Where can I transfer with these stats? And should I transfer?

<p>Hi, I wasn't sure where to put this and if you can guys can bear with me... but I really need some guidance regarding college right now. I currently go to Grinnell College in Iowa. One of my main reasons for choosing to go there was its prestige as a liberal arts school (#14 for LACs in US weekly). The second reason is that the college gave me an extremely good financial deal - I pretty much take out less than $6000 in loans every year and pay about $4000 for both semesters. My friends have told me that I "basically have a full ride." </p>

<p>Anyways, I got to the school and had a pretty difficult time adjusting to college. My sleep pattern became very crazy and I just wasn't motivated like I was in high school. I guess I burned out because I'd like to think I worked my butt off senior year. But it was hard being focused and I kind of being caught up more with my social life than academics. I dropped a class first semester and honestly, I didn't give it 100%. </p>

<p>Another issue has been that I realize that prestige as a liberal arts school rarely translates into prestige in the real world. Few people have heard of my school - and my friends and family have given me crap about my GPA alike. I guess it would be more acceptable if I went to a school with more name recognition. I normally wouldn't be too concerned except I'm not exactly sure how I will be career-wise after school. I suspect few employers will be impressed by a Grinnell degree other than maybe confusing it with a Cornell degree. I plan to graduate with an economics degree, which I have heard to be pretty versatile and marketable. But I feel like I'm so much career driven than any of my peers - which brings me to the point that I'm not exactly sure that I integrate into the culture of Grinnell very well.</p>

<p>I grew up in a very Caucasian dominated suburb where most kids were picked up on mainstream cultural trends, enjoyed playing sports and watching sports, and paid attention to grooming themselves. I tried to give myself an adjustment period, but I have to be honest and say I'm still not entirely sure I assimilate well into a culture of unathletic hippies who rarely listen to pop music or watch mainstream movies and who also practice pretty poor hygiene. The culture is "tolerant" and "accepting" to the point you don't espouse the stereotypical traditional, Caucasian male belief system. I'm not a fan of frats, but the hate for conservative frat kids on this campus can be smothering sometimes. I would consider myself liberal and I would much rather go here than a place like BYU or Bob Jones...but I sometimes feel uneasy with my liberal but very non-activist political beliefs. I also like money and conventional careers...which I guess isn't not embraced at my school but it isn't typically the route most graduates go on. </p>

<p>I've decided to give another year and really, really try to bring my GPA up. But I would like to know what my options are and if there's any chance I could get into somewhere a little more conventional, if not more prestigious. (I would really love to go to Northwestern, but I feel that might just be impossible now.)</p>

<p>My Stats</p>

<p>Ethnicity: Asian-American
Major: Economics (possibly minor/double major w/History)
ACT: 30
SAT: 1290/1970
HS GPA: 3.8
College GPA: 3.2 (28 regular credits completed + 2 short course credits)
Completed College Work: First Year Seminar, Intro to History, Introductory Chemistry, Intro Computer Science (dropped), Intellectual Property System (picked up because of dropped class, half a full class credit), Introduction to Political Science, Intermediate Spanish, History of Britain II, and Introduction to Economics (marcro + micro)
APs: 5s on US History, World History, European History English and Literature, English and Composition, 4s on Government and Biology, 3 in Statistics
Awards: Student of the Year in Social Sciences
HS ECs: Founder of a Writing Circle, Executive Board for Student Council, Model UN, Chess Club, Cross Country (2 seasons), and Track (1 season)
College ECs: Radio Station Host, Newspaper Writer, Satirical Newspaper Writer, Flag Football Intramurals
Work Experience: Work study for a year in college in Dining Hall
Summers: Work at a car auction</p>

<p>Like I've said, I plan to try very hard next year to bring up my GPA... I know the slump has been dramatic, but I'm willing to work to get it back together. But...Grinnell is a tough school, regardless of my effort. My last concern is maybe screwing myself over for law school because I've been told law schools don't care where you do your undergraduate work and rely heavily on GPA.... while this is told to people who to go to schools with lower prestige, I go to a higher one with higher difficulty. It looks like it's going to work against me.</p>

