|By Foggy27 (Foggy27) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 01:01 pm: Edit|
My Daughter is a senior at a high-performing California public high school. Her GPA is aroound A-/B+ range, with mostly A's in Math/Science/Foreign_Language, and B's in Humanity/Social_Science. SAT is in mid-1400s (670V, 770M). She is a very shy girl, and consistently got 0 for lack of participation (hence the relatively poor grade in language arts).
Normally one would expect her to fit in smaller colleges, where it is less overwhelming. However she thinks she will be happiest in a big state college, where she will never be called upon. Last summer we visited some LAC in claremont, CA. She is not that impressed, and she probably won't be able to get in Harvey Mudd anyway. Currently she plan to apply to a number of UC campus, plus Case Western and Rochester (probably a match for her?).
We have been encouraging her to apply for one or two smaller LAC, so that she can have a different option in case she changes her mind. I know many consider LAC nurturing, but could it be a little too suffocating for someone who is unusually shy? What about some women's colleges, which we have little idea. Any suggestion for an LAC that is strong in Math/Science/Engineering? Thanks.
|By Anovice (Anovice) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 01:14 pm: Edit|
Here's my take: at a large university you can exist without really expending any social energy. You can get by unnoticed and be whoever you want to be. At a smaller school I think that you have to somewhat change to conform to standards OR stick up and state your position. There is alot more one to one type stuff. I personally think that a smaller school is soooo much better for the shy, or more appropriately reserved, but its whatever she wants. Its hard to tell why she wants a larger university because she could not want to change... or she could want diversity.
|By Cyclingdad (Cyclingdad) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 01:43 pm: Edit|
My advice is to listen to your daughter.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 02:04 pm: Edit|
I agree with Cyclingdad: Trust your daughter's instincts about what will work best for her. One thought, however, if she's that painfully shy, she may want to come home more often so she might want to focus on schools closer to home rather than far away. And, she should realize that even in very large universities, she will probably end up in some small classes in upper division courses. This will be particularly true for math majors and some types of science majors.
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 03:11 pm: Edit|
An interesting needle to thread here: the smaller LAC environment may be nurturing in a way that helps your daughter become less shy, something that she may someday feels benefits her both socially and professionally.
And, yes, I realize the previous sentence is rife with potential judgment calls.
|By Lfill (Lfill) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit|
I disagree with listening to your daughter in this case. She will clearly be able to hide out at a large State school and continue in her state of utter shyness which will not benefit her in life. To begin, if you have the resources, I would investigate shyness programs in your area. You don't say where you are in California, but Stanford has some excellent doctors who run a very successful clinic.
Extreme shyness is increasingly seen as a disability that seriously effects one's social and professional life. It effects parenting, marriage and so much more. While shyness is normal in many children most outgrow serious shyness by college. If your daughter shows no signs of age decreasing shyness, it should be looked into.
But by no means would I support her effort to go into environments where she can hide. You can end up with a very unhappy, depressed child.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:28 pm: Edit|
I agree with Lflll. Your daughter doesn't need to hide out in college. In fact, that will be her last good opportunity to get over her shyness, something that is possible for most shy people to do with the right support.
My guess is that at a large university, she'll be miserable. There is nothing at all comfortable or fun about being not noticed by one's professors and being a shy person on a campus that has as many students as does a small city.
I suggest that she consider either a LAC or a small state university that focuses on teaching. That could be a place like University of Minn. Morris or University of N.C. Asheville or perhaps a place like Mary Washington College.
I truly doubt that she'd consider a LAC suffocating. My guess is that such a place would be far more comfortable for a person like your D than would be a large private or public university.
Meanwhile, she's also being unrealistic about what's expected in large public universities. Depending on the class, participation can count as part of the grade. This can include, for instance, some language classes as well as upper level courses in other subjects.
The difference between such schools and small LACs is that at the small LACs, the profs are more likely to try to help shy students speak up. At the larger universities, there's more of a survival of the fittest mentality.
Meanwhile, it would be advantageous for your D and for you to look into some ways that your D can learn social skills and can overcome her shyness. Some forms of counseling -- particularly behaviorially-focused counseling -- can be very effective at doing this.
