Colby vs Dartmouth: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students lounging in the school grounds.

Colby vs Dartmouth: Which College is Right for You?

Are you considering Colby or Dartmouth for your college education? In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at Colby vs Dartmouth and compare them in terms of location, campus size, admissions statistics, academic programs, faculty and student ratio, campus life, sports programs, housing options, community service, career services, alumni network, internship opportunities, research opportunities, financial aid and scholarships, and student testimonials. By the end of this article, you should be able to make an informed decision on which college is the right fit for you.

Location and Campus Size

Colby and Dartmouth are located in different parts of the country. Colby is situated in Waterville, Maine, which is a small town about an hour and a half from Portland. On the other hand, Dartmouth is located in Hanover, New Hampshire, which is a small town close to the Vermont border. Dartmouth is larger in size than Colby, with a total enrollment of over 6,000 students, while Colby has an enrollment of over 2,200 students.

Despite the difference in size, both Colby and Dartmouth offer a variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities for their students. Colby’s campus is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, with over 400 acres of woods, fields, and trails. Dartmouth’s campus, on the other hand, is known for its historic architecture and Ivy League status. Both campuses have a strong sense of community and offer a range of resources and support for their students.

Admissions Statistics and Selectivity

Both Colby and Dartmouth are highly selective colleges. Dartmouth’s acceptance rate is 8%, while Colby’s is 6%. Both colleges require high GPAs, SAT or ACT scores, and extracurricular activities for admission. However, Dartmouth places more emphasis on standardized test scores, while Colby places more emphasis on extracurricular activities and leadership roles.

Unidentified person holding a paper for college application.

It is important to note that both colleges also consider other factors in their admissions process, such as essays, letters of recommendation, and demonstrated interest in the school. Additionally, both colleges have a need-blind admissions policy, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into consideration during the admissions process. However, once admitted, both colleges are committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of their students through a combination of grants, scholarships, and work-study programs.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered: Colby vs. Dartmouth

Both colleges offer a variety of academic programs and majors. Colby offers over 50 majors across 17 departments, while Dartmouth offers over 60 majors across 40 departments. Both colleges have a liberal arts focus, but Dartmouth also has a strong focus on engineering and business. Colby is known for its strong programs in the natural sciences, while Dartmouth is known for its strong programs in the social sciences.

Additionally, both colleges offer a range of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to explore multiple fields of study. Colby offers programs such as Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Dartmouth offers programs such as Cognitive Science, Digital Humanities, and Global Health. These interdisciplinary programs provide students with a unique and well-rounded education that prepares them for a variety of career paths.

Faculty and Student Ratio: Colby vs. Dartmouth

Both colleges have a low faculty-to-student ratio, which means that students have more access to their professors. Colby has a faculty-to-student ratio of 10:1, while Dartmouth has a faculty-to-student ratio of 7:1. The smaller class sizes at both colleges allow for more personalized attention and interaction with faculty members.

Additionally, the low faculty-to-student ratio also means that professors are able to provide more individualized feedback and support to students. This can be especially beneficial for students who may need extra help or guidance in their coursework.

Furthermore, the low faculty-to-student ratio can also lead to more opportunities for research and collaboration with faculty members. With fewer students to compete with for research positions, students at both colleges may have a greater chance of working closely with professors on research projects and gaining valuable experience in their field of study.

Campus Life and Student Organizations: Colby vs. Dartmouth

Both colleges have a vibrant campus life and offer numerous student organizations and activities. Dartmouth is known for its Greek life, which is a significant part of its social scene. On the other hand, Colby places more emphasis on community service and sustainability initiatives. Both colleges offer opportunities for students to get involved in athletics, the arts, and other extracurricular activities.

Two students painting on a room.

At Dartmouth, Greek life is not just about parties and social events. Fraternities and sororities also provide a strong support system for their members, offering academic resources, leadership opportunities, and lifelong friendships. In addition, Dartmouth has a unique tradition called “Senior Societies,” which are secret societies that select members based on leadership, character, and service to the community.

