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Dartmouth campus building during golden hour

As a sophomore in college, it feels as though college applications and decisions were forever-ago - which is, in part, true, but I recently took the time to reflect on my reasons for coming here.

It all begins with a story. Let's set the scene: I'm a sophomore in high school who hasn't even begun to think about college. (In hindsight, that wasn't the best choice I could've made, but I digress.) I come back to school after a week-long fall break in October, and see a senior wearing a green sweatshirt that reads "Dartmouth". I have no clue what that means - I think to myself, "is that a clothing brand?" - and I do some research, discovering that it's a college all the way in New Hampshire.

Dartmouth immediately stuck out to me, even as a sophomore. As I did preliminary research (i.e., Google searches) about the college, I was fascinated to learn about its unique nature - including, but not limited to: the D-plan, the liberal arts curriculum, the small size, and the community (extending to the alumni network, too). 

When college applications finally came around for me during my senior year, I remembered Dartmouth for all of its wonderful attributes, which led me to apply. After being accepted and deciding between Dartmouth and a few other colleges, I chose Dartmouth - and I couldn't be more satisfied with my decision.

The D-plan creates a "choose your own adventure" sort of academic curriculum here. I was very drawn to the fact that I could choose to, for example, be "on" during the summer, then "off" during the fall - something that is so unique to Dartmouth. The D-plan opens up doors for opportunities throughout the entire calendar year, not just during the summer, when most college students are out of school. I am excited to experience my own D-plan - at the moment, I am planning to stay on campus until the end of my sophomore summer, then take my junior fall as an off term! However, things are subject to change - if I ever want to change my D-plan, I am easily able to do so online!

The liberal arts curriculum has allowed me to explore departments I would never expect to engage with. I came to Dartmouth roughly expecting to study something social science-related, but I was unsure of which department I would decide on. Thus, during my first year, I explored as many departments as possible - even non-social science ones. My freshman fall, I took a course in the Earth Sciences department. Although I did not have much passion for this subject and chose not to pursue it further, I was still able to get a lab credit from the course - and learn a whole lot about geology right here in the Upper Valley! Thanks to the liberal arts curriculum at Dartmouth, I can engage with a wide variety of subjects and broaden my knowledge and skills.

Dartmouth's small size might be one of my favorite things about the college. Dartmouth is undergraduate-focused, hence its existence as a college and not a university, and the size of each class is approximately 1,200 - give or take a few hundred. The college is not incredibly small to the point where I get tired of seeing the same people, but it's also not so big that I feel as if I'm just a face in the crowd. Dartmouth's size is perfect for me, since I came from an average-sized high school (around 450 per class) and wanted only a slight upgrade in size. Another thing I appreciate about Dartmouth's size is that actual course sizes range from about 5 to 100 - that's it. Smaller class sizes allow professors to really know us, instead of seeing us as names on a roster of hundreds.

Finally, the Dartmouth community is one like no other. I have never felt so supported, even by people I don't know! Back home, if I wear a Dartmouth item of clothing, I am stopped and spoken to. This has happened at airports, malls, and even at my dentist's office! Dartmouth's alumni network is incredibly strong, which I believe is in part due to how the on-campus community is during students' undergraduate years at the college. We are not perfect, but we support each other, and that alone is powerful. We brave through the winters together, wear crazy outfits (known as "flair"), collaborate on any and all subjects, celebrate traditions, support sporting events, and so much more. The community is something special, and I deeply cherish every relationship I've made here.

I realize that I've gone off the deep end and crafted a blog far too long for comfort. In all, my reasons for choosing Dartmouth are the same reasons I stay. I can't picture myself at any other college, and I'm confident that my decision to come to Dartmouth was the right one.

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