Dartmouth and Pitzer: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Universities

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

One young smiling caucasian man, student in glasses sits on floor with laptop isolated on yellow studio background.

Dartmouth and Pitzer: A Comprehensive Look at the Two Universities

Are you a prospective student looking for the perfect college or university? Do you prioritize academics, student life, or campus facilities? Are you drawn to a certain location or a specific campus culture?

Whatever your preferences, choosing the right school can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed analysis of two famous universities – Dartmouth and Pitzer – to help you make an informed decision.

History and founding of Dartmouth and Pitzer

The founding of Dartmouth College can be traced back to a petition submitted to King George III in 1769 by a group of Puritan ministers seeking to establish a school in New Hampshire. The school began as a small initiative that eventually grew into a college, and then emerged as an Ivy League institution in the 20th century.

Pitzer College, on the other hand, was founded in response to the growing demand for undergraduate education on the West Coast. It was initially planned as a graduate institution, but that idea was later abandoned, and Pitzer became one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in California.

Despite their different origins, both Dartmouth and Pitzer have a strong commitment to providing a well-rounded education that emphasizes critical thinking and community engagement. Dartmouth has a long tradition of promoting undergraduate research and experiential learning, while Pitzer is known for its emphasis on social justice and sustainability.

View of students lounging in the campus.

Today, both colleges continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of their students and the world around them. Dartmouth has expanded its offerings to include graduate programs in fields such as business and engineering, while Pitzer has developed innovative programs in areas such as environmental studies and intercultural understanding.

Location and campus overview of both universities

One of the biggest differences between Dartmouth and Pitzer is their location. Dartmouth is situated in rural New Hampshire and has a traditional campus with brick buildings and green spaces.

Pitzer, on the other hand, is located in the heart of Southern California and has a more modern and eclectic campus with Mediterranean-style architecture, palm trees, and views of the nearby mountains.

Despite these differences, both campuses provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Dartmouth is located in the Upper Valley, a region known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation, including hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing. Pitzer is located in the Claremont Village, a college town with a vibrant local culture and a wide array of activities, from outdoor concerts to farmer’s markets.

Another difference between the two universities is the size of their campuses. Dartmouth’s campus is spread over 269 acres, while Pitzer’s campus is only 35 acres. This means that Dartmouth has more open spaces and larger buildings, while Pitzer has a more compact and intimate feel.

Additionally, both universities have unique features that make them stand out. Dartmouth is known for its strong focus on undergraduate education and its liberal arts curriculum, which emphasizes critical thinking and interdisciplinary learning. Pitzer, on the other hand, is known for its commitment to social justice and sustainability, with a curriculum that emphasizes environmental studies and community engagement.

Admission requirements and acceptance rates at Dartmouth and Pitzer

Admission to Dartmouth and Pitzer is highly competitive. Dartmouth’s acceptance rate for the class of 2024 was 8.8%, while Pitzer’s was 13.3%. Both schools require students to submit a comprehensive application, including standardized test scores, transcripts, essays, and recommendations.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

However, both schools have unique admissions requirements. Dartmouth, for example, requires all applicants to complete a peer evaluation form and a personal video statement. Pitzer, on the other hand, allows applicants to submit an optional “creative supplement,” which can be anything from writing samples to artistic portfolios.

In addition to the standard application requirements, Dartmouth also considers demonstrated interest in the school as a factor in its admissions process. This can include attending information sessions, visiting campus, and engaging with admissions representatives.

Pitzer, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on social responsibility and community engagement and looks for applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to these values through their extracurricular activities and community service.

Student life and culture at Dartmouth and Pitzer

The campus culture at Dartmouth and Pitzer is significantly different. Dartmouth has a traditional campus culture that revolves around fraternities and sororities, with Greek life playing a significant role in the social scene.

Pitzer, on the other hand, emphasizes a more collaborative and inclusive culture with a focus on social justice. Pitzer operates under a “no-fault” grading system, which emphasizes self-reflection and learning over grades. Additionally, Pitzer has a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability, with a LEED platinum-certified dining facility and a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

Another notable difference between student life at Dartmouth and Pitzer is the size of the student body. Dartmouth has a larger student population, with over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students, while Pitzer has a smaller student body of around 1,000 students.

This size difference can impact the sense of community and the opportunities for involvement in extracurricular activities. However, both schools offer a wide range of clubs and organizations for students to get involved in, from sports teams to cultural groups to academic clubs.

Academic programs offered at both universities

Both Dartmouth and Pitzer offer a wide array of academic programs. Dartmouth offers more than 50 undergraduate majors across four divisions: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering, and Interdisciplinary Programs. Students can also pursue dual or modified majors, or participate in study abroad programs and research opportunities.

Group of students smiling and talking to each other.

Pitzer, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies. Students are required to complete a core curriculum in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, and can then pursue a self-designed major or major in one of several subject areas, including Environmental Analysis, Sociology, and Media Studies.

Additionally, both universities offer graduate programs for students who wish to continue their education beyond the undergraduate level. Dartmouth offers graduate programs in fields such as engineering, business, and medicine, while Pitzer offers graduate programs in areas such as education and environmental analysis.

