Office Hours: Dartmouth Admissions Tips

Uploaded by Dartmouth on 22.12.2010

>> Dan Parish: Welcome to this special admissions edition
of The Office Hours.
My name is Dan Parish.
I'm the director of admissions recruitment here at Dartmouth.
And I'm joined by Maria Laskaris who is the dean
of admissions and financial aid.
Tonight we are going to answer your questions
about the application process, and we're going to offer tips
on what you should do and what you should follow as you plan
to submit your application over the next --
hopefully -- few days.
So let's start there.
You should know that the application deadline is
January 1st.
You have advice you want to give on what they should do to get
to January 1st and still be feeling healthy and awake
and not stressed out about this?
>> Maria Laskaris: Sure, great question.
As Dan said, I'm Maria Laskaris,
dean of admissions and financial aid.
So welcome and thank you for joining us.
First of all, don't panic.
You do have ten days.
With the common app online you can hit the submit button
January 1st and it will get to us in plenty of time.
So I suggest take the next ten days, kind of clear your head.
Most of you probably are finishing school today
and maybe tomorrow.
I'm sure your teachers have given you lots of homework.
No one's letting up on you just because you're senior.
So take a day or two, kind of clear your head,
gather your thoughts and just polish it off.
I'm sure you're pretty close anyway, so it's just a matter
of finding a little time to kind of get that time and space away
from school and just put the finishing touches.
>> Dan Parish: And I'm sure most of you all attend schools
that have already required you to meet certain deadlines
for them -- your high school guidance office,
your college counseling office, your teachers --
but for those of you who still have a school day left tomorrow,
just make sure that you've done everything
that your high school has asked you to do.
And don't panic if you haven't.
If we get back here on January 3rd, when we've arrived back
from after the holidays on January 3rd,
we'll still have materials coming in.
If there's something you need to check in with
about at your school, you'll have the chance to do that.
So the first two questions.
Let's start with "How can I be sure
that my transcript reached the admissions office?"
Let's start with that.
>> Maria Laskaris: Sure.
We have something that we call online applicant services.
So as soon as you send one part of your application,
we will open a file for you.
And you will receive an email from us with information
on our online a applicant services.
It's password protected, so you'll get a login and a PIN.
And you can go to the website and check to see
which materials have been received.
As Dan said, we're going to get a lot of mail
over the next two weeks and once we get back
to the office January 3rd.
So it may take us a while to actually dig
through the online submissions, both the online and the paper.
So as Dan said, don't panic.
But we will provide you with the tools
that you can adjust on a regular basis.
Check to see if your materials have made it to our office.
>> Dan Parish: During early January the online applicant
services page will just have a message that says
"Thank you for your application.
We're working really hard to get everything entered and indexed
and get it all squared away."
And we will post an incomplete message later in January
or as we get to February.
So don't worry if you haven't heard the specifics from us.
As long as you have an acknowledgement from us,
you know that we're building your application file,
we're working on it, we're taking it care of it.
And then once we know we've had a chance
to process most everything we've received,
at that point we'll send a message out late January,
early February that will tell you, "Okay,
here's what we're missing.
We've had a few problems.
Let's follow up."
And usually everything you've sent gets to us.
We do this a lot.
We receive a lot of information.
We have really good systems in place to catch this.
So one of the questions is
about what we think might be the most important component
of the application.
So what do you tell people when they say "What's the key thing?
What's the most important part?"
>> Maria Laskaris: Well, the answer is
that every part is important.
But I think you have a chance to just start it off
with your own essay and the information
that you want to tell us.
Most of you are probably thinking about I need
to finish the essay; I want to polish it off.
Or maybe you haven't started yet.
So maybe that's a great place to start, with the essay.
It is an opportunity for you to tell us a little bit
about yourself, some of the things
that you think are most important, things that you'd
like us to know about your hopes, your dreams,
your aspirations, your accomplishments,
things that have been challenging for you.
Pretty much anything goes.
But really what we want to hear is we want to hear about you.
We want to hear from you.
We want to get to know you a little bit before we delve
into your transcript
and recommendations and your test scores.
Your part is probably one of the most important parts.
And, Dan, you've read a lot of essays
and might have some thoughts that you want to share as well.
>> Dan Parish: And I always say
that the single most important part
of the application depends a little bit on you:
your strengths, your weaknesses, your perspectives.
Those are the things that are going to rise up
and grab our attention.
So for some of you there may be one part of application
that becomes more critical and more crucial
than for somebody else because it represents a real strength,
a real opportunity.
Or maybe the liability in your application that makes us want
to go back and read other things.
Most students who apply
to Dartmouth are successful high school students
who have taken challenging courses and done well.
That's the key to being in the mix in the applicant pool.
If you've done that, you've challenged yourself
at a high level and you've done well, then everything else
in your application can start to become more
or less important depending on you.
And it might be that your essay grabs somebody's attention.
We want to ask more questions about that.
It might be that talent that you have.
It might be the energy that comes
across in your recommendations.
For each of you it's going
to be something a little bit different.
We started off talking about the deadlines.
And somebody's asked just generally how strict are we
about the deadlines?
How stringent are we?
And as I mentioned at the beginning,
your part of the application should be filed on time.
You've got time to do that.
Most of you will file it online
through the common application website.
But we do understand that there are pieces of the application
that are out of your control.
So we know something might happen
with your secondary school report arriving
and it might arrive late.
That's okay.
A teacher recommendation might arrive late.
So we understand that things may be coming in over time.
If it's mailed internationally or sent through the mail
and can't be sent online that there may be a delay there.
We understand that.
That said the deadline's there for a reason.
We want you to do what you can to meet the deadline.
