does US News know? Have you seen the rankings that just came out - where top schools like Tulane, SMU, W&L, Tufts, Villanova, etc. all took a dive.

Best is not what a magazine says. And today it’s best, tomorrow it’s not - ask those schools above. Look at the fit Vandy is having over their rank. Forget rank - they’re not real world.

You have the ability to get challenged (go see your profs), to learn, to gain professional experience, and grow.

You are the only thing holding you back.

People choose schools like yours over Ivy - yes, they do. On every Big 10 campus are students who were Ivy admitted. I work with a Michigan State grad who turned down Stanford.

You’re creating a situation in your mind that doesn’t exist.

Maybe there are bigger, deeper issues and perhaps talking to someone in counseling will help and perhaps this is a justification.

The difference between most schools, especially big 10 business schools - from a Nebraska to a Rutgers to a UMN Carlson or UW or Iowa or Ohio State - all these schools are fantastic - and you’re splitting hairs.

There aren’t do overs. And there needn’t be. There’s transfers - not do overs - but if you leave without even trying, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. You have lots of future friends and great memories if you make that effort.

Good luck.


Think very carefully. Just because you got accepted doesn’t mean they will accept you as a transfer or when you reapply.

Call /email admission at Indiana and ask them bluntly for advise. Don’t make rash decisions before you know.

I am in the camp of staying and just get involved. No school can make you happy. Only you can do that for yourself.

The reality is if your in a Big Ten school or known public your job opportunities will be similar to IU.


Note that IU considers you a frosh applicant if you have completed fewer than 12 semester hour credits since high school graduation, according to Transfer Applicants: How to Apply: Office of Admissions: Indiana University Bloomington (click on “Identify what kind of transfer student you are”). Other colleges and universities may have different policies – some may consider you a transfer if you have enrolled in any college after high school graduation.

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One of our kids transferred in the middle of freshman year to a new school that had originally admitted him as a high school senior. But he made sure he would be admitted as a transfer and receive credit for all his first term classes BEFORE he withdrew from his first school.

In his case, he had gone to school #1 with friends, but they joined frats and he didn’t and he didn’t do other things to integrate himself into the school community and make new friends. He wanted a do over. At his transfer school, he pushed himself out of his comfort zone and flourished.

Personally, I think he could have accomplished the same thing at his first school. It wasn’t the school that made the difference— it was him deciding to take a new approach and being willing to be uncomfortable for half a year.

But we didn’t stand in the way of his transfer because it didn’t cost him time, money, or credits — just a seamless move from one school to the next.

If you can transfer to IU without losing time, money, or credits, and you really want that total do over — then great. But if not, consider whether you could take a different approach to your current school before throwing in the towel.


Are you comfortable naming your current school ? What does it lack that you expect to find at IU-Kelley ?

Why is/was the University of Washington your dream school ?

IU-Kelley is great. Lots of opportunities both academically & socially. I understand the attraction.

And I also understand that Big Ten schools differ in several respects even though one’s major remains the same.

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There is really little “fit” difference between the B1G public schools. We are not talking about Kenyon vs NYU. Even if you look at the prestige of the BSchools within the B1G, there isn’t much of a difference.

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Reasonable thought, but to many there may be a noticeable difference, for example, between attending Rutgers for business and IU-Kelley.

In 2024, when USC, UCLA, Oregon, & U Washington join the Big Ten Conference, the differences among campus cultures will be even more pronounced.

P.S. Interesting that the top 3 overlap schools listed by Indiana University are the Univ. of Texas at Austin, UC-Berkeley, and CU-Boulder. This is not typical among Big Ten schools.

Supposedly, Kelley’s IB and Management Consulting clubs are hyper competitive and these are the clubs you would want to join to help you differentiate yourself from the 10,000 other Kelley students.

If you want to study accounting, you can go to many schools and be fine. My D who will be a senior this year just did a HS internship at KPMG. None of partners or associates went to a T50 school.

In which division did your daughter intern ? Auditing ? Tax ? Or ?

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I don’t know the size of each b school - but I do know IU Kelley is HUGE.

Not everyone excels in huge.

Also, some have specialties - Michigan State is the #1 Supply Chain in the country…as an example although all would be fine for Supply Chain.

I have no doubt the current school is excellent in many areas.

Good luck to OP.

The program’s focus was helping HS students understand how to work in a professional environment. They also learned about the differences between tax, audit, and advisory and worked on a few projects.

It was great networking as one of the associates told my D that she had the skillset to do a college level internship now, even as a HS senior.

It was also interesting that some of the associates didnt even have their CPA.

Yes, OP, if you want to go to Kelley, you might want to ask them about career outcomes. A lot of people study business because of the potential job opportunities.

If you have thousands of kids competing for jobs, how many of the 10,000 students land premier jobs? And if you’re not at or near the very top at Kelley, what are your career outcomes?

If you look at this list, most are accouting firms. And many of these firms probably recruit at your current school.

  1. EY
  2. PwC
  3. Deloitte
  4. KPMG, LLP
  5. Grant Thornton LLP
  6. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  8. Oracle America, Inc.
  9. Crowe LLP
  10. Accenture

I’m currently at Penn State. Academically, although IU is ranked higher, I feel I could probably get the same career outcome at either school. The change would be more based on the social environment. I feel like Kelley would be a better environment because I know way more people from my hometown (I’m from the Bay Area in California). I am close with about 10 alumni from my high school that are currently at Kelley, and I know one alumni from my hs at Penn State that isn’t in the business school. This goes back to my point of not doing my due diligence, because I know I would have chosen differently if I had taken the time to talk to my friends that had gone to IU. After talking to my parents, particularly my dad who wanted me to go to Penn State, he’s realized that IU likely would have been the better choice (financially as well, I received a scholarship). Obviously, there’s no way to go back in time to remake the decision, so I’m just considering potential avenues going forward. Thanks for the advice!

Is IU ranked higher? In the new US News, they are the same.

Reputationally, I would say Penn State is better thought of.

If you’re talking business, yes IU is higher in US News but Smeal is very well thought of and for 98% of who is there, it’s the same…in fact, might do better at Wall Street, etc.

You are in college. If high school friendships mattered, you should have gone to community college or San Jose State, etc. I think you are overplaying the HS thing - few kids likely end up in the same social circles in such a large environment.

So - you got direct admit at PSU - which is awesome.

But if you have one foot out the door, you’ll struggle.

So why not - give it your best. See how you do - if it’s not growing on your, then ok consider moving to IU.

But your ranking logic and IU is better than Penn State - let’s stop that part - that is ridiculous quite frankly.

That maybe you’re lonely or miss your friends, I get that part.

btw - both are very nice schools but Penn State is downright gorgeous. Want to be in a good mood? Walk campus and take a look at Old Main everyday - super gorgeous.

OK - whatever you decide, best of luck, but it seems homesickness to me.

Smeal is outstanding!!!

Good luck.


Are you in Schreyer? In Sapphire?
Preparing for PLA?
What classes are you taking?
What clubs, groups or activities are you a part of?