On the first day of my visit to Carleton College on Accepted Students Weekend, I felt like I was on a reality show. I was one of dozens of accepted students, sitting in a large auditorium, waiting for my name to be called by one of the hosts. Whoever would call my name would give me their personal tour of Carleton, clear out a space in their dorm for me to sleep, and shape my perception of the school. Finally my name was called by Sasha, a freshman Quest Scholar at the time.
Sasha immediately made me feel comfortable; the pressure of the “Are You Ready To Be A Carl?” faded and I felt at ease. Having applied through QuestBridge to Carleton, I had dozens of questions: Should I consider non-QuestBridge schools? How will I know that this QuestBridge school is THE school? How do I weigh the importance of financial aid in my final decision? Sasha discussed her experience with the application process and answered even my most trivial questions. Besides mitigating the stress of the decision process, Sasha enabled me to fall in love with Carleton.
In the evening, Sasha invited me to follow her to an Ebony practice, one of Carleton’s dance performance groups, open to dancers with two left feet, two right feet, or one of each. I sat in the front of the dance room with other accepted students and watched all of the Carls dance to Lady Gaga. Some Carls were on beat, confident in every move they made; others were lost two measures behind, hysterically laughing, making enthusiastic faces to compensate for their dancing. Carleton’s personality shone through ten times more than it had on the classic tours, the information sessions, and the student panels of other schools. And I adored its personality.
Before coming to Carleton, I didn’t quite understand what it meant to be a Quest Scholar once on a campus. Sasha showed me that it means you are finally allowed to dance; the stress of college applications and financial aid forms were over. As a Quest Scholar, you finally are given four years, at an amazing school, to spend dancing.
By: Margot Radding
Carleton College, Class of 2018