But you can only control what you can control
and we understand that.
So Dream in Green has asked the question:
How do you understand each student's context in terms
of classes, finances, etc. --
all those things that sort of determine
where somebody's coming from and influences their application?
How do we get at that?
>> Maria Laskaris: Well, that gets really to the art
of what we do in the admissions.
We want very much to understand you as an individual.
And for us to do that,
we do look at what we call the context --
the context of your home environment,
your school environment, a community in which you're living
and working and going to school.
And that really helps us appreciate the opportunities
that you've had, how you've taken advantage of.
Have you taken advantage of those opportunities?
And also perhaps some of the things
that you haven't had available to you
and what you've done instead of or because you haven't been able
to pursue one avenue or the other.
So we'll take a look right off the bat,
starting from the first part your application.
You will tell us a little bit about your family background.
Did your parents go to college?
Do you have siblings?
Did they go to college?
Are they younger?
You'll tell us a little bit about the school you attend.
We'll know from your high school profile a little bit
about the high school -- who else is in that school with you,
what are their aspirations in terms of college
or post secondary school opportunities?
And that will help us appreciate a little bit
about who you are as an individual.
And again, the opportunities, the resources.
And then as we look at your essays, your transcripts,
your grades, your recommendations,
we'll get a sense of how you as an individual took advantage
of the opportunities and resources
that have been available to you right there.
And we recognize that all students will have very
different kinds of opportunities or very different kinds
of contexts that they're coming from.
So that's really one of the first things we try to do,
one of the fundamental things we do
when evaluating your application.
>> Dan Parish: And our goal is try
to understand how you've used the resources available to you.
And at its most basic level, your high school profile --
and all of you, most of you attend schools
that will send a profile -- that just give us a good basic set
of what opportunities do you have in the school,
how are courses labeled, what's the community like.
We'll try to get at that.
So just a question from B. in Miami that I'll try
to answer quickly, some you may be QuestBridge students.
Dartmouth is QuestBridge partner.
And somebody's asking if it's okay
to reuse the QuestBridge essays for the common application.
And it is okay.
We recognize that students who've been
through the QuestBridge process may have put a lot of work
into their QuestBridge application.
And we recognize that you may reuse that.
You don't have to reuse them.
You can use a new essay if you've got a new essay;
but if not, we're not going to require
that you submit a new one.
We've got a couple of questions about the peer evaluation.
So Dream in Green again asks us what we're looking
for in the peer evaluation.
Johnson asks whether an adult can fill
out peer evaluation form.
And let me just start with Johnson's question.
In general our advice around the peer evaluation a lot
of times people will ask "Is it okay for my sister
to write it -- my cousin,
my friend who doesn't go to school with me?"
All of those are perfectly appropriate.
In general, my advice about the peer evaluation is it should
come from somebody you consider a peer.
And that's generally going to be somebody who's an age peer,
but not somebody who's an adult presence in your life.
So somebody you work with who's a few years older, that's great.
That's fine.
But usually not from somebody who's more of a parent figure
or more of an adult figure.
>> Maria Laskaris: I think what we're trying to get
from the peer evaluation and I think I saw question just go up,
go past us in terms of what are you looking for in terms
of peer evaluation, we want to get a sense of who you are.
Let's say I was your classmate, or your roommate,
or I was on a team with you,
or I went on a Dartmouth outing trip as a trippy.
So I want to get a sense of you as a person, but as someone
who I could see perhaps again,
sharing this Dartmouth experience
with on a day-to-day basis.
So that's why we're looking , as Dan said,
for someone who's an age peer.
It doesn't that mean you can't have someone who's a little bit
older or younger.
But in general, I think we prefer someone's who's close
in age just to get that sense of you as a real friend, person,
classmate, colleague, etc.
>> Dan Parish: Quick practical question:
"Can the peer evaluation be submitted electronically?"
It can be.
Your peer can submit via email.
There's on the Dartmouth admissions website there's
advice about submitting application materials.
Probably some our chatters can post the link
to that on the chat.
There's a special email address for processing applications
that that can be sent to.
So if your peer wants to submit it via email, they can do that.
Can I submit supplements after I send in my application?
The short answer to that is yes,
you can continue to send information.
And again, on the Dartmouth admissions website there's some
advice about how you should send those and to
where you should send things like that.
Let's talk a little bit
about what you might mean by supplements.
So do you want to start just briefly talk
about the art supplement and how we evaluate that?
>> Maria Laskaris: I think we've got three sort
of official supplements.
One would be the art supplement, one would be a supplement
if you're a home school student, and one would be a supplement
if you're an international student.
And as Dan was suggesting, there are other kinds of supplements
that you might send in terms of updates to your application.
But let's talk about first of all the art supplement,
which is probably one of the most common supplements
that student submit along with their Dartmouth application.
It's fine to send that after the deadline.
But again, I think if you can get it to us as close
as possible in early January to the deadline,
that's really I think to your advantage
because what we will do is once we receive the information --
obviously want to match it up with whatever CD
or whatever materials you've sent along
with that paper supplement --
to make sure we get those
out to the appropriate academic departments.
So our music faculty; our studio art faculty;
our theatre faculty; dance;
film and television studies; computer science.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple.
But many faculty members have volunteers
to help us evaluate these materials.
So we'd like to get them, the materials, to the faculty
in a very timely manner.
So they can then get their evaluations back to us
and we can fold that into our evaluation.
So I think if you can get these materials us I would say
within the first two to three weeks of January,
that would be terrific.
If you start getting into mid to late February,
that really does become too late.
It's too late for our faculty to do a thoughtful evaluation.
And then it really gets too late in terms
of our own decision-making process.
