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I am an eighteen year old going to a 4 year university in the USA. This school was my number 1 choice going into the college selection process. I loved most things about it, and my parents met there and both were ecstatic when I selected it as my school. Right now I am a freshman in my first semester. There were several problems with this that I overlooked, ignored, or didn't understand how much they would mean to me.

The 3 main ones:

  • Expensive: It's out of state, so instead of $20k, I am paying $50k per year. This fact has me really worried about my student debt after hearing all the horror stories.
  • The atmosphere is much different than I anticipated. Maybe I am just too immature, but I cannot get used to the party atmosphere at all, and I think it has hindered me socially.
  • My friends. In high school, I had a big group of friends, they were all awesome and we hung out all the time. They all went to the in state school. I also got in, but instead elected to go to my number 1 choice. While I still am in contact with nearly all of them daily, I am not a person that can just make new friends like that, and especially not one that can be as close with them as I am with my other friends.

The Problem

My parents were thrilled when I committed to this school. They didn't pressure me into at all when I chose it, but once I did they confessed that they always wanted me to go there, and started...slightly down talking other schools that I got into (including the in-state). They also pay about 25% of my tuition, which is obviously amazing. I would like to tell them I want to switch schools in a way where I don't look like a "coward" (for lack of better term) and such that they will be just as supportive.

I hope I'm not sounding spoiled, and maybe I am in the wrong (please tell me if I am), but I just want to go to the school where I can be with my friends again and have a same (excellent) education. The schools are almost identically ranked in my major. A major part is that I just don't feel comfortable here and I want to convey that. I am visiting this weekend, where there is an opportunity to bring it up.

Thank you for your help.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is more of a phrasing request than a development of interpersonal skills – baldPrussian Oct 5 '18 at 12:51
  • Since they didn't pressure you at the beggining, what makes you think the will pressure you to stay ? Is there a way for you to easily transfer from one school to the other without loosing too much money/credits ? – Aserre Oct 5 '18 at 13:16
  • maybe OP could rephrase the question a bit to make it more clear what he really want to ask us – undefined Oct 11 '18 at 7:43
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College is not something that you should take lightly, for the reasons you've mentioned (expenses, distance/solitude) and others that are implied in your question, one of which is: You want to be happy and you're currently not. You're taking action towards your happiness and I find that admirable.

It's OK to change your mind, you declined for this university with limited information, meaning you hadn't lived it when you chose it.

This is your life, not your anyone elses. It's OK not to accomodate to things that seem to suit someone else (your partying classmates, for instance). Maybe it is the perfect university for someone with a different profile.

If you put your interests in the first place —not your parents nor anyone elses—, if you make your happiness your priority, all of this issues will acquire their right proportion for you. Then you'll be able to weight them (Can I deal with this partying for 4 years and be happy?, Can I enjoy being far from home? Is it really worth it to be spending all this money on a major that I could be getting in a more convenient university?)

Maybe you'll find out that you were just panicking out of the contrasting shock, being your first semester away and all. Maybe not, and you'll deeply know that this is not what you want and switch schools.

College (and life, in general) is only as hard as you allow it. If you can have excellent education minus the suffering, sounds like a pretty good option.

It seems like you feel in debt with your parents, but they seem like very supportive and caring people. I'm sure that if you explain your concerns, they will support what's best for you. And as the adult you are now, you're entitled to decide what's best for you. If you respect your inner decision, it's more likely that they will too, as a consequence of the confidence you project.


The best way I can think of communicating this is covering the next:

  • Expressing gratitude for their unconditional help
  • Stating that this is not a fleeting feeling but a decision you've made striving for happiness.
  • Pointing out the plan and the benefits. Make sure to have enough information for all the things that are unsettling you.

And last, remember you're doing great.

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I'm sorry that your college experience isn't living up to your expectations.

I think the best way to go about this is to sit your parents down and explain to them like you explained to us why you want to switch schools.

First, acknowledge that it's their alma mater and they were excited for you to go there. Tell them while it's a great school, it hasn't been a good fit for you. Thank them for paying for part of your tuition. Explain to them your financial concerns, but emphasize the fact that the environment isn't right for you, that you feel uncomfortable and are unhappy.

Also be sure to establish that you have a plan to switch schools. Before you talk to them, do some research into what the transfer process will look like, and contact the admissions department at the new school if need be. Remind them that the two schools are ranked equivalently for your major. And tell them that since your friends go to the other school, you'll be much happier socially.

If your parents are upset and argue against you switching, remind them that you're paying 75% of your tuition and you want to be able to control how much debt you are in after school. Remind them too that it's your college experience, not theirs, and you want the best experience for yourself.

I recommend this course of action so that your parents understand WHY you want to switch. The biggest thing is getting them to empathize with you so they'll see your point of view. Showing them that you have a plan of action in place will assure them that you aren't just giving up, you're making a decision to improve your situation.

Your parents want what's best for you, and I'm sure they will be supportive, even if it takes them a little time to warm up to the idea.

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    Hey, thanks for the answer! Can you please explain exactly why you think that this is a good idea? What’s the thought process behind this answer? As this currently stands, this is essentially a “Try this!” answer. We require that answers provide some sort of explanation for why they are suggesting this solution, and unfortunately, at the moment this answer doesn't appear to do that. I'd also advise taking a look at How do I write a good answer?. – Mithical Oct 5 '18 at 8:09
  • I edited it, hopefully it's up to your standards – zanahorias Oct 5 '18 at 19:33

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