The difference between people who stay shy for their lives and people who grow out of shyness often is how parents respond. Parents who help shy kids get the skills to be more social develop kids who grow out of their shyness. Parents who protect shy kids from having to speak up, etc., get kids in general who tend to stay shy.
You also may be ablet o help your D by finding some books on social skills (such as books designed to help people make small talk) and encouraging her to read them.
|By Pyewacket (Pyewacket) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 05:42 pm: Edit|
Visit both types of institutions and sit in on some classes-- you'll probably see that there are shy types at both. Definitely consider Women's LACs--Mount Holyoke, for example, has a Learning Center for working on self-expression skills and, together with Smith is part of a 5-college cooperation, including the very large U.Mass, where you can also take courses--all 5 colleges are connected by a free bus service. Is your daughter less shy when men are not involved?
|By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 06:41 pm: Edit|
I agree with Lfill and Northstarmom and would favor a LAC environment. Your daughter will be called on in university courses and will likely be asked to work with other students. But there will be less support for students uncomfortable with both.
However, you should identify LACs where shy people are given some space and there is minimal pressure to conform to dominant social norms. At a place like that she could experiment a bit both academically and socially, and would find support from both teachers and students.
As for options, your daughter's GPA might make Harvey Mudd a reach, but with a 75/25 M/F ratio I suspect she would be a reasonable candidate. I like the idea of a women's college too, and Wellesley has excellent biological and computer sciences. Carleton College may also be a reach, but has a very welcoming campus culture and superb science and math programs. Computer science is supposed to be good there, too.
Engineering may be problematic, as many of the LACs best-known for engineering have party- and greek-oriented campuses. Of that bunch, maybe Trinity is worth a look.
Other LAC suggestions would be St. Olaf (kind of a sleeper. . .very good in biology and math and a campus where a shy person could easily blossom. . .in the same small Minnesota town as Carleton), Connecticut College (a little preppy. . .but good science and language programs) and Lawrence University (very good physics and biology and great environment for kids who play and/or enjoy music).
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 12:16 pm: Edit|
Reid, Smith is pouring a lot of money into its engineering program at Smith, which [thankfully] is not party-and-greek oriented.
|By Mikemac (Mikemac) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 01:54 pm: Edit|
I'm going to cast my lot in with the others who say this is a chance for your daughter to change. As parents there is a constant tension between letting kids make their own choices and bear the consequences, and imposing a decision. However the chronic shyness you seem to be describing calls for intervention. In fact, I'll suggest a 2-pronged approach. At 16 or 17 one's personality and degree of outgoingness is far from etched in stone, and many of us can recall seeing classmates who really blossomed and changed in college.
One prong is to spend this year working with a counselor on her shyness; maybe she needs some social skills training, maybe some other work, you have a year for her to get it and make a fresh start in college.
The 2nd is to insist she not go to a large school. It is too easy to hide in a large U, and it sounds like this is exactly what your daughter hopes for. But then what? As she goes into the larger world her shyness will be a crippling and debilitating part of her life.
Rather than enabling her to continue on the present path, I'd suggest working to change what can be changed. Its unlikely she is going to turn into the life of the party, but she can certainly achieve a level of competence in social interaction. See http://www.shyness.com/ for more information including links to many university-based treatment programs.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 02:05 pm: Edit|
I want to add that I was an extremely shy child, so shy that I remember bursting into tears as a middle school student when my mom wanted me to go into a strange store and buy a newspaper.
I can not emphasize more how very painful it is to be shy, and how hard it is to go through life feeling outside of the activities that other kids are doing.
Fortunately, I got involved in music activities in school, made friends through that, and also devoured books on social skills, which helped me eventually become extremely comfortable socially. As an adult, I even became a professional public speaker and have happily done other jobs requiring lots of contact with the public.