Colby’s commitment to sustainability is evident throughout its campus. The college has a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020 and has implemented various initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, such as using renewable energy sources and promoting sustainable transportation. Colby also has a strong community service program, with opportunities for students to volunteer locally and internationally through partnerships with nonprofit organizations.

Sports Programs and Facilities: Colby vs. Dartmouth

Both colleges have competitive sports programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Dartmouth is part of the Ivy League and has a strong reputation for its athletics programs, especially in cross country, skiing, and ice hockey. Colby also has a strong athletics program, especially in soccer, field hockey, and skiing.

In addition to the competitive sports programs, both colleges offer a variety of recreational sports and fitness classes for students. Dartmouth has a rock climbing gym, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and a golf course. Colby has a fitness center, indoor track, and a swimming pool.

Furthermore, both colleges have a strong commitment to promoting sportsmanship and teamwork among their athletes. Dartmouth has a program called “Peak Performance,” which focuses on developing leadership skills and mental toughness in athletes. Colby has a program called “Mules Leadership Academy,” which provides leadership training and community service opportunities for student-athletes.

Housing Options and Dormitories: Colby vs. Dartmouth

Both colleges have on-campus housing options and a variety of living arrangements. Colby has a variety of dormitory options, including traditional doubles, suites, and apartment-style housing. Dartmouth also has a variety of living arrangements and offers a residential college system, which fosters a sense of community among students.

In addition to on-campus housing, both colleges also offer off-campus housing options for upperclassmen. Colby has a program called “Colby-owned Houses,” which are off-campus houses owned by the college and available for students to rent. Dartmouth has a similar program called “Affiliated Housing,” which includes off-campus apartments and houses that are affiliated with the college.

Both colleges also have housing options specifically for students with families. Colby has a Family Housing program, which offers apartments and townhouses for students with spouses and/or children. Dartmouth has a Family Housing Community, which provides apartments and townhouses for students with families, as well as a support network and community events for families.

Community Service and Volunteer Opportunities

Both colleges emphasize community service and offer numerous volunteer opportunities in their respective communities. Colby’s community service initiatives are more focused on local and regional issues, while Dartmouth focuses on global issues and has a strong emphasis on international service trips.

Female student doing a volunteer.

Colby College has a strong partnership with local organizations such as the Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity and the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. Students can volunteer with these organizations to help build homes, serve meals, and provide support to those in need. Additionally, Colby’s Alternative Spring Break program allows students to spend their break volunteering in various locations across the country.

Dartmouth College offers a unique program called the Tucker Foundation, which provides students with opportunities to engage in service projects both domestically and internationally. The foundation also offers funding for students to create their own service projects and initiatives. Dartmouth’s focus on global issues is reflected in its international service trips, which allow students to travel to countries such as Ghana and Nicaragua to work on projects related to education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.

Career Services and Job Placement: Colby vs. Dartmouth

Both colleges offer career services and job placement assistance to their students. Colby has a strong network of alumni who are willing to offer mentorship and career advice. Dartmouth has a robust internship program and strong connections with employers in various fields. Both colleges prepare their students for success after graduation.

Colby’s career services also include resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and career fairs. The college has partnerships with various companies and organizations, providing students with opportunities to gain real-world experience through internships and job shadowing programs.

Dartmouth’s job placement assistance extends beyond graduation, with alumni having access to career services for life. The college also offers career exploration programs, such as externships and job treks, where students can visit companies and organizations to learn about different industries and career paths.

Alumni Network and Connections: Colby vs. Dartmouth

Both colleges have active alumni networks and offer opportunities for networking and mentorship. Colby’s alumni network is strong in the northeastern United States, while Dartmouth has a well-established network worldwide, especially in business and finance.

Colby College’s alumni network is known for its strong connections in the fields of education, government, and non-profit organizations. Many Colby alumni hold leadership positions in these sectors and are eager to mentor and support current students and recent graduates.