<p>Lots of people know about Grinnell, so don't worry about name recognition. It sounds like you are different from many of the other students there, which may be why you were admitted and given such a whomping big financial aid package. The college wants diversity of thought on campus, and you are shaking up those "hippies" for their own good. They are shaking you up a bit too, which is good for you as well. That's part of the idea of attending that kind of LAC.</p>

<p>However, if you really don't like it, don't feel bad about transferring somewhere else. You do need to talk with your family and find out what financial parameters that you need to consider when transferring. Does the new place need to work out to be as cheap for you as Grinnell, or can it be more expensive? If so, how much more expensive? No one wants to stay at a place they hate just because of the money, but sometimes that is what happens. You need to find out if Grinnell is your only affordable option.</p>

<p>As for admission to law school from Grinnell: when you get back this fall, pop by the office of the pre-law advisor and discuss your concerns with that person. He/she will be able to help you draw up a plan that will get you through Grinnell (if you decide to stay) in good shape to apply to law school.</p>

<p>Wishing you all the best.</p>

<p>"Lots of people know about Grinnell, so don't worry about name recognition."</p>

<p>That was my hope... but I just haven't been getting that impression in my little suburb of Chicago where everybody ends up going to Illinois State or University of Illinois Champaign. Really, I've been getting the impression that Grinnell is only known throughout academia and not so much in the professional world. People have been telling me that my liberal arts degree will be pretty useless. I keep making those arguments about how Grinnell will enhance my perspective, ability to communicate, and my critical thinking ability...but to my family and to my high school friends, those are paltry arguments against acquiring hard skills like accounting and engineering. That's part of the reason why I'm studying economics. I honestly am not in love with economics, but Grinnell's academic choice is so wide that it would be bearable because I could still take many more things. One benefit of Grinnell is that there's only a 25% minimum for your major as part of your four year curriculum. </p>

<p>"However, if you really don't like it, don't feel bad about transferring somewhere else. You do need to talk with your family and find out what financial parameters that you need to consider when transferring. Does the new place need to work out to be as cheap for you as Grinnell, or can it be more expensive? If so, how much more expensive? No one wants to stay at a place they hate just because of the money, but sometimes that is what happens. You need to find out if Grinnell is your only affordable option."</p>

<p>My family is a poor income bracket, so I'm not overly concerned. I just know for sure I wouldn't getting the same generous extent of financial aid unless I transferred into a school that was renowned for really, really generous financial aid. I would be doing it as an incoming junior, so if I need to take a lot of loans, I know that I can at least.</p>

<p>I will say that Grinnell has definitely been an experience. It has really opened up my mind... but I'm not sure if it's overall been a positive experience. I wouldn't say I'm overly different, but some friction exists. I thought I was different and unique in high school for knowing about and talking about things like Nietzsche, existentialism, and socialism. I was definitely perceived as a social anomaly, but in a good way. I was popular and people liked me for being quirky. But most people at Grinnell were unpopular in high school. Maybe I thought it would be have been refreshing to have a higher level of conversation, but it's been along with a combination of intimidating for me. I'm a liberal, but I hate people who follow political correctness like dogma. I would like to say I'm cultured and not racist, but I at least ADMIT the existence of stereotypes in the media. Whereas I would laugh at them, people at Grinnell would take offense to it. The rejection of mainstream culture is just something I can't grasp entirely... to be a free spirit is good, but to completely reject the surrounding zeitgeist is unhealthy, I think. </p>

<p>Thank you for your comment though, but do you have any ideas on a good school that I could possibly transfer to? I'd like to stay in the Midwest, if possible. Like I've said, I think good schools like Notre Dame and Northwestern are wishful thinking at this point. But have I not been thinking of somewhere?</p>

<p>I don't think that you should rule out Notre Dame or Northwestern. They are fully aware of how difficult Grinnell is, and can take that into account when they look at your transcripts.</p>

<p>To return to "name recognition" for a moment, it doesn't matter what your high school friends think about Grinnell. They aren't the people who are going to be hiring you for a job. And if I am correct in assuming that your parents are immigrants, there is no reason to expect them to be familiar with Grinnell either. Most employers in the midwest are fully aware of the reputations of Grinnell, Drake, Knox, Carleton, Luther, fill-in-name-of-Iowa-or-Illinois-or-Indiana-college/university-here, and will take that information into consideration when they see your resume on their desk.</p>

