lone pine
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Dartmouth Hall: A big white building with dim lighting at night with snow.

This past college application cycle, I received many messages from prospective Dartmouth students who found me through this blog, asking me about application advice, life at Dartmouth, and how I managed to get in. I have no answers to the last question. I do not know why I got into Dartmouth, truly, but I can tell people why my friends and peers got in. They are passionate learners who care about making a difference in the world. They are one of the reasons why I applied to Dartmouth; I wanted to be in the company of people who would challenge me to grow. I had heard from students who got into Dartmouth before me that the environment at Dartmouth was not cutthroat despite the rigorous academics. I could be amongst peers who encouraged me to do better without putting me down. I am now two and a half years into my career at Dartmouth, and I believe this observation holds.

Speaking of people, I also chose Dartmouth for a faculty that is committed to teaching, who were interested in getting to know you not merely as learners, but as complex individuals. In this, I have not been disappointed either. Most of my professors have been not only great at teaching, but also great at connecting with students. I still remember being bewildered when Professor Aness, who taught the popular class WGSS 10: Sex, Gender, and Society, asked me to grab coffee with her after class to talk about the international student experience. Similarly, my professor at lab, Professor Donna Coch has always been interested in our lives beyond the lab, asking us about our other academic and social interests, discussing the complex sociopolitics of life at Dartmouth, and celebrating our birthdays in the lab with a chocolate cake.

Another big reason why I applied to Dartmouth was the chance to conduct research as an undergraduate. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with research since my freshman winter. I also have many friends who do research in some capacity. There are many funding opportunities to pursue research on campus and beyond.

Last but not least, I picked Dartmouth because of its affordability. Dartmouth offered the most generous financial aid package among the selective colleges I applied to. Since then, Dartmouth has become need-blind for international students as well as domestic applicants. Not only was Dartmouth's financial aid generous, but many opportunities on campus are super accessible. For example, ski lessons are free for students on financial aid who attend at least five of the six classes. Similarly, all tickets at the Hopkins Center for the Arts are no more than 15 dollars for all Dartmouth students.

It has been four years since I applied to Dartmouth, and I still do not know how I managed to get in, but what I do know is why I applied, which is, to this day, why I stay.

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