The words “typical college experience” generally conjure up images of nightly parties, countless new friends/social groups, and interesting, spur-of-the-moment debates based on class lectures. In other words, college is an extrovert’s paradise. However, this kind of lifestyle isn’t inviting to all people, particularly introverts who may feel overwhelmed by constant social interaction.
Unfortunately, having an introverted personality in college can be quite challenging. Whether it’s the stress of in-class discussions, learning to live with a roommate, or the pressure to adhere to an active social life, social aspects of college are often geared toward extroverts rather than introverts.
However, despite difficulties, being introverted does come with benefits. During college, introverts often hone in on their abilities, devoting ample time to working alone and introspecting.
While college and society as a whole tend to outwardly value extroversion, it’s entirely possible to have both an enjoyable and successful time in college with an introverted personality.
College admissions tips for introverts
While the college admissions process is daunting for every student, this process can be especially difficult for introverts. For starters, small talk and interviews associated with the application process are often incredibly uncomfortable for wallflower types. To minimize the discomfort of speaking on the fly, try to do some research and prep-work before the critical interviews and engagements.
Additionally, research your preferred institution to gain a basic understanding of specific programs and administrators. Adequate preparation can help you side-step unnecessary questions during the interview process while eliminating some of the pressure. It’s also crucial for indrawn applicants to go through their lists of extracurricular activities to circumvent lulls in conversation.
While colleges are looking for passionate, dedicated, and well-rounded students, you don’t have to be a member of the student council to show these qualities. Make sure you highlight how your achievements and activities have shaped you into the person you are and emphasize dedicated efforts at socialization. Additionally, utilize a college admissions calculator to accurately depict application intricacies and prepare you for upcoming interviews.
Find other introverted people.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the party culture of university—especially as an underclassman. If large social gatherings aren’t your thing, it’s good to seek out people who have similar ideas of what constitutes a good time. You’d be surprised how many closeted introverts you’ll find throughout your college career.
Consider joining a club that caters to your interests/hobbies.
Although the idea of joining a club may not sound overly appealing, it can be enjoyable for introverts looking to stay involved. It’s a great way to connect with something you care about and makes small talk easier due to the familiar nature of the topic.
Step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
While it can be tempting to camp out in your dorm until graduation, it is essential to push yourself every once in a while to build your confidence in group settings. Make sure to take small steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed instead of diving head-first into extroverted antics.
Find a special place on campus.
College campuses can often be overwhelming—try to find a place where you can feel peacefully alone. This place can be anywhere, ranging from your dorm to a bench in a secluded part of campus. Wherever you choose, bask in the alone time and recharge for university life’s unavoidable social aspects.
Set time aside to be alone.
It’s easy to fill your schedule with the many school obligations, so make sure you set aside time to recharge. As introverts gain their energy from valuable alone time, neglecting to take time to yourself can leave you feeling drained and unhappy with life.
Don’t buy into the popular narrative that the only college experience worth having is one shot from an extroverted lens. Finding your path and engaging with university life in a way that makes you comfortable will lead to long-lasting memories.