<p>As I am sure you know, the really good financial aid money is handed out to freshmen applicants. Often there isn't much left over for transfers other than federally determined (FAFSA) aid. You need to find out which places are likely to give you the best aid, so that you can focus your applications appropriately. One place you might look is in the Financial Aid Forum. Read through the threads there on aid for transfers for ideas.</p>

<p>"I don't think that you should rule out Notre Dame or Northwestern. They are fully aware of how difficult Grinnell is, and can take that into account when they look at your transcripts."</p>

<p>I wish I was sure of that. The impression I get is that they are very anal about GPA. My standardized test scores were not that impressive and neither has been my college work, so I'm not sure how I could possibly stand out short of getting a 4.0 both semesters with great extracurricular activities next year. </p>

<p>"To return to "name recognition" for a moment, it doesn't matter what your high school friends think about Grinnell. They aren't the people who are going to be hiring you for a job. And if I am correct in assuming that your parents are immigrants, there is no reason to expect them to be familiar with Grinnell either. Most employers in the midwest are fully aware of the reputations of Grinnell, Drake, Knox, Carleton, Luther, fill-in-name-of-Iowa-or-Illinois-or-Indiana-college/university-here, and will take that information into consideration when they see your resume on their desk."</p>

<p>I hope so. I really would like to block them out, but it's really hard to defend myself when I'm studying at a liberal arts school in this kind of economy. People are always taking about getting up to date with technology and practical skills like engineering or accounting. My school doesn't have either of those, so I feel very much left out of the loop and worse, the employment pool after I graduate. I really would like to argue the benefit of a liberal arts education, but I think it falls upon increasingly closed ears. </p>

<p>Not to say that I can't study something like science at Grinnell (despite the stereotype of liberal arts schools not having a good science programs, we produce a significant amount of science PHDs), but it would be harder that podunk state school and my heart is not at all into science anyways. But people are always telling me to stay away from "nonsense like history or English" in college... but these are the things that I'm good at. I won't say love, but I can stand them a hell a lot of more than something like accounting or engineering. Is that a good enough of a reason to stick with a liberal arts education? </p>

<p>I'll admit - my two issues is being concerned about the external appearance of a liberal arts education and the fact I didn't do well last semester. I admit I was a little too ashamed to discuss either issue with my parents. My parents would have told me "I told you so!" anyways... because I actually had to struggle to convince them to let me go to Grinnell. If my GPA doesn't improve, I think my parents would be far more forgiving and help me transfer somewhere else. But pretty much, I've thought about it this way....it's so much more face to say "I study history at Notre Dame" or "I study history at Northwestern" than to have to say something like "I study at Grinnell.... no, not Cornell. It's a small school in Iowa." </p>

<p>Again, thanks for your feedback.</p>

<p>Who exactly is telling you this kind of stuff? </p>

<p>"But people are always telling me to stay away from "nonsense like history or English" in college..."</p>

<p>Do they really think that the world doesn't need people who understand history and/or can communicate effectively in the current world standard language? At the very least, who is going to proof-read and edit their accounting and engineering textbooks? Not to mention that someone has to teach all of those history-for-engineers Gen Ed classes!</p>

<p>A true liberal arts program is a very precious thing. However, there are people who just don't get it. It looks like you are the token liberal arts person in a nest of folks who aren't. (Imagine what it would be like if you were the token engineer surrounded by English majors!) There really is no easy way to convince that kind of person of the merits of a liberal arts degree, so don't bother. You don't have to defend yourself any more than your engineering-major friends have to justify their choice of academic program. You have a big scholarship that is letting you study what you want to study. Do your best to enjoy this opportunity now. When you are ready to catch up on technology/engineering/accounting you will be able to (assuming that you actually do want to then).</p>

<p>As for Grinnell vs. Cornell U.: Grinnell grads do Ph.D. programs at places like Cornell U. and end up as professors at places like Cornell U. That is one of the reasons for smart young people to study at Grinnell if they have the opportunity to do so.</p>

