platform overlook with mountains
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How did you choose Dartmouth? A simple question, really. A question I often respond to with a simple answer-Dartmouth had all the qualities in a college I was looking for: a tight-knit community, a focus on undergraduate teaching, academic flexibility, and resources for globe-trotting. How I chose Dartmouth truthfully goes back to my junior year of high school, though, where my seemingly daunting task of college selection began. The summer before my senior year of high school, my Dad and I left Starkville, Mississippi for a college-touring road trip of the East Coast. I marked roughly a dozen places on the map, ready to test them for the "aha moment" I believed would make my college decision crystal-clear.


more sunsets. because we drove. a lot.

 

road trip sunset 1
over half my pictures include roadside sunsets during our drives.

 

adina gelato
excited after finding gelato in Boston
Although I never had my "aha moment," I did jot down notes on my initial impressions of schools. Looking back, I don't know how helpful these notes actually were, but I did have a blast playing "school critic" while simultaneously enjoying father-daughter bonding time (especially when there was ice cream involved). Exhausted after our foodie adventures in Boston, I dreaded the next day's drive to Hanover. Thankfully, though, my dad convinced that it was worth the effort. After visiting Dartmouth, I wrote: "I really like this place. The students seem to get along really well together." (Yes, I went back through my notes to find this quote.)

road to Dartmouth, baker berry, adina
ironically, the only picture of a college campus I have from our road trip

I remember leaving that day surprised by how much I'd enjoyed the school and its community-centered atmosphere. Post college acceptance day, however, I was determined to make a logical decision. I remember debating between Dartmouth and a similar college and making full pros and cons lists for both. I struggled to make my choice until my Dad asked, "Where do you see yourself fitting in better?" Thinking back to our visits, I reflexively said, "Dartmouth." From then on, my decision was made. Call it a gut feeling, call it an impulse--whatever it was, it helped me find the community that provided the best fit for me. I'm happy to say that it was a hunch worth trusting.