Dartmouth vs Columbia: A Side-by-Side Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a woman looking calm breathing the air

Dartmouth vs Columbia: A Side-by-Side Analysis

Choosing the right university is crucial to shaping your academic and professional future. Therefore, it’s essential to do adequate research and compare institutions to make an informed choice. This article will offer a side-by-side analysis of two renowned universities: Dartmouth vs Columbia.

We will delve into various aspects of both universities, including history, campus life, academic programs, faculty, research opportunities, admissions, student body diversity, career services, cost, campus safety, and extracurricular activities.

Introducing Dartmouth and Columbia Universities

Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire. Founded in 1769, it’s among the oldest higher learning institutions in the US. Dartmouth has a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 4,429 students, and the campus sits on roughly 269 acres.

Dartmouth campus

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research institution in New York City, New York. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and one of the oldest universities in the US. It boasts a total undergraduate enrollment of around 6,202 students, and the campus is spread over 36 acres.

Dartmouth College is known for its strong undergraduate liberal arts program, emphasizing a well-rounded education and close student-faculty relationships. The college also has a highly regarded graduate program in business, the Tuck School of Business, which consistently ranks among the top MBA programs in the country.

Columbia University is renowned for its research programs, particularly in medicine, law, and journalism. The university has several prestigious research centers, including the Earth Institute, the Columbia Genome Center, and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.

Columbia is also known for its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a student body representing over 150 countries.

Understanding the History and Legacy of Dartmouth and Columbia

Dartmouth and Columbia have rich histories and legacies that shape their identities today. Dartmouth has a strong Native American and Christian influence, as it was founded as a school that primarily catered to the children of Native American leaders. It has since evolved into an esteemed institution prioritizing undergraduate education and interdisciplinary research.

Similarly, Columbia has a history of academic excellence and social activism, having educated some of the most iconic figures in American history, such as former US President Barack Obama. Its core principles are academic freedom, humanitarianism, and a commitment to intellectual rigor.

Both universities hold notable positions in higher education history and continue to produce global leaders in various fields. Whether you are a prospective student, a current student, or an alum, there is much to appreciate and celebrate about the history and legacy of these two remarkable universities.

Exploring the Campus Life at Dartmouth and Columbia

When it comes to campus life, both Dartmouth and Columbia offer unique experiences. Dartmouth’s undergraduate community is close-knit, as most students live on campus for four years. The college’s location in Hanover, New Hampshire, is ideal for students who love the outdoors, as it’s surrounded by beautiful natural scenery.

On the other hand, Columbia’s campus is situated in the heart of New York City, offering a bustling atmosphere for its students. The university’s proximity to renowned museums, restaurants, theaters, and parks makes it an attractive location for students who appreciate the vibrancy of urban life.

Columbia University campus

Despite their contrasting locations, both universities offer diverse extracurricular activities that cater to various interests, including sports teams, clubs, and student organizations.

Additionally, Dartmouth and Columbia strongly commit to community service and civic engagement. Dartmouth’s Tucker Foundation offers numerous opportunities for students to get involved in service projects locally and globally. Columbia’s Office of Civic Engagement also provides resources and support for students interested in positively impacting their communities.

These programs benefit the communities they serve and provide valuable learning experiences for students, helping them develop leadership skills and a sense of social responsibility.

Analyzing the Academic Programs at Dartmouth vs Columbia

Dartmouth and Columbia have similar academic structures, offering degree programs in various fields, including the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. However, Dartmouth strongly emphasizes undergraduate education, offering exclusive undergraduate programs in areas such as engineering, business, and computer science.

Columbia is renowned for its graduate programs, particularly in journalism, law, and business, and offers distinguished research opportunities through its numerous research centers and institutes.

Both universities have world-class faculties with renowned professors, scholars, and experts in various disciplines. Their teaching methods vary, with Dartmouth focusing more on small class sizes and interaction between students and professors, while Columbia utilizes a more lecture-based approach.

Despite their similarities, there are also notable differences between the academic programs at Dartmouth vs Columbia. For example, Dartmouth has a strong liberal arts curriculum, requiring all students to take courses in various disciplines, while Columbia allows for more flexibility in course selection.

Additionally, Dartmouth has a unique “D-Plan” academic calendar, which allows students to take off-campus terms and pursue internships or research opportunities.

Both universities also prioritize research but in different ways. Dartmouth strongly focuses on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. On the other hand, Columbia has a larger emphasis on graduate research, with numerous research centers and institutes that attract top scholars from around the world.

Comparing the Faculty and Teaching Methods at Dartmouth and Columbia

Dartmouth and Columbia have excellent faculties with highly qualified professors who are leaders in their respective fields. Both universities have stringent hiring processes to employ only the best.

Furthermore, both universities have varied teaching methods. Dartmouth strongly emphasizes providing an immersive learning experience, encouraging students to participate actively in classes, research, and extracurricular activities.  In comparison, Columbia utilizes cutting-edge research-based teaching methods and emphasizes independent learning and research, making it an excellent institution for graduate students.

