Full Name: Andres Avalos
Anticipated graduation year? 2023
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve traveled to 5 different countries.
Intended Major: Computer Science
What did you do in the military? Patriot Missile Operator/THAAD Missile Operator
What was your proudest accomplishment in the military? I failed my first physical fitness test at my unit. I worked hard for hours every day after that and within a few months I was one of the top performers in my Battery. I even scored better than the people who had never had issues. It served as one of the first experiences I had that showed me that where you start on your journey is irrelevant, what matters is how far you’re willing to go once you’ve started.
How did you hear about S2S? It was mentioned on the veterans page of a S2S partner school.
What was the best part of S2S for you? The encouragement and emotional support. There were times I would call my S2S manager just to express that I wasn’t sure if someone like me belonged in a top school and that maybe I should try for a more modest and attainable goal. She advised me not to underestimate myself and that I needed to have conviction in my decision to apply to a good school and believe that I belong there. I would not have applied if it hadn’t been for S2S.
Why did you decide to pursue college? I had a modest upbringing. My parents were not educated and I grew up in a state ranked as one worst in education in the country. I wanted to live a prosperous life with a thriving career. I wanted to prove that I deserved a place among the best and brightest people in society. What better way to prove it than to serve your country and receive an education from a top institution?
How has the transition been from the military to civilian life? It is exhilarating. The military put me on course to do things I never would have had the nerve to even try before. I read business articles about the best companies to work for and I feel like reading about working for these companies is no longer just a dream, but an actual option. So for me the transition is exciting because I feel like I’m taking on the world as new and better person.
What are you most excited about in regard to starting college/ the school you are going to attend? Dartmouth is well renowned for it’s smaller size. This allows far more access to the professors than a school of a larger size. Also, since it is a little more isolated than other institutions you have more time and opportunity to know your fellow students. When researching the student culture at larger institutions I found that there were concerns about feelings of exclusivity among the students. I could find little to no such complaints about Dartmouth, if you choose to attend it is because you want to be a part of the Dartmouth family.
What advice would you give to future applicants? Do not underestimate yourself. The discipline taught to us in the military gives us the potential to deliver a formidable performance as a student. I would also say to remember that it’s not just about going to any random good school. Choose a school where you feel you will belong.
What are your goals post-graduation? I want to see if there’s some way I can help veterans obtain a top tier education. The education benefits are nothing short of extraordinary and yet the amount of veterans who actually get degrees is quite low and I don’t fully know why. I would love to do my part to address this issue.