Hanover, MA: Arriving in Hanover, I had my doubts. Why was I thinking of applying to such a prestigious Ivy League school? Was this school right for me? The day I visited Dartmouth, I started out nervous and unconfident, but as the day went on, my fears subsided. I became certain that Dartmouth would be a good choice for me.

My father and I woke early so we could have a full day there. After packing the cooler and throwing on our fall jackets, we jumped in the car, hoping not to be late. I had an interview at 9 a.m. and it took two-and-a-half hours from my home in Braintree. During that seemingly long car ride, I asked myself why I really wanted to go to this school. Finally I realized I knew little about the school. I had heard the name Dartmouth all my life and I knew it was a name to be proud of. I realized, as my father and I crossed the border separating Massachusetts and New Hampshire, my only interest in the school was the name.

As we arrived, my first impression of the campus was that it was beautiful. It was late October and the trees’ leaves were at their peak in color. The surrounding buildings were tall and dark, providing a vivid contrast against the colorful array. We walked briskly into the admissions office as the cold made us quicken our step. Within minutes, my interviewer arrived, introducing himself, and guided me upstairs to his office. At first, I was nervous; I had had other interviews, but this was my first at an Ivy League school. As it began, I eased up and we had a nice conversation. What was thirty minutes seemed like ten. When it was over, I began to feel better about the school. Instead of just being a name, Dartmouth had materialized.

After an information session, we had a tour, which really cemented my interest in Dartmouth. I saw the whole campus and learned what it was really like to go there. Just walking around, I could tell the students were very spirited.

The school seems to put a lot of emphasis on sports, not only for competition, but also for amusement. The school belongs to Division I, though it offers a variety of sports anyone can participate in. Dartmouth has its own ski slopes, which as an avid skier, I was ecstatic to find. Skiing may be chosen as part of the physical education requirement, or just for fun.

Another attribute of the school, as pointed out by our guide, is the wide selection of food. Dartmouth supposedly has everything you could possibly want to eat, from healthy and nutritious to greasy and fatty. Besides being one of the top liberal arts schools in the country, Dartmouth offers a range of opportunities in which students can get involved. After the tour, I realized I had come to like this school, not just for its name, but for its beauty, diversity, and advantages.

If ever you are unsure about a school, my advice is to visit it. Actually going to the school and seeing what it is like will prove whether it is right for you. Having an interview gives you the opportunity to ask questions. The tour, which I think is the most important thing to do when visiting, actually allows you to see the establishment from the student’s point of view. I was doubtful before going to Dartmouth, but after visiting it, my doubt turned to optimism, and now Dartmouth is one of my top choices. f

Reviewed in 1997