Dartmouth vs Northwestern: A Comprehensive Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a woman writing in a table.

Dartmouth vs Northwestern: A Comprehensive Analysis

Choosing the right college can be a daunting decision for many young people. With so many factors to consider, it’s essential to research and compare different schools to find the one that best aligns with your goals and aspirations. In this article, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at two highly respected universities in the US – Dartmouth vs Northwestern – to help you decide which one might be the better fit for you.

Introduction: Choosing the Right College

When choosing a college, there are several factors that students typically consider, including location, campus culture, academics, student life, diversity and inclusion, athletics, career opportunities, admissions process, alumni network, and tuition costs. In this article, we’ll compare Dartmouth and Northwestern based on these criteria, examining how each school measures up across a range of important metrics.

One crucial factor to consider when choosing a college is the availability of research opportunities. Both Dartmouth and Northwestern have strong research programs, with faculty members who are leaders in their fields. Students at these schools have the opportunity to work alongside these experts, gaining valuable experience and contributing to cutting-edge research projects.

Another factor to consider is the availability of study-abroad programs. Dartmouth and Northwestern offer many study-abroad opportunities, allowing students to immerse themselves in new cultures and gain a global perspective. These programs can be a great way to broaden your horizons and enhance your education.

Location: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

Dartmouth College is located in Hanover, New Hampshire, a picturesque town in the northeastern part of the state. Its location in rural New England gives students access to various outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and canoeing.

On the other hand, Northwestern University is situated in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Students at Northwestern benefit from the cultural offerings of a major metropolitan area, including world-class museums and theaters.

View of Northwestern university

While both locations have advantages, students should consider which aligns more closely with their preferences and lifestyle.

Aside from their location, Dartmouth and Northwestern also differ in their academic programs. Dartmouth is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, focusing on undergraduate education. The college offers over 40 majors, ranging from anthropology to engineering.

On the other hand, Northwestern is a research university with a wide range of graduate programs. The university is particularly well-regarded for its journalism, law, and business programs.

Another factor to consider when choosing between Dartmouth and Northwestern is the size of the student body. Dartmouth is a small college with just over 4,000 undergraduate students. This creates a tight-knit community where students can easily get to know their peers and professors.

On the other hand, Northwestern is a larger university with over 8,000 undergraduate students. While this means there are more opportunities to meet new people and get involved in different activities, it can also make it harder to form close relationships with professors and classmates.

Campus Culture: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

The campus cultures at Dartmouth and Northwestern are quite different. Dartmouth is known for its strong sense of community and emphasis on tradition, with students participating in activities like the Keggy competition and bonfires.

Northwestern, by contrast, has a more liberal, progressive culture emphasizing diversity and inclusivity. Both schools have active extracurricular programs that offer students ample opportunities to get involved and engage with their peers.

One notable aspect of Dartmouth’s campus culture is its focus on the outdoors. The school is located in a rural area, and many students take advantage of the surrounding natural beauty by participating in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and camping.

On the other hand, Northwestern is located in a more urban environment, and while there are still opportunities for outdoor recreation, the focus is more on cultural and artistic events.

Another difference between the two schools is their approach to academics. Dartmouth has a solid liberal arts curriculum focusing on critical thinking and interdisciplinary studies. On the other hand, Northwestern is known for its strong programs in journalism, theater, and music and has a more career-oriented approach to education.

Both schools offer rigorous academic programs, but the emphasis is different, reflecting each institution’s unique strengths and priorities.

Academics: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

When it comes to academics, both Dartmouth and Northwestern, have a lot to offer. Dartmouth is known for its strong undergraduate liberal arts program, while Northwestern has a broader range of majors and graduate programs, including highly-ranked programs in journalism, engineering, and law. Both schools have excellent faculty and ample research opportunities, making them great options for students seeking a strong academic foundation.

However, there are some differences in the academic experience at these two universities. Dartmouth has a unique academic calendar known as the D-Plan, which allows students to take off-campus terms at various points throughout their four years. This allows students to pursue internships, research, or study abroad programs while staying caught up in their coursework.

On the other hand, Northwestern has a quarter system, allowing students to take a wider variety of courses each year and potentially graduate with more credits than students at semester-based schools.

Additionally, Dartmouth strongly emphasizes undergraduate teaching, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. This means that students have more opportunities to work closely with their professors and receive personalized attention.

View of students sitting on their chair.

While still providing excellent teaching, Northwestern has a larger student body and a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1, which may mean less individual attention for each student.

Student Life: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

The student life experience at Dartmouth and Northwestern differs in some respects. Dartmouth is known for its vibrant social scene, with fraternities and sororities playing a significant role in the college experience. Northwestern has a more diverse social scene, with many student-led clubs and organizations catering to various interests.

Both schools have active student government organizations that work to enhance the student experience and promote a sense of community.

However, the academic culture at Dartmouth and Northwestern also varies. Dartmouth strongly focuses on undergraduate education, with small class sizes and a close-knit community of students and faculty.

On the other hand, Northwestern is a larger research university with a wider range of academic programs and opportunities for graduate-level research. Despite these differences, both schools offer a rigorous academic experience and a supportive community for students to thrive in.

Diversity and Inclusion: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

Dartmouth and Northwestern are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus culture. Northwestern has a reputation for being one of the most LGBTQ-friendly schools in the country, with active support networks for LGBT students.

Meanwhile, Dartmouth has made strides recently to increase diversity on campus through initiatives like the Dartmouth First Year Student Enrichment Program, which focuses on recruiting and supporting first-generation and low-income students.

