Dartmouth and Haverford: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a woman using a laptop.

Dartmouth and Haverford: Which College is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing a college, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every institution has its unique qualities and features that make it the right fit for certain people. Dartmouth and Haverford are two of the most prestigious colleges in the country, with distinctive characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we’ll compare the two colleges based on various factors to help you decide which college is right for you.

Location and Campus

Located in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth is a private Ivy League research university known for its picturesque campus. The surrounding area is serene, with a small-town vibe that’s perfect for students who prefer a peaceful academic environment.

The campus spans over 269 hectares, and there are more than 160 buildings, iconic landmarks, and spacious green areas. In contrast, Haverford College is situated in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and is a private liberal arts college. The college’s campus is a wooded suburban landscape with more than 200 acres, historic stone buildings, and open spaces.

Despite their differences in location and campus, both Dartmouth and Haverford offer students unique opportunities to explore their academic interests. Dartmouth’s location in New Hampshire provides students with access to outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking, while Haverford’s proximity to Philadelphia allows students to engage with the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene. Additionally, both institutions prioritize small class sizes and close relationships between students and faculty, creating a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

Academic Programs and Offerings

Dartmouth is renowned for its extensive academic programs, including 40+ undergraduate majors, 56 interdisciplinary programs, and over 300 study-abroad opportunities. The college is particularly known for its programs in engineering, the natural sciences, and social sciences.

College students walking in the campus.

Haverford, on the other hand, is a liberal arts college and primarily focuses on offering undergraduate programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The college has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary studies and is known for its Honor Code.

In addition to its undergraduate programs, Dartmouth also offers graduate programs in various fields, including business, engineering, and medicine. The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth is one of the top-ranked business schools in the world, offering MBA and executive education programs. The Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth is also highly regarded, with a focus on engineering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Haverford College has a unique academic program called the Tri-Co Exchange, which allows students to take courses at two other nearby liberal arts colleges, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore. This program provides students with access to a wider range of courses and resources, while still maintaining the small, intimate community of Haverford. Additionally, Haverford has a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with opportunities for internships, research, and community engagement both on and off campus.

Student Life and Culture

Dartmouth College has an active student community with over 300 student organizations, ranging from academic to social groups, cultural clubs, athletic teams, and service organizations. The college is particularly known for its Greek system, which is one of the oldest in the country.

Haverford, on the other hand, is a tight-knit campus community with less emphasis on Greek life. The college has numerous student organizations, ranging from academic to cultural groups, service organizations, and sports teams. One unique feature of Haverford’s student life is the “Plenary,” an annual student-run assembly where policies are voted on and student governance is discussed.

Aside from the numerous student organizations, Dartmouth College also offers a variety of cultural events and activities throughout the year. These include performances by world-renowned artists, film screenings, and lectures by distinguished speakers. The college also has a strong tradition of outdoor activities, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor sports.

At Haverford, students have the opportunity to participate in a unique academic program called the “Tri-Co” program, which allows students to take classes at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore Colleges.

This program provides students with a wider range of academic opportunities and allows them to interact with students from other colleges. Additionally, Haverford has a strong commitment to sustainability and offers numerous opportunities for students to get involved in environmental initiatives on campus and in the surrounding community.

Admissions Requirements and Application Process

Dartmouth College and Haverford College both have highly selective admissions processes. The acceptance rate for Dartmouth is around 7.9%, while Haverford’s is around 19%. Both colleges require applicants to submit standardized test scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation. Dartmouth offers early decision and regular decision admissions, while Haverford offers early decision, early action, and regular decision admissions.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

In addition to the required application materials, Dartmouth also strongly recommends that applicants participate in an interview with an alumni interviewer or admissions officer. Haverford, on the other hand, encourages applicants to submit a supplemental essay that highlights their intellectual curiosity and passion for learning. Both colleges also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement when making admissions decisions.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Both Dartmouth College and Haverford College offer financial aid and scholarships to help students fund their education. Dartmouth’s financial assistance program meets 100% of demonstrated financial need, and over half of its students receive some form of financial aid. Haverford has a similar policy, with 100% of demonstrated financial need being met through grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs.

In addition to financial aid and scholarships, both colleges also offer resources and support for students to manage their finances. Dartmouth has a Financial Aid Office that provides guidance on budgeting, loan repayment, and other financial matters. Haverford has a Student Financial Services Office that offers similar resources, as well as workshops and events on financial literacy.

Furthermore, both colleges have partnerships with external organizations to provide additional financial support for students. Dartmouth has a partnership with QuestBridge, a national nonprofit organization that connects high-achieving, low-income students with top colleges and universities.

Haverford has a partnership with the Posse Foundation, which identifies and recruits talented students from urban public high schools and provides them with full-tuition scholarships to attend partner colleges and universities.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

Dartmouth and Haverford both offer various athletic opportunities to their students. Dartmouth is a member of the Ivy League and has over 35 varsity sports teams that compete at the Division I level.

Male student holding a ball.

Haverford has a strong tradition of athletics, with 23 varsity sports teams that compete at the Division III level. Extracurricular activities at both colleges include dance, music, theater, and various clubs and organizations.

In addition to the traditional athletic and extracurricular offerings, both Dartmouth and Haverford also provide unique opportunities for students to explore their interests. Dartmouth has a student-run Outing Club that offers outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing.

