The always stunning view from Mt Cardigan - pictured are Mts. Moose, Holt's Ledge, Winslow Ledge, and Smarts
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Panoramic night drone shot of Dartmouth Campus

Congratulations! You made it! 

If you were anything like me, being accepted was probably one of the greatest senses of relief you've ever felt. I opened my decision letter almost as soon as decisions came out. I remember being huddled in the corner of my high school's indoor track, hovering my cursor over the decision link on the application portal, and clicking the link with an intentional sense of acceptance about whatever the outcome may be. I can visualize seeing the word "Congratulations!" the second the acceptance letter loaded. 

Well, what comes next?

Step 1: Enjoy your winter break

Now that you've done the thing that is largely the culmination of your entire education thus far, it's time to celebrate. Please take some time to unwind and reflect about what you've just accomplished. More importantly, make sure you contact all the people that helped you along the way! (They'll be happy to hear of your success!) I was a bit self-conscious about having an early acceptance secured, and didn't go out of my way to actively share my college results—eventually I thanked all those important people, but I should have done so earlier. And again, make sure you take the time to recharge and reform your mindset for any remaining goals. 

Step 2: Focus on your classes and finish a senior year you can be proud of

Yes, the infamous "Senioritis" is a real thing. Luckily, I was able to avoid contracting it for the rest of my senior year, but I knew others who did display some symptoms. It can be difficult to continue performing at a certain level after your college application journey has ended, but embracing the learning process or finding new goals to achieve can help you keep going. In my case, I prioritized applying to external scholarships and tried to enjoy the time I had left with friends. Please, look for local scholarships! You'd be surprised about how many there actually are (I would also recommend online search engines like and The last thing you want is to finish senior year with a sense of regret or stress for the upcoming transition to college.

Step 3. Don't compare yourself to others and know you made the right decision 

What makes an early decision so great is securing your spot, well, early. If you're a '28 reading this right now, you're probably feeling like a huge weight has lifted off your shoulders. One thing, however, that can creep up on you is a feeling of self doubt. Did I make the right decision? What options would I have if I applied to many regular decision schools? Is Dartmouth truly right for mke? These are completely normal and simply mean that you're dedicated to making the best decision for yourself. Please trust that early decision was that best decision. 

When April hits and other college acceptances roll around, and you hear about the places your friends (or general people online) are going, it can be tempting to wonder could I be in their position too? As Theodore Roosevelt once said (I had to look this up):

"Comparison is the thief of joy" 

Don't worry about how you would do at X school or Y school, think about how good you'll do at Dartmouth. Once you get to campus, start meeting other students, and wonder at everything this magical place in the woods has to offer, your doubts will be wiped away.

Step 4. Do something over the summer that you normally would have never done (now is the time) 

Unless there's an internship that you're super passionate about, or you've been offered an unbelievable opportunity, please do something that will provide you with some time to reflect about the past and the upcoming future. In my case, I tried exploring some of my academic interests by delving into a reading list I had curated since the beginning of junior year (but never got around to actually reading). I also did a lot of traveling and running, but I spent a lot of important time with family and friends. What you don't realize is that many relationships in college go from passive to active. Make sure you can begin your first term with a sense of satisfaction and peace (Whatever that takes… it could be calling up some old friends, finally attempting to learn a musical instrument, trying out that sport you've thought about for years, or refining your cooking skills). 

Ultimately, the year is yours now! Go forth and be you—you're destined for Dartmouth.

Dartmouth students dressed up in flair
First-Year-Trips awaits you!

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