Berkeley vs Dartmouth: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two women talking while looking at a piece of paper.

Berkeley vs Dartmouth: Which College is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing the right college, there are a lot of factors to consider. Location, academic programs, campus culture, and cost are just a few of the variables that can ultimately impact your college experience. This article will delve into the similarities and differences between two highly respected universities: UC Berkeley and Dartmouth College. This article cover everything from admissions processes to post-graduation job prospects to help you determine between Berkeley vs Dartmouth is the right fit for you.

Location and Campus Overview: Exploring the Differences

UC Berkeley is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, which offers a vibrant cultural and intellectual scene, as well as access to internship and job opportunities in the tech industry. The campus itself is located just a few blocks from downtown Berkeley, which is known for its eclectic restaurants, shops, and street performers. Meanwhile, Dartmouth College is located in rural Hanover, New Hampshire, surrounded by the beautiful and peaceful Upper Valley region of the state. The campus is nestled in the woods and has a traditional New England feel.

Two students talking in a room full of glass.

While the locations are vastly different, both campuses offer beautiful surroundings, with Berkeley offering ready access to the Bay Area and Dartmouth offering proximity to the Appalachian Trail and other outdoor recreational activities.

UC Berkeley is also known for its commitment to social justice and activism. The campus has a long history of student-led protests and movements, including the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s and more recent protests against police brutality and racial inequality. Students at Berkeley are encouraged to engage in activism and community service, and the campus offers numerous opportunities to get involved in social justice initiatives.

On the other hand, Dartmouth College is known for its strong sense of community and close-knit student body. With a student population of just over 4,000, Dartmouth offers a small and intimate learning environment. Students often form close relationships with their professors and peers, and the campus culture emphasizes collaboration and teamwork.

Admissions Process: How to Get Accepted into Berkeley vs Dartmouth

Both Berkeley and Dartmouth are highly selective universities, and the admissions process can be competitive. UC Berkeley is a public research university and has an acceptance rate of around 16%, while Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League school with an acceptance rate of around 7%. Both schools consider a range of factors when evaluating candidates, including GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. Demonstrated interest in the school is also important, particularly for Dartmouth, which values a connection to its rural location and focuses on engaged, intellectual inquiry in its admissions process.

It is important to note that both Berkeley and Dartmouth have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole applicant and not just their academic achievements. This means that factors such as personal background, life experiences, and unique talents can also play a role in the admissions decision. Additionally, both schools offer resources and support for students throughout the application process, including information sessions, campus tours, and guidance from admissions counselors. It is recommended that prospective students take advantage of these resources and present themselves as well-rounded individuals with a genuine interest in the school.

Cost and Financial Aid Comparison: Which is More Affordable between Berkeley vs Dartmouth?

As a public research university, UC Berkeley offers lower tuition prices for in-state students, with an annual tuition of around $14,000 for California residents. Out-of-state tuition is roughly $43,000 per year. Meanwhile, Dartmouth College has an annual tuition of about $57,000 for all students. However, both schools offer substantial financial aid packages, and the ultimate cost of attendance will depend on the individual student’s financial situation. It’s worth noting that both schools have a commitment to meeting 100% of demonstrated needs of all admitted students.

UC Berkeley and Dartmouth College also differ in their approach to financial aid. UC Berkeley primarily offers need-based aid, while Dartmouth offers a combination of need-based and merit-based aid. This means that students with exceptional academic or athletic achievements may receive additional financial support from Dartmouth, regardless of their financial need.

Another factor to consider is the cost of living in the surrounding area. Berkeley, California, has a higher cost of living compared to Hanover, New Hampshire, where Dartmouth is located. This means that students attending UC Berkeley may need to budget more for housing, food, and other expenses. On the other hand, Dartmouth’s location in a rural area may limit job opportunities for students seeking part-time work to supplement their income.

Academic Offerings: Examining the Programs and Majors Available at Each School

UC Berkeley is known for its strong STEM programs and departments, as well as being a top public research institution. Students at Berkeley have access to 130 academic departments and programs, including 85 undergraduate majors. Dartmouth College, on the other hand, is known for its liberal arts education and small class sizes. With around 4,500 enrolled students in total, Dartmouth offers roughly 40 undergraduate majors with a commitment to interdisciplinary study and undergraduate research opportunities. At both schools, students will have access to rigorous academic programs and renowned faculty members.

Female student smiling with her classmates.

In addition to its undergraduate programs, UC Berkeley also offers over 100 graduate programs across various fields, including law, business, engineering, and social sciences. The university is home to several research centers and institutes, such as the Berkeley Institute for Data Science and the Energy Biosciences Institute, which provide opportunities for graduate students to engage in cutting-edge research.

