Is It True That Small Colleges are Better for Introverts?

People rarely see introverts at social gatherings.

But make no mistake: they are known to shine in academic environments!

If you are an introvert, you can take this fact with you as you head to college, offering you peace of mind that earning a bachelor’s degree should not be that difficult.

However, choosing the right college is also crucial.

A campus must be conducive to learning for withdrawn people. It should have a supportive faculty and a complete line of facilities.

Alas, the crowd they have to share the campus with can get in the way of their educational pursuit — it’s common knowledge that being in the company of people can drain and stress introverted students.

So, does this mean an introvert like you should go to a small college?

Quick answer: yes.

But it can be a no, too.

With fewer students on campus, it’s plain to see that a small college is great for shy people.

However, everyone tends to know everybody on a small campus, which makes having small talk (introverts hate it!) less likely, and there may be a smaller proportion of people experiencing shyness.

A large campus — the thought of it alone can cause any introvert to palpitate!

But good news!

Attending a college with a large enrollment makes it easier to stay unnoticed. Plus, you have better chances of finding people with similar personalities and organizations for like-minded students.

So, the bottom line: a small campus is not always best for you.

student with no friends

Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Small College

Attending a small college can be very tempting for an introvert like you.

There are many things you try to avoid on a day-to-day basis that are unlikely for you to encounter regularly on a campus attended by only a few degree-seeking students.

However, introvert or not, scrutinizing the school before applying to it is a definite must!

Just because a college has a small population doesn’t immediately mean it’s introvert-friendly, and just because a college has a large population doesn’t right away mean it’s introvert-repellent.

Regardless of personality type, a college-choosing student should carefully consider various factors.

Big vs. Small Class Sizes

Often, small colleges have small class sizes.

Classes at the postsecondary level are small if they have 20 or fewer students.

Given that most scholarly people are introverts and most small classes allow students to learn better, it makes perfect sense for an introvert like you to attend a college with fewer students per classroom.

But there’s a catch.

If you hate getting attention, be wary that you might receive lots of it from your teachers and classmates in a small classroom.

One of the perks of small classes is individualized instruction.

While that’s generally good for the GPA, introverted students may find it too overwhelming, and it can affect their academic performance unfavorably.

Meanwhile, they are less likely to get attention in a large class.

Residence Policy: To Live or Not to Live on Campus

Introverts feel the most comfortable in their bedrooms.

The quietness and solitude they offer allow them to recharge — being in the company of many people, especially those they are not close friends with, is draining to introverts.

A college’s mandatory on-campus residence for first-year students could devastate them!

Introverts are okay with talking to strangers, and that’s true.

That’s because they are likely to never see strangers on a public bus or at a coffee shop ever again — there’s no pressure to build a relationship with them, so there’s no risk.

A college roommate becomes less and less of a stranger as the days pass.

Similarly, a college roommate can have polar opposite hobbies, interests, and personality traits.

On-campus living can easily leave any introvert on a nervous wreck!

Most small colleges and liberal arts institutions require first-years to live in residence halls for at least a year, making the transition from secondary to postsecondary extra challenging for introverted teens.

Numerous large universities also require incoming first-year students to reside on campus.

However, most first-year students are commuters at large public institutions such as California State University, Florida International University, Rutgers University, and the University of Michigan.

student introvert

More Extracurriculars May be Better

Massive colleges and universities tend to attract individuals from various cultures and backgrounds.

Due to this, most of them have some of the most diverse student bodies.

Students with different ethnic identities, religious affiliations, and personal viewpoints have different preferences. And the more varied the preferences, the more extensive the on-campus extracurricular activities.

The presence of numerous clubs and organizations can work to the advantage of introverts.

They give you plenty of opportunities to escape an annoying roommate or avoid an infuriating group of famous students on campus. They also allow you to meet people who share your hobbies and interests.

On the other hand, your options at a small college may be limited.

Consider Campus Culture (Shock)

Small colleges have a small-knit community.

It’s different for their larger counterparts — often, traditions are crucial parts of campus life to help bring the campus community together and promote friendship among thousands of strangers.


Greek life.


These and other social events tend to be bigger, brighter and more cherished at populated institutions.

Students at many small colleges rarely make playing sports, attending frat and sorority activities, and drinking with their classmates their top priorities as they work on their respective degree programs.

But it’s worth noting that some introverts are also into ballgames and camaraderie with people they like.

In this department, an introvert like you needs to consider your interests and passion.

college campus

Getting the Support You Need

Many big and small colleges offer various student support services.

While some are for academic advising, others are for things such as career coaching, recreational guidance, financial aid assistance, and residence life facilitation.

Introverted students are prone to experiencing a great deal of stress, anxiety, and depression.

It’s because of this that you should check for the availability of on-campus mental health services and programs to make it easier for an introvert like you to cope with and survive college life.

A small college’s Counseling Center may have fewer student visitors.

However, given the low enrollment rate, many students may hear about your going to the office for assistance, which may cause rumors and peering eyes to follow you around.

For fear of that, you might as well avoid seeking help altogether.

Meanwhile, the queue for the Counseling Center at a heavily populated institution may be constantly long, which may keep you from getting help when you need it the most.

It may also prevent you from having personalized advice.

Read Next: Is College Harder for Introverts?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

Similar Posts