Nothing’s wrong with being an introvert. Your personality type makes you unique and gives you the traits of a good listener, keen observer, empathetic leader and loyal friend.
What’s wrong, however, is going to a school where it’s likely for you to fail academically — there are some colleges introverts might want to steer clear of.
Some of the worst colleges for introverted students are heavily populated ones, especially those with bustling Greek life and party scene. Also unfavorable for very shy individuals are large institutions and those that are located in big cities. Mandatory on-campus living can also intimidate introverts.
There is no denying that the college application process is one of the most stressful parts of high school.
And if one of the things that make it even more emotionally demanding is the fact that you fear that your introverted personality might not fit in the institutions you are planning on shortlisting, read on. In this post, I will talk about some of the colleges you might want to avoid in order to fend off unnecessary tension and anxiety.
Ensure that you don’t stop reading until you get to the very end — just before the concluding part, I will enumerate some colleges where introverts like you will fit in perfectly!
12 Worst Colleges for Introverts
University of Central Florida
It’s not uncommon for introverted individuals to feel drained and exhausted after spending time with others, in particular strangers. The more people they interact with, the more likely they are to wind up sapped.
Because of this, degree-seeking students who are lone wolves should steer clear of populated colleges.
And each time that the subject matter centers on the largest institutions of higher education in the US in terms of enrollment, one name stands out: the University of Central Florida. As of this writing, the public research university itself says it has over 70,000 students. This makes it the largest school by enrollment in all of Florida.
In order to keep the populated school running smoothly, it employs more than 12,000 people and has an operating budget amounting to $21 billion (academic year 2021 to 2022).
- Acceptance rate: 45%
- Graduation rate: 74%
- Tuition: $6,368 (in-state) and $22,467 (out-of-state)
- Popular majors: Business, computer science, liberal arts, nursing, psychology
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $45,400
Texas A&M University
With a campus in College Station measuring more than 5,200 acres, there is no denying that Texas A&M University is one of the largest institutions in the country by acreage.
If you think that it’s a great school for introverts as it has plenty of available space, think again.
Although it has a massive campus, the public land-grant research university has more than 67,000 enrollees. This means you will have to share the school’s spaciousness with lots and lots of students. You will also encounter people from all various backgrounds as Texas A&M University is a diverse institution.
In fact, its diversity and inclusion efforts have been recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity, which is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education for two consecutive years — 2019 and 2020.
- Acceptance rate: 63%
- Graduation rate: 83%
- Tuition: $13,178 (in-state) and $40,087 (out-of-state)
- Popular majors: Agricultural business, biomedical sciences, liberal arts, psychology
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $58,000
Read our review of Texas A&M University.
University of Chicago
Living in a large and busy city, in some instances, can prove to be advantageous for introverts. That’s because it provides anonymity — interaction is not expected as everyone’s always in a hurry. But the sensory overload can also leave them stressed and anxious, including students who also have to deal with coursework and exams.
If you believe that it’s so much more likely for you to attain higher education success in a small and quiet city, then the University of Chicago should never be added to your college list.
That’s because the school is located in Hyde Park, which is a culturally diverse bustling area.
So, in other words, stepping foot outside the University of Chicago’s campus in order to be alone and enjoy some quiet time is futile — there are lots of goings-on around the private research university.
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Graduation rate: 96%
- Tuition: $60,963
- Popular majors: Biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, political science
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $68,100
Don’t be fooled by the college town feel of Nashville — this city, which is best known for its legendary music scene, is a top destination for both business tycoons and partygoers. Around 36 individuals move to it on an everyday basis, too, which is why it has claimed the third-highest increase in residents between January 2021 and March 2022.
Located in this rapidly growing city is Vanderbilt University, which is a private research academic institution.
Considered a new Ivy, hidden Ivy and southern Ivy, Vanderbilt University is one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Home to more than 7,000 students, US News ranks it #14 in National Universities.
On the other hand, Niche ranks it #5 in Colleges with the Best Student Life in America, which isn’t surprising given the fact that there are so many different fun and exciting activities available for attendees inside and outside the campus. For introverted students, however, this can prove to be a daily challenge to put up with.
- Acceptance rate: 12%
- Graduation rate: 93%
- Tuition: $56,966
- Popular majors: Computer science, economics, engineering, mathematics, political science
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $69,000
Colorado Technical University
12 to 16 hours — that’s how many hours college students typically spend inside the classroom per week, with breaks in between. And this can break the hearts of introverts who wish to get their hands on a bachelor’s degree.
