Twins end up at the same College: Hanover's lookalikes: Some apply together, others arrive by chance

by Kathrin Weston | 10/12/98 5:00am

When you arrive at college, you search for connections among strangers. You bond with people from your hometown. Imagine a classmate who shares your birthday and your last name.

Being a twin at Dartmouth is "really cool," Rachel Globus '02 said. She and her sister Robin, who is older by nine minutes, have always been very close.

For Rachel Globus, the relationship means "knowing someone you can absolutely trust and absolutely depend on," she said.

Globus said the two have fun when they are together, but she is annoyed when people confuse their names.

Although she said she is "sick of being part of someone else's identity" when she is mistaken for her sister, she is not insulted when it happens.

"I'm so used to it, I just accept it," Globus said.

Being a twin is also a good ice-breaker for conversations, Globus said. "It's something to talk about," she said.

Both twins went on a college tour during their junior year of high school, but they were not originally planning to attend the same college. She and her sister actually wanted to force themselves to separate when they applied to college, Globus said.

However, both twins considered Dartmouth. Robin Globus applied and was accepted to the College under the Early Decision program, while her sister chose to apply later, as a regular applicant.

After their Dartmouth Outing Club trips, Rachel Globus said, she and her twin spent very little time with each other, but now they are together more often to talk about their new experiences at college.

"It's good to have someone," Globus said. "I really need to talk to her."

She said while her close relationship with her sister may be a special case, it is sometimes an obstruction to developing new, close friendships.

Rachel Globus said she and her sister, who had the same group of friends in high school, now have different, but slightly overlapping social circles at Dartmouth.

They are not taking any classes together this term, she said, but probably will sometime in the future. They also have similar interests, she said, but intend to become involved in different activities.

"I hope we don't end up doing all the same stuff," Rachel Globus said.

The sisters did not request to room together, and now they live fairly far apart on campus.

'College is for independence'

Mirror-image twins Rachel Garaas '02 and her sister Sarah have a similar story. Initially, Rachel Garaas said, they were not planning to attend college together.

They applied to the same eight colleges, but did not reveal their top choices so they would not influence each other. Dartmouth happened to be the first choice for both twins, and the first few weeks have been a good experience for them, she said.

While she and her sister are close and get along well, they intend never to room together, Rachel Garaas said.

"College is for independence," she said.

While the two do not deliberately try to separate from each other and both are taking the same class, Education 10, they spend their time with different circles of friends, Garaas said. Though they both shared the same interests in high school, they are not pursuing the same activities at Dartmouth, she said.

Garass said although most students she has met at the College have "major problems" telling them apart, she has grown accustomed to being confused with her sister. She said she even feels bad when people she does not know greet her around campus, mistaking her for her sister.

Garaas said the subject of being a twin is often a good conversation starter. She said students, noticing her North Dakotan accent, have even asked her, "Are you a twin from Fargo?"

When paths divide

Molly Feltner '01 said she and her twin Jennifer, who is on the Chinese Foreign Study Program in Beijing this term, also did not intend to go to the same college.

She always knew she wanted to go to Dartmouth and applied early decision. Her sister wanted to go to a different university and applied to Harvard, but came to Dartmouth when she was not accepted because she also liked the College, Molly Feltner said.

Feltner said she and her twin did everything together before they came to college, participating in the same activities, sharing a common group of friends, even coincidentally choosing the same dress and shoes in a large mall and then wearing that identical outfit to their prom.

"People treated us as one entity," Feltner said, "Here, we started to branch off and do our own thing."

Molly Feltner is involved with the DOC and joined the fencing team, while her sister is concentrating on learning Chinese. Molly Feltner described her twin as "eager to be independent."

"Jen wants to make sure she's different," she said. "She goes out of her way to do it."

Feltner said although she and her sister are very close, they also got on each other's nerves last year.

She said she is not annoyed when people confuse her with her sister, because it happens so frequently she has grown used to it. At the same time, Feltner said, they both wanted to be individuals, rather than being treated as a set.

"We're pretty much best friends, but we also desire to be different," she said.

This summer, the twins were separated for the first time as Molly Feltner took a job in Colorado and her sister, Jennifer, went to Beijing. Feltner said even though it was the first time the two were apart for more than a few days, she did not have problems missing her sister over the summer.

Feltner said she is very happy finding her own way at Dartmouth now, even without her sister. The two e-mail each other on a daily basis, she said.

"I'm actually known as an individual now, and it's great," she said.

She said she hopes this situation will not change when her twin is back on campus for the Winter term. Feltner said she and her sister are not planning to room together because they have their own friends.

East Coast, West Coast twins

Twins Clay and Dave Floren decided to become more independent of each other when they came to the College. Dave Floren said he applied to Dartmouth Early Decision while his brother applied Early Action to Princeton University because the two wanted to attend different colleges.

Somehow the two ended up at Dartmouth initially, but Clay transferred to Stanford University after his freshman year.

Floren said he and his brother are very close and enjoyed being together at Dartmouth. He described his brother as his best friend and said they frequently spent time with each other. They were a comfort to each other, he said.

Dave Floren said he would not necessarily bring up his twin in a conversation. He prefers to talk about himself as an individual, he said.

Although they did not request to room together, Dave and Clay Floren were randomly assigned to rooms on the same floor of the same residence hall their freshman year.

They had the same group of friends and were in several classes together last year. He said he enjoyed taking some of the same classes as his brother because he frequently did not know what the homework was, and the brothers' room assignments made it easy to confer, Floren said.

"Clay hated it," he said.

When they were younger, he said, they were often referred to as "the twins" and were mistaken for each other. When they were very young, even their parents could not tell them apart, he said. Floren did become annoyed when people confused him with his brother, but this occurs less and less each year, he said.

"We just stop talking to them if that happens," he said.

Clay Floren transferred to Stanford because he intends to produce films in the future and thought highly of Stanford's film department, but his relationship with his brother also played a role, he said.

"Clay left to go and establish himself. He needed some space," Dave Floren said, "He felt that I silenced him or something."

The 30 days he has now been away from his brother is the longest time the two have ever spent apart, Dave Floren said. He said he and his brother e-mail or speak on the phone every other day.

Twins and Dartmouth admissions

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Karl Furstenberg said the College does not have any admissions policy on twins.

If both twins are similar in academic performance, Dartmouth will make the same decision on both, he said.

But for academic and also underlying human reasons, it would be rare for the College to accept only one of a set of twins, Furstenberg explained.

"We want to treat them fairly but also humanely," he said.

When twins decide to attend, the College does not offer any special tuition cuts to their families if they do not qualify for financial aid.

"They're getting two educations," he said, comparing the circumstances to that of any other family with two children at elite universities.

He said he usually notices when a pair of twins apply because they frequently attend the same school and their application essays sometimes reflect a different family experience from that of most applicants.

Furstenberg estimated that the College accepts three or four sets of twins for every class, and said the College has even received admissions applications from multiple siblings, such as triplets or quadruplets.