Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Engineering at Dartmouth

Maria Laskaris, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid had a great conversation with Joseph Helble, Dean of Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. We want to thank all our viewers who tuned in live and asked a number of phenomenal questions. It was a great conversation thanks to your questions.

Watch the video and use the notes below as resource in understanding how Dartmouth does Engineering differently. Enjoy.
  • One of the most popular and busy areas of Engineering at Dartmouth is biomedical engineering. Many Thayer faculty, alumni, and even undergraduates have been involved in bio-tech start-ups.
  • Faculty at Thayer are incredibly active with research and entrepreneurship and what's so amazing about Engineering at Darmouth (and this is true for departments across campus) is that undergraduates have wonderfully easy access to these professors. Dean Helble explains that undergraduates can simply go knock on a professor's door (though likely it'll be open already) to chat about possible work and involvement in research. Or undergraduates can just chat with a professor right after class.
  • Computer Engineering at Dartmouth focuses more on hardware while Computer Science focuses more on software, but there's lots of collaboration between the two fields and departments at Dartmouth.
  • For more information about the BA Major in Engineering (liberal arts degree) and the BE (Bachelors of Engineering) visit the degrees webpage.
  • Students can begin taking engineering classes as early as their first year. AP credits can certainly help students get a jump-start on prerequisites for the degree and that can help them graduate in 4 years with a BA and BE.
  • Students interested in Engineering may submit an abstract of their previous research work with their application, though it won't be sent to the Engineering School for review, it'll just help the officer reading your application get a sense of your intellectual work and interests. Please don't send entire papers.
  • All Dartmouth majors require a culminating experience (this can be independent research, a play or performance, a project, or any number of things). Similarly, Engineering at Dartmouth (the major and BE) requires a culminating experience.
  • Engineering, like all academic programs at Dartmouth, requires time and effort, but engineering students are involved across campus with everything from serving as Captain of the Ski Team to being a tour guide.
  • Engineering undergraduates will take courses across campus and fulfill Dartmouth's liberal arts distributive requirements (this is true for BA and BE students).
  • Courses in engineering may be co-taught by faculty from other areas of campus, including the Medical School, Tuck School of Business or other departments. Dartmouth is very interdisciplinary by nature given it's size and philosophy.
  • Engineers from Dartmouth go on to do pretty much anything and everything. Graduates of Thayer are leading corporations large and small, have started their own firms for engineering or architecture or gone into the arts and design. Some go into finance and consulting while others go into public service and the non-profit sector.
Other Great Resources related to Engineering at Dartmouth

Admissions Video Chat: Last Minute Application Tips

On December 21, our Dean of Admissions Maria Laskaris and Assistant Director of Admissions Colleen Wearn hosted a video chat called "Last Minute Application Tips." In case you missed it or wish to watch it again, we have it archived here.

This afternoon (December 22) we will be hosting a video chat with Joseph Helble, Dean of Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. The chat will begin at 4:00pm EST. Click here to participate in the chat.

The Office of Admissions will be closed for the winter holidays beginning on December 24 and will re-open on January 4.

Happy holidays and good luck to everyone working on college applications!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to Ace the Alumni Interview

During the upcoming months, Dartmouth alumni across the country will reach out to students in their hometowns that have applied to the College, and invite them to an alumni interview.

Looking for advice on how to prepare for interviews? Check out this inside look at one interviewer's perspective. Blog post How to Ace the College Alumni Interview offers salient advice and lists questions that interviewers love to ask.

More information on Dartmouth's alumni interview process is available here. Please note that applicants do not need to request an interview; alumni will contact students directly sometime after they have applied to Dartmouth (usually Dec - Feb for Regular Decision). The interview is optional, and if you are unable to interview, or are not contacted due to a shortage of alumni in your region, please don't worry--it will not have an adverse impact on your admissions decision.

Finally, I must add a quick personal thank you to all the alumni and students that will spend time interviewing this winter. We on the Admissions Committee really appreciate it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why we do the work that we do

The Young Women's Leadership School of East Harlem shared this video with us. After making these hard decisions, it's quite meaningful to us to see the emotions on the other side. Knowing all the stress that's developed around this entire process, we work hard to keep this process personal and human. Thank you TYWLS for reminding us of this! We welcome you to share with us your personal stories of excitement or disappointment.

Untitled from Chris Farmer on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Class of 2014 Early Decision

The Dartmouth Admissions Office posted decisions for Early Decision applicants to the web yesterday afternoon at 4:00pm EST. I am sure there is a wide spectrum of emotions present in our blog readership at this point.