Dartmouth College also offers a variety of graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees in fields such as engineering, business, and medicine. The college is home to several research centers and institutes, such as the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Thayer School of Engineering, which provide opportunities for graduate students to engage in interdisciplinary research and innovation.

Student Life and Culture: What to Expect on Campus

Berkeley is known for its politically active student body, as well as its diverse student body. With about 42,000 enrolled students, Berkeley has one of the largest student populations in the country and offers a range of student organizations and extracurricular activities. Meanwhile, Dartmouth has a student body of around 6,000 students and emphasizes a tight-knit community feel with a commitment to athletic programs and outdoor recreation. Both schools offer a range of opportunities for students to get involved and build community on campus.

At Berkeley, students can expect a bustling campus with a variety of events and activities happening at all times. From political rallies to cultural festivals, there is always something going on. Additionally, Berkeley is located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, providing students with access to a vibrant and diverse city. On the other hand, Dartmouth’s location in rural New Hampshire offers a different kind of experience, with a focus on outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and camping. Despite their differences, both schools offer unique and enriching experiences for students to explore and grow.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities: Comparing Opportunities Outside of the Classroom between Berkeley vs Dartmouth

UC Berkeley has a strong Division I athletics program with a long history of success in football, basketball, and other sports. The school also offers a range of club sports and intramural programs for students who want to compete at a less intense level. At Dartmouth, athletics are an integral part of the campus culture, with a strong emphasis on varsity athletics, as well as outdoor recreational pursuits like hiking, skiing, and camping. Both schools offer plenty of opportunities for students to stay active and engaged in extracurricular activities.

However, the two schools differ in the types of extracurricular activities they offer. UC Berkeley has a thriving music scene, with a variety of student-run music groups and a world-renowned music department. The school also has a strong theater program, with multiple productions each year. In contrast, Dartmouth has a strong focus on community service and offers many opportunities for students to get involved in volunteer work. The school also has a popular entrepreneurship program, with resources and support for students interested in starting their own businesses.

Another difference between Berkeley vs Dartmouth is the level of student involvement in extracurricular activities. At UC Berkeley, there are over 1,000 student organizations, ranging from political groups to cultural clubs to academic societies. Students are encouraged to start their own organizations and take on leadership roles. At Dartmouth, there are fewer student organizations, but students are highly involved in the ones that do exist. The school also has a unique system of student-run social organizations called “fraternities” and “sororities,” which play a significant role in campus life.

Alumni Networks and Career Services: Which College Offers Better Post-Graduation Support?

UC Berkeley has a large and active alumni network, particularly in the tech industry. Many Berkeley alumni have gone on to found successful startups and make significant contributions to the fields of science and technology. The school also offers a range of career services and resources, including career fairs, workshops, and job listings. Dartmouth has a similarly strong alumni network, with a particular emphasis on connections to finance, consulting, and government. The school also has a dedicated career services office that offers individualized support to students and alumni.

Two students talking in a bench.

However, it is important to note that post-graduation support can vary depending on the specific career path a student chooses. For example, if a student is interested in pursuing a career in the arts or humanities, they may find more relevant resources and connections at a school like NYU or UCLA, which have strong alumni networks in those fields. Similarly, if a student is interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, they may benefit from attending a school with a strong medical school and associated hospital, such as Johns Hopkins or Stanford.

Diversity and Inclusion: Analyzing the Student Body at Berkeley vs Dartmouth

UC Berkeley is known for its diverse student body, with students from all over California and the world. The school prioritizes diversity and inclusion in its admissions process and has a range of resources and programs for underrepresented students. Dartmouth is also committed to diversity and inclusion, with an active Office of Pluralism and Leadership that offers programs and resources for students from marginalized backgrounds. Both schools strive to create inclusive campus environments for all students.

However, there are some differences in the demographics of the student body at Berkeley and Dartmouth. According to recent data, Berkeley has a higher percentage of Asian and Hispanic/Latino students, while Dartmouth has a higher percentage of White and Black/African American students. This may reflect differences in the geographic regions where the schools are located, as well as differences in their admissions processes.

Another factor to consider is the socioeconomic diversity of the student body. While both schools have programs to support low-income and first-generation college students, Berkeley has a higher percentage of Pell Grant recipients, indicating a larger population of students from low-income backgrounds. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a higher median family income among its student body. These differences may impact the experiences and perspectives of students on campus.

Campus Safety: How Safe are these Colleges for Students?