So we get a lot of art supplements.
We encourage students to send those if they are things
that represent a real interest, something they'd
like to continue to pursue here at Dartmouth.
Our faculty are very eager to evaluate materials.
But again, within the first two or three weeks
of January would be ideal.
>> Dan Parish: And then there are a number
of questions just coming up in the chat
about supplemental information in general:
one is whether it makes sense to send
in an additional essay explaining why you want to go
into a specific major; there's another that asks
since Dartmouth's supplement is the peer evaluation
and we don't have a special supplemental essay,
somebody's asking how do I stand
out if there's no supplement essay?
Just as an initial answer to that, one thing you should keep
in mind is that on the common application not specific
to Dartmouth but on the common application there is that part
that says "Is there anything else you want to tell us?"
So if there is some specific piece that you want to be sure
that we understand -- your well-developed interest
in a particular academic area, a research project
that you weren't able to explain elsewhere --
use that part of the common application for that.
My advice around that is to be concise.
Don't write paragraphs and paragraphs.
Don't make it longer
than a standard common application essay.
But a couple of paragraphs -- 200, 300, 400 words --
about something that is a special interest is
perfectly appropriate.
And Dartmouth doesn't have a supplemental essay.
We don't ask you why Dartmouth is your first choice.
We're really looking for the common application
to give you a chance to shine.
Your peer evaluation, the recommendation, the other pieces
of the application will come together.
The one last piece about the specific major question is
that when we read applications, we're not admitting you
into a major at Dartmouth.
And often we don't notice what major you might want
to pursue here unless it really has an impact on your case.
You love classics.
It's what you've loved your whole life.
You want to major in it.
That will come out in your application.
But if you happen to be undecided
or you've checked three majors, don't worry about it.
We know that students will come to Dartmouth
and make some choices about that once they get here.
So let's see, Sydney wondering about the SAT subject test
or SAT II scores: "How heavily are they weighed
in the application process?"
So what do you want to tell people
about testing and subject tests?
>> Maria Laskaris: Let's talk in general about testing.
It's probably the bane of everybody,
every high school senior's existence at the moment.
We take testing as one of the many pieces of information
that we're going to collect about you or on your behalf.
And it is a part of the process,
but we are not making our decisions based
on your test scores.
High test scores do not guarantee admission;
low test scores do not doom you to never being admitted
to a place like Dartmouth.
It's just a part of the composite picture
that we put together on you.
The reality is that most students who apply
to Dartmouth actually test pretty well.
And our definition of "pretty well" is pretty broad.
And you can go to our website.
You'll see that we admit students with a range of scores.
Because we don't think scores alone are the only thing
that predict a student's ability to be a successful
and contributing member of this community.
So perhaps we can point you to information on our website
where you can see the range of scores
of our admitted student group.
But I think that should give you a sense that they're part
of the process but they are essentially not drivers
of our decision.
And specific to SAT II's we allow you
to use the score choice option and ask you
to select whichever two SAT II's you'd like to send us.
I would think you want to send us what you think are your
strongest subjects.
But again, it's just one piece of data that is a part
of the overall picture we're trying to put together of you.
And again, most of our applicants tend
to do pretty well across all of these academic measures.
>> Dan Parish: Right.
And keep in mind that we have three to three and a half years
of your high school transcript in front of us.
So testing in general is held up against that.
It can be compared back and forth.
It can help sort of supplement and support what we know.
And the subject test
in particular can really maybe give us a little more
well-rounded picture of what that grade
on the transcript might be.
It might contradict it or contrast back
and forth a little bit.
So we got a question about alumni interviewing.
So that question from Chad is:
"Does every student get an interview?
What should I do if an alumnus has not yet contacted me?
Am I at a disadvantage if I don't get an interview?"
So let me just try to briefly address some
of the practical things around alumni interviewing.
We don't reach every student
in terms offering an alumni interview.
We try really hard to reach as many students as we can.
Typically 50% to 60% of students who apply are interviewed.
We use the interview similar to what Maria said about testing.
It's one piece of many in the application.
So it's another piece that gives us another perspective
on who you are.
If we're trying to answer the question
"What might the student bring to Dartmouth?
What are their biggest strengths and weaknesses?
What stands out?"
The interview is one other piece that helps us round that out.
It's typically the last piece
that we look at in an application.
And we understand that we don't have volunteers everywhere
and we can't reach every student.
So we recognize that not every student will have the chance
to have an interview.
And we track that pretty carefully and work pretty hard
to make sure students aren't at a disadvantage
by not having an interview.
I don't know.
What else would you say about the interview?
>> Maria Laskaris: Yeah, just to underscore that you are not
at a disadvantage if you don't have one.
And I think of it similar to the peer evaluation;
it's another perspective on you as a person from someone
who probably doesn't do a lot of recommendation writing or tons
and tons of interviewing --
although a lot
of our interviewers are very experienced at interviewing.
But it is a very fresh perspective on your candidacy.
One of the things that's I think is hardest for us
who have been doing this admissions work
for a long time is that we rarely get
to meet the applicants face to face.
And we very much, when we read an essay and read something
about you that really piques our curiosity, we really can't pick
up the phone or send you a text message and say, "Hey,
can you talk about this?"
But I think an interview is an opportunity for someone
who is very familiar with Dartmouth and very much in tune
with what it is that we're trying to do
as we put together a student body year in and year
out to say, "You know what?
I know that Dartmouth really likes kids who have this kind
of passion or interest
or who have these interesting experiences."
So tell me more about it.
I think oftentimes when you writing your own essays is my
perspective is students tend to stop a little bit short
from really delving into the details.
