College: Dartmouth College
Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
Type of Institution: Private research university
Size: 4,400 undergraduates (and 2,000+ graduate students)
Admissions Advice: Like most highly selective universities, the Early Decision admission rate at Dartmouth is significantly higher than the Regular Decision rate (26% vs. 9%), so students who have fallen in love with this college should choose Early Decision. Students should also take advantage of the unique “peer recommendation” option to add to their application, which is something 90% of applicants include with their applications.
Most popular majors: Economics, Government, History, Engineering, Psychology
Words to describe students I met: Outgoing, athletic, spirited, outdoorsy, supportive
Unique academic aspects: Students at Dartmouth get the best of both worlds. They receive a well-rounded education and are taught by amazing faculty who are very focused on their undergraduate students, but have opportunities to to take classes in the renowned business program, and access to medical school faculty and research. They even offer an Early Assurance program for strong students who want to continue on to medical school.
Dartmouth’s academic calendar is also unique. The “D-Plan” is essentially a quarter system but with a lot more built in flexibility, so many students choose to do internships or away terms during the course of their studies. Plans like these encourage students to get out into the world and break up the monotony of the traditional college schedule. Added bonus: Students can study away or take a break from the harsh New Hampshire winters (though that means missing out on the opportunity to ski on Dartmouth’s own mountain)
Unique social/cultural aspects: Dartmouth has long held a reputation as a “work hard/play hard” school, and Greek life can be a big part of a student’s social experience. There are 28 Greek organizations on campus, with over 40% of students participating. However, because of the school’s reputation and reach, there are a diverse range of students here and Greek life isn’t the only social avenue.
Outdoorsy students will love Dartmouth’s location and the endless opportunities to get involved through the Dartmouth Outing Club. During my sunny weekend visit, I happened upon a group of students in capes and sequined pants, blasting music, singing, and chanting. They were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their friends who were attempting “The Fifty“, which is literally a 50-mile hike students do in teams. I had a great time chatting with these spirited students about their college experience, the collaborative and supportive culture of Dartmouth, and, of course, the opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
Colleges that seem similar: Williams College, Davidson College, Duke University, Middlebury College, Colgate University
Concerns about this college: Well, it’s an Ivy League college with single digit admission rates, so getting in is hard. For that reason, Dartmouth should be considered a reach for every student. Additionally, I still have some lingering concerns about the Greek system and party scene, despite the college’s push to limit drinking in recent years.
Overall impressions: I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Dartmouth and the small city of Hanover, and especially loved visiting when the fall colors were out in full force. The tour guides were all incredibly friendly and articulate, and the students I approached around campus were over-the-moon enthusiastic about their college and community. Dartmouth feels much larger than it is, and I was surprised at the diversity of students I saw and interacted with during my visit.