Dartmouth College’s alumni network is also highly regarded in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship. Many Dartmouth alumni have founded successful startups and are actively involved in the innovation and tech communities. The college offers numerous resources and programs to support students interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

Internship and Study Abroad Opportunities

Both colleges offer numerous opportunities for internships and study abroad programs. Colby’s study abroad programs are highly reputable, especially in environmental studies and international relations. Dartmouth has a strong focus on off-campus study and offers numerous opportunities for students to study abroad and participate in internationally focused programs.

Female student shaking hands with a man during an interview.

Colby College has partnerships with various organizations and institutions around the world, providing students with a wide range of study-abroad options. Students can choose from programs in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, among others. Additionally, Colby offers internship opportunities in various fields, including business, government, and non-profit organizations.

Dartmouth College’s study abroad programs are designed to provide students with a unique and immersive experience. The college offers language study programs, internships, and research opportunities in over 20 countries. Dartmouth also has a strong focus on international service and encourages students to participate in community service projects abroad.

Research Opportunities on Campus

Both colleges offer numerous opportunities for undergraduate research. Colby has a strong reputation for its research programs, especially in the natural sciences and environmental studies. Dartmouth has a strong focus on research in the social sciences and humanities, especially through its numerous research centers and institutes.

Additionally, both colleges have partnerships with local businesses and organizations, providing students with opportunities to participate in real-world research projects. Colby has partnerships with organizations such as the Jackson Laboratory and the Maine Medical Center, while Dartmouth has partnerships with organizations such as the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Hood Museum of Art. These partnerships allow students to gain valuable experience and make meaningful contributions to their fields of study.

Financial Aid and Scholarships Available

Both colleges offer financial aid and scholarships to make higher education accessible to all students. Colby meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for its students, while Dartmouth has a need-blind admissions policy and meets the full demonstrated needs of its students without loans.

Additionally, both colleges offer merit-based scholarships for students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, leadership skills, or community involvement. These scholarships can cover a significant portion of tuition costs and do not need to be repaid. Students can apply for these scholarships through the college’s admissions office or financial aid office.

Tuition Costs, Fees, and Affordability Options

Both colleges are expensive but offer numerous affordability options. Colby’s tuition and fees for the academic year are $66,600, while Dartmouth’s tuition and fees are $65,511. Both colleges offer need-based and merit-based scholarships, as well as work-study programs and loan forgiveness programs.

Graduation cap with the word scholarship written on it.

Additionally, both colleges have financial aid offices that can assist students and families in navigating the financial aid process and finding additional sources of funding. Colby also offers a tuition payment plan that allows families to spread out the cost of tuition over several months, while Dartmouth offers a program called “Dartmouth Partners in Community Service” that provides financial assistance to students who participate in community service projects.

It’s important to note that while the cost of attendance at both colleges may seem high, the value of a college education can outweigh the cost in the long run. Graduates of both Colby and Dartmouth have high earning potential and are well-prepared for successful careers in a variety of fields.

Student Testimonials: Pros and Cons of Each College

Students who attended Colby and Dartmouth had different experiences and opinions about each college. Some students prefer Colby’s smaller size and emphasis on community service, while others prefer Dartmouth’s larger size and emphasis on research and global issues. Ultimately, it is up to each individual student to decide which college is the right fit for them based on their personal preferences and priorities.

In conclusion, both Colby and Dartmouth offer high-quality education and numerous opportunities for personal growth and development. The choice between the two colleges ultimately depends on each student’s unique needs and preferences. We hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive comparison of Colby and Dartmouth and helped you make an informed decision on which college to attend.

It is important to note that both Colby and Dartmouth have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable resources and connections for students after graduation. Colby’s alumni network is known for its close-knit community and willingness to help fellow graduates, while Dartmouth’s alumni network is known for its global reach and diverse range of industries.

Additionally, both colleges offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs for students to get involved in. Colby has a strong focus on outdoor activities, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor sports, while Dartmouth has a strong tradition of student-run organizations and clubs, including a renowned cappella scene.


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