To read the official Dartmouth press release about this year's Early Decision process, click here

In many conversations and meetings over the past few days, the admissions officer staff has been reflecting on the tremendous strength we saw in the Early Decision pool. As Dean Maria Laskaris noted in the press release, this year's ED applicants were an extraordinary group, not only in terms of tangible academic credentials, but also with respect to the qualitative elements and intangible intellectual and personal qualities that are essential when building a residential academic community. In light of the strength of this pool, we have admitted more students through the Early Decision process than we have in previous years.

We recognize that, as is the case every year, we also must disappoint a lot of deserving students with the decisions that we make (hence the spectrum of emotions referenced at the start of this post). A few thoughts:

If you were deferred:

As Tom Petty once sang, "The waiting is the hardest part." Your application will be reviewed again during the Regular Decision round. We recognize that you will need to file applications with other schools, but we encourage you to update your Dartmouth application in the early weeks of 2010. You should submit your final grades from the fall semester/term of your senior year when they are available. If you did not have all required standardized test scores as an Early Decision applicant, we hope you will complete your testing profile for our Regular Decision review. You may wish to submit additional material such as an update on significant awards or accomplishments, another writing sample, and/or another teacher recommendation—any and all of these are optional. If you were not offered an alumni interview as an Early Decision candidate, it is possible that one will be offered to you in the Regular Decisoin process. For an overview of how the alumni interview program works, click here. Deferred students are admitted to the class at roughly the same rate as Regular Decision candidates.

If you were denied:

As an admissions staff, we are honored every time a student thinks highly enough of Dartmouth to submit a binding application to the College. One of the consequences of working within a highly selective admissions process is that many of us spend just as much time thinking about the students we do not admit as those we do. We feel this all the more because of the emotion and conviction that we know is behind every Early Decision application. On the one hand, we are appreciative that our Early Decision applicant pool has grown over 25% in the past few years, but we recognize that this also introduces much more disappointment for candidates with a great desire to attend Dartmouth. Our thorough and holistic review of every applicant almost always leaves us confident in the student's potential to succeed academically and personally at the College; the pressures of such a large, qualified applicant pool and a limited enrollment capacity force us to turn terrific candidates away.

Congratulations to the those admitted to the Class of 2014! We look forward to welcoming you to Hanover in just 9 months!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's D(ecision Release)-Day!

We are well into the final stages of our Early Decision review process, and all ED applicants will be able to check their decisions online beginning at 4:00pm EST.

Applicants: click here to log-in and check your decision (but not until 4:00pm EST).

Stay tuned to the blog for additional news and information on the Class of 2014 Early Decision process later today.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pre-Med Video Chat with Dean Laskaris and Frances Vernon '10

Additional references and resources:
Also, don't miss Colleen's post about Pre-Health at Dartmouth. She provides numerous specific examples of how Dartmouth's Pre-health Program stands out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Facebook and Applying to College

I've heard many admissions "conspiracy theories" out there about all types of things. One that many seem to believe is that Admission Officers inspect Facebook to learn more about you when making our decisions. One major purpose of this perspectives blog is to debunk the myths and misconceptions out there about Dartmouth admissions. So let's debunk this one (at least as it relates to Dartmouth admissions. I don't and can't speak for other schools.)

Never would we use Facebook to learn more about you for making an admissions decision. Honestly, if I was on Facebook while reading applications I would be hard pressed to get through even a single file given how easily I'm amused by what my friends are doing.

Also, you should definitely set your privacy settings so only your friends can view your profile. Although Dartmouth was one of the very first schools to become part of Facebook (back when it was thefacebook.com), we don't have any special connection that would allow us to see anything more than anyone else. We take privacy and confidentiality very seriously.

Also, the reliability of information on Facebook is questionable. We don't want to see the photos your friends tagged you in. Nor do we want to hear what your friends have to say about your status update at 3am.

How we do use Facebook: Discover Dartmouth
Currently the one way Facebook may be used in the college search process is through our Discover Dartmouth Facebook group. There's a wonderful group of current students who are available in the group to answer your questions and offer information about Dartmouth. If you have a question a student can't answer, they'll contact me or another admissions officer and we'll reply as soon as we can. It's the people who make Dartmouth special and we hope you'll use Discover Dartmouth to meet these people and hear directly from them.

Facebook is Your Space
We know the college admissions process is stressful enough. Please don't get yourself worked up about your Facebook profile. That's your space and we do not look at it for admissions. In fact we have a policy not to befriend applicants so that we respect your space in this process. If you're going to be concerned about what's on Facebook, be concerned because your mother, teacher, or possible employer could be watching (but I don't mean to start any more conspiracy theories). Relax. We're not.

I'm afraid to ask, but what other admissions theories have you heard? I'd love to provide the real story behind the myths and misconceptions.