<p>In your first post you wrote that you struggled during your first year to get on track. This happens to a lot of people no matter where they go to college. The adjustment can be as challenging as moving to a new country. You should find a copy of "The Art of Crossing Cultures" by Craig Storti. When I read it 25 years after graduating from college, I finally understood why I'd had so much trouble as a freshman student. Reading it will help you find some ways to cope with the things about Grinnell (or any other new environment) that just make you crazy.</p>

<p>"As for Grinnell vs. Cornell U.: Grinnell grads do Ph.D. programs at places like Cornell U. and end up as professors at places like Cornell U. That is one of the reasons for smart young people to study at Grinnell if they have the opportunity to do so."</p>

<p>I was never really looking at Cornell. I was just making fun of the fact that many people confuse my school for Cornell. And it's very easy to tell their immediate disappointment after I clarify things as if to say "Oh, so you DON'T go to an Ivy but rather, you go to a school I've never heard of." </p>

<p>"Do they really think that the world doesn't need people who understand history and/or can communicate effectively in the current world standard language? At the very least, who is going to proof-read and edit their accounting and engineering textbooks? Not to mention that someone has to teach all of those history-for-engineers Gen Ed classes!</p>

<p>A true liberal arts program is a very precious thing. However, there are people who just don't get it. It looks like you are the token liberal arts person in a nest of folks who aren't. (Imagine what it would be like if you were the token engineer surrounded by English majors!) There really is no easy way to convince that kind of person of the merits of a liberal arts degree, so don't bother. You don't have to defend yourself any more than your engineering-major friends have to justify their choice of academic program. You have a big scholarship that is letting you study what you want to study. Do your best to enjoy this opportunity now."</p>

<p>I would love to argue that I'm getting a much better intellectual experience. I know this for sure because the level of conversation at Grinnell is almost always so much higher and more engaging than the people I talk to back home. But in other ways, the frustrate me with the kind of culture I'm so accustomed to. At home, we talk about popular movies, music, and celebrities. The typical Grinnellian's knowledge on any of the aforementioned topics is absurdly low for me. I'm not saying that you should be a pop media junkie and sacrifice intellectual pursuits but I expected something a much more balanced perspective of the outside world. </p>

<p>I wanted to meet kids who can recognize Lady Gaga and satirically make fun of how obnoxious she is ...rather than meeting kids who have no clue who Lady Gaga is. I came from a high school where basically everybody was athletic and loved sports. I have barely anyone to talk to about sports in college and even worse, it is always a struggle to find enough people to play even a pickup game of football. When my friends talk about how they constantly play basketball and Frisbee, I get a little jealous inside. I have hard time relating to experiences to my other friends...because I think I'm getting anything about the traditional college experience. But I have a hard time telling myself I'm getting something better.</p>

<p>I try to reassure myself that it's kind of a bad idea to trade away discussions about linguistics, Lost Generation writers, and social class mobility to be able to play a game of basketball every now and then. Because I can always find people to play basketball later in life, but I probably will never again have a chance to be in this community of bright, young intellectuals, right? I can always have this experience to make me a better person and return to normalcy, right? That's my rationale anyways to reassure myself the benefit of staying Grinnell. But it doesn't always come through. </p>

<p>"When you are ready to catch up on technology/engineering/accounting you will be able to (assuming that you actually do want to then)."</p>

<p>That's the argument that my professors give to me....but I really ponder if I did that later, would I have thought Grinnell was worth my time? Or would I tell myself that I wasted four years of my life when I could have started this tech field right away? Grinnell, with the great financial deal it gave me, will probably ease up the cost of further education later on...but that time is never going to come back. </p>

<p>It's always hard though to talk to my HS friends who are talking to me about how they're learning things like accounting or designing an engineering project. When they ask me what I've been learning...I almost always try to avoid answering fully. Because I'm almost certain that somebody will tell me something like "what can you do that? what career track is that?" Someone outright told me that she thought a history major (a possible one for me) was a worthless, blowoff major. Maybe at Directional State University where she goes to...but it's something intense at Grinnell. Maybe that's another benefit of Grinnell, almost everybody realizes that their major is something serious and to be studied. </p>

