Dartmouth vs UPenn: A Look at the Pros and Cons

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a woman writing in a table.

Dartmouth vs UPenn: A Look at the Pros and Cons

With so many incredible universities, it can be challenging to decide which is the best fit for you. Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) are two top contenders for students considering higher education. In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of Dartmouth vs UPenn to help you decide which institution is the best choice for you.

Location and Campus: How Do Dartmouth and UPenn Compare?

Location is an important factor to consider when choosing between Dartmouth vs UPenn. Dartmouth College is in Hanover, NH, a small town in the picturesque White Mountains. The campus is stunning, with a mix of historic and modern buildings surrounded by lush greenery and mountain views.

On the other hand, the University of Pennsylvania is located in the bustling city of Philadelphia. The campus is sprawling and features a mix of Gothic and contemporary architecture.

Very old building in University of Pennsylvania

While Dartmouth offers the peace and tranquility of a small town, UPenn provides students with the excitement and energy of a metropolitan city. The choice between the two comes down to personal preference and the type of environment in which you prefer to study and live.

Another factor to consider when comparing the two universities is the availability of outdoor activities. Dartmouth’s location in the White Mountains provides students with ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor adventures. The college also has its own ski resort, the Dartmouth Skiway, just a short drive from campus.

UPenn, on the other hand, is located in an urban environment, limiting outdoor activities’ availability. However, the university does have several parks and green spaces nearby, such as Rittenhouse Square and Fairmount Park.

In terms of transportation, both universities offer convenient options for students. Dartmouth has a free shuttle service that runs between campus and the nearby town of Hanover and a bus service that connects students to other nearby towns and cities.

UPenn has its own transit system, including buses and shuttles that transport students around campus and other parts of Philadelphia. Additionally, both universities are located near major airports, making it easy for students to travel home or to other destinations during breaks.

Admissions: What Are the Acceptance Rates at Dartmouth and UPenn?

Getting into Dartmouth or UPenn is a challenging feat. Both colleges are highly selective and boast low acceptance rates. For the class of 2025, Dartmouth had an acceptance rate of 7.9%, while UPenn had an acceptance rate of 5.7%.

Both colleges strongly emphasize academics, extracurricular activities, and essays when evaluating applicants. If you’re considering applying to either school, it’s essential to have a strong application that showcases your unique qualities and passions.

View of a woman using a laptop.

It’s worth noting that while the acceptance rates at Dartmouth and UPenn are low, they are not the only factors to consider when choosing a college. Both schools offer exceptional academic programs, a vibrant campus community, and numerous personal and professional growth opportunities.

Additionally, both colleges have generous financial aid packages and resources available to help students succeed. Ultimately, the decision to apply to Dartmouth or UPenn should be based on various factors, including your academic interests, personal goals, and financial situation.

Academic Programs: Which School Offers the Best Programs for Your Interests?

Both Dartmouth and UPenn offer a wide range of academic programs that span different fields of study. Dartmouth is known for its strong undergraduate liberal arts program and its focus on undergraduate teaching. UPenn, on the other hand, is a research-intensive institution that offers cutting-edge graduate programs in various fields.

If you’re looking for a more personalized education focusing on undergraduate teaching, Dartmouth may be the better choice for you. Alternatively, if you’re interested in pursuing advanced research and graduate studies, UPenn offers more options.

It’s important to note that both schools have unique programs that may appeal to specific interests. For example, Dartmouth has a renowned program in environmental studies, while UPenn has a highly regarded business school. It’s worth researching the specific programs offered by each school to determine which one aligns best with your academic and career goals.

Student Life: What’s It Like to Be a Student at Dartmouth vs UPenn?

The student experience is a crucial part of university life. Both Dartmouth and UPenn offer vibrant social scenes and a wide range of extracurricular activities.

At Dartmouth, Greek life is a big part of the social scene, and many students participate in fraternities and sororities. UPenn has a more diverse student population and offers a wider range of extracurricular activities, including a strong robotics club, a bustling arts scene, and top-tier athletic teams.

The choice between the two schools comes down to personal preference. Dartmouth may be the better choice if you’re interested in Greek life and a tight-knit community. Alternatively, if you’re interested in exploring a wider range of activities and meeting more diverse groups of people, UPenn may be the better fit.

Another factor to consider when comparing student life at Dartmouth and UPenn is the location of the schools. Dartmouth is located in a small town in New Hampshire, which offers a tight-knit community and a close connection to nature. On the other hand, UPenn is located in the heart of Philadelphia, a bustling city with endless opportunities for cultural experiences and internships.