However, there are some notable differences between Dartmouth vs Columbia. Dartmouth has a smaller student-to-faculty ratio allows for more personalized attention and mentorship from professors.

professor teaching in class

On the other hand, Columbia has a larger and more diverse student body, providing students with a wider range of perspectives and experiences. Additionally, Dartmouth strongly focuses on undergraduate education, while Columbia is known for its research and graduate programs.

Ultimately, both schools provide ample opportunities for students to learn and grow under the guidance of top academics.

Investigating the Research Opportunities at Dartmouth vs Columbia

Both Dartmouth and Columbia focus strongly on research and provide ample opportunities for students to get involved in research projects. Dartmouth’s undergraduate research program is particularly notable, offering students access to state-of-the-art research centers, including the Thayer School of Engineering, the Hood Museum of Art, and the Dickey Center for International Understanding.

Columbia’s research opportunities are equally impressive, with over 200 research centers and institutes that tackle critical issues in various fields, including engineering, medicine, and public policy. The University also has numerous partnerships with industries and businesses, providing students with internships and hands-on experiences essential in the job market.

Furthermore, both universities are strongly committed to interdisciplinary research, encouraging students to explore different fields and collaborate with experts from various disciplines.

At Dartmouth, students can participate in the Neukom Institute for Computational Science, which brings computer scientists, mathematicians, and social scientists together to tackle complex problems. Meanwhile, Columbia’s Data Science Institute is another example of interdisciplinary research, where students can work on projects that combine computer science, statistics, and domain-specific knowledge.

Finally, both universities have a strong tradition of undergraduate research, with many students publishing their findings in prestigious academic journals. Dartmouth’s Undergraduate Journal of Science is a student-run publication that showcases research from students across different disciplines.

Columbia’s Journal of Politics & Society is another example of undergraduate research, where students can publish their work on political and social issues.

Comparing the Admissions Process and Acceptance Rates of Dartmouth and Columbia

The admissions process for both universities is highly competitive, with only a fraction of applicants securing admission. Regarding acceptance rates, Dartmouth’s undergraduate acceptance rate for the Class of 2024 was 8.8%, while Columbia’s undergraduate acceptance rate for the same year was 6.1%.

Both universities use holistic admissions approaches, evaluating applicants based on several factors, including academic merit, extracurricular involvement, standardized test scores, and essays.

However, there are some differences in the admissions process between Dartmouth and Columbia. For example, Dartmouth offers an Early Decision program, which allows students to apply early and receive a decision in December.

On the other hand, Columbia offers an Early Decision program and a separate Early Action program, allowing students to apply early and receive a decision in December or January.

Additionally, Dartmouth requires all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, while Columbia has adopted a test-optional policy for the 2020-2021 application cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding the Student Body Diversity at Dartmouth vs Columbia

Dartmouth and Columbia have diverse student bodies, with students from all over the world represented on their campuses.

Dartmouth has a relatively equal gender ratio, with 48% of undergraduate students identifying as women and 52% identifying as men. The ethnic and racial makeup of Dartmouth consists of 47% White, 15% Asian, 10% Hispanic/Latinx, 2% African American, and 1% Native American.

Columbia’s undergraduate student body is also diverse, with 51% women and 49% men. The ethnic and racial composition of the student body consists of 41% white, 20% Asian, 17% Hispanic/Latinx, 12% African American, and 1% Native American.

Both Dartmouth and Columbia have a wide range of academic programs and extracurricular activities that cater to the diverse interests of their student bodies. Dartmouth offers over 60 majors and minors, including engineering, computer science, and environmental studies programs. The college also has over 350 student organizations, from cultural clubs to sports teams.

On the other hand, Columbia offers over 100 majors and concentrations, including journalism, economics, and political science programs. The university has over 500 student organizations, including a vibrant arts scene and a strong athletics program.

campus journalists working on a project

Furthermore, Dartmouth and Columbia are strongly committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on their campuses. Dartmouth has several initiatives to increase diversity among its student body, faculty, and staff, including the Dartmouth College Fund for Diversity and Inclusion. Columbia has a similar commitment to diversity, with programs such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Columbia University Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race.

Analyzing the Career Services Offered by Dartmouth vs Columbia

Both Dartmouth and Columbia offer extensive career services to their students, providing them with the resources they need to secure jobs after graduation. Dartmouth’s career center offers career advising, resume and cover letter reviews, job and internship searches, and networking opportunities, among other services.

Columbia’s career services are equally comprehensive, with various programs that prepare students for their career journeys, including industry-specific career fairs, mentoring, and internship search assistance. Both universities’ alumni networks are also impressive, providing students with access to established professionals and valuable resources that can help them advance their careers.

However, there are some differences between the career services offered by Dartmouth and Columbia. For example, Dartmouth’s career center has a strong focus on entrepreneurship, offering resources and support for students interested in starting their own businesses.

