As most people know, Dartmouth College is one of the most selective schools with an acceptance rate of 8.7% as of 2018. Statistically speaking, it is more likely for a school to have no students committing to Dartmouth than to have even one; however, Casady seniors Juliet Moncho (’19) and Whitney Thomas (’19) have bested the odds and will both be attending the Ivy League this coming fall. I got an opportunity to interview them this past week and it was super interesting to hear their insights into the application process for both athletes and more traditional students.
Question: How do you feel about attending Dartmouth with a fellow Casady student?
Whitney: I am so excited to get to go to Dartmouth with Juliet! It’s comforting to know I’ll automatically know a familiar face stepping on campus. She’s also pretty familiar with Dartmouth since she’s been committed since sophomore year, so I’m grateful to have her there while I try to navigate the place for myself. And, of course, it’s cool that I’ll get to cheer for a fellow former Cyclone during the soccer games.
Juliet: I’m super excited to be attending Dartmouth with Whitney. She’s someone that I’ve had a strong connection with over the last four years, and as the next for years approach, I’m sure that connection will continue to strengthen. It will be nice having someone to share the long plane rides with and to come back home with. The fact that we’re both going from Casady to Dartmouth is amazing and I can’t wait to share the journey.
Q: What was it about Dartmouth that got your attention?
Juliet: Dartmouth got my attention because it was simply different than any other college I had visited. I never planned on going there, and it wasn’t until I had visited the campus that I actually became interested. When I was searching for where to spend my next 4 years, I knew that I wanted a school that had a strong academic program and an equally strong Division 1 athletic program – Dartmouth fit that mold for me perfectly. I loved the campus, people, and everything about it.
Whitney: The students were the first thing I noticed when I toured. They seemed to have an appreciation for their education outside of grades and competition, but actually wanted to pursue their passion, and just learn to learn. While it is a rigorous school, the student body itself really gave me the impression that people there knew there was more to life than just grades, and really valued having fun and cultivating relationships, as well. Also, its location is stunning, and the campus if very nature-centered, which was a huge draw for me, as well.
Q: How different was the application stage as a soccer player?
Juliet: As a soccer player my application was different because I started my college process my freshmen year when I was 15. I was balancing school and soccer 100% of the time and I had to find a way to keep up academically with Casady while staying at the top of my game in soccer. My recruiting process took up most of my time and energy.
Q: Do you have any advice for athletes hoping to commit next year?
Juliet: To any athletes aspiring to commit to a school, my advice is to stay committed to catching your goal and to be relentlessly driven no matter what! The idea of reaching the next level is easy to think of, but the hard part is staying fully committed to doing what it takes to get there. The process is a grind and it takes a lot of grit, but in the end you’ll look back and thank yourself.
Q: It’s certainly a vague (and sometimes meaningless question), but many students seem to be curious about bettering their chances to get into the prestigious Ivy League schools, so it only seems fair to ask; do you have any advice for students applying to the “Ivies” next year that you wish you’d known?
Whitney: It’s hard giving advice specifically for “Ivies”, because as Mr. Banecker puts it, applying to these places is like “throwing darts in the wind.” Of course you’ll need to keep your grades as high as possible, try to get a good ACT/SAT score, have a good essay/rec letters, and invest time in extracurriculars you’re passionate about. Of course, even if you do all this perfectly, there’s no guarantee of admission, as there are factors beyond your control that help determine if you get in. Thousands of qualified students get denied every year, and it suggests nothing about their ability. So my advice would be to find a few schools that aren’t as selective that you love, and hype yourself up about the idea of going to those places, too. And definitely don’t fall into the idea that your “dream” school is the perfect place for you, because there is no such thing as a perfect school. Just look beyond the label of “Ivy League” because all that really is is a sports conference. I love Dartmouth and know it’s a great fit, but I also know that if I would’ve gotten denied, I would still be set up for success–just on a slightly different path.
Whitney will be studying Biology and Environmental Studies and Juliet is undeclared as of now.