Furthermore, both schools have unique traditions that contribute to their student life. Dartmouth has a strong tradition of outdoor activities, such as hiking and skiing, and hosts an annual winter carnival. Meanwhile, UPenn has a tradition of “Hey Day,” where juniors wear red shirts and celebrate their upcoming senior year with a parade and festivities.

Faculty and Research Opportunities: What Sets Dartmouth and UPenn Apart?

Dartmouth and UPenn have world-class faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. However, the two institutions differ in terms of research opportunities.

UPenn is a research powerhouse with numerous research centers and institutes on campus. On the other hand, Dartmouth places a stronger emphasis on undergraduate teaching and may offer fewer research opportunities.

If you’re interested in pursuing research and graduate studies, UPenn may be the better choice. However, if you’re more focused on undergraduate teaching, Dartmouth provides a more personalized experience and a greater emphasis on education and mentoring.

It’s important to note that both Dartmouth and UPenn offer unique research opportunities outside of their respective campuses. Dartmouth’s location in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont provides access to research opportunities in fields such as environmental studies and healthcare.

UPenn’s location in Philadelphia offers opportunities for research in fields such as urban studies and public health and access to research partnerships with nearby institutions such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Alumni Network: Which School Has the Stronger Network for Post-Grad Opportunities?

Dartmouth and UPenn have extensive alumni networks that can support and guide students as they pursue their careers. Dartmouth alumni are known for their strong bonds and willingness to help fellow graduates. UPenn alumni are spread out worldwide and offer various opportunities in different industries, including finance, law, and medicine.

The choice between Dartmouth vs UPenn comes down to what you’re looking for in terms of post-grad opportunities. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in finance or law, UPenn may be the better choice. Alternatively, Dartmouth may be the better fit if you’re interested in a more tight-knit alumni community.

a lawyer opening a document

It’s important to note that both schools have successful alumni in various fields, including business, technology, and the arts. However, the strength of the alumni network may vary depending on the industry or career path you’re interested in pursuing.

It’s always a good idea to research the alumni network of any school you’re considering and reach out to alumni in your desired field to better understand the opportunities available to you.

Cost of Attendance: How Do Dartmouth and UPenn Compare in Terms of Affordability?

College tuition fees can be expensive, and it’s important to consider the cost of attendance when choosing a university. Dartmouth and UPenn both have high tuition fees, with Dartmouth’s price tag reaching up to $80,000 per year, while UPenn’s total cost of attendance reaches up to $78,000 per year.

If you’re concerned about the cost of attendance, it’s important to consider financial aid and scholarships. Both institutions offer aid packages and scholarships to qualifying students.

It’s worth noting that the cost of attendance at Dartmouth and UPenn can vary depending on housing, meal plans, and other expenses. Additionally, students can reduce overall costs by taking advantage of work-study programs or finding part-time employment on or off campus.

Ultimately, deciding between the two universities should be based on personal affordability and the value you place on the overall experience at each institution.

Career Services: Which School Offers Better Job Placement Support?

The ultimate goal of pursuing higher education is to secure a fulfilling career after graduation. Dartmouth and UPenn have strong career services centers that support and guide students as they pursue their career goals.

UPenn has a strong career services center that offers students a wide range of resources, including job listings, networking events, and alumni connections. On the other hand, Dartmouth places a stronger emphasis on mentorship and individualized career guidance.

It is important to note that both schools have a high job placement rate for their graduates. UPenn boasts a 95% job placement rate within six months of graduation, while Dartmouth has a 93% job placement rate within the same time frame. This indicates that both schools have strong connections with employers and provide valuable resources to their students.

Additionally, both schools offer career services to alumni, providing ongoing support and guidance even after graduation. This is particularly valuable in today’s job market, where career paths constantly evolve and change. Dartmouth and UPenn demonstrate their commitment to their students’ long-term success by offering continued support.

Athletics: A Look at the Sports Teams and Fan Culture at Dartmouth vs UPenn

Both Dartmouth and UPenn have robust athletics programs offering a wide range of sports for students. Dartmouth is known for its strong skiing and hockey programs, while UPenn has competitive teams in football, basketball, and other popular sports.

The choice between the two institutions comes down to personal preference and your level of interest in athletics. Dartmouth may be the better choice if you’re interested in pursuing a competitive athletic career. Alternatively, if you’re interested in attending and supporting a variety of sports teams, UPenn may be the better fit.

