Five Small(ish) Reasons I Chose Dartmouth
Wedding cake, yogurt parfaits, Super Bowl dip — all kinds of delicacies come in layers. Why shouldn’t decisions? My senior year of high school, I knew I wanted a small liberal arts school with strong academics and curious students. I knew I wanted a rural location not too far from home. But when March 2016 brought me two small liberal arts schools with strong academics, curious students, and rural locations, I had to descend from macro to micro. I had to make a choice not based on sweeping sentiments, but an accumulation of small things. Here were my top five:
- No. 1
FoCo chocolate chunk cookies
Podcast journalist Laura Sim ‘16 told me last summer that, fifteen months after graduation, these cookies still called to her heart. Always warm, always gooey, and always delectable, these dining hall staples provide a melt-in-your-mouth conclusion to many a memorable conversation.
- No. 2
Dartmouth Outing Club
You can’t beat the oldest and largest outing club in the country. The DOC’s renown means that many a student arrives with outdoor exploration in mind—and that its ethos of adventure, reflection, independence, and collaboration pervades entire swathes of campus life. Even if your schedule fills up and you can’t do official trips as often as you would like, there’s a plethora of people both inside and outside the club who are up to sled or skate or cross-country ski or run or canoe or climb buildings or…anything else you can imagine.
- No. 3
Dartmouth off-campus programs dive into study across the country and the world. Led by Dartmouth professors and filled with Dartmouth students, these programs study everything from Arabic in Morocco to geology in the Rockies. Ten-week terms enable students to study abroad no matter their major—and to do so anywhere from one to three times (or more, counting off terms).
- No. 4
Dartmouth’s strength in foreign languages appealed to my inner polyglot. As someone who wants to learn three or more languages (but so far knows only one and a half), I loved the idea of the Rassias Method, a language-immersion teaching style a Dartmouth professor pioneered for the CIA. Even more significant, language-centered study abroad programs maximize experiential language-learning. This spring in Toulouse, I’ll be learning not just through the classroom but through art museums, archaeological sites, and (hopefully!) cooking with my host family. If I’m accepted to the more advanced Paris program next year, I’ll reach nearly a minor’s worth of classes—all with an entire country as classroom.
- No. 5
From dancing in tutus to swimming in frozen ponds, Dartmouth has a vivacity to it that I knew would challenge me. I had that zany, spunky (dare I say crazy?) side in high school, but it often stayed hidden. Dartmouth, I thought, would challenge that part of me. Dartmouth, I decided, would most help me grow.