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A picture of the entrance to the Academic Support Center in Baker-Berry Library, where the undergraduate deans are located

Hello from the snow! Dartmouth has seen a set of flurries and cloudy days this past week, making for some pretty scenes: 

an image of Occom Pond covered in snow
Here's Occom Pond, covered in snow!
An image of close-up branches dusted with snow
I love seeing the snow!

But now it is time for business: last Friday, I met virtually with my undergraduate dean to ask some questions about my major declaration. Because Dartmouth is a liberal arts school, students don't declare their major until the end of their fifth term (which usually coincides with students' sophomore fall or winter). Since I'm currently in my fifth term, conversations about declaring a major have begun to grow, and I decided to ask my undergraduate dean some questions.

What is an undergraduate dean? An undergraduate dean is one of the many sources of academic and social support for students! They offer student advising appointments, provide workshops for academic decision-making and support, and help especially with decisions about the D-Plan and major declaration! I always appreciate the weekly emails that my dean sends us, sharing information about career fairs, fellowships, mental health resources, upcoming deadlines for course selection, and more.

Each class has two undergraduate deans—students are assigned to one who becomes their main undergraduate dean. In students' first years, there are four undergraduate deans to maximize the attention and support that first-year students need, and two of them follow the class throughout their time at Dartmouth; that means I get to speak to the same person about my academic needs throughout my four years.

I asked my dean, Dr. Loren Bowley Dow, what her favorite part of being an undergraduate dean was—she said that it was "seeing students find their path and thrive and supporting students through that process. There will be ups and downs along the way and seeing students discover their academic passions and finding their home on campus is really fun to be a part of!"

I also asked her what she thought important for prospective applicants to know about Dartmouth:

"It's important to embrace the liberal arts experience and to keep an open mind as you take classes and engage with opportunities because there are so many areas to explore! Dartmouth is a special place to be able to grow and learn things that you maybe never have had the opportunity to do before."

And it's true! Some of the most "out-there" classes I've taken at Dartmouth so far have been my most memorable experiences, and it's been wonderful to take the chance to learn things that I may not have been able to learn at a different school. Dartmouth's undergraduate deans are there to help us through our journey every step of the way.

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