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Are there universities that cater specifically to shy or reserved people? It seems like many universities have the usual social hierarchy set up of 'popular' student , 'overachievers' , 'sports-inclined' , 'outcasts' or 'rebels' and the very reserved who might also fit into 'outcasts'. Unfortunately nothing seems to be done about this academic social-caste system which is in regular schools and university. Though I'm primarily concerned about the socially reserved students. As young minds are very vulnerable to emotional instability it would be great if reserved students had a special university or at least a special part of a university where they could learn freely without worrying about the problems of socializing. Are there such universities that can be a haven for reserved students?

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    Online degree programs – Ben Bitdiddle Jan 20 '15 at 6:25
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    Most universities in the US have counseling centers or mental health services, some even have shyness support groups. – Ben Bitdiddle Jan 20 '15 at 7:27
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    That seems too little. And shyness is not a mental illness.. – 201044 Jan 20 '15 at 7:32
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    It's often under the name "social anxiety." And also sometimes they do have workshops on these topics. – Ben Bitdiddle Jan 20 '15 at 8:15
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    I guess the ambiguity in this question comes from there being two possible ways to potentially improve the experience for students who avoid socialization: (1) design a program that reduces the need for socialization; (2) provide resources to help students become more comfortable with socialization. I think most universities take approach (2), and many of the answers seem to go in that direction, but you are specifically asking about approach (1)? – Nate Eldredge Jan 20 '15 at 23:07
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On academia.SE, undergraduate studies are out of scope, hence, I will answer for graduate programmes here.

For these (master and PhD programmes, and beyond) I am simply not buying into your premise:

usual social hierarchy set up of 'popular' student , 'overachievers' , 'sports-inclined' , 'outcasts' or 'rebels'

Frankly, any graduate programme in the sciences I know of consists primarily of what you would call slightly derogatory "the outcasts" (plus maybe the "overachievers", depending on what you mean with that). Your prototypical high school bully or football jock rarely ends up in a physics PhD programme. In that sense, most graduate programmes are in their own way a haven for such students.

Beyond that, I do not know about any program that specifically caters towards shy people. Further:

where they could learn freely without worrying about the problems of socializing

As long as we are just speaking about "regular" shyness (no clinical condition), I would argue that you would do students a disservice to not "have them worry about socializing" at all. Firstly, even shy students usually enjoy company (if it is the right amount and the right kind of company - I should know, I am also pretty introvert), and, secondly, if you are really painfully shy, learning how to deal with people is arguably a more crucial life lesson than any subject matter you will learn at university. And don't kid yourself - shyness is definitely something that you can learn to work on (again, I should know), given enough practice.

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  • Regardless of the labelling my REAL point is about university programs specifically catering to reserved students and whether they exist. – 201044 Jan 20 '15 at 7:58
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    @201044 There are lots of reserved students, you just don't see them because they're in their rooms not talking to you. – Ben Bitdiddle Jan 20 '15 at 8:41
  • I'm a very reserved student and have seen other sad looking students sitting at the back of a University school bus isolated from a bunch of overly- talkative students at the front of the bus not noticing these other shy students. Reserved students would do a lot better in a learning environment without a lot of overly-social students buzzing around them. – 201044 Jan 22 '15 at 4:08
  • @ xLeitix ; even REGULAR shyness can lead to depression. – 201044 Jan 23 '15 at 5:44
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The closest thing I can think of, are the Honors Colleges or Honors programs that exist at some universities. Honors classes will tend to be smaller, so even though you may be asked to participate more, you'll have more support and interactions with your professors. Smaller classes may make it easier to find friends as well.

However, these groups look for not just the brightest, but the best. Normally, they will still want well-rounded students--active in their communities or in sports or other activities--not just bright social recluses.

Another solution is to go to a smaller college or university that has a strong program in the field you want to study. Again, smaller classes, closer interactions with professors, etc.

-- edit -- Some schools split incoming classes into small groups during orientation. They will meet, do activities, learn about the college...it's a great place to start finding new acquaintances who may turn out to be friends.

My undergraduate university did this (Trinity U, in Texas). My first friend there was in the that group, but the friend that really stuck was person with whom I shared a music folder in choir.

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    Why do we assume that shy people are the best and would go to honors schools? I don't get the link. – blankip Jan 20 '15 at 19:02
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    Yeah, I know, no causal link. I'm just saying that the smaller "environment" of an honors college might be useful to a bright but shy or reclusive student. – mkennedy Jan 20 '15 at 19:07
  • What I can see from these comments there is no actual University (that is not a correspondence school) that is mainly for reserved people. And there is no actual University with one building or program that caters only to reserved students. This info. is useful. ( I didn't need all the other comments about the questions problems.) – 201044 Jan 23 '15 at 5:52
  • If shyness or being reserved or social anxiety ( for whatever reason) was considered a handicap then maybe real university programs could be made for such people ,separate from the 'main' university buildings. Where such students could learn ,free of most socializing worries. – 201044 Jan 31 '15 at 4:44
  • Every student that pays for university course supposedly has the right to be in a learning environment that they can handle and even enjoy. I suggest most university environments cater mainly to sociable people. – 201044 Feb 15 '15 at 7:05

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