They tend to write put together very-crafted essays
but many times just don't take that extra step
of telling us why they've chosen this topic
or why they've taken this opportunity,
and a good interview, or a good peer evaluation,
or a good recommendation from a teacher or counselor.
Those are the places we learn the why, not just what you do,
but why you've made those decisions.
So that's why I like interviews, and peer evaluations,
and even recommendations because they help give us some texture
to all the things that you've done.
>> Dan Parish: Another quick point on supplements
since we're not too far away from that.
One student asked if it's okay to send
in an art supplement even though you're planning
on pursuing another major like biology.
Again, we're not admitting you into a major.
And we recognize that there are a lot of students who apply
to Dartmouth who have a passion for music,
for vocal performance, for the arts who may want to continue
to pursue that really high level here but may end
up majoring in something else.
So part of what that art supplement does
for you is allows you to show us what you've invested your time
in and the talent you've gained from that.
So that's perfectly appropriate.
Quick practical question: "What percent of the class was filled
through early decision?"
>> Maria Laskaris: This year it was just about 40%.
And for the last several years we've been anywhere
from 35% to 40%.
So it's tough.
We've seen our early decision applicant pool grow pretty
substantially, and a lot of really terrific students
who have Dartmouth as their clear first choice and we'd
like to respond to that.
But we also know that the majority
of our applicant will wait until January 1st.
And that's perfectly appropriate.
We recognize you will have a lot of great choices
and so recognize you're not ready to make
that binding commitment.
We do all that we can to preserve enough places
so that we can also admit lots
of terrific students weren't ready to make
that binding commitment to Dartmouth.
So about 40% this year and lots of space
for all the terrific students out there
who are applying regular.
>> Dan Parish: Great.
There's a question about the role of the AP test scores
in admissions decisions.
And if you share your AP test scores with us,
we will factor them into our consideration.
And in some ways similar to the SAT subject tests,
they help confirm that you've mastered a certain body
of material, that you've performed
at a high level and done well.
And so we factor that into our decision.
We recognize that there are many students in our applicant pool
who won't have AP scores to share at this point,
and that's why we require the subject tests
and the SAT reasoning test or the ACT and not the AP scores.
But if you have AP scores to share
or international baccalaureate scores to share, we'll factor
that into what we know about you.
We've got your transcript,
we've got your required test scores and those will help.
Nitzda [assumed spelling] is asking "How can I show
that Dartmouth is my top choice?"
>> Maria Laskaris: Right.
Well, I guess a couple ways you might approach that,
as Dan mentioned earlier,
the common application provides a section that just says
"additional information.
" And you're certainly welcome to put some information there
if you feel so inspired.
An interview is another opportunity.
An interviewer might say, "How did you learn about Dartmouth?
What appeals to you about Dartmouth?"
I mean, there are opportunities for you throughout the process
to share that information.
I think it's really important for you to realize, though,
that we know that you're going to have a lot
of really great choices.
We are not basing our admissions decision on the students
who contacted us the most, or have visited us the most,
or send us lots of information that says
"Dartmouth is my first choice."
We hope that every student who applies
to Dartmouth is thinking Dartmouth is one
of their top choices.
And believe me, once we admit you, we're going to do all
that we can to get you to choose Dartmouth.
So the fact that you're in our applicant pool,
we take as a sign of your serious interest in Dartmouth.
So don't feel that you have to go to great lengths
to convince us that you would like to attend Dartmouth.
We believe that if you've applied,
that you are considering Dartmouth as one
of the schools you can see yourself at.
And we recognize that you'll have a lot
of great choices, though.
And so we've got our work cut
out of us once we've admitted you
to convince you to come to Dartmouth.
But let us do that.
You worry about your essay and let us take it from there.
>> Dan Parish: Right.
And those of us who read admission applications don't
know about your history about with Dartmouth
when we read, and we shouldn't.
We don't track your contact in that way.
We really think if you've invested the time
in the application, we should respect that.
We should admit bright, high-achieving,
fun people who are going to really engage with this campus.
And on the other end of it, as Maria said,
we want to convince you that this is really a special place.
So we recognize that we have some pressure on us
to show you how special Dartmouth is once we've
admitted students.
How much are teacher recommendations weighed?
How are they factored into the process,
and particularly compared to the essays that students write?
>> Maria Laskaris: Again, the essay, that's your chance
to speak to the admissions staff very directly
about something of importance to you.
I think teacher recommendations really help us see you
as a student in a particular school,
a classroom, a community.
It gives us a sense of what kind of student you are.
And the neat thing about the Dartmouth --
both Dan and I are Dartmouth alums, and so we can speak
from our own experience, although it's been a while.
So long for me and not so long for you.
But this is a place that welcomes students
from all different kinds of backgrounds, all different kinds
of interests, all different kinds
of approaches to their learning.
So you may be the most talkative
and outgoing student who's always raising his or her hand
and is always ready at that moment
with something really interesting to contribute.
Or you could be the kind of person who sits back
and takes it all in, kind processes the information
and then comes out with that zinger that everyone says, "Wow,
this is a really smart person."
So I think it's important for you to realize
that at Dartmouth there is room for all kinds of students,
wherever you fit on that spectrum.
And the teacher recommendation just helps us see you
as the student in the classroom.
What kind of a student are you?
What are the things that you like to do?
How do you approach your learning?
They help us put your grades in context as well
because probably no surprise, most students who apply
to Dartmouth have done well in the classroom.
And so if we just want to look at your grades and your scores,
we couldn't tell you apart fort the most part.
And so a teacher helps us personalize the grades
to say, "You know what?
So you're looking at a B in this AP stats course.
You know what?
This was the second highest grade in the course.
I'm a really tough grader."
