Dartmouth College: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Attending Dartmouth

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Dartmouth campus

Dartmouth College: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Attending Dartmouth

As the college application process intensifies, prospective students need to have all the information they need to make an informed decision about their educational futures. In this article, “Dartmouth College: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Attending Dartmouth,” we’ll dive deep into the pros and cons of attending Dartmouth, providing a detailed perspective for senior high school students as they weigh their options. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what Dartmouth has to offer and whether it aligns with your personal goals and aspirations.

Brief History of Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College, founded in 1769, holds the distinction of being the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

Established by Eleazar Wheelock, a Puritan minister, the college was initially intended to educate Native American youth, with the goal of Christianizing and assimilating them into colonial society.

However, throughout its history, the college gradually shifted its focus towards providing a more comprehensive and liberal arts education to a diverse student body.

Dartmouth Supplemental Essays

Located in the picturesque town of Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth has long been a bastion of academic excellence and innovation, boasting a rich history that has contributed to its standing as one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world.

Relevance of Dartmouth in the Ivy League

Despite being the smallest of the Ivy League institutions in terms of student population, Dartmouth has maintained an outsized influence in the realm of academia and beyond.

It offers a unique blend of rigorous academics, a close-knit community, and unparalleled access to resources, thanks to its Ivy League status.

Dartmouth is known for its focus on undergraduate education, ensuring that students receive the personalized attention and mentorship needed to succeed in their chosen fields.

The college consistently ranks among the top institutions in the nation, both for its undergraduate programs and graduate offerings through the Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and Geisel School of Medicine. Its strong emphasis on research, innovation, and global impact has solidified Dartmouth’s position as a leader among its Ivy League peers.

Purpose of the article: Providing an in-depth look at the pros and cons of Dartmouth

This article aims to provide prospective students with a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of attending Dartmouth College.

It is essential to have a well-rounded perspective when choosing a college, as this decision can significantly impact one’s personal and professional life.

By examining the academic, social, and environmental aspects of Dartmouth, we hope to help students make informed decision based on their individual priorities and preferences.

We will delve into the unique features that set Dartmouth apart, as well as the potential challenges that students might face during their time at the college.

We intend to empower readers with the knowledge necessary to determine if Dartmouth is the right fit for them and, ultimately, to help them make the best choice for their future.

What are the pros of attending Dartmouth College?

What are some of the positive aspects of attending Dartmouth? Dartmouth College has many factors that attract students from all over the world.

Darthmouth building

As with any college or university, it’s important to weigh these benefits, the pleasant side of the pros and cons of attending Dartmouth.

In the following paragraphs, we will explore some of the most compelling reasons to consider Dartmouth College.

Academic excellence

Dartmouth’s dedication to academic excellence is evident in its rigorous curriculum, accomplished faculty, and diverse range of course offerings.

With a low student-to-faculty ratio, students can expect personalized attention from professors who are experts in their fields.

This close mentorship not only supports students throughout their academic journey but also fosters deep and lasting connections that can extend well beyond graduation.

Young woman walking in the stairs of a building.

Dartmouth’s commitment to undergraduate education is demonstrated by the vast array of research opportunities available to students, allowing them to engage with groundbreaking work in various disciplines.

Furthermore, the college provides extensive resources and support services to ensure that students have the tools necessary to excel in their chosen fields.

Overall, Dartmouth’s academic excellence is one of its most significant selling points, setting the stage for a transformative educational experience.

Unique D-Plan system

One of Dartmouth’s most distinctive features is its innovative and flexible academic calendar known as the Dartmouth Plan or the D-Plan.

This quarter-based system allows students to design their own academic schedules, affording them the freedom to tailor their college experience to their personal needs and interests.

The D-Plan consists of four 10-week terms per year, during which students can choose to study on-campus, participate in off-campus programs, or take a term off to pursue internships, research, or other personal and professional goals.

This flexibility encourages students to explore various academic and extracurricular opportunities and fosters a dynamic learning environment that extends beyond the classroom.

The D-Plan system is a major draw for students seeking a more personalized and adaptable college experience, as it empowers them to forge their unique paths toward success.

Strong sense of community

In weighing the pros and cons of attending Dartmouth, prospective students should note that one of the most appealing aspects of this prestigious institution is the strong sense of community that pervades campus life.

With a relatively small undergraduate population compared to other Ivy League schools, students at Dartmouth have the opportunity to form close relationships with their peers and faculty members.

This intimate environment fosters a collaborative atmosphere where students can learn from and support one another, both academically and socially.

Group of students signing up for internship.

Dartmouth is well known for its residential college system, which offers a variety of living arrangements that help to build connections and encourage friendships among students.

The college also offers numerous clubs, organizations, and activities that cater to a wide range of interests, further contributing to the vibrant community atmosphere.

