Friday, May 7, 2010

Check out our Web Chats!

During the month of April, the Dartmouth Office of Admissions coordinated a series of Live Video Chats hosted by Dartmouth students. Whether you are a newly minted Dartmouth '14 looking for a quick Dartmouth fix or a prospective student in search of different perspectives on the College, you should definitely check out the archive of these chats!

Ranging from "Service, Activism, and Politics at Dartmouth" to "Senior Reflections," these chats cover a lot of topics about academic life and student activities at Dartmouth. Most importantly, give an unfiltered student perspective on a variety of aspects of the Dartmouth experience. Our office definitely hopes to offer more live video chats this summer or fall, so if there is a topic or area of the College you would like to see covered, please let us know.

Enjoy the videos!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A post about the Wait List

Welcome to May in college admissions! This is the time of year when our email in-boxes are filled with communications from the broadest spectrum of constituencies in comparison to other points in the calendar. We hear from seniors who have indicated they will matriculate to the Class of 2014, juniors who are prospective students for the Class of 2015, and other seniors who have accepted our offer to remain on a Wait List in the event that we have spaces to offer in the coming weeks.

If you belong to that last group, we recognize that you are very eager for information about Wait List activity. At this point, it is not yet clear whether we will be in a position to make any further offers of admission. We have had a strong response to the offers we made on April 1, and we will be monitoring the situation over the next few weeks to see if an opportunity to make further offers emerges.

There are several items we'll be watching: One big variable that we do not yet know is whether or not Wait List activity at any of our peer institutions will lead some students to cancel their plans to matriculate at Dartmouth. A second variable is students who may postpone their enrollment for a year to take a "gap" year between high school and college. Each year, these two variables impact whether and to what extent we make additional offers of admission and each year the situation at Dartmouth evolves from week to week as we get more information.

If you are active on the Wait List, it is not important for you to contact our office at this time unless you would like to update your file in the manner described here.

If you have decided that you no longer wish to be considered for admission from the Wait List, please update your status online.

Keep in mind that all essential Wait List correspondence and updates will come via email from the Dartmouth Admissions Office. We always make every effort to close the class as early in the summer as possible so that Wait List students can move forward with a final decision from Dartmouth, but it may take several weeks or longer before we have any further news for you.

We hope that these next several weeks go well for you.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Look what meandered by the Admissions Office around 7am this morning!

In other news, May 1st is the deadline for students accepted into the Class of 2014 to reply to our offer of admission. Dartmouth does not require a deposit, but we do request that students use our online reply form to secure their spot in the class. We are eagerly anticipating the last replies!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Getting up things to say for yourself"

April is an interesting month. It's one of the peak visit periods on campus, and I am reminded of this daily as I battle my way up the stairs in McNutt Hall. Hundreds of admitted students come to campus in April - right now it's '14s who are coming to campus for another (or first) look before the May 1 reply deadline. (Over 600 '14s will be on campus next week for Dimensions of Dartmouth!) Many juniors and their families, who are entering the next phase of the college search, are on campus, too. Transfer students and students who are on our waitlist are also in the mix. Lots of visitors, lots of different questions, and lots of different perspectives.

What I find particularly interesting about this time of year is the contact between admitted students and those who are thinking about applying. I recently overheard a junior parent ask an admitted student, "So, how did you do it?" This is the only time of year when our tours and sessions are filled to the brim with both those who have an offer of admission on the table and those who hope to be in that position in the future. It creates an interesting dynamic and dialogue.

A great deal of this talk centers on the "How did you do it?" question. I've heard and read a lot lately about "expressing passion" and standing out. Admitted students, parents, counselors, admissions officers - we've all given this advice, "Write about something you're passionate about." What does that mean? And (as my brother-in-law recently pointed out to me) what if you don't know what you're passionate about? Good questions. Here are some thoughts for the juniors and will-be-applying-soon students, as well as the students looking for waitlist advice who are thinking about what kind of update to send in.

Here's what you don't need to be armed with to stand out in the college admissions process...
A defined career path or course of study.
Your life calling.
Clear passions.
A cure for cancer.