So a good teacher recommendation really helps us contextualize
your transcript as well as help us understand you
as a unique individual -- not a set of grades,
not a set of courses, but as a person who is engaged
in the learning process.
That's what I'm looking for when I'm looking at a recommendation.
>> Dan Parish: We've got a question from Average Guy.
I like that screen name.
"How is the intended major taken into account
and how much does it matter?"
And as I mentioned earlier,
at Dartmouth we're not admitting you
into a major when we admit you.
And one of the things we've learned about students who apply
to Dartmouth over the years is that frankly, they have a couple
of interests in mind when they come here,
they think they might know what they want to major in,
and they'll probably change their mind over time here.
So there are some students who enroll
at Dartmouth knowing what they wanted to major in,
they stick with it, they go all the way through.
But more students arrive here with a couple of ideas in mind
and then zero in on it over time.
So when we review your application, to be honest,
we often don't notice the major
that a student has indicated unless it has a real impact
on the candidacy.
So the student who's drawn toward the sciences
or engineering but hasn't been a successful math students,
that's probably something we're going to notice.
The student who's drawn toward the sciences
and that's just been a real area of strength for them,
maybe we're going to notice that.
But for most students the role of the particular major
in the decision is pretty minimal unless it really is
important to you and impacts your case.
Julia asks if she can send an extra resume
to fit other extracurriculars
that weren't captured in the common app?
So what advice do we give about extra resumes?
>> Maria Laskaris: Yeah.
And that's a great question because we certainly see a lot
of variation in the way
that students present their extracurricular activities.
I would say an extra resume is fine, but with a caveat:
we really don't want pages and pages of additional information
about your activities because it's hard for us to get a sense
of what's really been most important.
So I do understand that on a common app sometimes it's really
hard to kind of distill or simplify everything
that you've done over the course of three and a half years
of high school and probably longer
for things you've been involved in for longer than high school
into those nice, neat little boxes.
So I think a very succinct resume where maybe you say
if community service is something you've really been
engaged in for a very, very long time you don't list
out every single activity or organization or cause
that you've supported but you summarize that in bullet points
and say "I've spent this number of years, these are the kinds
of things I've done," that's fine.
That does help us to get a sense of the breadth
and depth of your activities.
So rather than fight the ten pages, if you can summarize it
in one to two pages -- almost like a job interview --
you keep that resume concise and to the point,
that does provide us with another way
of understanding what's been most important to you.
So whether you take the common app boxes
or do a supplemental resume, again,
start with what's most important and then work from there.
>> Dan Parish: And with an additional resume,
if you submit one, a couple of things to keep in mind.
Still fill out the common application boxes.
Those are very helpful to us.
We're going to read a lot of applications
over the course of the winter.
And being able to follow those boxes provides some structure
for us.
And then you can upload a resume with the common application,
so that's the easiest way to go with this.
You can use that additional space piece
in the common application if you want to format that as a resume.
Those are two easy ways to go at it.
If for some reason you need to submit a resume separate
from filing a common application online, again,
you can go to our website.
There's instructions there for submitting extra materials.
And there's an email address you can email it to.
The easiest thing is just to upload it
with the common application if you want to do that.
Danny's asking about an additional essay.
Would it be read?
What would we do with it?
And the same sort of thing.
I think the important thing here is to be concise.
If it's something that's really important that you need
to explain, I think doing it in that extra space
of the common application is appropriate.
And you just don't want it to be longer
than a normal common application essay
and probably it should be shorter.
It should probably be more concise than that.
Let's see.
It sounds like on the chat there are a bunch of questions coming
up about likely letters.
And folks are curious about likely letters
and when they're sent out, and how we use them.
So we should address that.
>> Maria Laskaris: Yeah.
And I guess given the season that we're in to use a metaphor
or analogy with the seasons.
So you can see that there's something wrapped and maybe it's
under a tree, or on a desk, or table.
Maybe it's your birthday and you can see there's a little
envelope for you there, but you can't open it
until that special day.
And in this case, what is our mail date?
April 1st or March 31st?
I should know that.
>> Dan Parish: We should have known this before we
came online.
It's March 31st or April 1st -- one of those two days.
>> Maria Laskaris: We'll make sure you get it.
So think about there's something waiting for you
and you just can't open it.
But chances are it's something that you're going
to be really excited about.
So for us we know that the process from January 1st
until March 31st or April 1st is a very long one.
And actually if you think about all the time
and energy you've invested in visiting colleges,
visiting websites, talking to counselors, parents, friends,
anyone who will listen to your college list, this is something
that I think most of you have probably been thinking
about for quite some time
and probably are ready to have it resolved.
And as we begin the reading process and regular decision,
there are some candidates who surface pretty quickly
who we are very excited that they're in our applicant pool.
And we will send what we call a likely letter,
which just gives them a heads
up that we've read their application and we're excited
that they are in our applicant pool.
One of the really important things
to know is we will admit many students who do not receive one
of these little likely letters from us.
It's very much calendar-driven.
And the way that our applicant pool has exploded,
we are not able to get through every single application before
we start sending these likely letters.
So if you don't get a letter, it doesn't mean
that you will not be admitted to Dartmouth.
But for some small number of candidates at the beginning
of the a process who surface very, very quickly
as really interesting and for us kinds of students we'd
like to see at Dartmouth, we will send out an early letter
that just says, "Relax.
This will resolve itself very nicely
and we're excited you are considering Dartmouth
very seriously.
>> Dan Parish: Great.
A quick answer to Caesar's question.
Caesar's asking about when he can check his application
status online.
After you submit your application,
you'll receive an acknowledgement
from us via email.
