Harvard vs Dartmouth: A Comprehensive Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young woman holding her books while walking.

Harvard vs Dartmouth: A Comprehensive Analysis

In this article, we will conduct a comprehensive analysis of Harvard vs Dartmouth, examining various aspects such as their historical significance, campus culture, academic offerings, athletic programs, cost of attendance, career prospects, and influential alumni networks. Join us as we delve into the unique offerings of these renowned educational institutions.

Introduction: Overview of Harvard vs Dartmouth 

Starting with a brief overview of both universities, Harvard and Dartmouth are private Ivy League research universities situated in Massachusetts and New Hampshire respectively. Harvard was founded in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the US. Dartmouth, on the other hand, was established in 1769 and is one of the nine colonial colleges founded before the American Revolution.

Both universities are known for their distinguished faculty and exceptional academic programs, but how do they compare in other areas?

When it comes to campus life, Harvard and Dartmouth have their own unique offerings. Harvard’s campus is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is known for its historic architecture and bustling city atmosphere. The university boasts over 400 student organizations, including a renowned debate team and a popular cappella group.

Dartmouth, on the other hand, is situated in Hanover, New Hampshire, and is known for its picturesque campus nestled in the mountains. The university has a strong focus on outdoor activities, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor sports. Dartmouth also has a strong Greek life presence, with over 60% of students participating in fraternities or sororities.

History and Legacy: Harvard vs Dartmouth

When it comes to history and legacy, it’s hard to find two universities with more storied pasts than Harvard and Dartmouth. Harvard has been the alma mater of eight US presidents, including Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, and George W. Bush, and has produced 161 Nobel laureates, 18 Fields Medalists, and 14 Turing Award winners.

Group of students doing a pro

Dartmouth has also had its fair share of illustrious alumni, including Daniel Webster, the famous statesman, and Robert Frost, the renowned poet. Dartmouth is also home to the world-famous Tuck School of Business, one of the leading business schools in the US. Both universities have rich legacies, and the list of their distinguished alumni is almost endless.

Harvard and Dartmouth have also made significant contributions to the world of sports. Harvard has a long-standing rivalry with Yale in football, dating back to 1875, and the annual Harvard-Yale game is one of the oldest and most famous rivalries in college sports.

Dartmouth, on the other hand, is known for its skiing program, which has produced numerous Olympic athletes over the years. The Dartmouth Outing Club, founded in 1909, is the oldest and largest collegiate outing club in the US and has played a significant role in promoting outdoor recreation and environmental conservation.

Both universities have also been at the forefront of scientific research and innovation. Harvard has been home to many groundbreaking discoveries, including the development of the first artificial heart valve and the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Dartmouth, too, has made significant contributions to science, with its researchers working on projects ranging from the study of climate change to the development of new cancer treatments. Both universities continue to push the boundaries of knowledge and make important contributions to society.

Admissions: How to get into Harvard and Dartmouth

Getting into Harvard and Dartmouth is no easy feat, and both universities have very competitive admission processes. Harvard, for example, had an acceptance rate of just 4.9% in 2020, and Dartmouth’s acceptance rate was 8.8%. Both universities have rigorous academic requirements, so if you’re planning to apply, it’s essential to have exemplary grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your academic potential.

Both universities have excellent resources to help prospective students prepare for the application process, including financial aid, guidance counseling, and workshops to improve test scores and application essays.

Aside from academic achievements, Harvard and Dartmouth also value well-rounded individuals who have demonstrated leadership skills, community involvement, and a passion for their interests. It’s important to showcase your unique qualities and experiences in your application, as this can set you apart from other applicants.

Students walking around the campus of a school.

Additionally, both universities have a holistic approach to admissions, meaning they consider various factors beyond just grades and test scores. This includes your personal background, life experiences, and potential contributions to the university community. Therefore, it’s important to highlight your individuality and what you can bring to the table as a student at Harvard or Dartmouth.