Here's what you should consider articulating in your essays, interviews, conversations...
You. A clear, honest picture of who you are and what matters to you. (All subject to growth and change, I hope.)
What you find interesting and intriguing.
What you enjoy reading about and discussing.
What choices you've made.
What (and how) you've learned.

If you do have some clear passions, great. We want to hear about them. But if you don't have any capital-P 'Passions,' that's okay. Don't make them up. Pursue what does interest you and keep yourself open to new experiences and ideas. We are very interested in your potential.

I think what we actually mean by 'passion' is "getting up something to say for yourself." Robert Frost (a Dartmouth alum!) offered this advice in a Great Issues course at Dartmouth on April 11, 1949. Frost is widely-known as a poet, and some (including many Dartmouth students and community members) were fortunate enough to experience his in-person "talks" and visits back to campus in the '40s through '60s. In this particular talk he goes on to say: "The first thing to say is that you've got to start getting up things to say for yourself, if you want to hold your own. And the pre-first thing to say is that you gotta have an own to hold." (I'm quoting from page 3 of Edward Connery Lathem's 2009 book, "Robert Frost Speaking On Campus." Check it out if you're looking for some summer reading.)

We are interested in learning about what you have to say - what things you "get up about." This is not just how you see the world, it is how you see yourself in the world. What are your opinions? What are your interests?

Who knows, Passion might just sneak up and grab you along the way, but don't worry about creating it as much as being open to it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Small Moments

I know it has been a momentous week for all the Regular Decision applicants to the Class of 2014. I am sure that my colleagues and I will post some more reflections on the selection process in the coming days and weeks.

For now, though, it is a beautiful Friday afternoon in Hanover with students all over the Green enjoying the 75 degree weather - a welcome sign that spring is at hand. I wanted to share a cool Dartmouth moment I observed yesterday. As I walked out McNutt Hall at lunchtime, I saw a group of students tossing a football around the Green. Someone was ambling down the path and stopped to ask if he could throw a quick pass. It was none other than President Kim, in full jacket and tie, obviously on his way to a lunch meeting. He took the football, sent one of the students on a route, and uncorked a perfect spiral. He hit the student in stride at forty yards out and then continued on his way (to some applause from those who witnessed the throw). Now, it is true that President Kim was high school quarterback, so maybe the throw was not a big surprise. But, you have to admit it is still pretty cool.

A beautiful Dartmouth moment, and one those students will definitely talk about at a reunion in 50 years.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Here Comes April 1...

It's starting to feel a bit like spring. Yes, we have seen some beautiful weather over the last few days, but what really makes it feel like spring is that we are getting close to releasing decisions on April 1! (Admissions officers live by admissions "seasons" - not the weather.) Decision letters will be posted online at 5:00PM Eastern Time on Thursday, April 1. We are in the midst of our final stages of review right now: reading, re-reading, checking updated info, and engaging in our version of "committee" conversations this week.

I had the chance to participate in a different decision release process last week, as my partner is graduating from Dartmouth Medical School this year and just received her residency "match." For those who have family or friends who have gone through "The Match" you have an idea about what this annual day in March is like; for those who are unfamiliar with the process, here is a quick overview.

In your fourth year of medical school you decide what you would like to specialize in. You complete your applications and send them off to residency programs (maybe this is 10 programs, maybe if it's a highly selective specialty, you apply to 100.) The programs then extend interview offers to candidates. You interview with programs and then develop your rank list (programs you would be willing to attend, in order of preference.) The programs also rank candidates, and everyone sends these rank lists to a central system that creates a match for each candidate. (One match.) For the 2010 Match, fourth-year medical students gathered at different events and ceremonies on March 18 and received envelopes. At Dartmouth, this was a gathering at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which kicked off with a slide show of pictures compiled by the fourth-year class, and then each member of the class was called up in random order and handed an envelope, which many opened on the spot - in front of classmates, faculty, family and friends - and read aloud their match.

Two things stood out in my mind as I watched this process unfold. First, I'm glad college admissions decisions aren't released this way; and second, there are so many people invested in the decision and path of each individual receiving an envelope. Classmates, friends, partners, parents, kids, family, mentors, faculty - all were invested in the contents of each envelope.

