This paper focuses on the impact of the transition into higher education upon facets of students' academic self-concept. Drawing upon data collected from undergraduate students at three universities in the north of England it considers the question: does moving from a relatively small pond (sixth form or college) where many students are likely to feel like fairly 'big fish', to a larger pond (university) where most students are likely to feel like much 'smaller fish', affect academic self-concepts? Results suggest that self-concept changes are gender-specific. Overall, female students displayed a significant decline in academic self-concepts in some domains over the transition into higher education, whilst the self-concept levels of the men did not change significantly. A number of possibilities are explored to explain the gendered nature of this finding.