Campus Life at Harvard and Dartmouth: A Comparison

The campus life at Harvard and Dartmouth is lively, with both universities offering their students plenty of opportunities to get involved. At Harvard, there are over 400 student organizations, ranging from political clubs to sports teams, and the university has a vibrant campus culture.

Dartmouth, too, has over 200 student organizations, as well as numerous fraternities and sororities. Both universities also offer a range of cultural events, such as art exhibitions, theatre performances, and concerts, so there’s always something going on.

However, one difference between the two campuses is their location. Harvard is situated in the heart of the city of Cambridge, while Dartmouth is located in Hanover, a small college town in rural New Hampshire. Depending on your preference, this may be a deciding factor.

Another difference between the campus life at Harvard and Dartmouth is the size of the student body. Harvard has a larger student population, with over 6,700 undergraduate students, while Dartmouth has just over 4,400 undergraduate students. This can affect the sense of community on campus, with smaller schools often fostering a closer-knit community.

However, Harvard’s larger student body also means that there are more resources available, such as a wider range of classes and research opportunities.

Additionally, both universities have unique traditions that contribute to their campus culture. At Harvard, students participate in events such as Housing Day, where freshmen are assigned to one of the university’s 12 residential houses, and The Game, an annual football game against rival school Yale.

Dartmouth has its own traditions, such as Winter Carnival, a week-long celebration of winter sports and activities, and the Dartmouth Outing Club, which organizes outdoor trips and events for students. These traditions add to the sense of community and school spirit at both universities.

Academics: A Comparative Analysis of Curriculum, Faculty, and Research Opportunities

When it comes to academics, both Harvard and Dartmouth are exceptional. Harvard has a comprehensive academic program with over 50 concentration options, and the university has numerous research centers and institutes.

Dartmouth boasts a student-faculty ratio of 7:1 and leads the way with its unique “D-Plan” schedule, which allows students to customize their academic calendars. Both universities have distinguished faculty members who are experts in their fields and are dedicated to providing their students with a world-class education.

Young man smiling while on a hallway.

Additionally, Harvard and Dartmouth both offer a wide range of extracurricular activities that complement their academic programs. Harvard has over 400 student organizations, including clubs for community service, sports, and the arts.

Dartmouth has a strong tradition of outdoor activities, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor adventures. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, explore new interests, and build lasting friendships.

Student Body Diversity at Harvard and Dartmouth

Both universities have a diverse student body, with students from all over the world attending. Harvard has a student population of over 31,000, with 28% of undergraduates identifying as minorities. Dartmouth, meanwhile, has just over 6,000 students, with 36% identifying as students of color.

Both universities are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, and they offer numerous programs and initiatives to encourage diversity and cross-cultural understanding.

In addition to their commitment to diversity, both Harvard and Dartmouth have active student organizations dedicated to promoting inclusivity and celebrating different cultures. These organizations host events such as cultural festivals, guest speakers, and community service projects.

Additionally, both universities have dedicated staff members who provide support and resources for students from underrepresented backgrounds, including first-generation college students, low-income students, and students with disabilities. Through these efforts, Harvard and Dartmouth strive to create a campus community that values and respects all individuals.

Athletics: Harvard vs Dartmouth

If you’re a sports enthusiast, both Harvard and Dartmouth have outstanding athletic programs. Harvard is part of the Ivy League and has 42 varsity sports teams, ranging from basketball to rowing. Dartmouth is also part of the Ivy League and has 35 varsity sports teams, as well as numerous club and intramural sports.

Both universities have excellent athletic facilities, including state-of-the-art fitness centers and playing fields, and offer their students plenty of opportunities to stay active and engaged in sports.

However, there are some differences between the two programs. Harvard has a larger athletic budget and more resources, which allows them to attract top coaches and recruit talented athletes from around the world. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a strong focus on community and teamwork, with many of its sports teams emphasizing collaboration and inclusivity.

