Confused College Student Seeks Advice

<p>After coming home from my first year of college, I've found myself in a troubling situation.</p>

<p>In high school, it was always my dream to attend an elite university after graduating. At the end of my senior year I accepted admission to Vanderbilt University under an almost complete scholarship. It was a tough decision to make, seeing as how I had come to really like UNC Chapel Hill, but because of financial circumstances the matter was pretty much out of my hands. My only other real options were the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, both of which I had no significant interest in attending at the time.</p>

<p>My freshman year at Vanderbilt, though, was mediocre at best. Although I did well academically, finishing the year with a 3.7 GPA, I struggled socially. I went to fraternity parties during the first few weeks of school, but really didn't fit in with that crowd—a crowd which happens to be one of the most prominent forces on Vanderbilt's campus.</p>

<p>During my second semester at Vandy, I really tried to make things better. I tried getting out more and formed a band with a friend I had met in an a cappella group I joined first semester. The a cappella group and the band are probably the things I enjoy most about Vanderbilt outside of academics. I'd really love to do more with both of them, but that of course hinges on whether or not I want to stay in Nashville. The fact of the matter is I still am not satisfied with my social life at Vandy. It really seems like there's so little to do outside of Greek life; even when I wanted to get out and do something, I sometimes had no option but to attend a frat party. This inevitably led to me hanging out in the dorms, which got old fast. I want to have fun in college, but so far my feelings about it are decidedly ambivalent. It's not horrible, but it certainly isn't great either. </p>

<p>This leads me to my next point. Over the course of my first year in college, I visited my friends at UGA on occasion. Every single time I had a blast. I loved Athens' night life. I loved the college town feel I never got at Vanderbilt. I loved how I could count on rock bands playing live venues all over town, which is something I've been wanting to do for years. I watched a few of UGA's a cappella groups perform and saw in them a level of commitment I would have loved to have had in my group at Vanderbilt. Later on I found out that the UGA Accidentals placed third in the ICCA finals, which is essentially the World Series of collegiate a cappella. Even the frat parties in Athens were considerably more enjoyable than those at Vanderbilt; if I had gone to UGA, I may have considered joining one. </p>

<p>Now that I'm home for the summer, I'm questioning whether Vandy was the best choice for me. True, it's a very prestigious school and I was very fortunate to earn such a large scholarship there. But, as previously mentioned, it seems like UGA has so much more to offer me. Additionally, because I am a Georgia resident, I am eligible for the HOPE scholarship, which would pay for my tuition should I choose to transfer. After graduating from college, I plan on going to medical school, which gives me yet another reason to consider transferring; from what I've heard, one's undergraduate institution plays only a small role in the med. school admissions process. UGA's relative lack of prestige when compared to Vanderbilt, then, may not really be an issue for me. At the same time, though, if I were to leave Vanderbilt, I feel like I may later regret giving up on such a unique opportunity. I talked to my mom about this earlier and she's convinced that the value of a Vanderbilt degree is more important than my satisfaction with my overall college experience. </p>

<p>I don't really know though. This is confusing and I don't know what to do.</p>

<p>Bump. If the post above is too long, here’s a brief summary:</p>

<p>I earned a large scholarship to Vanderbilt but am not not entirely happy there. Should I transfer to UGA—where I think I would enjoy myself a lot—instead of finishing out my degree at Vandy? I plan on going to medical school after graduation.</p>

<p>Gah, U(sic)GA? Should live in ATL and go to GT instead :slight_smile: But I’m biased. Athens is a very fun place…parties all the time, bars everywhere. A majority of social life at large southern universities revolves around greek life, but that doesn’t mean a good time can’t be found elsewhere. If you don’t like Vandy, go ahead and transfer. A huge part of college is having a good time and if you can balance that with academics in Georgia then go ahead.</p>

<p>Life sucks, stop pretending that it doesn’t.</p>



<p>Of course she is, she’s a woman, she’s enticed by prestige, not pragmatism.</p>

<p>Each college campus has a personality…sometimes it’s a “fit” and sometimes not. Vanderbilt has a fine academic reputation and there IS value in that, but it’s not everything. College is also about social growth and making life long friendships–and hopefully enjoying the once-in-a- lifetime experience. A prestigious U might open a door or two, but you don’t have to go to a tippy top university in order to be successful.
On the other hand, you could return to Vanderbilt and make an effort to be more active in the activities you enjoy. The challenge is, Vanderbilt is a smaller university with a strong Greek presence–I’d think you’d have broader social opportunities at Georgia Tech or U of Georgia. If you honestly think you don’t fit in there at Vanderbilt, then I’d talk to your parents about transferring. It is YOUR life afterall.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice, everyone. I think I’ll give it another semester at Vandy and see how I feel. I think everything will work out.</p>