It will give you instructions on how
to use our online applicant services page
and you'll get a user name and a pin that you can login.
For most of the month of January,
that online applicant services page will simply say,
"We're still processing materials.
We will let you know if your application is incomplete."
And then late in January or into February once we know we've
really caught up with all the processing
and that everything's squared away we'll update
that online applicant services page
so that it has a checklist on there.
And we'll tell you what pieces of your application are there.
At that same time that we update the checklist,
you'll get an email from us saying
"This is missing; it's incomplete."
But we try to make sure we get all the processing done.
We don't want to tell you
that your secondary school hasn't submitted your report
if they already have and we're just trying to match it
up to the application.
So you've got time before we really confirm
for you what's here and what's not.
But you'll have that login as soon as you apply
and you'll be able to have that information.
J.J.'s asking about being an international applicant.
So are international applicants are evaluated separately
from US applicants or are all applicants part
of the same pool?
>> Maria Laskaris: Well, J.J., let's see it's almost three,
maybe four years ago Dartmouth made the decision
to be fully need-blind in its admission process
for all applicants including international applicants.
Prior to that time,
international applicants did have to be evaluated separately
in the later stages of the admissions process
because we were not fully need-blind.
But today as we've been for the last three
or four years we've been fully need-blind
for all of our applicants.
And so that means
that international applicants are evaluated
in the same manner as our US citizens.
So just like we do for all students, we take a look
at your information, we never concern ourselves
with your ability to pay,
and we make our decisions based upon all you've accomplished,
your potential, and what we see that you bring
to the Dartmouth community.
>> Dan Parish: And we think about the context as we would
for any applicant of where you live,
what are your access to resources?
And let's focus on testing for a second.
You know, we try
to contextualize what role testing should play
in your application if you've submitted the TOEFL --
the Test of English as a Foreign Language and that helps us
to better understand your language abilities.
We use that and roll that in.
And we recognize there may be things
that influence how you perform on those standardized tests.
Is English spoken at home?
What's the language of instruction?
So we take those things into account.
But we're not separating you out into a separate pool
around financial aid or those kinds of issues.
Let's see, quick answer to I don't know
who this question came from, "Do we have to send
in our AP scores official or just self-report?"
You can self-report your AP scores
and we'll factor those in.
If you're admitted to Dartmouth you'll have
to report them directly from the College Board.
So you want to make sure you report them accurately now
so that when we get the official report from this College Board,
it matches up exactly to what you've told us earlier.
But you can self-report those
and then you should report your official test scores through ACT
or through the College Board, the SAT scores,
the subject test scores.
Question from M. "Does applying later hurt my chances
of being admitted?
What if I didn't apply early decision because of concerns
about wanting to compare financial aid packages?"
So somebody files their application on December 30th,
is that different from applying on December 10th?
>> Maria Laskaris: Yeah.
Well, no difference from our perspective in terms
of the timing unless you are very late
in January filing your application.
So again, as we said at the outset, get your part
of the application in as close to January 1st --
ideally no later than January 1st --
and then we'll be all set.
In terms of this dilemma between early decision
and regular decision, and we had an earlier question about that
but maybe it's good to just reiterate our commitment
to preserving enough spaces for our regular decision applicants.
We know that many students aren't ready
to make the binding commitment to Dartmouth.
So that they don't love the institution and it's not
because they don't see themselves being successful
students here, but there are some important considerations
and financial aid is one of them where they
and their family feel they're just not ready
to sign on the dotted line.
So that if they were admitted,
they would be committing themselves to matriculate.
And so they've decided to wait till regular decision.
So we, as I said at the outset, have set aside many,
many places because we recognize
that our regular decision pool will be full
of very talented student and a diverse array of backgrounds,
and perspectives, and experiences.
And those are just the kinds of students we'd like to include
in the Dartmouth community.
So it doesn't hurt your chances of being admitted.
And we recognize that not all students are ready November 1st
to say "Dartmouth is my clear first choice."
>> Dan Parish: Right, right.
I'm going to answer a question from DKM525 and then I'm going
to let Maria prepare to answer a question from Nola
about how we make decisions.
"Will Dartmouth accept a lot of students from one school,
or is there a cutoff?"
Nobody ever believes us when we tell them this, but no,
there is not a cut off.
And when we make admission decisions we're trying
as best we can to make admission decisions based
on that individual candidate.
So what we try not do is we don't try to stack you
up against the students from your high school
and just compare you back and forth with them.
We're trying to think about where you fit
in the big applicant pool.
What do you bring to Dartmouth?
What rises up?
What are you excited about?
We don't cut off the numbers.
We don't over-manage around the group in your school and say,
"Gosh, if we have this many applicants,
we can only take this many students."
We just try not do that.
We try to avoid that as much as we can.
We're lucky at Dartmouth
that geography doesn't really play a big role
in how we make admissions decisions
because the applicant pool is already geographically diverse.
So we're able really have a lot of freedom
about saying this is a great student, and the state they come
from shouldn't really impact negatively or positively.
We've got enough diversity
in the applicant pool geographically
that we don't have to worry about that.
So it shouldn't limit the numbers you have
from your school.
And one quick -- without naming the school --
I can tell you that there's a school that I've known
for a long time, I've worked in admissions for 20 years
and about five years ago 29 students applied
from this high school.
Large public high school outside a major metropolitan area
in the northeastern United States.
>> Maria Laskaris: That's narrowing it down, Dan.
>> Dan Parish: So that school, 28 or 29 students applied four
or five years ago and I think we admitted 9 or 10 students.
The bad news is the next year 28 or 29 students applied
and I think we admitted two.
And then the following year maybe 23 or 24 students applied
and we admitted five or six.