Faculty and staff at Dartmouth and Pitzer

Dartmouth and Pitzer both have distinguished faculty members across several disciplines. Dartmouth’s faculty includes Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur “genius grant” recipients, and members of the National Academies of Science and Engineering. Pitzer’s faculty includes Fulbright Scholars, Guggenheim Fellows, and recipients of major national teaching awards.

Both schools also emphasize mentorship and student-faculty engagement. Dartmouth has a low student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 and offers undergraduate research opportunities and honors programs. Pitzer has a similarly low student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1 and an advising system that matches each student with a faculty mentor.

Additionally, both Dartmouth and Pitzer have dedicated staff members who provide support and resources to students. Dartmouth has a Center for Professional Development, which offers career counseling, job and internship search assistance, and networking opportunities.

Pitzer has a Writing Center, which provides one-on-one writing consultations and workshops to help students improve their writing skills. These resources, along with the knowledgeable and supportive faculty, contribute to a well-rounded and enriching academic experience at both institutions.

Campus facilities, resources, and services available to students at both universities

Both Dartmouth and Pitzer provide a wealth of resources and services to support student success. Dartmouth has a comprehensive counseling and health center, a career services office, and a student accessibility services department. It also offers several specialized programs, including the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Tuck School of Business.

four students lounging on the steps outside

Pitzer also has a strong support system for students, including a career services office, an advising and academic support center, and a wellness center that offers physical and mental health resources. It also has several specialized institutes and centers, including the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability and the Skandalaris Internship Program.

Additionally, both universities offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs for students to get involved in. Dartmouth has over 200 student organizations, including academic clubs, cultural groups, and sports teams. Pitzer also has a diverse range of clubs and organizations, such as the Queer Resource Center and the Outdoor Adventure Club.

Furthermore, both universities have extensive libraries and research facilities available to students. Dartmouth’s library system includes the Baker-Berry Library, which houses over 2.3 million volumes, and the Rauner Special Collections Library, which contains rare books, manuscripts, and archives.

Pitzer’s library system includes the W.M. Keck Science Library, which provides resources for students in the natural sciences, and the Claremont Colleges Library, which offers access to millions of books, journals, and databases.

Research opportunities at Dartmouth and Pitzer

Undergraduate research is highly valued at both Dartmouth and Pitzer. Dartmouth has a robust research infrastructure, including several research centers and institutes, such as the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship and the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. Dartmouth students can also participate in research opportunities through the Dartmouth-X program, which partners with international universities.

Pitzer offers several summer research opportunities and a summer science program, which provides stipends and housing for students to conduct research on scientific projects of their choice. Additionally, Pitzer has an Environmental Analysis program that partners with local organizations to offer internships and research opportunities for students.

Both Dartmouth and Pitzer also offer opportunities for students to present their research at conferences and symposiums. Dartmouth hosts an annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, where students can showcase their research to the community. Pitzer hosts a similar event, the Celebration of Student Research, which highlights the work of students across all disciplines.

Tuition fees, financial aid, and scholarships available at both universities

The cost of attendance at Dartmouth and Pitzer can be significant. As of the 2020-2021 academic year, Dartmouth’s tuition and fees were $58,197, while Pitzer’s were $57,478.

However, both schools offer need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships to support students. Dartmouth meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, and Pitzer offers a range of scholarships and grants, including the Pitzer College Academic Scholarship and the Pitzer College Achievement Scholarship.

Group of students walking in the campus.

In addition to need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships, both Dartmouth and Pitzer offer work-study programs to help students cover the cost of attendance. These programs provide students with part-time jobs on campus, allowing them to earn money while gaining valuable work experience.

Furthermore, both universities have resources available to help students navigate the financial aid process and manage their finances while in school. Dartmouth’s Office of Financial Aid provides personalized counseling and workshops on financial literacy, while Pitzer’s Financial Aid Office offers one-on-one advising and financial planning tools.

Career prospects for graduates of Dartmouth and Pitzer

Dartmouth and Pitzer have a strong track record of producing successful graduates who go on to make significant contributions in their respective fields. Dartmouth has a large and active alumni network, with notable graduates including former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and former Supreme Court Justice Salmon Chase.

Pitzer graduates go on to pursue careers in a wide variety of areas, including law, medicine, and social services. Notable alumni include Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel, and environmental activist Winona LaDuke.

Graduates of Dartmouth and Pitzer are highly sought after by employers due to their strong academic backgrounds and well-rounded education. Many graduates go on to work for top companies in their respective fields, including Google, Goldman Sachs, and McKinsey & Company.

In addition to their successful careers, graduates of Dartmouth and Pitzer are also known for their commitment to community service and social justice. Many alumni are actively involved in philanthropic organizations and non-profits, working to make a positive impact on society.


In conclusion, Dartmouth and Pitzer are two of the most prestigious and selective universities in the country, with unique strengths and traditions that make them attractive to different types of students. Ultimately, the choice between Dartmouth and Pitzer depends on your personal preferences, goals, and aspirations.

If you are looking for a traditional campus culture, a strong liberal arts curriculum, and opportunities for research and entrepreneurship, Dartmouth may be the right choice for you. If you are looking for a collaborative and inclusive campus culture, an emphasis on social justice and sustainability, and opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, Pitzer may be the right choice for you.

Whatever your decision, we hope that this comprehensive guide has provided you with the information and insight you need to make an informed choice between these two outstanding universities.

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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.


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