Episode Seven of Podcast ‘The Search’: Telling Your Story

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Dartmouth’s Lee Coffin talks about the college admissions process.

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Lee Coffin, and his dog, sit on his couch.
7/08/2020
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Every college application is chock-full of data: test scores, grades, academic rankings, and athletic statistics. Yet numbers never fully reveal who you are or what you will bring to the academic community you’re hoping to join. To introduce yourself to the admissions officers who will make that decision, you need compelling words.

In this episode, “Telling Your Story,” Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Lee Coffin and co-host Meredith Reynolds, associate director of college guidance at Roxbury Latin School in Boston, talk with two members of Dartmouth’s Class of 2024 about how they crafted unforgettable essays that catapulted their applications to the top of a lofty pile.

Rashad Brown-Mitchell, who graduated this spring from Fenway High School in Boston, shares excerpts from his mini-autobiography, explaining how challenges in his family life fueled his community activism.

“Packages of green Heineken bottles populated the carpeted basement like books in a library,” he begins. “My uncles’ sounds of laughter, alongside obscenities, echoed off the creamy white walls. As a child, the warmth felt from my uncles’ presence overwhelmed me with happiness and caused me to disregard the evidence of their dysfunction.”

The more Rashad’s family disintegrated, the more he “leaned heavily on the surrounding community spending immeasurable hours volunteering at local shelters, parks, gardens, and many more locations.”

A very different, equally powerful voice rises from Maiah Newell, a recent graduate of Belmont High School in Belmont, Mass.

“Dartmouth and I live at the crossroads of nowhere and everywhere,” she begins. “As a half-Chinese American born in Tokyo, my roots appear tangled to most, but like Dartmouth, it is at the intersections where I define myself.”

“Those sentences are so evocative,” Coffin says. “In that answer, which is the first thing I read when I’m starting a file right out of the gate, Maiah says to me, ‘This is a really smart person who knows how to have her fingers dance across the keyboard and tell her story.’”

“The Search” is now available on SoundCloud and the Department of Admissions website, and will also be available on Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, RadioPublic, iHeart Radio, and Google Podcast.

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