Best Colleges for Introverts

colleges for introverts

Going away to college can be more daunting than exciting for extreme introverts. There are new faces everywhere, sweaty bodies packed into Greek houses like farm animals in the back of a chicken truck, and cheesy get-to-know-you games during orientation that force you out of your comfort zone. Sharing a shoebox-sized dorm room with strangers can be enough to make you want to shut the door to your high school bedroom and never leave.

But don’t worry, if you pick the right school, you can still have an amazing college experience, just like your extroverted peers. The best colleges for introverts are the ones that offer a variety of social outlets and don’t have a singular archetype that most students conform to. Look for colleges with low Greek life participation or none at all. Here are a few schools introverts should consider:

  1. University of Chicago
  2. Grinnell College
  3. Carleton College
  4. St. Olaf College
  5. New York University
  6. Northeastern University
  7. Drexel University

Now, let’s dive into our top 7 picks for the best colleges for introverts. Remember, there are thousands of colleges and universities in America, and just because you don’t fit the campus mold at a particular school doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing experience there.

University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL (Hyde Park)

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,559

Acceptance rate: 6%

Middle 50% SAT: 1510-1580

Middle 50% ACT: 33-35

Greek participation rate: 20%

Non-Greek student organizations: 450+

Graduation rate: 95%

Freshman retention rate: 99%

U.S. News ranking: #6 in National Universities

If you can get into the University of Chicago — which is quite a feat these days — and don’t mind living in a huge city that gets bitterly cold and windy, few colleges in America are better for introverts than the University of Chicago.

The school has an intellectual vibe. It’s a “life of the mind” school, not a party, tailgate, and worship the football team school. The student body is known for being highly introverted, and not only do they thrive there but they seem to love it, as UC has the highest freshman retention rate in the country at 99%.

Some kids — mainly students at big state schools with a strong Greek scene like UIUC — call UC the school “where fun goes to die.” But that’s an unfair and highly inaccurate description. Just because the school lacks a traditional party scene similar to Animal House or Van Wilder, it doesn’t mean the students don’t have fun. After all, they have a world-class city right at their doorstep. Plus, for those at UC who want to party hard, they still can. The school has Greek life, with a participation rate of 20% of the student body. It’s enough to have a presence if you’re interested, but not nearly overwhelming or dominant.

Grinnell College

Location: Grinnell, IA

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,493

Acceptance rate: 19%

Middle 50% SAT: 1353-1538

Middle 50% ACT: 30-34

Greek participation rate: 0%

Non-Greek student organizations: 105+

Graduation rate: 87%

Freshman retention rate: 91%

U.S. News ranking: #13 in National Liberal Arts Colleges

Grinnell College, located in rural Iowa, is a small liberal arts college with around 1,500 students. Unlike many similar settings, introverts can thrive here, as there isn’t a high-school-like social hierarchy focused on a specific student type.

At Grinnell, individualism is prized, and “cool” means being unapologetically yourself and comfortable in your own skin. It’s a place where you might spot athletes having a great time with theater enthusiasts at the same table in the dining hall. No one is judged for opting to stay in with a book or a Netflix playlist on a Friday night – in fact, you’ll often find a friend or two eager to join you.

While Grinnell doesn’t have a Greek scene, the students embrace this absence. They value self-identity over group identity. However, the college offers over 105 student organizations catering to diverse hobbies, ranging from computer coding to drone flying to beekeeping.

Carleton College

Location: Northfield, MN

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,014

Acceptance rate: 21%

Middle 50% SAT: 1330-1520

Middle 50% ACT: 30-34

Greek participation rate: 0%

Non-Greek student organizations: 100+

Graduation rate: 93%

Freshman retention rate: 97%

U.S. News ranking: #9 in National Liberal Arts Colleges

Carleton College (spelled with an “e” in the middle, not like the guy from Fresh Prince) is like a peer school of Grinnell College. They get a bunch of cross-applicants. And for lucky (and talented) students who get into both, it’s often a tough decision to choose one.

Location is one big difference between Carleton and Grinnell. While Grinnell is super rural, Carleton is in a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. So students can go and explore the big city whenever they need a break from the campus bubble.

Just like Grinnell, Carleton doesn’t have fraternities or sororities. But they do have interest houses where students can live with others who have the same academic or nonacademic interests. From music to writing to social justice, you name it. They also have more than 100 clubs and student organizations.

St. Olaf College

Location: Northfield, MN

Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,126

Acceptance rate: 51%

Middle 50% SAT: 1150-1390

Middle 50% ACT: 25-32

Greek participation rate: 0%

Non-Greek student organizations: 250+

Graduation rate: 86%

Freshman retention rate: 91%

U.S. News ranking: #62 in National Liberal Arts Colleges

St. Olaf College is located right next to Carleton. Since the two campuses are in a small suburb, there’s a lot of interaction between them. While St. Olaf is easier to get into compared to Carleton, they have similar student bodies and campus vibes. Actually, many Carleton hopefuls apply to St. Olaf as a safety school.

There are a few other differences between St. Olaf and Carleton. St. Olaf is bigger with around 3,100 undergraduates compared to Carleton’s 2,000. It’s also affiliated with the Lutheran church, but it’s not a religious school and there’s no required church or chapel attendance. However, there are quite a few students who identify as Lutheran.

St. Olaf doesn’t have Greek life and sports aren’t a big deal on campus. These two factors make it a great place for introverts. They have over 250 clubs and student organizations, so it’s easy to meet friends who share your interests.

