You Think You Chose the Wrong College - Now What?


Your choice of college is possibly one of the most important decisions of your life. You felt confident when you made that decision—but now you're starting to have doubts. Before you think of dropping out or transferring, consider these suggestions for reevaluating your college choice.

Choosing Your College

Choosing a college was a monumental decision. When considering the impact of your college choice, you tried to include every aspect: the location, course offerings, costs, and institutional reputation.

But now that you're working your way toward your degree, you're starting to feel uneasy. Is it possible, after all of your careful planning, that you've chosen the wrong college?

Spelling it Out

Sometimes, just identifying the problem can make you less anxious and more hopeful about finding a solution. Before you let that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach drag your spirits down, try to figure out exactly what's bothering you about your college choice.

Writing can help you clarify why you think you chose the wrong college.

Grab a piece of paper and just start jotting down anything that comes to mind. Maybe you're troubled by such issues as:

  • Inadequate facilities for the major you're pursuing
  • No transportation to off-campus activities
  • Too much distance from family and friends back home
  • Little direct access to professors
  • Few on-campus activities
  • Conflicts scheduling needed courses
  • Disappointing social life

Warming Up Cold Feet

It's natural to get cold feet about a big decision. Now that you have a detailed list of the potential problems with the college you chose, you can try to figure out which of them may be temporary, which might require further thought, and which are just nervous responses to your transition to college life.

Seek support from fellow students about your college choice.

When you're living with the consequences of your own decisions—especially if you're living on campus, and this is your first time on your own—the emotional toll can weigh heavily upon you. This state of mind can make a minor issue or solvable problem seem insurmountable. That's why it helps to try to gain some perspective when reevaluating your college choice.

For example, one of your concerns about your college choice might be that you have yet to make any friends on campus. If this is your first time attending college, you may not realize that it's normal to feel out of place, at least for the first few months. Many of your fellow students probably feel the same way.

Extracurricular activities might be just the icebreaker you need to overcome any shyness and meet people who share some of your interests. While this can be especially challenging for introverts, reaching out to your fellow students and trying to cultivate new friendships can help you feel more settled.

Discuss your college choice misgivings with your academic advisor.

If your attempts to work through your concerns leave you feeling like you're just spinning your wheels, it may be time to get an outside perspective. Remember, you're not alone in this process, so reach out to your support network, whether on campus or at home, to discuss your worries.

Talking it Over

If you have doubts about how well your college or university can meet your academic needs, don't keep them to yourself. Meet with your mentor and academic advisor to determine whether your fears are legitimate. Examine ways to overcome logistical issues or problems with your school's academic policies. Consider how your choice of major or degree program is affecting your feelings about the college you chose.

Take time to talk to your family and friends back home about your situation. While they miss you, and may wish that you'd return, they still have your best interests in mind.

Don't forget to seek out your peers on campus, including upperclassmen who may also have had some misgivings about their college choice. Their viewpoints could offer you new ways to consider your circumstances.

Giving Yourself Time

If you're still questioning your college choice, even after you've listed your concerns and talked them over, don't despair. You may simply need more time to help you reassess your college decision.

Work toward your degree with online courses while you reconsider your college choice.

Think about taking a semester off, which doesn't necessarily mean putting your degree plan on hold. You can still take online courses during your hiatus to further your progress.

Focusing on Your Degree

Remember that each school choice has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to your career. Even if you ultimately decide to transfer to a different school, completing your degree is your primary goal. After all, yours is the most important name on the diploma, not the name of the college that granted the degree.

Attaining your college degree is more important than choosing the perfect college.

No matter where you are in your college journey, take advantage of all your available resources. Check out's College Accelerator, which can keep you on a steady course while pursuing your degree.

By Michelle Baumgartner
November 2018
college college admissions

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