It is really important for you to tell your daughter that she doesn't have to remain shy all of her life. While she is unlikely ever to become a person whose idea of fun is constant partying, with your guidance, and possibly counseling, she can become a person who is comfortable speaking up in public and doing other things to be social and make friends.
|By Archermom (Archermom) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit|
I agree with TheDad. Perhaps exploring the women's colleges would provide another option for your shy daughter. We have 3 daughters---all are different in their social comfort zones---with our middle child being the painfully shy one when she was in preschool. D2 has transformed completely into an energetic, confident, person who now gives tours to prosepctive families at her all girl secondary school. It is definitely a nurturing and supportive environment to be in. D1 attended a summer program at Smith before her junior yr in hs...it was a marvelous experience. She did not matriculate only because she wanted a coed college experience. Best of luck!
|By A2a2 (A2a2) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 05:18 pm: Edit|
I was shy myself and have a shy daughter - so I can symphathize. First of all - there is nothing I hated more - ditto for my daughter - than for someone to tell me I was shy and treat me as if I needed to be cured. When my son was very young, I told her pediatrician that I was concerned that he was shy - and the Dr. responded that he was shy himself - which helped to calm my fears since he was a highly respected pediatrician, professor and author! I think I heard once that something like 30% of the population is shy - and that most people grow out of it to some degree. My son also got marked down in h.s. whenever class participation was required. Now he's at a small LAC - and it's hard for me to know if he's participating in class - but he's happy, has a lot of friends and made the Dean's List so it seems to be a good fit for him.
Your daughter may be fine at a large university - especially if she makes friends easily and joins clubs, plays a sport, etc. If she's interested in Engineering, she will undoubtedly meet a lot of other quiet, studious young people - and perhaps she will find her niche. I do think LACs are better for quiet kids - but if she's interested in Engineering, that's a difficult combination. I would not force your daughter to go anywhere - to apply maybe, but not to attend.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 05:30 pm: Edit|
"She is a very shy girl, and consistently got 0 for lack of participation (hence the relatively poor grade in language arts)."
There is nothing wrong with being introverted and in general being quiet. WHen, however, a kid is so shy that the student is getting 0s in class participation and wants to never be called on in class, what we are seeing is a crippling social problem.
A person who continues to be this shy would have their major options in life limited. In virtually any professional job, one has to speak up at meetings and in other public settings. In order to get married, one even has to speak up in a public setting.
IMO to ignore the problem and to act like everything is fine would be a big mistake on the parents' part.
This young woman will only be in their home for a few more months. It would be great if the parents would use their teen's remaining time at home to help her get help for her shyness.
The goal would not at all to make her Ms. Extrovert. The goal would be to allow her to be able to be able to be outgoing enough to assertively and appropriately handle the typical situations she'll encounter in class, and other situations.
Also, since she is in California and is "very shy," it might be extremely stressful and unrealitic to send her far from home to college. I also would imagine that it would be especially stressful for her to be in a college or program in which female students are not very common.
The research, incidentally, indicates that people "grow out of" shyness when their parents encourage them to become more social, and when their parents give them guidance in doing so. People remain severely shy when their parents accept them as they are and, instead of teaching them how to cope with situations, completely protect them so the offspring don't have to deal with situations that other people have to learn to deal with.
Last semester, for fun, I took a freshman level language course at my local large state university. Sitting behind me was a freshman girl who each day sat with her head down and made no contact with anyone. She did this even though the clas was friendly, and students in general spoke to each other and chatted before class and as they left.
She also never volunteered to speak in class.
The only time I spoke with her was during a rare class exercise in which we were paired off and were supposed to speak to each other in the foreign language. Then, I learned she was a freshman. She seemed to speak because I went out of my way to encourage her to talk,
After that, though, she never spoke to me or anyone else. She kept her head down before class, and scurried out right after class, making on eye contact.
After spring break, she never returned. I would bet money that she was an extremely shy person who felt very depressed because of her lack of social skills was shutting her out of friendships. I wonder if she dropped out of school or at least dropped the class out of fear of the group presentations that were planned for the end of the semester. All around her, people were getting their groups together, but since she wasn't talking to anyone, no one was inviting her into their groups.
Meanwhile, however, she could have had a much better experience if she had done relatively easy things like keep her head up at the beginning of class or if she simply had said a friendly "hi" to anyone. It really was a friendly campus, but it is very hard for other people to reach out to a person whose body language offers no openings.
|By Coureur (Coureur) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 07:58 pm: Edit|
>>Engineering may be problematic, as many of the LACs best-known for engineering have party- and greek-oriented campuses.<<
To the best of my knowledge, Harvey Mudd is an exception to this. I've never heard anyone call it a party school.