Both UC Berkeley and Dartmouth College have relatively low crime rates, particularly given their respective campus sizes. The schools have dedicated campus police forces and offer a range of safety resources and programs for students, including emergency alert systems and escort services. While no college campus can guarantee complete safety, both Berkeley and Dartmouth prioritize the well-being of their students and take measures to keep the campus secure.

Additionally, both schools have implemented safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. UC Berkeley has implemented a mandatory face mask policy, increased cleaning, and disinfecting protocols, and limited the number of students in residence halls. Dartmouth College has also implemented a mandatory face mask policy, as well as regular COVID-19 testing for students, faculty, and staff. Both schools have shown a commitment to keeping their students safe during these uncertain times.

Campus Housing Options: Comparing Living Arrangements

Berkeley offers a range of housing options for students, including traditional residence halls, apartment-style living, and co-op housing. With such a large student population, finding affordable housing can be a challenge, particularly for non-resident students. Dartmouth, on the other hand, offers guaranteed on-campus housing for all four years and emphasizes the importance of residential living and community building. Most students live in dorm-style housing on campus.

Young woman using a laptop while sitting.

It’s important to note that while Berkeley’s housing options may be more varied, Dartmouth’s emphasis on on-campus living can have its benefits. Living on campus allows for easier access to resources such as dining halls, academic buildings, and extracurricular activities. Additionally, the close-knit community that can be fostered in on-campus housing can lead to stronger relationships with peers and a greater sense of belonging on campus.

Social Life and Nightlife Scene: What are the Differences between Berkeley vs Dartmouth?

Berkeley offers a vibrant social scene, with a range of restaurants, bars, and entertainment options in downtown Berkeley and the Bay Area more generally. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a quieter social scene, with a range of on-campus events and activities, as well as access to outdoor recreational opportunities. Students at both schools will have plenty of opportunities to socialize and connect with their peers, but the nature of that social scene may be different depending on the school.

One factor that may contribute to the differences in social life and nightlife scene between Berkeley and Dartmouth is the size of the schools. Berkeley has a much larger student population, which means there are more people to meet and more events happening off-campus. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a smaller student population, which can lead to a tighter-knit community and more opportunities for on-campus involvement. Additionally, the location of the schools may play a role, as Berkeley is located in a bustling urban area while Dartmouth is situated in a more rural setting.

Research Opportunities and Faculty Expertise Comparison

Both UC Berkeley and Dartmouth have renowned faculty members and offer ample opportunities for undergraduate research. Berkeley, as a public research university, prioritizes research in many of its academic departments and offers a range of resources for undergraduate research initiatives. Dartmouth, meanwhile, emphasizes the importance of undergraduate research and provides funding and support for students to engage in research opportunities both on and off campus.

Additionally, UC Berkeley has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, encouraging students to collaborate across departments and fields of study. This allows for a more holistic approach to research and the opportunity to tackle complex problems from multiple angles. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a unique program called the “Dartmouth-Oak Ridge Institute,” which provides students with the opportunity to conduct research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a leading research facility in the United States. This program allows students to work alongside top scientists and gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge research.

Graduate School Acceptance Rates Comparison

Graduate school acceptance rates for both UC Berkeley and Dartmouth College are generally high, with many students going on to attend top graduate programs in their field of study. However, graduate programs vary widely across disciplines, and students should research their specific area of interest to determine the strength of the program at each school.

Three people talking in front of a laptop.

It is also important to consider the location and resources available at each school. For example, UC Berkeley is located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, providing students with access to a thriving tech industry and numerous research opportunities. On the other hand, Dartmouth College is situated in a small town in New Hampshire, offering a more intimate and close-knit community for graduate students. Additionally, students should consider the funding and financial aid options available at each school, as graduate programs can be expensive, and funding opportunities can vary.

Job Prospects After Graduation from Berkeley vs Dartmouth

Both UC Berkeley and Dartmouth College have excellent job prospects for their graduates. Berkeley has a strong connection to the tech industry and offers a range of resources for students interested in pursuing careers in Silicon Valley. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has strong connections to finance, consulting, and government, with many students going on to work in these fields after graduation. Both schools have dedicated career services offices that offer support and guidance to students throughout their job search.

Overall, choosing between UC Berkeley and Dartmouth College depends on a range of factors, including your academic interests, career goals, location preferences, and personal priorities. We hope this article has provided helpful insight into the similarities and differences between these two highly respected institutions and has helped you determine which school is the right fit for you.

It is worth noting that both UC Berkeley and Dartmouth College have strong alumni networks that can be beneficial for graduates in their job search. Alumni from both schools are often willing to offer mentorship, networking opportunities, and job referrals to fellow graduates. Additionally, both schools have a reputation for producing graduates who are well-rounded and adaptable, with strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are highly valued by employers in a variety of industries.



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