To all applicants awaiting decisions: I hope you will take some time to reflect again on what your hopes are for your college years (regardless of where you ultimately matriculate and before many of those admissions decisions come rolling in.) I also hope you will take a moment to think about all of the people in your life who are invested in your college process (and maybe take a moment to thank some of them, if you haven't already!) As with college admissions decisions, Match Day saw a wide range of emotions. Unlike college admissions, Match Day is the unveiling of one final match. Prospective '14s, the choice is ultimately yours at the end of this process. You decide, from among your options, where you will be headed next. I am very excited that for some of you, that will be Dartmouth.

I'm curious, what are your plans for opening and sharing that decision on April 1?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Olympics! A mini photo essay from Whistler.

Last week, I took a short break from reading applications with the excuse, "My friends from Dartmouth are racing in the Olympics!" I gathered with other Dartmouth alums to watch Sara Studebaker '07 and Laura Spector '10 race in the women's 4x6km biathlon race. We also caught up with Ben Koons '08 and Tucker Murphy '06 (two more Dartmouth grads turned Olympic skiiers), who gave us a tour of the athlete village. Here are a few photos from our amazing trip:

(photo 1) Seven friends from Dartmouth met in Whistler. (2) The weather was awesome and we cheered loudly for Team USA in several skiing and biathlon events. (3) Canadian kids requested an autograph from Tucker Murphy '06. (4) We got all decked out for the biathlon relay. Go TEAM USA! And Dartmouth! (5) Sara Studebaker '07 shoots cleanly in leg one of the relay. (6) Post-race congrats to Sara!

We weren't the only Dartmouth fans at the Winter Olympics. We ran into bundles of friends that made the trip to Vancouver and Whistler to cheer on the 9 athletes from Dartmouth competing in the winter games. Two athletes from my class -- Gillian Apps '06 and Cherie Piper '06 -- took GOLD in women's ice hockey, and Andrew Weibrecht '09 skiied to a bronze medal in the men's super-G alpine race.

The whole trip a truly incredible experience. The pinnacle was watching Sara at the start of the women's biathlon race. Even thinking back on the moment gives me chills; it was such a magical experience to watch my friends and classmates compete in the Olympics.

P.S. If you want to read more about Dartmouth athletes in Vancouver, check out this link. Dartmouth has an impressive tradition with the Winter Olympics. Since 1924, Dartmouth athletes have appeared in the Winter Olympics 120 times--more than any other Ivy League school.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Check Out the LGBTQA Life Video Chat

Check out what two current students, Rigel '10 and Anna '13, have to say about LGBTQA life at Dartmouth. This is our first Dartmouth Life student chat - stay tuned for more topics! If you missed the chat when it was live or have questions about LGBTQA life for current students, you can send an email to (our student organization, Gender Sexuality XYZ).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recent Changes to Dartmouth Financial Aid

In a letter to the Dartmouth community this week, President Jim Yong Kim announced the implementation of a plan to close a $100 million dollar budget gap in the College's operating budget in the next two years. This plan includes some changes to Dartmouth's undergraduate financial aid policies. None of these changes will impact applicants (or Early Decision admits) to the Class of 2014. For prospective members of the Class of 2015 or future classes, here is a summary of the new policy:

What Has Not Changed
  • Dartmouth's commitment to being affordable and accessible to all students regardless of their family's financial circumstances
  • Maintaining a need-blind admissions process, for all applicants regardless of citizenship, in which the anticipated or actual financial need of a candidate has no bearing on the admissions decision
  • Meeting each student's full demonstrated need for all four years of college
  • Full tuition grants and the no-loan program for students from households with annual incomes below $75,000
Now, the Change
  • Beginning with the Dartmouth Class of 2015 (whose members will enter Dartmouth in Fall 2011), the College will re-institute a small loan program for financial aid recipients from families which earn more than $75,000 in annual income. The loan amounts will range from $2500 - $5500 per year, depending on family income.
For more information, visit the Office of Financial Aid's website.

LGBTQA Life Discussion With Students

Two of our current students will be hosting a "Dartmouth Life" discussion about LGBTQA community, resources, and academics on Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 EST. Join the conversation online.