Aside from the sports teams, the fan culture at both institutions is also worth considering. Dartmouth has a strong tradition of school spirit, with students often attending games in large numbers and showing their support through cheers and chants.

On the other hand, UPenn has a more laid-back approach to fan culture, with a smaller but dedicated group of supporters who attend games and show their support in their own unique ways.

It’s also worth noting that both institutions offer opportunities for students to get involved in athletics beyond just playing on a team. Dartmouth has a variety of intramural sports leagues, as well as a strong outdoor recreation program that allows students to explore the surrounding wilderness.

UPenn offers a similar range of intramural sports, fitness classes, and other recreational activities that allow students to stay active and engaged with the athletics community on campus.

Diversity and Inclusivity: What Efforts Are Being Made to Create a More Inclusive Environment at Each School?

Creating a diverse and inclusive environment is an important focus for universities in the modern era. Dartmouth and UPenn have made significant efforts to create a more inclusive environment for their students.

Dartmouth has a robust diversity and inclusion program, with initiatives dedicated to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for students from all backgrounds. UPenn has a similar commitment to diversity and has implemented programs that aim to create a more inclusive community on campus.

Students smiling at the camera together.

One of the initiatives at Dartmouth is the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, which provides resources and support for students from underrepresented backgrounds. The office also hosts events and workshops to promote diversity and inclusivity on campus.

Similarly, UPenn has a program called Penn First Plus, which supports first-generation and low-income students by providing academic and financial resources.

Both schools also have student-led organizations that promote diversity and inclusivity. For example, Dartmouth has the Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality, and DREAMers (CoFIRED), which advocates for the rights of undocumented students. UPenn has the Penn Association for Gender Equity (PAGE), which works to create a more equitable and inclusive campus for all genders.

Graduation Rates and Alumni Success Stories: A Comparison of Outcomes.

The ultimate measure of a university’s value comes down to the outcomes achieved by its graduates. Both Dartmouth and UPenn have high graduation rates and a long history of producing successful alumni who achieve great things in their respective fields.

Dartmouth and UPenn graduates have successful and lucrative careers across various sectors, including government, finance, and technology.

However, there is a notable difference in the types of industries in which Dartmouth and UPenn graduates tend to excel. Dartmouth graduates have a higher representation in the fields of healthcare and education, while UPenn graduates tend to dominate in the fields of law and business.

Local Attractions: What Is There to Do Around Campus at Dartmouth vs UPenn?

The city in which your university is located can significantly impact your overall experience. Hanover, where Dartmouth is located, is a small town but offers beautiful hiking trails, scenic drives, and historical landmarks. Philadelphia, where UPenn is located, is a bustling city that offers an endless array of cultural, entertainment, and dining options.

The choice between the two comes down to personal preference and how much importance you place on exploring the surrounding areas. If you are interested in outdoor activities, Dartmouth has much to offer. The nearby White Mountains provide opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. The Connecticut River, which runs through Hanover, is also a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing.

Dartmouth College campus

On the other hand, UPenn is the better choice if you are interested in museums and historical sites. The city is home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among many other attractions.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations for Choosing Between Dartmouth and UPenn

If you’re looking for a more personalized undergraduate experience focusing on liberal arts and mentorship, Dartmouth may be the better choice. If you’re interested in a research-intensive institution with a wide range of graduate programs and powerful alumni networks, UPenn may be the better fit.

It’s also worth considering the location and campus culture of each university. Dartmouth is located in a small town in New Hampshire, offering a tight-knit community and outdoor recreational opportunities. UPenn, on the other hand, is located in the heart of Philadelphia, providing access to a vibrant city and diverse cultural experiences.

Additionally, Dartmouth strongly emphasizes undergraduate student life and traditions, while UPenn has a more fast-paced and competitive atmosphere.

Choosing the right university is a crucial decision that will significantly impact your life. Both Dartmouth and UPenn offer world-class education and unique experiences. Ultimately, when choosing between Dartmouth vs UPenn, it’s important to consider your personal preferences, career goals, and affordability.

AdmissionSight is a valuable resource for students contemplating between Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania. We offer comprehensive guidance, considering factors such as academic offerings, campus atmosphere, and career opportunities, aiding students in making informed decisions.

Furthermore, AdmissionSight provides personalized strategies, essay feedback, interview coaching, and insider knowledge to optimize students’ chances of admission to either prestigious university.


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.