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Diego Perez '23

Welcome to People Places Pines! Each week in the month of April, student bloggers will be bringing a post to you called "First-Gen Friday" — a series of interviews with current Dartmouth students who are the first in their families to have a traditional four-year college experience. This week, Diego Perez '23 sat down with members of the admissions office to answer questions about what it's like to be a first-generation student at Dartmouth. Be sure to check back each Friday for a new student feature!

Describe your community on campus.

"On-campus, the first-generation community is one of the most welcoming and understanding communities I have encountered at Dartmouth. Most of us met during pre-orientation and we have been so connected since. By creating two amazing programs, the First-Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) and the Thriving Through Transitions living-learning community (LLC), Dartmouth ensured that there is always a safe and welcoming space for not only first-generation and low-income students, but for anyone who wishes to be part of the community."

How has Dartmouth enabled you to learn more about the world at large?

"I come from a pretty homogenous community, so I had not been exposed to many experiences and perspectives. At Dartmouth, I have learned about so many cultures, so many unique experiences, so many unique perspectives that though I knew existed, I was not very aware of. Dartmouth has also allowed me to learn more about the world through their incredible academic programs. I have taken courses in the Government department, the Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages department, the African American Studies department, and most of my friends have taken courses in an array of other departments. Altogether, Dartmouth has expanded my knowledge beyond boundaries I did not know existed."

Why did you choose Dartmouth?

"In all honesty, I did not know much about Dartmouth. I applied through QuestBridge which I learned about through another academic program. I ranked Dartmouth as one of my options because of the kindness and sense of community that radiated through their emails and magazines. When I got here, I was amazed to see that the community was, in fact, as kind and welcoming as the emails."

What advice do you have for first-gen and low-income students as they choose a college?

"As you make one of the most important decisions of your life, it is critical for you to think of where you wish to belong. At home, I did not feel like an outsider by any means, but I also did not feel a sense of community. At Dartmouth, I have found my community. The friends that I have made at Dartmouth have been there for me in new lows and new highs and everything in between. Attending Dartmouth has truly been the best decision I have made in my life."

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