<p>"In your first post you wrote that you struggled during your first year to get on track. This happens to a lot of people no matter where they go to college. The adjustment can be as challenging as moving to a new country. You should find a copy of "The Art of Crossing Cultures" by Craig Storti. When I read it 25 years after graduating from college, I finally understood why I'd had so much trouble as a freshman student. Reading it will help you find some ways to cope with the things about Grinnell (or any other new environment) that just make you crazy."</p>

<p>Thanks. I'll try to read it. And again, thank you so much for your feedback. I just really someone to talk to about and understand my college issues.</p>

<p>Arrrg, I wrote possibly the longest post I've ever written here, maybe even rivaling your really extensive posts, but CC signed me out. Damn, bear with me.</p>

<p>To begin with, I'm a second-year at UC Berkeley and seriously considering transferring to Grinnell next year. Mostly because I'd rather have smaller, more discussion-based classes and no lectures with hundreds of students and limited professor interaction, and not have to deal with the impersonal aspects of the campus. Also, I've always wanted to attend a small liberal arts college, but have never quite managed to convince my Asian parents that moving halfway across the country to study History or Anthro, the majors I'm considering now, is worth it.</p>

<p>I can relate to a couple areas you described: I also had a tough senior year of high school, lost some motivation first semester of college, but my social life at first was **** (and still is rather boring sometimes). I'm curious how you could get wrapped up on social life without being able to relate to your classmates. And I have time believing that nobody at a college could casually talk about pop culture, or have the will to go out for a random game of frisbee. I even fall into your somewhat unhygienic, non-mainstream movie watching category of people who are embarrassed about being really behind on watching Lady Gaga videos....so I suspect that you need to get out of your usual social circle some more, meet some more upperclassmen. After my first semester, I moved out of the dorms and met much more upperclassmen (so now I feel guilty for not really knowing many freshmen). Seriously, it makes a huge difference getting to know how many (relatively) mature and diverse mindsets exist in your vicinity. First-years in comparison seem kind of sheep-like and naive in comparison. Upperclassmen have explored their passions more throughly, experienced so much more in the same place you're living, and are more confident in expressing their options. Plus they're usually happy to give advice, point out mistakes they made, and may have gone through the same situations you did.</p>

<p>I think you're stressing over the prestige issue too much. In the end, the pride you get from attending your school should come from you yourself. The pleasure in hearing "That's a good school!!!!" from a total stranger is pretty minimal. When my high school friends and I get together to chat about our college adventures, they don't care that I go to a somewhat more well-known school. I have a grad student friend who went to Whitman for undergrad, and he's always happy when describing happy times there and comparing Berkeley to Whitman and not subtly hinting about how I would've been a great fit there. But he told me that it's been over a year since he's met someone new who also went to Whitman (I THINK he was serious). Whitman grads, like Grinnell alums, are far and few in between; you can't expect the average guy off the street to have heard of a tiny school without Div I sports. You can't expect that you'll have an advantage in a job interview just because the employer's heard of your school before. You should be able to make a solid impression without the employer making shallow judgments on your school's name; if they can't look beyond that, then it'll be their loss. If you go to law/grad school, that school's prestige and network will matter more than Grinnell's. I don't have any cool stories on how Grinnellians help out each other in the job search, but I imagine the tighter bonds in going to such a small competitive school would be more helpful than Berkeley's loose ones maintained primarily by the less-than-stellar career center here, after listening to my recently-graduated co-workers at the library scheme about getting hired at the same Target. Sigh...they're all so bright, but just don't have the luck or the connections.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I will say that Grinnell has definitely been an experience. It has really opened up my mind... but I'm not sure if it's overall been a positive experience. I wouldn't say I'm overly different, but some friction exists. I thought I was different and unique in high school for knowing about and talking about things like Nietzsche, existentialism, and socialism. I was definitely perceived as a social anomaly, but in a good way.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Ahhh, I feel the same way about the transition to college interactions. I feel so boring sometimes surrounded by people used to intellectual conversation, even though I thought I was oh so unique and oh so creative because I had interests in high school that I couldn't find people to talk about with. Which made me quirky and interesting in the eyes of others. Be grateful that you're getting pushed a little out of your comfort zone. You'll get used to being surprised, hopefully pleasantly, by other people. College is about experimentation...without all of the real-life consequences attached. I think.</p>