So it changed each year according
to students who applied.
So now Maria gets to answer the big question here from Nola.
"How do we make decisions?
Is there a committee?"
Do you want to talk a little bit about how often we read
or how many applications we read?
>> Maria Laskaris: That really gets at the heart
of the work that we do.
And we've gone through the early decision process.
And we met as a staff just last week to talk
about how we will the pretty daunting task
of the regular decision review process, just given the volume
of applications that we've received.
And there are a couple of key points I hope people will keep
in mind to our approach to evaluating applications.
The first is individualized review.
So almost kind of taking off from what Dan was saying
from a particular school, we think f you as an individual.
We don't look at you and say, "Gosh, there are 23 students
from this high school, we're only going to admit two
and the rest of them won't even have a shot."
You are an individual.
You are not a part of the group other than your own community
from which you are applying in terms of the context
of your individual application.
But we very much value an approach
that says you're an individual.
We think about you in the context
of our entire applicant pool, which is why we might
in one year take 12 students from a high school
and next year only take 2.
You're not competing against your classmates sitting next
to you in that AP bio class or that AP stats class.
You're competing in the broader international Dartmouth
applicant pool as an individual.
We approach this process with no preconceived notions.
This is a process of discovery.
We don't look at the application and think, "Okay.
I can see what kind of category this student might fall into,"
or "I've seen lots of students who have this set
of activities or set of grades."
We don't approach it that way.
You're a unique individual, and we're trying to figure
out who you are as that individual and how you differ
from the other students in the pool this year.
So the first part is this commitment
to an individualized review.
The second find of fundamental cornerstone
of our review process is what we call "holistic review."
And we talked about test scores, we've talked
about peer evaluations, we've talked about recommendations,
and we've talked about essays.
I think we've talked about grades.
If we haven't, we will soon.
But all of those things we require as part
of our application, we do that so that we get a holistic sense
of you, that is: "Who are you as an entire person,
not just a transcript, not just scores, not just a resume,
not just essays but as an entire whole?"
And we value all those pieces.
And I think as Dan said earlier
in this broadcast each piece is going
to be weighed differently depending upon your strengths,
your accomplishments, your weaknesses,
the context of your school, of your home community,
but it's important for us to see you as a whole and not just
as one slice -- just your scores,
or just your resume, just your essay.
So those two things, individualized review
and holistic review, are real cornerstones
of our application process.
We have a very reading intensive process
where as a staff we're going
to be reading maybe 150 applications per week.
So that's a pretty good clip.
That's not quite 40 hours a week of reading,
but it's pretty darn close.
So we invest a great deal of our time and energy
into reading every single application.
Once every application has been read once,
we begin to make some preliminary decisions.
Some applications do float up pretty quickly
because in the estimation of the admissions officer who read
that file, the applicant is exceptional for any
of a number of reasons.
It's not always the highest scores or the perfect GPA,
but something about the way all those pieces came together spoke
to that admissions officer and said, "This is someone we'd
like to see at Dartmouth."
Not many candidates jump off the page
or off the computer screen on that first read.
There are some number of candidates who,
after one read really we're pretty certain
that they are not prepared to be academically successful.
The good news for Dartmouth is that there aren't many students
who fall into that category.
But there will be some small number of students
who really don't have the fundamental academic foundation
that reassures us that they are ready
to be successful students here.
The vast majority of our candidates really fall
into this possible category
where they've demonstrated academic success,
they have been engaged members of their community,
they've contributed in very positive ways,
and so all the signs point to someone
who would be a successful and contributing member
of the Dartmouth community.
So that's where the real work begins.
We'll have additional rounds of reading
where those files will be sent
to a different admissions officer
who does an independent read.
So without knowing what the first reader recommended,
a second person will start from the beginning
of your application and come to some set of decisions
or recommendations about what they think are your strengths
and how they see you contributing to Dartmouth.
So we'll go round and round with reading pretty much
through January and February.
As we go ahead towards March there will be some small group
of candidates where we may decide to meet
as a small committee or break up into small committees to discuss
because we think in those cases we would benefit
from more perspectives on that candidate
as we work towards a final decision.
So unlike some schools that have a very committee-heavy selection
process, ours really is based on a couple of independent reads
and then some decision-making based upon where readers come
out in evaluating those applications.
Then we work from there.
And again, Dan, you and I have read a lot of applications.
And you have I'm sure a lot of perspective to add in terms
of how you read files.
>> Dan Parish: We typically start,
as Maria said, it's very intensive.
And every admissions officer who's reading an application is
going to start with your part of the application.
So they open up the file and they start
with the personal part of the application.
They progress through to the information
that your school sends us, so your school profile,
a secondary school report, a high school transcript.
And then they move from that piece of the application
to how other people view you in the process,
so the teacher recommendations, the peer evaluation,
the interview if there's an interview.
All those different pieces come together.
And that's pretty much the progression each time we
head read.
As Maria mentioned,
most applications will be read two or three times.
Maybe there will be further conversation
through the committee process.
And as new information comes into the application in between
that first reading and second reading process,
it gets picked up.
And then between the second read
and the third read it gets picked up into the file so that
as we're going along we're trying
to give multiple perspectives, individualized review,
and this holistic process of progressing
from reading what you have to tell us to what your school has
to tell us, to how other people view you.
So a couple questions here.
We've got notification on our screen here that makes it
so that I can't read all the comments that are coming up.
So let's go with "How many people get waitlisted?"
because that's one that I can actually see.
And then I'm going to stand up here and try
to fix what we're getting in the background.
>> Maria Laskaris: Okay.
Well, it will depend.
The number of students that are waitlisted depends
on the applicant pool itself.
