The college process is an exciting part of everyone's life, but it can also be scary. For me, it started out being scary. The idea of leaving the small independent school that I had attended for thirteen years was a frightening concept. I had formed strong relationships with my teachers, friends and the entire community, so naturally I was anxious about leaving. With every college I visited, a crucial question ran through my head: "Will I be ready?"
On the first day of our visit to Dickinson, as my mother and I drove down High Street in Carlisle, my spirits began to lift. The school surrounded me on either side of the street. It was early in the morning and a layer of dew covered the grass and trees. Rays of sunlight shone through the trees, making the little droplets of dew shimmer like sparkling diamonds. The stone and brick buildings and new facilities surrounded by lush green landscaping were all breathtaking. I was enchanted by the beauty of the campus. I smiled, thinking this could be it, my perfect "fit"...but I wanted to make sure that Dickinson would meet my academic interests and expectations.
Invested in Global Education
My mother and I went on the tour of the campus. We saw road signs bearing the names of various cities around the world. Later, we were brought to the televisions that broadcasted international TV shows. Clocks showed the times of cities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and many other places. Our tour guide explained how Dickinson invested a lot of time and energy into global education and sent half of its students around the world. Students had chances to learn, work and intern in various countries. I had visited many schools with study-abroad programs, but Dickinson seemed to not only be sending more than half of its students to foreign countries, but also bringing a little of those countries into the school!
Finding a Place to Learn Best
After the tour, we made our way back to the library for the Dickinson information session. I was interested to hear about the academics because I was most concerned with finding a school that would fit my learning style. I learn best from hands-on experiences. My favorite classes are interactive--those with discussion, projects, simulations and presentations. I also wanted to find a school with teachers who would be available outside of class for extra help. All of these things were possible at Dickinson, with its hands-on style of teaching. I also learned that many of the students at Dickinson form life-long relationships with their teachers, who I found extremely dedicated and passionate about their fields of study as well as teaching their students.
Because of my interest in meteorology, Dickinson's commitment to sustainability caught my attention instantly. Sustainability, I believe, is our only choice for the future, which is why Dickinson's green reputation was especially attractive to me. The various options to get involved in striving for a greener world were endless. From environmental community-service projects to the wide variety of environmental groups, Dickinson was by far the most sustainable school I visited.
Tapping into the Dickinson Network
After my Dickinson visit, I continued to hear great things about the school. My family's close friends, who sent their son to Dickinson in 2002, introduced me to their son's classmates who also attended Dickinson. This allowed me to get a better understanding of the school from a student's perspective. Each alum raved about his or her Dickinson experience. Many of them enjoyed the small, tight-knit community, as well as the vast connections Dickinson has with the outside world. A few of the alumni had used Dickinson's connections to acquire first-rate internships and jobs. I was very impressed with how much of an impact Dickinson still has on its students, even after they graduated. Hearing this was reassuring because I was looking for school that would help me in this important step of my life--towards finding a life-long career.
Many students find challenges in choosing the right school for them, but I was pleasantly surprised with how confident I was in choosing to apply Early Decision to Dickinson. My interests, needs and expectations in a school have all aligned with Dickinson's curriculum, programs, faculty, student body and student life. I had found a comfortable fit for myself to grow as a person in the next critical step of my life.