Haverford has a Quaker Affairs Office that provides resources and programming related to Quaker values and practices. Both colleges also have strong community service programs that allow students to engage with local and global communities through volunteer work and service trips.

Alumni Network and Career Opportunities

Dartmouth College and Haverford College have a strong alumni network that provides numerous career opportunities to graduates. Dartmouth has one of the most robust alumni networks worldwide, with graduates spread out across various fields, including politics, business, and academia. Haverford alumni are active in several fields and industries, including business, healthcare, and law.

Both colleges offer career services to their students and alumni, providing resources such as job postings, career counseling, and networking events. Dartmouth’s career services center offers personalized career coaching, industry-specific resources, and connections to alumni mentors.

Haverford’s career development office provides career exploration programs, internship opportunities, and alumni networking events. With the support of their respective career services, graduates from both colleges have gone on to successful careers in a variety of fields.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Dartmouth and Haverford are both committed to creating an inclusive and diverse community. Dartmouth has numerous offices, including the Office of Pluralism and Leadership and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, that support diversity and inclusion on campus. Haverford has a student-led Diversity Peer Advisors program that offers support, resources, and education to students on diversity-related issues.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

In addition to these programs, both Dartmouth and Haverford have implemented initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion in their student bodies. Dartmouth has a need-blind admissions policy, which means that a student’s ability to pay for tuition is not considered during the admissions process.

This allows for a more diverse student body, as students from all socioeconomic backgrounds have the opportunity to attend. Haverford has also implemented a test-optional admissions policy, which aims to reduce barriers for students who may not have had access to standardized test preparation resources. This policy helps to create a more diverse applicant pool and ultimately, a more diverse student body.

Student Success Rates and Graduation Statistics

Dartmouth College and Haverford College have high graduation rates, with 94% and 91% of their students, respectively, graduating within four years. Both colleges provide students with ample resources and support to ensure their academic success.

Additionally, both colleges have impressive student success rates. Dartmouth College reports that 97% of their graduates are employed or pursuing further education within six months of graduation.

Haverford College boasts a similarly high success rate, with 95% of their graduates finding employment or continuing their education within six months of graduation. These statistics demonstrate the effectiveness of the academic programs and resources offered by both colleges in preparing students for successful careers and further education.

Campus Dining Options Available

Dartmouth College and Haverford College both offer various dining options to their students. Dartmouth has several dining halls, cafes, and restaurants, including the iconic Dartmouth Outing Club, a student-run restaurant. Haverford has an on-campus dining program that provides students with several dining options, including a student-run co-op.

In addition to the dining options available on campus, both Dartmouth and Haverford also have partnerships with local restaurants and cafes. These partnerships allow students to use their meal plans to purchase food off-campus, giving them even more variety in their dining choices.

Furthermore, both colleges prioritize sustainability in their dining programs. Dartmouth has a composting program in place and sources food locally whenever possible. Haverford has a student-led sustainability committee that works with the dining program to reduce waste and promote environmentally-friendly practices.

Campus Health Services and Wellness Programs

Dartmouth College and Haverford College both have robust campus health services and wellness programs that support students’ physical and mental well-being. Dartmouth has a student health center that offers comprehensive medical and mental health services, including counseling and psychiatric care. Haverford provides students with a Health and Wellness Center that offers medical and counseling services, workshops, and wellness programs.

a group of students running at the open field


In addition to the health services and wellness programs offered by Dartmouth and Haverford, both colleges also prioritize the importance of physical fitness. Dartmouth has a state-of-the-art fitness center that includes a pool, basketball courts, and a variety of exercise equipment. Haverford offers students access to a fitness center, as well as outdoor recreational spaces such as hiking trails and athletic fields.

Furthermore, both colleges have implemented initiatives to promote healthy eating habits among students. Dartmouth has a nutritionist on staff who provides individual consultations and hosts workshops on healthy eating. Haverford has a campus garden that provides fresh produce for the dining hall, as well as educational programs on sustainable agriculture and healthy eating.

Student Clubs, Organizations, and Leadership Opportunities

Both Dartmouth College and Haverford College offer students a wide range of clubs, organizations, and leadership opportunities. Dartmouth has over 350 student organizations that provide students with opportunities for leadership, community service, and extracurricular activities.

Haverford has numerous clubs and organizations, including the Student Government Association, the Bi-Co News, and the Bi-Co Theatre Program, that provide students with opportunities for leadership and community engagement.

At Dartmouth College, students can join clubs and organizations that cater to their interests, such as the Dartmouth Outing Club, which offers outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and camping. The college also has a strong Greek life presence, with over 30 fraternities and sororities on campus. These organizations provide students with opportunities for socializing, networking, and philanthropy.


Overall, both Dartmouth College and Haverford College have unique features that make them attractive to students seeking academic rigor and community engagement. We hope that this comparison has provided you with valuable insights that will help you make an informed decision about which college is right for you.

Segue to AdmissionSight

At AdmissionSight, we firmly uphold the conviction that every student is entitled to the chance to pursue their dreams at their preferred college. Our mission is to equip you with the expert advice and unwavering support you need to secure a place at the schools you aspire to attend.

Don’t let your future hinge on uncertainty. Reach out to AdmissionSight today to arrange a complimentary consultation and embark on the journey toward realizing your dreams. With our expert mentorship and steadfast support, the sky’s the limit.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.