Another notable difference is the level of competition. While both universities compete at the Division I level, Harvard has a more competitive overall program, with many of their teams consistently ranking in the top 25 nationally. Dartmouth, while still highly competitive, tends to focus more on individual athlete development and personal growth.

Cost of Attendance: Harvard vs Dartmouth

Attending a prestigious university like Harvard or Dartmouth comes at a cost, and both universities have high tuition fees. In the 2020-2021 academic year, Harvard’s annual tuition was $49,653, while Dartmouth’s tuition was $59,202.

However, both universities offer financial aid packages and scholarships to qualified students, making these schools more affordable than they may seem at first glance. Additionally, both universities offer work-study programs and other opportunities for students to earn money while they study.

Students talking while sitting near a school building.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition fees. Students must also consider the cost of room and board, textbooks, transportation, and other expenses. At Harvard, the estimated cost of attendance for the 2020-2021 academic year was $72,357, while at Dartmouth it was $78,994.

However, both universities have resources available to help students manage these costs, such as on-campus jobs, budgeting workshops, and financial counseling services.

Career Opportunities for Graduates: Harvard vs Dartmouth

Graduating from Harvard or Dartmouth opens up numerous career opportunities for students, thanks to the prestige of these institutions. Harvard alumni are highly sought after by top employers across a variety of industries, and the university has a leading career services office dedicated to helping its graduates find meaningful employment.

Dartmouth, too, has a robust career services program and boasts a graduates’ employment rate of 93%. Both universities have extensive alumni networks, which can be useful for job hunting and career development.

Furthermore, both Harvard and Dartmouth offer a wide range of majors and programs, which allows students to specialize in their desired field of study and gain valuable skills and knowledge. For instance, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is renowned for its cutting-edge research and innovation, while Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is consistently ranked among the top MBA programs in the country.

In addition, both universities provide ample opportunities for students to gain practical experience through internships, co-op programs, and research projects. These experiences not only enhance students’ resumes but also help them develop important professional skills and networks. Moreover, both Harvard and Dartmouth have strong entrepreneurship programs that encourage students to start their own businesses and pursue their passions.

Alumni Networks: Harvard vs Dartmouth

The alumni networks of Harvard and Dartmouth are extensive and far-reaching. Both universities have active alumni associations and offer their graduates numerous opportunities to stay connected with their alma maters. Harvard has over 360,000 living alumni and hosts various events and programs throughout the year, such as alumni reunions and networking events.

Similarly, Dartmouth has over 80 alumni clubs worldwide and offers its alumni career advising services, reunions, and other opportunities to get involved with the university community.

Young woman smiling while lounging in the campus.

However, there are some differences between the alumni networks of Harvard and Dartmouth. For instance, Harvard has a more extensive online alumni directory, which allows alumni to connect with each other and access exclusive job postings.

On the other hand, Dartmouth has a stronger focus on regional alumni clubs, which organize local events and provide opportunities for alumni to network with each other in person. Despite these differences, both universities are committed to providing their graduates with robust post-graduate support systems that help them succeed in their careers and stay connected with their alma maters.

Conclusion: Which University is the Better Choice?

So, which university is the better choice? Ultimately, the answer depends on your individual needs and preferences. Both Harvard and Dartmouth are exceptional institutions, and either one will provide you with an outstanding education.

If you’re looking for a university located in a bustling city, Harvard might be the better choice for you. However, if you prefer a quieter, more intimate campus environment, Dartmouth might be the way to go. In any case, you really can’t go wrong with either of these top-tier universities.

It’s important to consider factors beyond just location and campus environment when making your decision. For example, you may want to research the specific programs and majors offered at each university, as well as the opportunities for research, internships, and extracurricular activities.

Additionally, you may want to consider the cost of attendance and the availability of financial aid. By taking a comprehensive approach to your decision-making process, you can ensure that you choose the university that is the best fit for you.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.


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