Reflecting on my Own College Search
If I told my freshman self where I would be going to college, she'd be stunned. Before my interest in Dartmouth expanded, I did not consider going to school so far from home, let alone in the middle of the woods of New England - probably the farthest region a Texas girl can end up in. I mean, a little bit over a year ago, I practically didn't even know my northeastern states; now, I guess you can call me an East Coast native… (just kidding, I'm still navigating my way through the myriad of states that can make up one whole Texas).
During the start of freshman year in high school, I thought I was set on one college particularly closer to home, which was not Dartmouth nor on the East Coast. However, this changed during the start of the pandemic my sophomore year. I distinctly remember one car ride with my mom while we were discussing some colleges I had in my mind. She said, "You don't have to just look at colleges close to home. Don't limit your college search just because you think we want you to stay close by; look at schools based on what they offer." At the end of this car ride, my mind said "SAY LESS". By the end of junior year, you can say I was a little directionless with where I was headed.
I often find myself looking for signs that'll lead me to realize what is meant for me. After my acceptance to Dartmouth Bound, a fly-in program offered to rising high school seniors that give participants a preview of life at the College, I began to look into Dartmouth's academia and the student/social life - the fact that Hanover is so beautiful was an excellent addition! Although my Dartmouth Bound experience was virtual due to the peak of the COVID pandemic, that didn't stop the Admissions Team from cultivating an enriching experience that solidified Dartmouth as my dream school. Not only did I learn more about campus life, academic offerings, and attended admissions and financial aid workshops, but I also met such unique and inspiring peers from all over the United States, some even becoming my best friends (and are also my closest friends here at Dartmouth). As I excitedly spoke about Dartmouth to my mom, I found myself talking about the college as if I was already Dartmouth '26 - was Dartmouth where I was meant to end up?
My great friend Maya (whom I met through Dartmouth Bound) once shared the quote "What is meant for you won't pass you." Throughout waiting for decisions, the most profound thoughts I still remember are how everything happens for a reason and the mentality of how if you truly want something, the whole universe will conspire in helping you achieve it (by novelist Paulo Coelho, and also my high school senior quote in honor of my college application process). I guess the biggest takeaway from this piece is: 1. Keep an open mind and 2. What's meant for you won't pass you!
Good luck on your college search journey and application process. I hope I'll see those reading this as future Dartmouth '27s soon!
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