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So, you ask…. how did I end up at Dartmouth?Let me preface my story by saying that every single Dartmouth student landed at Dartmouth in a different way. Some felt Dartmouth was their destiny since childhood, others fell in love on a campus tour during high school. I’ve even talked to people who never stepped foot on campus until freshman orientation. My story doesn’t quite fall in any of these categories.  You may be surprised to find out that Dartmouth was completely off my radar until December 2013, the month before my college applications were due.

Me on my first day of senior year of high school
As a high school senior, I was overwhelmed by the prospect of applying to schools and leaving home. Unlike many of my friends, I did not go on the quintessential college road trip during my junior spring or senior fall. I didn’t really have time and my mom reasoned that it would be more economical for us to save the money for application fees. So, when it came time to apply for schools, I applied to many schools - 17, I believe. Now, I definitely would not recommend this for everyone, but at the time I felt lost and unsure of what I wanted to study so I cast a wide net and applied to any school that was remotely appealing to me and fit the following criteria:

Less than 7,000 students

Going to a large public school and feeling like a lost fish in the ocean, I knew that I wanted a smaller school with a tight knit community

At least 250 miles away from DC

Being from the DC metropolitan area (and absolutely loving it), I knew that I wanted to be elsewhere for my four years of college because there was a good chance that I would eventually resettle close to home. Going to a college away from home had the added benefit of allowing me to live in an unfamiliar place outside of my comfort zone.

Flexible Curriculum

At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to study, so I needed a school that would allow me to explore many different areas.

Small class sizes

I was in a lot of 30-40 person classes in high school and wanted something more intimate in college

In a city

Yes, you read that correctly. I was intent on living in a city for my college years and thus focused most of my research on schools in or within walking distance of a bustling metropolis. I had always envisioned myself going to art galleries on the weekends, taking public transportation, and running in city parks in my spare time.

Me on my last day of high school. My class color was green, so I'm all decked out. Lucky for me, I got to continue bleeding green #gobiggreen
However, just before Christmas 2013, Dartmouth sent me one of their admissions pamphlets encouraging me to apply. As many of you know, Dartmouth is not in a city by any stretch of the imagination. My immediate instinct was to toss the pamphlet in the trash because it did not fit the above criteria, but I resisted. Upon reading the packet and doing more research about the liberal arts curriculum, I was attracted by the flexibility, which aligned perfectly with my flexible curriculum criterion. So, after some encouraging from my parents and some high school friends, I submitted an application to Dartmouth in early January 2014. And so the wait began…Stay tuned for my next blog post about my alumni interview, my experience at Dimensions and more!