But they can keep their daily uneasiness to a minimum by choosing schools with low student-to-faculty ratios.
If you are an introvert and would like to share the classroom with as few people as possible, then adding Colorado Technical University – Colorado Springs to your college list is a terrible idea. That’s because there is only one instructor around for every 31 students — you will have to vie for your teacher’s attention with 30 others!
What’s more, the private for-profit institution located in Colorado Springs has more than 28,000 students. It’s likely for you to share the campus with even more people per year given that it has a 100% acceptance rate.
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- Graduation rate: 23%
- Tuition: $12,573
- Popular majors: Accounting, business, computer science, criminal justice, information technology
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $42,200
California State Polytechnic University – Pomona
US News gives California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, or also known as Cal Poly Pomona, high rankings: #14 in Regional Universities West and #3 in Top Public Universities in the West.
However, rankings are not the only ones that are high about the public university in the Golden State.
It also has a high student-to-faculty ratio of 28:1, which can be quite unnerving for extroverted students. As if that’s not enough, many classes at California State Polytechnic University – Pomona consist of anywhere from 30 to 39 students. It’s also common for a lot of classes to have 20 to 29 students each.
While the institution has a large 1,438-acre campus with a suburban setting, it’s shared by nearly 30,000 attendees — only less than 500 of those are graduate students.
- Acceptance rate: 65%
- Graduation rate: 67%
- Tuition: $7,438 (in-state) and $19,318 (out-of-state)
- Popular majors: Business, computer science, engineering, hospitality and tourism management, sociology
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $54,000
University of Pennsylvania
If sharing a small room with one or two other students is not an option, then you might want to think twice before you place the University of Pennsylvania or Penn on your college list. While it’s true that it’s a privilege for most degree-seeking students to attend an Ivy League school, it may be the worst for introverts.
That’s because freshmen students are required to live on campus for the first 4 semesters.
According to the prestigious institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on-campus living is mandatory in order to allow newcomers to engage very well with the larger community.
Just because you are a transferee doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods! At the University of Pennsylvania, transferees with sophomore and junior standing have to live on-campus for 2 semesters. Everyone has to share living spaces in the College Houses at Penn, where each also has to participate in a meal plan.
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Graduation rate: 96%
- Tuition: $61,710
- Popular majors: Business, economics, finance, information systems, nursing, philosophy
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $85,900
University of Oregon
Because it has an acceptance rate of higher than 80%, the University of Oregon makes for a wonderful safety school for many college-bound teenagers. After all, Niche ranks it #2 in Top Public Universities in Oregon.
However, it may not be the best choice for many with an introverted personality. It’s for the fact that they will have to reside on-campus for at least their first year in the public research university.
The University of Oregon itself says that on-campus living is mandatory for all first-time, first-year students because it can contribute to their academic success. It adds that it can help make it easier for them to be a part of the community by facilitating their connecting with other students and the faculty and staff members.
However, for many introverted individuals, it’s something that may do more harm than good.
- Acceptance rate: 83%
- Graduation rate: 74%
- Tuition: $13,856 (in-state) and $39,308 (out-of-state)
- Popular majors: Advertising, business, economics, political science, psychology, public relations
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $44,800
Read our review of the University of Oregon.
There is something about Tulane University, which is a private research university located in New Orleans, Louisiana, that can cause introverts to experience cold sweats and heart palpitations without any delay upon knowing what it is. And it’s none other than the fact that it’s #1 in the 25 Top Party Schools in America by Newsweek.
Actually, the unofficial slogan of the school is “work hard, play hard”.
Making matters worse for introverted students is that there are more than 140 festivals celebrated by the school per year. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s in New Orleans, which is a party town.
But just because Tulane University is a party school means that it’s a terrible place not only for introverts but also for students who are serious about earning a college degree. Many undergraduate programs at the school are highly ranked, and some of them are business- and engineering-related ones.
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Graduation rate: 86%
- Tuition: $60,814
- Popular majors: Business, communications, engineering, English, finance, political science, psychology
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $61,700
Florida State University
Another well-known party school in the country is Florida State University. So much so that it’s Newsweek’s #2 in the 25 Top Party Schools in America.
Niche, meanwhile, ranks it #3 in Top Party Schools in America and #1 in Top Party Schools in Florida.