<p>I didn't really look into Midwestern universities much in the transfer application process last spring, but I think Northwestern and WashU have reasonable transfer rates (about 20%) and decent financial aid for transfers (ie. they have it. not like some intriguing but otherwise unaffordable schools for me). You have some interesting ECs, so those will help. As a junior transfer, your college GPA will trump your HS GPA and SAT scores, so it's important to focus now if transferring is your aim. Think about which professors will write your recs; think about who to impress next semester if you haven't thought of anyone immediately. Oh, and don't get bogged down by normal college homework and scribble your transfer essays last minute. I thought describing exactly why I'd like to leave my school was much tougher than the freshman application essays -- there's much less advice out there on how to spin the essay in a creative way. Feeling that you don't fit in isn't a bad reason at all for transferring, but it takes some thinking on how to present yourself and what you did in your situation in the best positive light. Good luck if you decide to go this path.</p>

<p>As for why studying the liberal arts is a great option, I'm not the best person to respond. Swarthmore sent a me a very persuasive set of essays on the question once, but I can't seem to find a copy online. I'll post a link if I come across it soon...anyway, hope you found my rambling helpful. oh man, look at them grammar errors. sleepy...</p>

<p>"And I have time believing that nobody at a college could casually talk about pop culture, or have the will to go out for a random game of frisbee. I even fall into your somewhat unhygienic, non-mainstream movie watching category of people who are embarrassed about being really behind on watching Lady Gaga videos....so I suspect that you need to get out of your usual social circle some more, meet some more upperclassmen."</p>

<p>I'm not saying that there's nobody, but it takes effort. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, but I didn't think I had to resort to recruiting totally random strangers outside my social circle to play sports with (which I did, a couple times). And how did I do this? I actually just looked at a person and could tell if they were into sports or not. If they dressed anything like a conventional, mainstream young person - I could instantly tell they would at least try to play sports with me. And that's fine that some people are just into sports, but I guess that it's still a culture shock when I come from a place where people are like "Football? Basketball? Soccer? Hell yeah, let's play!" </p>

<p>Anyways, there are rarely people that are just casually into sports. I ended up playing football with some people that actually played on the school team. And I was squashed because I'm just a casual player. Almost always the situation is that said person is good at sports because they playplayed a varsity one. It's incredibly difficult to find marginally athletic, nerdy person who doesn't mind a casual pick game (I did find two guys like that, but they happened to be transfer students if that means anything....).</p>

<p>My most negative opinion of Grinnell comes an incident last year where the campus's dislike of athletes came into play. There was a party where athletes pasted pictures of random women on campus (students, professors, relatives of both) on beer cups and included insults which I heard to be misogynistic. Okay, that's obviously wrong and I condemn their actions but the campus reaction was ridiculous. Athletes who weren't involved in the incident, particularly those on the football team, were getting glares from random people at dining hall. There were just convesations where people mouthed off athletes as being too dumb and narrow minded to be at Grinnell and that we should get rid of the football team because of their actions.</p>

<p>As a non-athlete, I wrote what I thought to be a non-biased response to the campus newspaper pleading people not to generalize athletes as an inherently sexist, racist crowd but my letter was not published! There has been talks of requiring all incoming freshmen who are male athletes to have to attend a sexual assault workshop. I'm not at all saying that we should tolerate hate, but oh my god, the stereotyping of an athletic team. That's when I decided that I wasn't sure the culture of Grinnell was the right fit for me. </p>

<p>"You can't expect that you'll have an advantage in a job interview just because the employer's heard of your school before. You should be able to make a solid impression without the employer making shallow judgments on your school's name; if they can't look beyond that, then it'll be their loss."</p>

<p>I wish I could believe that, but it would also be hard for me to believe that an employer won't saying anything when he eyes an application that has "Notre Dame" or "Northwestern" on it. And yes, I would say that meeting a fellow Grinnell alumni would be so much more meaningful that meeting a University of Illinois alumni... but the rarity of Grinnell alums would probably mean either less overall support in numbers ...or well, probably effort in finding them. I'm also a little concerned because few people at Grinnell seem professionally driven anyways. A lot of them go into academia, which is not at all what I want to go into. The chance that I would run into a Grinnell alum in the industry I want to get into (business) sounds pretty unlikely to me given the strong liberal LAC vibe that I get. </p>

