Tag Archives: Dartmouth College

Waiting for the Postman

15 Dec

My daughter’s First Choice College has mailed out its acceptance and rejection letters so it all falls on the trusty United States Postal Service to deliver good or bad tidings to our house.  Any day now.  The College has been cagey about when it mailed out its notices, only saying that everyone will hear by the end of this week, which could mean Saturday.  Not for the first time I complain to anyone who will listen, “That’s so 20th century.  Why can’t they do it like everyone else, electronically?”  I suppose they are trying to help the Postal Service stay in business.

Since last Thursday December 8, several colleges have notified their early decision applicants, mostly through their websites.  Thursday was Cornell University and Columbia University; Friday was University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College and Washington University in St. Louis.  This week, more students found out their fates: Brown University, Duke University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Vassar College, Georgetown University, Tufts University.  To those who got in, hearty congratulations, and to those who did not, please believe that you will end up where you are supposed to be.

It’s been fascinating to watch how news of acceptances trickle out, or rather, in this social media age, how with one tap of the “Return” button, information gets blasted out into cyberspace for all to see at once.  No more calling up your friends to tell them – that’s so 20th century.  My daughter keeps her Facebook page on while doing homework and refreshes it periodically.  Ever so often she yells out to me: “So-and-So got into Such-and-Such!”  Friends then post their congratulations on the admitted student’s page.  By contrast, the pages of the ones who did not get in are silent.

Meanwhile, we are keeping an eagle eye out for the postman this week.

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More Views of Dartmouth College

18 Oct

 

Views of Dartmouth College

18 Oct

These were taken during our visit in August 2011:

Congratulations to the Class of 2011

23 Jun

Today is graduation day for the seniors at our high school and they are to be much congratulated on their accomplishments.  Most of the class of 2011 will be going on to colleges where they will receive a first class education.  From what I could piece together from different sources, here are some highlights of where the students will be going.

Of all the graduating seniors in the class of 2011, 350 of them chose to disclose where they are attending college in the fall, a substantial majority.  Thirty-two of them will be heading to Ivy League colleges, with nine going to Cornell University, six each to the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, four will go to Princeton University, with two each attending Harvard University, Yale University, and Dartmouth College and one going to Brown University.  The co-valedictorians this year will attend Princeton and Georgetown Universities.

By far the largest contingent of students will be heading to Rutgers University, 17 in all.  The University of Michigan also appears to be a popular destination, claiming 15 students.  Other popular colleges include Syracuse University (14), New York University (10), Boston University (8), Colgate University (8), Indiana University (8), Pennsylvania State University (7), the George Washington University (6), Muhlenberg College (6), and Washington University in St. Louis (6).  Two are even heading north to attend McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

By all accounts this was a difficult year for admissions, given the sheer number of applications.  The Common Application folks reported that over 1.8 million applications were filed this past year and the number of applications filed on December 31, 2010 set a one-day record.

As these students leave adolescence and childhood behind and head off into adulthood and bigger horizons, they take with them our hopes and best wishes for a fulfilling, productive, and happy life.  Congratulations to the Class of 2011.

An Early Decision Acceptance

9 Dec

The phone rang, shattering the quiet air.  I picked it up.  It was my mother-in-law.

“Katy got into Brown!”  She announced excitedly.  Katy (not her real name) is my niece, who had applied early decision to Brown University.

“That’s great!  Wow!” I exclaimed and covering the mouthpiece, I turned to my daughter and told her the news.  She nodded and went back to her homework on the computer.  Something flitted across her face but as quickly as it appeared it was gone.

After I hung up the phone, I couldn’t stop marveling about my niece’s accomplishment.  She is the first in my daughter’s generation in my husband’s family to apply to college and she had done very well for herself.

“Isn’t that fantastic that Katy got into Brown?”  I gushed to my daughter.  She turned to me and said,

“I’m very happy for her, Mom, but now the pressure is on.”  I frowned a little, uncertain of what she meant until the import of her words dawned on me.  My daughter is the next to go to college and now her cousin had set a very high bar.

“You don’t have to go to Brown, you know, or an Ivy League school,” I tried to assure her.  She nodded and said,

“I know.  But still…” Her voice trailed off and she continued working on the computer.  I fell silent, not knowing what else to say.  (I’m finding that more often than not these days, I don’t have an adequate response).

Several days later, I was with another sister-in-law who had a daughter in middle school at the time (I’ll call the daughter Emily) and the subject of conversation turned to Katy’s acceptance at Brown.  I casually mentioned my own daughter’s response and she immediately said that Emily had reacted similarly.  Both girls apparently felt the pressure to have to live up to the standard that their cousin Katy had set.

Some of the pressure is self-imposed and personality-driven; both girls want to do well in school because that’s who they are.  But I strongly suspect some of the pressure comes from family, however subtle or unintentional.  My mother-in-law once remarked that among her children, their spouses and now the grandchildren, we had collectively attended all the Ivy League schools except for Dartmouth College and Yale University.  And however much has been written about rebellious teens, most teens still seek their family’s approval.  For my daughter’s generation to get into the Ivy League is pressure indeed, especially since these schools are more competitive than 30 years ago.

Of course, this kind of familial pressure is not unique.  My husband can still recall growing up in the shadow of his brilliant older sister who, incidentally, is Katy’s mother.  His teachers often reminded him that they had taught his sister and he inevitably felt himself being compared to her.  It wasn’t until he realized that as much as he admired his sister’s accomplishments, he didn’t want to be her, that he felt free to chart his own course in life.

It’s been two years since Katy got into Brown and my daughter is now looking at colleges, trying to figure out what she wants.  While life is never without pressure, my hope as a parent is that she, like her father before her, will eventually find her own way.  Isn’t that what we all want for our children?

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