New York University

Location: New York, NY

Undergraduate Enrollment: 27,444

Acceptance rate: 21%

Middle 50% SAT: 1370-1540

Middle 50% ACT: 31-34

Greek participation rate: 3%

Non-Greek student organizations: 300+

Graduation rate: 86%

Freshman retention rate: 94%

U.S. News ranking: #28 in National Universities

This one probably caught you off guard. NYU, known for having the most urban campus in the country, nestled right in the middle of a bustling, nonstop city, a school for introverts? Really, NYU doesn’t even have a proper campus, just buildings scattered around Manhattan. And with 27,000 undergrads! It can feel overwhelming!

But here’s the thing – many introverts actually thrive in this kind of environment. You might be one of them. The advantage of attending a school like NYU, as an introvert, is that you can easily blend into the city and maintain anonymity whenever you need to. Within a 10-block radius of NYU, in any direction, you’ll find numerous coffee shops, used bookstores, cozy acoustic music venues, and other spots where introverts feel right at home.

Now, let’s talk about the large student body. Keep in mind that you can make a big school feel small, but you can’t make a small school feel big. With more than 300 student organizations to choose from, you can surely find your community even amidst the chaos of New York City.

Northeastern University

Location: Boston, MA

Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,156

Acceptance rate: 20%

Middle 50% SAT: 1410-1540

Middle 50% ACT: 33-35

Greek participation rate: 9%

Non-Greek student organizations: 400+

Graduation rate: 89%

Freshman retention rate: 97%

U.S. News ranking: #49 in National Universities

Northeastern University, located in the heart of Boston, is a big-city school that offers several benefits to introverts. One of the biggest advantages is its co-op program. It’s no secret that job interviews can be stressful and even terrifying for introverts. Having top grades and skills in your field won’t matter if you clam up during the interview process. You might lose job opportunities to your more outgoing peers.

But Northeastern’s co-op program takes that worry off the table. The school lines up internships in your major, and you work these internships as part of your course of study during your time on campus. Some semesters, you might focus solely on working without taking classes. This may result in a five-year graduation path rather than four years. However, it gives you a foot in the door and often leads to lucrative job offers at graduation, without having to attend job fairs (another task introverts find challenging) or sending out countless resumes.

Northeastern also caters to introverts in other ways. The Greek participation rate is low, at under 10%. The university offers over 400 non-Greek student organizations. Furthermore, the high freshman retention rate of 97% indicates that students of all personality types are happy there and choose to stay.

Drexel University

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,346

Acceptance rate: 77%

Middle 50% SAT: 1180-1380

Middle 50% ACT: 25-31

Greek participation rate: 10%

Non-Greek student organizations: 300+

Graduation rate: 71%

Freshman retention rate: 89%

U.S. News ranking: #103 in National Universities

Drexel is quite similar to Northeastern in many ways. It’s a co-op school, so you’ll get a head start in your career, just like at Northeastern. It’s located in a bustling metro area and provides access to all the city’s amenities. Greek participation is low, and there’s a diverse student body, along with numerous student clubs focused on unique hobbies. Moreover, the freshman retention rate indicates high student satisfaction.

The biggest difference between Drexel and Northeastern, apart from being in Philadelphia and Boston respectively, is that Drexel is much easier to get into. Kudos to Northeastern for gaming the U.S. News rankings perfectly. A few decades ago, it was ranked around #200 and practically had an open-admissions policy. Then, a new president came in, figured out the algorithm, and made some tweaks to boost the school’s rankings. Consequently, applications increased, and their success kept growing. Now, it’s highly selective with a 20% acceptance rate and a median ACT score of 34.

On the other hand, Drexel has a more manageable admissions process, accepting 77% of applicants, while still boasting an excellent reputation among employers, especially in tech and engineering. It serves as a great safety school for those who aspire to attend Northeastern, or even as a top choice, particularly if you’re fond of Philadelphia.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of college is best for introverts?

For many introverted individuals, the idea of attending a large, social college can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are plenty of options for colleges that cater to the quieter, more introspective types. These colleges often have smaller class sizes, study spaces geared towards solitary work, and a generally more relaxed social atmosphere. While it may not be for everyone, introverts can benefit greatly from a college that feels like their own personal sanctuary. Plus, who needs a wild party for Homecoming when you can curl up with a good book and a cup of tea? But speaking of Homecoming, for those not in the know, it’s typically a week-long celebration that centers around a big football game, parades, and general school spirit. But don’t worry, introverts can still join in on the fun in their own way—maybe by attending a cozy bonfire or watching the game from the comfort of their dorm room.

Do introverts do well in college?

College life can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming, especially for those with inherent personality traits that lean towards solitude and reflection. These are the introverts- the individuals known to keep their thoughts in their heads and who thrive in the quiet of their own company. The question then arises- do introverts do well in college? Contrary to popular belief, introverted students can excel in academics and student life. However, the academics tend to be tackled alone or in smaller groups with like-minded individuals who share the same interests. As for student life, introverts may choose to explore the campus, attend events such as what is Homecoming, and socialize with a closer-knit group of friends or on a one-on-one basis. College may be challenging for an introvert, but it is the ideal environment for personal growth and expansion.

What should introverts do in college?

College is a time of great change, growth and opportunity. Unfortunately for introverts, it can also be a time of overwhelming social pressure. So what should introverts do to make the most of their college experience? First and foremost, remember that college is a time to explore your passions and interests. Join extracurricular clubs and groups centered around your favorite hobbies, and don’t worry about being the life of the party. Another great option for introverts is to attend Homecoming events. What is Homecoming, you ask? Well, it’s an annual tradition in which universities welcome back alumni and students for a weekend of festivities and celebrations. Don’t worry if you’re not big on crowds or parties – there are plenty of alternative Homecoming events, such as campus tours, talent shows, and community service projects, that are perfect for introverts. So go ahead and engage with the college community on your own terms – you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *