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Amherst vs Dartmouth: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Amherst College

Amherst vs Dartmouth: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing the right school for your undergraduate studies can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. With so many options available, it can be tough to differentiate between schools that all seem to offer similar academic and social opportunities. In this article, we’ll compare Amherst vs Dartmouth to help you decide which school is right for you.

Location: Where Are Amherst and Dartmouth Located?

Let’s start with the location. Amherst College is located in Amherst, Massachusetts, a small college town in western Massachusetts. Dartmouth College, on the other hand, is situated in Hanover, New Hampshire, a rural town located in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire on the Vermont border. Both locations offer beautiful scenery with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, but Amherst is closer to larger cities like Boston and New York City, while Hanover is more remote and secluded.

It’s worth noting that both Amherst and Dartmouth are part of the prestigious Ivy League, a group of eight private universities in the Northeastern United States known for their academic excellence and selective admissions processes. In addition to their academic rigor, both colleges also have a strong focus on community service and offer numerous opportunities for students to get involved in volunteer work and social justice initiatives.

History: A Brief Overview of the History of Amherst and Dartmouth

When it comes to history, both Amherst and Dartmouth have long and storied traditions. Amherst College was founded in 1821, making it one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the country. Dartmouth College, founded in 1769, is even older and has a strong reputation for its undergraduate liberal arts program. Both colleges have churned out many famous alumni, including Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and U.S. presidents.

Amherst College has a rich history of activism and social justice. In the 1960s, students at Amherst were heavily involved in the civil rights movement and anti-war protests. Today, the college continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion, with initiatives such as the Multicultural Resource Center and the Queer Resource Center.

Dartmouth College has a unique history of innovation and entrepreneurship. In the 19th century, Dartmouth was a pioneer in the field of engineering education, and in the 20th century, it became a leader in computer science and technology. Today, Dartmouth is home to the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, which provides resources and support for students and alumni interested in starting their own businesses.

Campus Life: What Is It Like to Live on Campus at Amherst vs. Dartmouth?

One of the most important aspects of college is campus life. Both Amherst and Dartmouth have vibrant student communities with a range of clubs, activities, and events. However, the two colleges differ in terms of the overall campus culture. Amherst has a reputation for being more intellectual and politically active, while Dartmouth has a strong focus on sports and outdoor activities. It’s also worth noting that Amherst has a smaller student body, with around 1,800 students compared to Dartmouth’s over 6,000 students.

Another notable difference between the two campuses is their location. Amherst is located in a small town in western Massachusetts, while Dartmouth is situated in a rural area in New Hampshire. This means that students at Amherst have more access to urban amenities, such as restaurants, shops, and cultural events, while students at Dartmouth have more opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, skiing, and camping. Ultimately, the choice between Amherst and Dartmouth will depend on your personal preferences and priorities.

Amherst vs Dartmouth: Academics

When it comes to academics, both colleges are top-tier institutions. Amherst is known for its strong liberal arts program and individualized approach to education, while Dartmouth is known for its rigorous undergraduate curriculum and research opportunities. Both colleges have impressive faculty members and offer a range of majors and minors for students to explore.

However, there are some differences between the academic programs at Amherst and Dartmouth. Amherst has a smaller student body and a lower student-to-faculty ratio, which allows for more personalized attention and mentorship from professors. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a larger student body and a wider range of academic resources, including multiple research centers and institutes.

Additionally, Amherst has a unique open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study without any required courses or distribution requirements. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a more structured curriculum with distribution requirements in various academic areas. This can be beneficial for students who want a more well-rounded education and exposure to different fields of study.

Admissions: How Competitive Is the Admissions Process at Amherst vs. Dartmouth?

Admissions to both Amherst and Dartmouth are highly competitive. Amherst has an acceptance rate of around 13%, while Dartmouth’s is slightly higher at around 18%. Both colleges look for well-rounded students with strong academic records and impressive extracurricular activities.

However, there are some differences in the admissions process between the two schools. Amherst is known for its test-optional policy, which means that applicants can choose not to submit standardized test scores. Dartmouth, on the other hand, requires all applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores. Additionally, Amherst has a more holistic approach to admissions, taking into account factors such as socioeconomic background and personal experiences. Dartmouth, while also valuing diversity, places a greater emphasis on academic achievement and intellectual curiosity.

Aerial view of Dartmouth college

Athletics: Which College Has a Better Athletic Program, Amherst or Dartmouth?

When it comes to athletics, Dartmouth has a strong Division I program with a range of varsity sports teams, including football, basketball, and hockey. Amherst, on the other hand, has a smaller athletic program with a strong focus on Division III sports. Both colleges offer plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in sports and athletics.

Despite the differences in their athletic programs, both Amherst and Dartmouth have a strong tradition of athletic excellence. Dartmouth has produced numerous Olympic athletes, including skiers and runners, while Amherst has a long history of success in sports such as soccer and lacrosse.

Additionally, both colleges offer state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including fitness centers, swimming pools, and outdoor fields. These facilities are available to all students, regardless of their level of athletic ability, and provide a great way to stay active and healthy while on campus.

Student Organizations: What Are Some Popular Student Organizations at Amherst and Dartmouth?

Both Amherst and Dartmouth have a wide range of student organizations for students to get involved in. From political clubs to music groups to sports teams, there’s something for everyone. Some popular student organizations at Amherst include the Debate Society, the Outing Club, and the Women’s Rugby Team. At Dartmouth, popular groups include the Dartmouth Outing Club, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Dartmouth Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team.

Additionally, both Amherst and Dartmouth have a variety of cultural and identity-based organizations for students to join. These groups provide a space for students to connect with others who share similar backgrounds and experiences. At Amherst, some popular cultural organizations include the Asian Students Association, the Latinx Student Union, and the Queer Resource Center. Dartmouth has similar groups, such as the Native American Program, the Asian and Asian American Students Association, and the Women of Color Collective.

Amherst vs Dartmouth: Campus Resources

When it comes to resources, both colleges offer plenty of support for their students. Both have strong academic advising programs, career centers, and health services. Amherst also has a thriving center for community engagement, while Dartmouth is known for its strong undergraduate research programs.

Additionally, Amherst College offers a variety of resources for students interested in the arts. The Mead Art Museum, located on campus, houses over 19,000 works of art and offers opportunities for students to engage with the collection through internships and other programs. The college also has a robust music program, with multiple ensembles and performance opportunities for students.

Dartmouth College, on the other hand, has a strong focus on outdoor and experiential education. The Dartmouth Outing Club, one of the oldest and largest collegiate outing clubs in the country, offers students opportunities to participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and rock climbing. The college also has a number of research centers and institutes, including the Institute for Arctic Studies and the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences.

Amherst College

Alumni Network: How Active Is the Alumni Network at Amherst vs. Dartmouth?

Both Amherst and Dartmouth have active alumni networks, with graduates of both colleges achieving success in various fields. Amherst has a strong alumni mentoring program, while Dartmouth offers a range of alumni events and networking opportunities.

Amherst’s alumni network is known for its close-knit community and strong support system. Alumni often return to campus to speak with current students and offer career advice. Additionally, Amherst’s Career Center works closely with alumni to provide job and internship opportunities for current students.

Dartmouth’s alumni network is also highly involved in the college community. The Dartmouth Alumni Association offers a variety of programs and events, including regional gatherings, career networking events, and volunteer opportunities. Dartmouth alumni are also known for their strong commitment to philanthropy, with many giving back to the college through donations and fundraising efforts.

Cost of Attendance: What Is the Cost of Attending Amherst vs. Dartmouth?

When it comes to cost, both colleges are expensive, with annual tuition and fees costing over $60,000 per year. However, both colleges offer generous financial aid packages to help offset the cost for eligible students. It’s worth noting that Amherst has a need-blind admissions policy, while Dartmouth meets the full demonstrated need of all accepted students.

Aside from tuition and fees, there are other costs to consider when attending college, such as room and board, textbooks, and personal expenses. At Amherst, the average cost of room and board is around $16,000 per year, while at Dartmouth it’s around $17,000 per year. Textbook costs can vary depending on the courses taken, but both colleges offer resources such as textbook rental programs and online access to course materials to help reduce costs.

Additionally, both Amherst and Dartmouth offer work-study programs to eligible students, which allow them to earn money to help cover their expenses while gaining valuable work experience. Amherst also offers a program called “Summer Bridge,” which provides funding for students to participate in summer internships or research opportunities that can help them build their resumes and gain practical skills in their field of study.

Financial Aid: How Do Financial Aid Packages Compare Between Amherst and Dartmouth?

As mentioned, both Amherst and Dartmouth offer financial aid to eligible students. Financial aid is awarded based on a range of factors, including family income and assets, and can include grants, scholarships, and loans. Amherst has a reputation for offering generous financial aid packages, while Dartmouth is known for meeting the full demonstrated need of all accepted students.

It is important to note that the process of applying for financial aid at both Amherst and Dartmouth is similar. Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile to be considered for financial aid. Additionally, both schools have financial aid calculators on their websites that can give students an estimate of the aid they may receive. It is recommended that students apply for financial aid as early as possible to ensure they receive the maximum amount of aid for which they are eligible.

Amherst College

Amherst vs Dartmouth: Career Services

When it comes to career services, both Amherst and Dartmouth offer a range of resources to help students find jobs and internships. Amherst has a strong focus on connecting students with alumni mentors, while Dartmouth offers a range of career development workshops and networking opportunities.

However, Amherst also has a robust internship program that allows students to gain hands-on experience in their field of interest. The college partners with various organizations to provide students with internship opportunities, and also offers funding for students who secure unpaid internships.

On the other hand, Dartmouth has a strong reputation for preparing students for careers in business and finance. The college has a dedicated center for professional development that offers resources and support for students interested in these fields, including access to industry-specific job boards and networking events.

Student Diversity: How Do the Student Populations at Amherst and Dartmouth Compare in Terms of Diversity?

Both Amherst and Dartmouth have made efforts to increase diversity on their campuses in recent years. Amherst has a diverse student body, with around 45% of students identifying as students of color. Dartmouth has similar demographics, with around 46% of students identifying as students of color.

However, the two schools differ in terms of the specific racial and ethnic groups represented in their student populations. At Amherst, the largest groups of students of color are Asian American and Black/African American, each making up around 15% of the student body. At Dartmouth, the largest group of students of color is Asian American, making up around 21% of the student body, followed by Hispanic/Latinx students at around 11%.

Additionally, both schools have programs and initiatives aimed at supporting and celebrating diversity on campus. Amherst has a Multicultural Resource Center that provides resources and support for students of color, as well as LGBTQ+ students and first-generation college students. Dartmouth has a variety of student organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, such as the Native American Program and the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies Program.

Post-Graduation Outcomes: What Kind of Job Opportunities Are Available for Graduates of Amherst and Dartmouth?

Graduates of both Amherst and Dartmouth tend to be successful in their post-college careers. Both colleges have strong career services offices and alumni networks to help graduates find jobs and build successful careers. Some common career paths for graduates of Amherst include finance, education, and consulting, while Dartmouth graduates often go into finance, technology, and consulting.

Overall, both Amherst and Dartmouth are excellent colleges with much to offer. When considering which school is the best fit for you, it’s important to think about factors such as location, campus culture, academics, and cost. By carefully weighing your options and considering your priorities, you can make an informed decision and choose the college that’s right for you.

It’s worth noting that both Amherst and Dartmouth have strong internship programs that provide students with valuable work experience and connections in their chosen fields. These internships often lead to job offers after graduation, and can be a great way for students to explore different career paths and gain practical skills. Additionally, both colleges have active alumni networks that offer mentorship and networking opportunities for recent graduates. These resources can be invaluable in helping graduates navigate the job market and build successful careers.

Amherst College

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