One of the things responsible for the bustling party scene in the public research university, which, by the way, is the State University System of Florida’s senior member, is that it has a very active Greek life. As a matter of fact, according to a survey, up to 60% of its attendees agree that Greek life is quite big at the institution.
Please keep in mind, however, that Florida State University has the Carnegie R1 designation, which means that it has very high research activity, making it perfect for students who want research-heavy academic programs.
- Acceptance rate: 32%
- Graduation rate: 84%
- Tuition: $6,517 (in-state) and $21,683 (out-of-state)
- Popular majors: Biology, finance, criminal justice, English, international relations, marketing
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $46,400
University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa
If you are an extrovert and thinking about adding the University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa to your college list, make sure that you understand first that Niche ranks it #2 in Best Greek Life Colleges in America. To paint you a much better picture, it’s the #2 of the more than 700 institutions of higher education surveyed by the college ranking site.
What’s more, it’s #2 in Best Greek Life Colleges in Alabama out of 18 surveyed schools.
And because Greek life is pretty big at the University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there are also lots and lots of parties happening on-campus as well as off-campus.
It’s also important to note that the public research university is located in Tuscaloosa, which is known for its nightlife. It’s due to this why the institution’s name is commonly found in various rankings of top party schools.
- Acceptance rate: 80%
- Graduation rate: 72%
- Tuition: $11,620 (in-state) and $31,090 (out-of-state)
- Popular majors: Accounting, biology, business, engineering, family studies, finance, nursing
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $44,500
Located in Michigan and founded back in 1844, Hillsdale College is a small private conservative liberal arts college. It has a 400-acre rural campus housing nearly 1,500 students.
It would seem like the school is ideal for introverted students who would like to work on a degree.
However, Hillsdale College is known to have high community engagement, which means that its students often work in collaboration with individuals, groups, businesses and organizations affiliated by geographic proximity. So, in other words, it’s very much likely for you to be active outside of the campus as a Hillsdale College student.
As a matter of fact, the school has what it calls the Great Opportunities for Assistance and Leadership (GOAL) program designed to provide its attendees the opportunity to do volunteer work.
- Acceptance rate: 36%
- Graduation rate: 88%
- Tuition: $30,042
- Popular majors: Accounting, biochemistry, economics, English, finance, history, philosophy, political science
- Average initial annual salary of graduates: $40,000
15 Best Colleges for Introverts
While there are colleges introverted students might want to consider staying away from, there are also those that they may include on their college list without making the entire college application process even more stressful and nerve-racking. Many of these institutions are small and with low Greek life participation and very few to no on-campus parties.
If right now you are on the hunt for a school where your personality might fit best, feel free to check out a handful of the following colleges and universities suited for introverts:
- Bates College – students spend most of their time outside of the campus and prefer to live off it, too.
- Bennington College – less than 700 students share this private school’s 400-acre campus.
- Bryn Mawr College – its 1,300 attendees, have a lot of outdoor spaces to visit on the suburban campus. Learn more about Bryn Mawr.
- Carleton College – one of the things that makes this school ideal for introverts is that it’s located in a suburb.
- Connecticut College – on-campus residents can choose from many housing options, including specialized ones.
- Earlham College – the average class size at this private liberal arts college in Richmond, Indiana is 12.
- Grinnell College – its almost 1,500 students have no access to Greek life as the school doesn’t have one.
- Northeastern University – It may be a big school, but non-Greek organizations there outnumber Greek ones.
- Oberlin College – student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1 and most classes consist of only 2 to 9 students.
- Pitzer College – it may have a tiny 31-acre campus but it also has a small population of less than 1,000.
- Reed College – the population is less than 1,500 and the average class size is 15 only.
- Sarah Lawrence College – student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1, which becomes 1:1 during bi-weekly conferences.
- St. Olaf College – besides having zero Greek life, sports is not a big part of the campus scene.
- University of the Ozarks – the private institution has a rural campus that’s home to less than 900 students.
- Westminster College – introverts will be happy to know that the school helps match compatible roommates.
Just Before You Apply to a College
There are some traits that make a shy individual like you different from others. Similarly, there are colleges that are more suitable for someone like you, the kinds that can make attaining academic success easier.
Before adding a school to your college list, spend enough time researching it.
Make sure that you find the campus size and type, location, student body size, student-to-faculty ratio, average class size and general social life suitable for you, especially because you will spend the next four years of your life there. Remember one important thing: you don’t have to change who you are — you just have to change the way you pick a college.
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.