|By Archermom (Archermom) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 11:41 pm: Edit|
That was our fear for D2. Every morning at preschool drop off, silent tears would well up and run down her cheeks. We were just re-telling my mantra each of those mornings..."Mom's job is to go to work...and your job is to go to school to be with your friends and have fun!" It was painful for me...but, we worked very hard with her elementary teacher, classmates, and their parents to provide her the support and encouragement she needed to gradually overcome her fear. She was in a multi-age classroom setting for the 1st 3 yrs...which made it easy for us to help her set "goals" as she become a 2nd and then a 3rd yr student. To help her, we also volunteered to be a host family for a new 1st yr student...from that, she learned to help a new classmate transition to the school...just like another student had helped her the yr before! By 2nd grade, D2 was standing by the doorway of the classroom waiting for "her" 1st yr classmate to arrive and help the student feel at home. It seemed like such a simple plan...but, it made a difference...D2 has turned around 180 degrees!
|By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 12:22 am: Edit|
Coureur/Thedad - I didn't include Harvey Mudd in my engineering comment, thinking I'd already seconded it as a good option. However, re-reading my post I see that was not clear. For quality and family proximity, I do think it would be a decent option (though the poster's daughter may already have crossed it out.) As for Smith, their new program is likely a good one, but it is very new; I think the first group to graduate will be next spring. Regardless, I'd think it should be on the list too, for overall quality and the single-sex environment. Swarthmore is another excellent LAC with engineering, but it would be the reachiest of the lot and just doesn't strike me as a great fit.
Going back to the original post, I can think of good reasons to bump both Case and Rochester but obviously, the poster knows his daughter better than we do. I would suggest visits to Wellesley, Smith and Northfield, Minnesota (Carleton and St. Olaf), and if his daughter is okay with it, keeping Harvey Mudd on the possible list.
|By Laylah (Laylah) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 11:44 am: Edit|
I registered especially in order to reply to this thread. I myself am very shy, so I know where your daughter's coming from. I can understand exactly why she wants to hide away, because I was exactly the same.
However, I would urge you to tell your daughter that she can't hide away forever. At some point in her life (maybe a job interview), she will be put on the spot and asked to justify her opinions. And shyness will not be an acceptable excuse for failure to do so.
I know very little about the colleges you are considering for your daughter, but I do think that a smaller, more nurturing environment where she is slowly encouraged to speak out will be better for her in the long run than allowing her to hide in the background indefinitely.
(PS. Has she ever done any type of drama or debating? I found that both activities boosted my confidence tremendously. Just a thought.)
|By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 12:08 pm: Edit|
This may sound dumb, but why not have her look into all-girl schools (Wellesley, Bryn Mawr etc...). I am told they are excellent at nurturing young women and developping their confidence.
Perhaps another option would be a mid-sised school, like Cornell, Northwestern or Rice.
My fear is that a large state school may swallow her and not help her develop her confidence. Hiding from her discomfort is not going to help her in the long term. She is going to have to overcome some of her anxieties sooner or later, and college really is an exsercise in broadening one's horizons.
However, if she is set on a large school, I cannot think of a better option that the UCs, Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan-Ann Arbor.
|By August (August) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 01:34 pm: Edit|
I was going to say something similar to what A2A2 said. When I was growing up, I was very very shy. In high school I never initiated conversations with people and generally answered other people's questions with the fewest words possible. I had no friends, etc., and didn't participate in class. My parents tried to compel me to do various things and it didn't help. In elementary school I also experienced teachers telling me that I didn't participate enough and trying various rewards and punishments to get me to do so. I guess they all thought they understood my problem and knew exactly what should be done about it, and they were wrong.
What I wanted to say is that nothing prevents a person from gaining the confidence necessary to overcome shyness more than people constantly treating you like you are under a microscope, acting like something is wrong with you and your deficiencies are going to ruin your life! I don't mean to imply that anybody on this thread is doing this, I guess I just want to point it out and warn people because it was such a big part of my experience.
Chances are, the OP's daughter is unhappy being shy and wishes she could overcome it. Her own dissatisfaction probably acts as a great motivator, but it sounds like she may be just resisting pressure to be compelled to do things instead of developing at her own pace. It's good that people are suggesting shyness programs, counselors, and so on, because the OP's daughter probably would be willing to do some of things. It's better to get help from a professional who is not personally worried about your future than to get "help" from random people in your life making it their business to constantly apply their own pop psychology methods to what they perceive to be your problems.