The strong sense of camaraderie and belonging at Dartmouth is an invaluable aspect of the college experience, as it helps students to thrive both personally and academically.

Beautiful and accessible campus

In evaluating the pros and cons of attending Dartmouth, students should research the charming town of Hanover, New Hampshire. The stunning campus seamlessly blends with the natural beauty of this lovely town.

Surrounded by the lush forests and rolling hills of the Upper Valley, the college offers ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy recreational activities such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking.

The picturesque setting not only provides students with a serene environment in which to focus on their studies but also promotes a strong connection to nature and an appreciation for the great outdoors.

The campus itself is easily navigable and offers a wide array of facilities, including state-of-the-art academic buildings, comfortable residence halls, and numerous dining options.

The close proximity of the campus to the town center means that students have convenient access to local shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, ensuring that there is always something to do in the surrounding community.

Active alumni network

Dartmouth’s active and engaged alumni network is another significant advantage for students attending the college.

The strong bonds formed during their time at Dartmouth often lead alumni to maintain connections with the college and each other long after graduation.

This robust network can provide invaluable support and resources for current students and recent graduates, offering career guidance, networking opportunities, and even job placements.

Many alumni also serve as mentors or guest lecturers, sharing their experiences and insights with current students.

What are the cons of attending Dartmouth College?

What are some of the negative aspects of attending Dartmouth? While Dartmouth College offers many benefits and opportunities, it is important to consider some of the challenges and drawbacks.

As with any college, the unique features that make Dartmouth an attractive choice for some students may not be the best fit for others. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss some potential cons of attending Dartmouth.

Remote location

Dartmouth’s picturesque campus in Hanover, New Hampshire, offers a serene and beautiful environment for students to focus on their studies and enjoy outdoor recreational activities.

However, the remote location also presents some challenges. Students who prefer an urban setting with easy access to cultural attractions, shopping centers, and a vibrant nightlife may find Hanover’s rural environment limiting.

Public transportation options are limited, and traveling to nearby cities can be time-consuming and expensive.

While the college offers various on-campus events and activities to keep students engaged, those who crave the excitement of a bustling city may not find Dartmouth’s location ideal.

It’s essential for prospective students to consider whether they will be comfortable and content in a more secluded environment before deciding to attend Dartmouth.

Greek life dominance

In considering the pros and cons of attending Dartmouth, it should be noted that Greek life is a prominent aspect of the social scene of the college. It has a significant percentage of the student body participating in fraternities and sororities.

While many students find a strong sense of community and camaraderie within these organizations, Greek life’s dominance on campus may not be appealing to everyone.

The prominence of fraternities and sororities can create an atmosphere of exclusivity and, in some cases, perpetuate divisive social hierarchies.

Although the college has taken steps to address these issues and promote a more inclusive and responsible social environment, prospective students who are not interested in participating in Greek life should consider whether they will be comfortable navigating the social landscape at Dartmouth.

Winter term challenges

Dartmouth’s location in northern New England means that students can expect to experience long, cold winters with significant snowfall.

While some students may enjoy the opportunity to participate in winter sports or appreciate the beauty of a snow-covered campus, others may find the winter term particularly challenging.

The harsh weather conditions can make travel difficult, limit outdoor activities, and contribute to feelings of isolation or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

It is important for prospective students to consider their ability to adapt to and cope with the challenges presented by Dartmouth’s winter term.

Limited diversity

Dartmouth has made significant strides in recent years to increase the diversity of its student body, but it still faces challenges in this area.

The college’s predominantly white and affluent student population may not fully represent the range of backgrounds and experiences found in other institutions.

For students from underrepresented backgrounds, this lack of diversity can create feelings of isolation or difficulty connecting with peers who share their cultural experiences.

Dartmouth has implemented initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion, such as offering scholarships and support programs for students from low-income or underrepresented backgrounds, but there is still room for improvement.


It’s crucial for prospective students to carefully weigh the pros and cons of attending Dartmouth, taking into account factors such as its remote location, the prominence of Greek life, winter term challenges, and limited diversity.

In conclusion, Dartmouth College offers a unique blend of academic excellence, a strong sense of community, and a beautiful campus environment that has attracted students from around the world.

Ultimately, the choice of a college is a deeply personal one, and we hope that this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights into the Dartmouth College experience to help prospective students make the best decision for their future.

AdmissionSight is willing to help

At AdmissionSight, we believe that every student deserves the opportunity to attend the college of their choice. That’s why we specialize in providing expert guidance and support to help you gain acceptance to your top-choice schools.

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Don’t leave your future to chance. Contact AdmissionSight today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step towards achieving your dreams. With our expert guidance and support, anything is possible.


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