<p>It sounds like you're worried about being a proverbial small fish in a big pond instead of the big fish in the small pond of HS.</p>
<p>Are you heading off to a highly selective, highly competitive (for admissions) college? I'm assuming you are. I posted this on another thread, but sounds like you need to hear it too. So I'll repost it here.</p>
<p>OP on the other thread wrote:</p>
I'll be attending an Ivy League school in the fall, and I'm just afraid that for the first time in my life, I'm just going to be average..... or even worse, less than average. Sure, it's going to be wonderful to have such a talented group of people to call my peers, but at the same time, it's also going to be difficult.</p>
<p>To organize my rant:
1. What do I need to know to do well while adapting to a college environment?
2. Is it hard to handle not being the "golden child" anymore?
<p>I graduated (with honors) from William&Mary 30 years ago, having been admitted with a verbal SAT down near the 25% for W&M. [Verbal SAT most closely corresponds with todays CR.] I still remember freshman orientation very, very clearly. And I want to tell you some of the things that President Graves told the W&M Class of 1980 on a sultry, hot afternoon in August 1976 after we all reported to the (air-conditioned!) W&M Hall. I want to tell you these things because I think they as applicable (maybe even more so) to the current incoming Ivy freshmen as they were to those W&M freshman thirty years ago. President Graves told us something along these lines:</p>
<p>Welcome! We first of all want you all to know just how happy we are that you chose to come to W&M. You are, as a class, an exceptionally well qualified class with some incredible achievements.</p>
<p>But we also want you know this as well: All of you graduated near the top of your high school class; most of you were in the top 10% of your graduation class. All of you have exceptionally high test scores. Many of you have earned straight A's in high school. Almost none of you has ever earned a C in a class before. All of you are well above the typical high school graduate. And all of you are average William and Mary students right now.</p>
<p>Look at the person to your right. And look at the person to your left. One of the three of you is likely to graduate in the top 1/3 of the Class of '80. One of the three of you is likely to graduate in the middle 1/3 of the Class of '80. And one of you is likely to graduate in the bottom 1/3 of the Class of '80. And neither we the faculty and administration nor you the students can predict who of the three of you will eventually rise to the top and who will not. But that's not what's important. What is important is that all three of you will graduate---and you will graduate in four years with a degree you can be proud of earning regardless of whether you graduate with honors or graduate in the bottom tenth of the class.</p>
<p>Of you and your two neighbors, it's likely that two of you will earn the lowest grades you've ever earned during your first and second semesters here at W&M. But that's ok---remember, you are the typical student at this college and your grades are likely to be average grades for W&M. And average grades here include lots of B's and C's. So don't beat yourself up when you earn that first B or C on a midterm or paper or course: Those are not "bad" grades---they are average grades for average W&M students.</p>
<p>It's also very likely that neither you nor your two neighbors really know what studying is: For most of you sailed through high school with little or no effort. You were the students for whom most of the high school content simply made sense with little or no effort. And this too will cause you great frustration during your freshman year. You will need to consciously work on developing good study habits, and while you are working on that, your grades are likely to be lower, perhaps much lower, than what you regarded as "acceptable" in high school. But in time you will learn how to best study in order to do your best in each class that's important to you. You may also learn how to study "just enough" to earn a grade that's acceptable to you, but doesn't actually reflect what you could do if you wanted to put all your effort into doing your best in that course. And that's ok---because sometimes doing "good enough" but not "excellent or best" in Course A is what you can afford to do in order to really do your best in Course B when Course B is more important to you --- for whatever reason that's important to you.</p>
<p>So in conclusion: We wish you luck as you begin an incredible adventure. We want you to take risks. We want you to explore. We want you to take a course in a subject you've never been interested in. We want you take courses in subjects you already know you're interested in. We want you to study hard. But we don't want you to define yourself by the grades you earn. We want you to define yourself by how you change between now and the time you graduate.</p>