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Outstanding view from Baker-Berry Library

It's getting to that part of the year that makes me reminisce about my college admissions journey. Thinking back, I remember just how stressful that time was. In my life, it was a time of uncertainty—like wandering through a meandering stream that pulled me any which way it wanted. I've tried to think about the advice that I would give to someone like myself two years ago. I've tried to come up with little tips and tricks that might help someone's chances. I think this kind of thinking is flawed. I've been a Dartmouth student for a year-and-a-half, and I work for the Dartmouth Admissions department (this blog!). Beyond anything else, I think my advice stems from the interactions I've had and the friends I've made at Dartmouth so far:

I'm beyond grateful to have made many connections with my peers during my first four terms on campus. With everyone I've met, they each had a unique story they were willing to share. They articulated their wants and desires clearly, and they expressed to me their journey of life up until that point. That's what I love about meeting someone new; everyone has something unique to share, and I learn something new about life with every new interaction. Getting to know someone is a beautiful gift—learning about someone's past, figuring out how they got to where they are today, and why they have the passions they do. In my mind, the college admissions process is no different.

The process becomes a little less daunting, at least for me, when I think about it through this lens. Your task is to get someone to know you—to share those passions, those stories from childhood that shaped your character, and why you are you. That's all. I truly don't think it's a battle of numbers—the number of leadership positions you took on, your standardized testing scores, or your GPA. I'm confident in that assessment because I know the type of people who attend Dartmouth College. The people I've interacted with and the people I'm closest to have something special about them, and I'd be willing to bet they articulated that in their application.

Interacting with Dartmouth students on a daily basis made this more apparent to me. It's not that they had a higher test score or had a more impressive resume. It's a perfect mix of their character, determination, and curiosity. What drives you to succeed in your academic and career journey? What is something that shaped you into the person you are today? What are you known for, and what is it that you would want to be known for? Funny enough, these are all questions that could be asked when you get to know someone in person—when you're making a new friend or if you're going on a date. That's how you assess someone's potential and figure out if they're someone you would want to be around. Dartmouth students are exceptional for reasons beyond merit—they all have desires, unique stories, and things in life that make them "tick." What is that for you, and how would you fit into the Dartmouth image that I've created here?

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