Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dartmouth: What Liberal Arts Means to Me

The day started off bright and early. Michelle, Monica, and I woke up at 5:30 am to get ready our college tour at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. By 6:15 the Columbia cohort was headed to Au Bon Pain for breakfast, and soon we were in the rental van headed to New Hampshire. The car ride seemed long once we had scarfed down our breakfasts and we were finally hit with jet-lag from the past few days. We made it to Hanover: a small, rural college town surrounded by forest, Bordering Vermont, and having cute shops and boutiques along its main street. It had the atmosphere of a quaint town and I was surprised because all other universities I have been to have been more lively, but this was just because . After getting a little lost, we all made it over to McNutt building and sat down for the college informational session beginning at 10:30.

In the informational session I learned about the types of opportunities Dartmouth offers its students as told by an Assistant Director of Admissions, Raquel. Some examples she mentioned were free or reduced tuition  for families making $100,000 or less, 350 extracurricular activities, and a wide range of intramural and Division I sports teams. Dartmouth is a liberal arts college and offers a great study abroad program that does not necessarily have to relate to a student's major, which I really liked. However, heading on to the campus tour, I was thinking that this may not be the right college for me. Once on the tour, I saw the beautiful brick buildings and heard that there are nine libraries on campus, great for someone like me who loves books. Regardless, the campus was pretty desolate for the summer, except for sophomores who are required to stay, and I could not imagine myself going to school there at the end of the tour.
Baker Tower behind a class building
Afterward, we went to sit in the main library and admired some of the historical artifacts and talking until heading over to the gift shop. After buying Dartmouth gear and some essentials at the local CVS, we met up at a local and trendy restaurant called The Pine located on the outskirts of the campus. There, we met up with Dartmouth admissions officer Will Corbett, community director Kat, and undergraduate dean June Chu. Along with these three faculty members, we met up with three students: Eloise, a rising sophomore studying engineering; Max a rising senior studying cellular biology, women empowerment, pre-med, and government (I believe); and Joon, a rising senior studying Spanish and pre-med. I spoke a lot with Eloise and she gave a lot of insight about attending Dartmouth as a freshman. She is actually from Hanover so it was easy for her to adjust aside from the academics. She told me it was hard for her, but that she loved her first year and that the students in her classes are engaged in the curriculum for the most part. She has not studied abroad yet like Joon has, but she is going to Spain next year. I also briefly spoke with Max who I thought was very inspiring. He is from Germany and studying concepts that I find incredibly interesting. He told me he is doing research which is what I want to do. He also told me that he gets very overwhelmed which did not surprise me since he is studying four subjects! I also spoke with Joon who gave me insight into campus life. It is a very outdoors-y campus which I like a lot.
Spinach salad with maple syrup vinaigrette, almonds, strawberries, and fried cheese
Overall, I enjoyed talking with everyone at the table and, of course, devouring the delicious food. I also found that by the end of the day, the perspective Eloise, Max, and Joon offered made me want to apply to Dartmouth and hopefully get accepted my senior year. I now know that a liberal arts college will be perfect for me. The only problem I have found is that I want to apply everywhere so far!
(Left to right) Eloise, myself, Michelle, Monica, Joon

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