One of the most challenging things about working
in a selective college admissions office is
that we will turn away -- in Dartmouth's case --
probably 90% of the students who apply.
And that's really tough because clearly we can fill our class
many times over with all the students who have presented
to us academic information, personal information
that again suggest that they would be wonderful members
of our community and would be successful students
and contributing members of the Dartmouth community.
So we do put some number of students on our waitlist.
It's ranged from as our pool has gotten larger, I would say 1,600
to 1,700 students end up on the waitlist.
This year we'll have to wait and see, no pun intended,
but to see what the pool looks like
and what we think is the right number.
We find it very, very difficult
to turn away some different students.
And so we hope to be able to admit some students
from the waitlist every year.
And so we'll identify a relatively small group,
given the overall size of our pool who will be waitlisted.
>> Dan Parish: And it's typically fewer
than 10% of the applicants.
In fact, typically it's been significantly fewer
than 10% of the applicants.
But half of those students will indicate an interest in staying
on the waiting list and then as we move forward, it's very hard
for us to predict -- in fact, it's impossible for us
to predict whether we'll use a waiting list
or not in a given year.
There have been years over the last ten
where we haven't been able to use the waiting list
and then there have been years where we've admitted 50,
or 60, or 70 students.
So it varies a little bit year to year.
I fixed the problem we had with our screen here.
So we'll go back to some of the questions we've had.
I'm going to answer a question from Nick about family members
who have attended Dartmouth: "Does Dartmouth take
into consideration if family members have
attended Dartmouth?"
And we do.
What we particularly track and what our bosses ask us
about are sons and daughters of alumni who attended Dartmouth.
And we take that into account as we read an application.
It's somebody has a relationship with the college,
they trust us enough that they've allowed their son
or daughter to apply to the college.
We should probably factor that in and take that into account.
In a sea of very qualified applicants
with high-achieving students who've applied, it can be one
of those things that helps us distinguish a candidacy,
it can be one of those things that we factor
into the review process.
And again, it's one of many pieces that swirl
around in an application.
So it doesn't change the course of the application,
but it helps us say, "Well, here's something we ought
to consider and take into account."
And again the number we best know and understand are those
that are sons and daughters of alumni because that's the one
that we can track and sort of take into account historically.
Senior year.
Somebody's asking about senior grades and the media report.
Can they give up now and not work hard anymore?
What do we do with senior grades when they come in?
>> Maria Laskaris: Yeah.
Well, most of you are probably close
to finishing your first semester.
Some you have probably have already finished your
first trimester.
So those senior grades are going to be really, really important,
so no letting up at this point.
And usually schools send us the mid-year report I would say
third week of January, fourth week of January.
We're probably getting some trimester grades
at this point in the process.
And so those very much are going to be considered along
with your 9th through 11th grade grades.
So absolutely keep on doing the great work that you're doing.
It is important to us to see that you are able to sustain
that high level of academic achievement.
Or if you've been on an upward trajectory,
we like to see students who continue
in that upward trajectory.
So we will take a close look at the mid-year grades
or first trimester grades when those are received
and added to your file.
>> Dan Parish: So we're coming to the end of our time.
Our producers are telling us that we should be wrapping up
and getting to the final questions here.
Couple of reminders for you:
use the website,
both to learn more about Dartmouth.
This chat and other past chats are posted online on the site.
There are blogs, there's a lot of information
on there about the college.
There's also a lot of practical information
about the application process.
So go to the website, use that information.
There are some checklists and some helpful guidelines there
about submitting information.
The regular decision deadline is January 1st.
So be sure to pay attention to that.
Don't forget to relax a little bit if you are lucky enough
to have a break from school over these next couple of weeks,
we hope you get some rest and you get a chance
to take advantage of that.
And then I don't know.
Is there anything you want to leave folks with in terms
of what's the most important thing we think about
or what we wrestle with as we make decisions?
>> Maria Laskaris: Yeah, yeah.
I think a lot of people if you ask advice "What should I do?
What's the most important thing for me
to convey in my application?"
You're going to hear a lot of the same thing,
which is just be yourself.
You are a special person, you are an interesting person,
you are a unique individual --
I know it sounds kind of like Sesame Street just a little bit
but it's true.
As a parent, both Dan and I are parents and we know
that you are all unique and interesting.
You have reasons why you do things, you have likes
and dislikes, don't be afraid to share that with us
because that's how we get to know you.
As we said before, we don't have the opportunity
to meet you face-to-face but through your part of the essay,
the things that you can control, we learn a little bit more
about you as a unique individual.
So I would say the most important thing,
sure the grammar and spelling
of your essays are things you should pay attention to,
but beyond that, don't be afraid to just show us who you are.
Because who you are is what we're interested in.
>> Dan Parish: That's right.
You can't reinvent yourself.
You have a record to rest on and play to your strengths and share
with us your interests.
We hope this has been helpful.
This has gone really quickly for us.
So again, --
there's a lot of information in there about how to contact us
and how to submit materials.
And good luck with the application process.
>> Maria Laskaris: Yes.
And I guess the other thing we should say is our office will be
closed on the 24th through January 3rd.
If you have any problems with the common application,
there's tons of resources at the website.
They have got online help and resources.
So we won't be able to answer any of your questions
if you have any trouble submitting.
But please, we encourage you to be touch
with the folks at common app.
I know they staff up pretty significantly because for them,
they're biggest days are December 30th,
31st, and January 1st.
So they want to make sure you're not stressing
about the technology and hitting that submit button.
So Dan said we want you to rest and enjoy this break.
And we appreciate your interest in Dartmouth
and wish you the best in this holiday season.
>> Dan Parish: Thanks a lot.