In addition to these initiatives, Dartmouth has also implemented a program called “Building Community Through Diversity,” which aims to create a more inclusive environment by promoting dialogue and understanding among students from different backgrounds. This program includes workshops, events, and discussions that encourage students to explore their own identities and learn about the experiences of others.

Meanwhile, Northwestern has established a Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, which supports research and scholarship related to Native American and Indigenous cultures. The center also hosts events and programs that promote awareness and understanding of these cultures and provides resources and support for Native American and Indigenous students on campus.

Athletics: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

Both Dartmouth and Northwestern have strong athletic programs, competing in the Ivy League and Big Ten conferences, respectively. Dartmouth has a rich tradition in skiing and ice hockey, while Northwestern is known for its football and basketball programs. Both schools offer a range of varsity and club sports, providing students with ample opportunities to participate in athletics.

In addition to their varsity and club sports programs, Dartmouth and Northwestern prioritize their students’ fitness and wellness. Dartmouth offers a variety of fitness classes, including yoga and Pilates, as well as access to state-of-the-art workout facilities. Northwestern has a similar focus on wellness, with a variety of fitness classes and a comprehensive wellness center that offers services such as nutrition counseling and stress management.

Furthermore, both schools have a strong commitment to sportsmanship and community engagement. Dartmouth’s athletic teams participate in community service projects throughout the year, while Northwestern’s student-athletes are involved in various community outreach programs.

Both schools also prioritize academic success for their student-athletes, with resources such as academic advising and tutoring available to help them balance their athletic and academic commitments.

Career Opportunities: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

When it comes to career opportunities, both Dartmouth and Northwestern have solid track records. Dartmouth graduates are in high demand, with strong job placement rates across a range of fields.

Northwestern has a robust career services department, offering students access to internship and job opportunities across a range of industries. Both schools also have strong alumni networks, providing students with valuable connections and networking opportunities.

However, there are some differences between the two schools when it comes to career opportunities. Dartmouth has a strong focus on entrepreneurship, with many graduates going on to start their own successful businesses. On the other hand, Northwestern has a strong reputation in the finance industry, with many graduates landing jobs at top investment banks and financial firms.

a finance manager working

Additionally, Dartmouth has a unique program called the Dartmouth Outdoors Leadership Experience (DOLE), which provides students with leadership training and outdoor skills. This program can be a valuable asset for students pursuing careers in fields such as outdoor education, environmental conservation, and adventure tourism.

Admissions Process: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

The admissions process for both Dartmouth and Northwestern is highly selective, with both schools seeking out top-performing students with strong academic credentials. Dartmouth has a slightly higher acceptance rate than Northwestern, but this may be partially due to Dartmouth’s smaller size. Both schools have active admissions departments that work to recruit and support talented students from diverse backgrounds.

One key difference between the admissions processes at Dartmouth and Northwestern is their approach to standardized testing. While both schools require SAT or ACT scores, Northwestern also offers the option for students to submit three SAT Subject Test scores in lieu of the SAT or ACT. On the other hand, Dartmouth does not consider SAT Subject Test scores in its admissions process.

Another factor to consider is the availability of interviews. Dartmouth strongly encourages interviews for all applicants and offers both on-campus and alumni interviews.

On the other hand, Northwestern only offers interviews to a select group of applicants identified as potential candidates for admission. However, Northwestern does offer optional interviews for students who wish to provide additional information about themselves and their qualifications.

Alumni Network: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

Dartmouth and Northwestern have highly engaged alumni networks, providing students with valuable connections and resources as they navigate their post-college careers.

Dartmouth has a strong network of alumni in finance, law, and consulting, while Northwestern has a larger group of alumni working in technology and startups. Regardless of your career goals, both schools have alumni networks to help you succeed.

View of a Start-up sign

However, there are some differences in how Dartmouth vs Northwestern’s alumni networks operate. Dartmouth’s alumni network is known for its close-knit community, with alumni often reaching out to help current students and recent graduates.

Northwestern’s alumni network, on the other hand, is more focused on professional development and networking events. Both approaches have their benefits, and it’s essential to consider which type of alumni network would be most helpful for your career goals.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Dartmouth vs Northwestern

Dartmouth and Northwestern are both private universities with relatively high tuition costs. Dartmouth’s tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year total $62,684, while Northwestern’s total is $58,701. Both schools offer generous financial aid packages to qualified students, and both have committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted students.

However, there are some differences in the types of financial aid offered by these universities. Dartmouth offers need-based aid, which means that financial aid is awarded based on a student’s demonstrated financial need.

Northwestern, on the other hand, offers both need-based and merit-based aid. This means that in addition to financial need, Northwestern also considers a student’s academic achievements and potential when awarding financial aid.

Conclusion: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing between Dartmouth vs Northwestern is a highly personal decision based on your individual preferences and priorities. Both schools have a lot to offer, with strong academic programs and active campus communities. Whether you prefer the rural beauty of New Hampshire or the urban energy of Chicago, you are sure to find a home at one of these outstanding institutions.

It is important to remember that while the college you choose is a significant decision, it is not the only factor that will determine your future success. Your dedication to your studies, involvement in extracurricular activities, and networking skills will all play a role in shaping your career path. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a college where you feel comfortable and supported and can thrive academically and personally.

AdmissionSight provides valuable guidance to students weighing the options between Dartmouth and Northwestern. By considering factors such as academic programs, campus culture, and career opportunities, they help students make informed decisions.

Furthermore, AdmissionSight assists students in the admission process by offering personalized strategies, essay reviews, and interview preparation, increasing their chances of gaining admission to either prestigious institution.


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