Why Dartmouth? - Dartmouth College - College Review

Why Dartmouth? - Dartmouth College - College Review



Dartmouth College is located in a small but highly desirable and livable town, Hanover, New Hampshire. The remote setting of the school, combined with long, cold and snowy winters contributes to the fostering of a strong sense of community as well as an all-around high level of school spirit. The majority of social life is devoted to the school’s very active campus which is populated by down to earth, ambitious, talented, collaborative and accomplished students. Dartmouth College has earned an outstanding reputation as a college devoted to undergraduate teaching and providing a top rate educational experience. The faculty are highly ranked and engaged to create strong relationships with undergraduates. Dartmouth College students and alumni share in common a love and strong devotion to their school.


Strength of the School:

Dartmouth College is the Ivy with a personal touch. Dartmouth is the smallest of the Ivy League schools and is more similar to liberal arts colleges than many of the other top ranked schools which focus primarily on research, recruiting star faculty and their graduate programs. Dartmouth is an undergraduate institution first with a strong emphasis on undergraduate teaching and a school that clearly values its students. Students are provided with the flexibility and freedom to follow and design their own academic path that often consists of study off-campus and abroad, internships, independent study and research projects. Dartmouth is also a school where a strong sense of community develops and where traditions are honored and celebrated and where alumni continue to be drawn back to the school.



-          Unique to Dartmouth is the “D” Plan, a system that divides the academic year into four, ten week semesters which includes a summer term.

-          The “D” Plan allows a student to exercise a great degree of freedom and flexibility to design their own academic path. This flexibility is usually reserved for sophomore and junior years.

-          This path most often permits opportunities to include internships, independent study, research and study abroad into a flexible schedule. The “D” Plan also creates challenges for many students during the sophomore and junior years because of varying student schedules. This can place strains on relationships with other students and roles in extracurricular activities. 

-          The “D” Plan includes a mandatory summer program in the sophomore year and generally, fall through spring semesters for freshman and seniors are spent on campus.

-          There is a real devotion to undergraduate teaching at Dartmouth that is nationally recognized by many outside evaluators for its exceptional commitment to teaching excellence.

-          Dartmouth has world-class faculty that build relationships with students and students are able to build relationships with faculty.

-          There are abundant opportunities for undergraduates to participate in major and meaningful research projects with prominent faculty members.

-          At Dartmouth, peers help peers, and a cooperative learning atmosphere is fostered.

-          The average class size is much smaller than what is typical for the Ivy League.

-          The completion of 35 courses is necessary for graduation. These courses include the school’s distributional requirement, the general education requirement consisting of ten classes plus demonstrating language proficiency.

-          There are freshman seminars with independent research and small group discussions. There is also a mandatory writing course for freshman year.

-          Successful completion of a senior thesis/culminating project presentation associated with the student's major brings together four years of study and is mandatory for earning a degree.



Student Life:

-          An outstanding sense of community exists at Dartmouth and the majority of student life takes place on campus.

-          The relative physical isolation of the Dartmouth campus combined with challenging winter weather conditions contribute and promote the development of strong bonds between students. However, it also breeds a degree of insularity and a negative sense of routine caused by the limitations of the location.

-          Dartmouth students possess a strong school spirit and this is enhanced by the school’s policy of celebrating traditions and sponsoring a variety of school wide events and festivals.

-          Students develop a devotion to the school that carries on after graduation.

-          Dartmouth possesses a down to earth student body that can be characterized as collaborative and cooperative.

-          Over 60% of Dartmouth students participate in Greek life – fraternities and sororities play a major role in Dartmouth social life.  Offering many positives, Greek life also plays an often controversial role at Dartmouth. The school is not exempt from the various negative criticisms and concerns regarding fraternities and sororities at other colleges, including isolated instances of extreme behavior by members and out-of-control initiation and hazing rituals.

-          There are various opportunities to participate in outdoor activities and to participate in sports. The school has top-notch athletic facilities.

-          Dartmouth offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities and clubs of all sorts.

-          School sports teams are supported by the students and the wider community.

-          At Dartmouth there are freshman only dorms.

-          The vast majority of students live on campus in a wide variety of dorms that are well-regarded and comfortable.

-          Dorms at Dartmouth are grouped together to create a sense of community and the dorms are located in close proximity to classroom facilities for easy access.




-          Two hours from Boston, three hours from Montréal, an hour and a half from Burlington, VT.

-          Hanover, New Hampshire is not a suburb, not a city but a small affluent town with cold weather and a warm spirit.

-          Hanover has a handful of upscale shops and restaurants as well as pricey real estate and a strong connection to Dartmouth College.



Don’t go to Dartmouth if:

Don’t go if you require the amenities of an urban area. Dartmouth is situated in a small town dominated by winter weather. This location is not for everyone. Some people have a need to live in an urban or suburban area. While the location is a challenge of the school for some people, it helps define the character of the school and makes Dartmouth unique.


Dartmouth Interview- College Specific Questions to Ask the Interviewer:  

-          What are the pluses and minuses of the “D” plan?


-          What do you remember most about your sophomore summer?


-          How did Greek Life affect your college experience? 


-          What are the pluses and minuses of Hanover?


-          Dartmouth seems to have highly devoted alumni, more than most schools. What do you believe contributes to this?


-          Can you tell me about your Senior Thesis?



Dartmouth University Quick Facts:

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Dartmouth Nickname: Big Green

Dartmouth Athletics



Dartmouth Undergraduates: 4,193


Dartmouth Famous Alumni:

Daniel Webster

Louis V Gerstner, Jr.

Jeffrey R. Immelt

James Forrestal

Henry Paulson

Robert Reich

Timothy Geithner

Dr. Seuss


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