On the other hand, Columbia’s career services strongly emphasize international opportunities, with programs and resources that help students explore and pursue careers abroad.

Additionally, both universities have unique partnerships with companies and organizations providing students with exclusive job and internship opportunities. For instance, Dartmouth partnered with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which offers a summer program exclusively for Dartmouth students.

On the other hand, Columbia has a partnership with the United Nations, providing students with opportunities to intern and work with the organization.

Comparing the Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Options at Dartmouth and Columbia

The cost of attendance at both universities is relatively high, with tuition, fees, and living expenses adding up to significant sums. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the estimated cost of attendance at Dartmouth was approximately $78,234, while Columbia’s cost of attendance was roughly $79,752.

However, both universities provide generous financial aid options, with over half of their undergraduate students receiving some form of financial aid.

Dartmouth meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students. At the same time, Columbia has a need-blind admissions policy for US citizens and permanent residents, ensuring that students are admitted based on their merit rather than their ability to pay.

Aside from financial aid, both universities offer various scholarship opportunities to their students. Dartmouth offers merit-based scholarships, such as the Dartmouth Scholars Program, which provides full tuition and fees for four years to a select group of students.

Columbia also offers merit-based scholarships, such as the John Jay Scholars Program, which provides full tuition and a living stipend to a small group of exceptional students.

Additionally, both universities have work-study programs that allow students to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. Dartmouth’s work-study program offers a variety of on-campus and off-campus jobs. In contrast, Columbia’s program allows students to work in research labs, libraries, and other academic departments.

Examining Campus Safety Measures at Dartmouth and Columbia

Dartmouth and Columbia prioritize campus safety and have comprehensive safety measures, including 24/7 campus police patrols, emergency alert systems, and integrated security measures. The universities also offer numerous resources to support students’ mental and emotional well-being, including counseling services, mentorship programs, and wellness initiatives.

At Dartmouth, the campus police department works closely with the Office of Student Wellness and Safety to provide a holistic approach to campus safety. This includes education and prevention programs, such as self-defense classes and bystander intervention training, to empower students to promote safety on campus actively.

Additionally, Dartmouth has implemented a system for students to anonymously report incidents of sexual assault or harassment, which the Title IX office then investigates.

Columbia has also taken steps to address sexual assault and harassment on campus, including the creation of a dedicated support center. The university has also implemented a bystander intervention program called “Step Up!,” which trains students to recognize and intervene in potentially harmful situations.

In addition to these measures, Columbia offers a range of mental health services, including individual counseling, group therapy, and psychiatric consultations.

Extracurricular Activities Available at Dartmouth vs Columbia

Dartmouth and Columbia offer extensive extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations catering to various interests and passions. At Dartmouth, students can participate in over 200 clubs, including debate, theater, music, and sports clubs, while Columbia has over 500 registered student organizations, including political, cultural, and social justice groups.

students practice singing

Both universities also offer NCAA Division I sports teams, with Dartmouth being a member of the Ivy League conference and Columbia being a member of the Ivy League and Patriot League.

Additionally, both universities have unique extracurricular opportunities that set them apart. Dartmouth strongly focuses on outdoor activities, with clubs dedicated to hiking, skiing, and rock climbing. The Dartmouth Outing Club, one of the oldest and largest college outing clubs in the country, offers students the chance to explore the natural beauty of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Conversely, Columbia has a thriving entrepreneurship community, with resources such as the Columbia Startup Lab and the Columbia Venture Competition. Students interested in business and innovation can join organizations like the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE) and the Columbia Business School Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association (EIA).

Drawing Conclusions: Which University is Best for You?

Choosing between Dartmouth and Columbia can be challenging, as both universities offer unique experiences and opportunities. While Dartmouth emphasizes undergraduate education, offering smaller class sizes and immersive learning experiences, Columbia provides students with extensive research opportunities and is an excellent institution for graduate studies.

It is important to note that both Dartmouth and Columbia have strong alumni networks, which can benefit career opportunities and networking. Dartmouth alumni are known for their loyalty and willingness to help fellow graduates, while Columbia alumni are spread across various industries and sectors.

Additionally, both universities have active student organizations and extracurricular activities, providing students with opportunities to explore their interests and develop leadership skills.

Ultimately, choosing between Dartmouth vs Columbia should be based on a holistic evaluation of factors, including academic programs, campus culture, location, and career prospects.

AdmissionSight can be a valuable resource for students grappling with the decision between Dartmouth and Columbia. With our team’s expert guidance and knowledge, we provide personalized insights into each institution’s unique strengths and opportunities, aiding students in making informed choices.

Furthermore, AdmissionSight’s assistance in the admissions process, including essay editing, interview preparation, and overall application strategy, can significantly increase students’ chances of securing admission to either Dartmouth or Columbia, ensuring they embark on a successful academic journey.


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