Miller: Insight From the Front
Veterans offer an interesting perspective on many issues that their peers who have recently finished high school or who have spent all of their post-high school lives at Dartmouth cannot provide. As a student who transferred to Dartmouth, I know a handful of the 18 veterans on campus, some of whom happened to be in my transfer class. Of that group, I have been in numerous classes with them, as well as living with some in the residence halls.

In a recent article about Dartmouth’s recruitment of veterans (
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“Veteran admissions recruitment expands,” Jan. 31), Dean of Admissions Maria Laskaris said that “they’ve seen more and experienced more of the world, and I think that helps students that are 18 to 22 gain some perspective on the things they’re struggling with today.” This is absolutely true. I certainly feel that knowing veterans has enriched my college experience. With over 4,000 undergraduates at Dartmouth, it is a shame that only 18 are veterans.

Dartmouth should continue to seek out and recruit qualified veterans. The College has already partnered with alumni who have served in the various branches of the armed forces, educational consulting groups and community colleges with large numbers of veterans. But Dartmouth can, and should, do more. Dartmouth sends admissions representatives to all corners of the country every year to talk at hundreds of high schools. These same admissions officers could visit bases in the areas they are already going to, allowing Dartmouth to increase its outreach to veterans without drastically increasing the cost associated with recruitment efforts. For particularly strong and promising veteran applicants, perhaps the admissions office could create a program similar to the Native American Fly-In program, which brings promising Native seniors to Dartmouth on overnight visits that can also include in-person interviews with admissions officers. This would increase the number of veterans who are able to see the College and who might ultimately attend. Cost-wise, Dartmouth’s financial aid may be added to the amount that a veteran receives from the G.I. Bill. This additional funding is then matched by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This creates a great opportunity for veterans to come to Dartmouth. Although this is the case, I know that of the veterans I have talked to in my home state of Ohio, none of them knew about the opportunities that Dartmouth could offer them or that a community of veterans already exists at the College. They were interested once I told them about the opportunities, but it was not something that had ever been well publicized, so they had not considered applying to Dartmouth. Last quarter, I was in a class on the social history of Europe, which included a veteran senior who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The class discussion was more varied and interesting than what I have experienced in the vast majority of my courses. Even in the social time before class started, when I would timidly ask my classmate about his experience serving, I gained an insight enormously more personal than anything I had seen on the news in the 11 years since the Iraq invasion. Outside of class, I have also enjoyed several of the veteran’s association’s events and hope that this programming will continue beyond Veteran’s Day. Hearing a veteran’s perspective grounded in real world experience and learning about conflicts that often seem completely divorced from our daily lives would improve the classroom experience for students and professors. Some of our peer institutions are still doing significantly better than Dartmouth, so our recruiting efforts should be expanded. For example, Yale currently has 60 veterans — more than three times the number at Dartmouth. Based on my experience, I know it would benefit the student body and the College as a whole to have more veterans on campus.
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