<p>And thank you for the novel, I quite appreciate it.... if you're honestly considering to transfer to Grinnell, feel free to contact me to learn more about the school. I know I don't sound like I have the highest opinion of Grinnell, but I've been here a year and I will honestly try to give you a perspective on the life here. The financial aid is amazing and I believe transfer aid is pretty comparable to as if you were applying as a freshman.</p>

<p>Hi Empowered123,
I just graduated from Grinnell in May, and so I have a few comments. You're right that many Grinnellians aren't professionally driven...but there are also plenty that are. I have one friend who's now in medical school, one who just took the LSAT (she was a history major), one who's working for a financial company, one who just completed a summer publishing program at Columbia, and one who's in school for public health. And that's just some of my closest friends from the class of 2010. Have you considered joining the Mock Trial team? That's a good source of lawyerly-minded people. Or perhaps the micro-loan group would have similarly-minded people. I also have a friend who interned with the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce (I think that's what it was), and that was a good way for him to learn about business and make connections in the business world. </p>

<p>It's also hard to overstate the strength of the alumni network at a school like Grinnell--and perhaps at Grinnell even more so than at similarly-sized schools, because we're all stuck in the corn fields together for four years. It's surprisingly not that difficult to find Grinnell grads, because we tend to be spread out all over the place--for instance, a couple weeks ago I was vacationing in the national parks of Washington state and met four Grinnell alums/parents in ten days, simply because I was wearing a Grinnell T-shirt. Grinnellians also tend to help each other out when it comes to finding jobs--the Career Development Center keeps a listing, and you can make tons of other connections by working for Phonathon, or working for Reunion at the end of the year (seriously--Phonathon and Reunion will give you a great perspective on what alums go on to do, plus tons of networking opportunities). Talk with the trustees when they come to campus; most of them are successful professionals. Plans (for you non-Grinnellians, Plans is our online networking community) has lists of alums in various careers, and there's a ton of lawyers. You might ask them your questions about GPA and law schools. Finally, you should definitely sign up for the Second Year Retreat--it's designed to help deal with some of the questions you're asking about majors and careers. Plus it's a lot of fun.</p>

<p>"I wanted to meet kids who can recognize Lady Gaga and satirically make fun of how obnoxious she is".
This made me laugh, because I remember watching Bad Romance in the Grille while at least 5 other groups of people watched it around me. I know quite a few Grinnellians who saw Eclipse at the Strand, and many others who know all the words to Party in the USA. I once wrote a religious studies paper on Soulja Boy. But yeah, a lot of Grinnellians have odd tastes. Just remember that Lady Gaga will still be there when you graduate. </p>

<p>As for the incident with the football team, you were certainly not the only person to feel that the football team was treated unfairly. I would guess that your letter wasn't published simply because it was the end of the year; the S&B probably got a lot of letters on the topic, and chose the ones written by those most directly affected (although I see you wrote for the S&B, so you might know more about that than I do). I guess what I saw in that whole incident was a lot of pain, a lot of anger...but also a lot of engagement and discussion that probably wouldn't have happened at most schools. Grinnell is somewhat like an intentional community, in that there's a general sense that Grinnell is a place that is safe for all kinds of people. Inevitably, this ideal of being a unified, safe community is going to be uncomfortable...but remember that the ultimate goal is a more just, more loving way of living. You may not agree with how other Grinnellians want to go about creating this community, but I think the fact that we try so hard is unusual, and wonderful.</p>

<p>Grinnell is an intense place, and it can be an unhealthy place because of that intensity. It is, indeed, sometimes hard to relate to the college experiences of your friends. But there's a lot to be learned in the intensity and discomfort, and personally, I think that I came out stronger because of it. Good luck with your decision! I'm sure you'll do well wherever you end up.</p>

<p>"This made me laugh, because I remember watching Bad Romance in the Grille while at least 5 other groups of people watched it around me. I know quite a few Grinnellians who saw Eclipse at the Strand, and many others who know all the words to Party in the USA. I once wrote a religious studies paper on Soulja Boy. But yeah, a lot of Grinnellians have odd tastes. Just remember that Lady Gaga will still be there when you graduate."</p>