Since high school, my shyness has been steadily getting better. Part of what helped was just getting away from high school and starting fresh with no reputation for being shy ... away from a place where shyness had been my mode of being and everybody was used to treating me accordingly and where I felt I couldn't change.
I went to Smith partly because I thought that it would be good for improving that aspect of my life, and it was. I think that a VERY small LAC really COULD have been suffocating because I could well have gotten stuck after a while with everybody expecting the same persona from me, and I was really afraid of that because that was my main problem in high school. But Smith is big enough that it was not a problem for me. It's nice to be at a school where you can live on campus all four years, because living in campus housing provides a relatively low-pressure way to be around others. At a college like Smith, your daughter would probably have a few very small classes where she would inevitably be expected to participate -- but not "expected" in any kind of coercive, judgmental way that she may be used to experiencing at her current school. And these classes are SO small that it would probably be much less intimidating than in high school.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 01:47 pm: Edit|
It was nice of you to register so that you could give your thoughts. That you are a shy student adds weight to what you posted here.
|By Chatter04 (Chatter04) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 02:46 pm: Edit|
I would say that a LAC would be better for her - a school like Amherst is great b/c it's a LAC with an extended college community (nearby schools are UMASS, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke and Smith). Swarthmore is another fantastic option as well, and I hear that Wesleyan is strong in the sciences. However, it is most important that she visits any college she is considering - she might visit a large sized school and like it better than any LAC she has visited.
|By Laylah (Laylah) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 12:59 pm: Edit|
Thanks. I think that alot of people underestimate how debilitating extreme shyness really can be.
I agree with Chatter04 that an LAC with a larger college community nearby would be a good deal - all the advantages of coming home to a small intimate and familiar atmosphere (i.e. no pressure), while still having plenty of chances to interact with a wide variety of people.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit|
If I had a very shy teenager, I would definitely favor an LAC over a larger school. As the size of the school increases, more an more responsibility for getting academic resources is placed on the student's own initiative. There will be a stronger sense of student community at an LAC -- which could be just the ticket for drawing a shy student out of his or her shell.
I would also be reluctant to send a shy kid to college 3000 miles from home. That could lead to an overwhelming sense of isolation until the kid makes a circle of friends at college.
There are other colleges in the Claremont Consortium beside Harvey Mudd, including at least a couple that should be viable admissions options. Scripps, the all-women college at Claremont, might be a good option to look into.
|By Baltodad (Baltodad) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 02:54 pm: Edit|
Engineering students, as a group, tend to be much less out-going than the norm, and they often stick together socially. If she went to a big university in California or other western state, she's be in an engineering subculture that tended to be quiet, geeky, and academically-oriented. Better yet if the university had an honors dorm she could get into, or a dorm that was engineering-specific.
Small tech schools are sometimes hard-partying, but sometimes not. Rose-Hulman in Indiana struck me as serious and geeky, but with a very nurturing atmosphere. Since they're trying to even out a gender balance that's heavily skewed toward men, she'd have a better chance of being offered serious merit money to attend.
|By Foggy27 (Foggy27) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 05:59 pm: Edit|
Thanks for the thoughtful responses from all of you, particularly from those from a shy person's perspectives. We do have a counseler, and her opinion on the college selection comes down to let her drive the process. It is a turning point in her life, it would hurt her confidence if we "forced" the decision upon her, whether it is real or conceived.
With this in mind, we have tried not to tell her that a school she has in mind is a bad choice. Instead we restrict our role in providing ideas and suggestions. This is still the early stage and we see not reason to confine her choice in one size/type/location. That is what motivated my first post, as she originally did not consider any LAC, and we know little ourselves. We want to encourage her to have an open mind, apply a variety of them, visit the ones that accepts her next spring, and make an informed decision.
We are fully aware that it is naive to believe she can hide in the crowd. We do not want her to just survive college, we want her to thrive. In her case, finding a school that fits is more important than pure academic consideration. It is interesting to note her wish (1) to apply for larger colleges so that she does not get noticed; and (2) to apply for colleges that are not too close to home so that it is less likely someone will know her. She wants a fresh start.
Report an offensive message on this page E-mail this page to a friend
|Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.|
|Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only|