Thiago “Chad” Branco ’13
Thiago Branco '13 from Jacerei, Brazil
After living in California for a year as an exchange student from Brazil I decided that I wanted to return to the U.S. to pursue my college education since I had adapted to the country so well. I was also interested in a U.S. college experience due to my frustration with the Brazilian college system, which only accepts students on a pass/fail basis on a test score, instead of valuing them as individuals who aren’t just a number.
Frustrations While Finding a Fit
I returned to the U.S. to research and apply to colleges during my senior year, but was a little disappointed when I visited some campuses and college fairs. Many colleges did not show a lot of enthusiasm when I mentioned being an international student and some told me I was a little behind on preparing for college applications when they saw that I hadn’t yet taken any SATs or my TOEFL at that point.
Welcomed at Dickinson
When I expressed my frustrations with my exchange student coordinator she suggested that I look into her alma mater: Dickinson College. I must confess that given my past experiences I was not expecting much when I decided to call the admissions office— I could not have been more wrong. I was warmly greeted into the Dickinson community with a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement. The day of that very first call, for example, a folder was made for me and I was encouraged to take all of my standardized tests as soon as possible and told that if I needed anything I could always call or e-mail.
I dedicated many hours to exploring the college’s Web site as well as seeking out the opinions of other students, only to realize that Dickinson was the college I have always dreamed of. Dickinson is a liberal-arts school with small class sizes, a globally oriented campus and curriculum, beautiful acreage, amazing study-abroad opportunities and friendly people (a virtue that I have come to realize belongs not only to staff members, but also to current students and alumni). It did not take a lot for me to decide that Early Decision was my best choice because I had found the best school for me.