<p>That's refreshing to hear, but honestly hasn't been the case for my experience. I guess some people are bothered by being disconnected from pop culture, but when I came home and cruised around with my HS friends, I realized I had almost no concept of what popular music and what celebrities had been doing for the last year. Grinnellians are passionate about their interests, but I find their range is kind of narrow. My friend, who is a self professed music junkie, only listens to Sinatra-era big band singers and local bands from her region. I think my range is better because while I hate a lot of music out there, I don't limit myself to a genre and actively look for music from everywhere. In my experience, movie IQ is pretty horrendous too. I love Miyazaki films too, but they can not honestly be the only movies you watch, can they? </p>

<p>I'm almost certain that Grinnellians would say that I'm too fixated on shallow things, but damn it, I find pop culture enjoyable as crass and meaningless as it can be. Can I enjoy this when I'm young and do I have to feel like the odd pop junkie on campus? </p>

<p>I find it important to be connected to the broader world. I think quite a few Grinnellians have this very idealized Grinnellian world to the point that I've heard people say they don't understand why homophobic and racist people exist. I don't agree with the views of those people, but Jesus, I acknowledge that they exist and they discriminate against. It's not right but for crying loud, it happens. Conservative bashing is perfectly fine with me but I feel that Grinnellians speak out against them with irrational emotion and disgust than anything else. </p>

<p>"Grinnell is somewhat like an intentional community, in that there's a general sense that Grinnell is a place that is safe for all kinds of people. Inevitably, this ideal of being a unified, safe community is going to be uncomfortable...but remember that the ultimate goal is a more just, more loving way of living. You may not agree with how other Grinnellians want to go about creating this community, but I think the fact that we try so hard is unusual, and wonderful."</p>

<p>That's a fair point. I decided to stay as long as I did in hopes that living in this kind of community will make me a better, more cultured person because of all the views being diffused on campus. But I think I have been frustrated more than anything. In the process of finding a niche for myself, I guess I haven't found any of them appealing. I honestly thought my background would make me a good fit for Grinnell. I was a nerdy, unathletic kid in high school who liked intellectual discussions as well as being witty and creative with my humor. Most people here tell me about their terrible high school experience and how unpopular they were. People thought I was goofy, but I generally talked to lots of people, made lots of friends, and was liked well enough to be elected Prom King. And as much as I sucked at sports, I still liked trying them and while I initially despised pop culture - I came to accept it and love it. I'm not sure if its no much a personality conflict I'm dealing with Grinnell so much as my interests. </p>

<p>Older people constantly tell me to enjoy college because it's supposedly the best four years of your life. I don't know if I can honestly say I'm having the greatest time of my life. But I don't know if it would even better at a different college. </p>

<p>Yet...other things kind of bring me back to Grinnell's side. I looked into another liberal arts college back in my home state of Illinois. It would have made me more connected to home, but I'm sure if I received the right vibe. The guys and girls were definitely more conventional...but they were all the same. Standing out in front of the quad, I realized that almost everybody was in a polo shirt, khaki shirts, and tossing a frisbee around. I talked to people around and almost everybody was from Illinois. I got the statistic later from the admissions office - turns out that 89% of the kids there are from Illinois. Somebody told me that it was a diverse student body, she said "Umm...yeah I know somebody from my floor who's from California." Holy crap. California, who would have thunkit? At Grinnell, I only know kids from places like Rio de Janeiro, India, China, and Russia... And the more I looked around, I noticed that there was a lot of high school-types I went to college to specifically avoid! And it was fratty. So very fratty.</p>

<p>I guess the shame is that ... and I'm not trying to put myself through an ego trip... my range of interests is just too overstretched. I'm probably one of the less intellectual people at Grinnell and I'm definitely not the most athletic. I guess I expected a college full of overachievers who were extremely smart, athletic, and gorged in pop music. Instead, I go to Grinnell full of nice, down to earth folks who are passionate in a few areas. Maybe that's the story. </p>

<p>I'm sorry for these pages of rants... but thank you, ljk123. I appreciate your perspective. Your praise of the Grinnell network is probably well founded because...well, here you suddenly are! (and in the transfer board of all places)</p>