Northeastern vs Dartmouth: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A female student using a laptop.

Northeastern vs Dartmouth: Which University is Right for You?

Choosing the right university can be a daunting decision, but it’s crucial to find the school that fits your needs and goals. Northeastern and Dartmouth are two prestigious universities that attract students from all over the world. In this article, we will compare Northeastern vs Dartmouth and help you determine which one is right for you.

Location and Campus Size: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

One of the primary differences between Northeastern and Dartmouth is their location and campus size. Northeastern is located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, whereas Dartmouth is situated in Hanover, New Hampshire, a small college town. Northeastern’s urban campus spans over 73 acres, while Dartmouth’s campus is spread across 269 acres of picturesque New England scenery.

For students who are looking for an urban environment, Northeastern may be the better option. Boston provides endless opportunities for internships, networking, and exploring the city’s diverse culture. On the other hand, students who prefer a more intimate college experience with ample outdoor space may want to consider Dartmouth.

Academic Programs and Majors: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Both Northeastern and Dartmouth offer a wide range of academic programs and majors. Northeastern is known for its co-op program, which allows students to alternate semesters of full-time classroom learning with semesters of full-time employment in their field of study. This program has made Northeastern a top choice for students pursuing business, engineering, and health sciences.

Dartmouth, on the other hand, is well-known for its liberal arts curriculum. The school offers a flexible system that allows students to design their academic plans and explore a variety of fields, including humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Dartmouth’s flexible academic plan may be the better choice for students who haven’t decided on a specific major.

Three students looking at each other.

Additionally, both universities offer unique opportunities for students to engage in research and hands-on learning experiences. Northeastern has a strong focus on experiential learning, with opportunities for students to participate in research projects, co-op placements, and service-learning programs. Dartmouth also offers research opportunities, with several research centers and institutes on campus, as well as opportunities for students to participate in internships and study abroad programs.

Student Life: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Both Northeastern and Dartmouth offer vibrant campus communities. Northeastern has over 300 student organizations, clubs, and societies, providing ample opportunities to get involved and make friends. The university also hosts numerous events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and sporting events.

Dartmouth also offers a robust student life program with clubs and organizations that cater to a wide range of interests. The college has a strong tradition of outdoor adventure, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, and mountain biking all year round. In addition, Dartmouth’s fraternity and sorority system provides an active social scene for students.

Furthermore, both Northeastern and Dartmouth prioritize the well-being of their students. Northeastern has a comprehensive wellness program that includes mental health services, fitness classes, and nutrition counseling. The university also has a dedicated center for student support services, providing resources for academic and personal success. Similarly, Dartmouth has a strong focus on student wellness, with a health center that offers medical and mental health services, as well as a variety of wellness programs and resources.

Admission Requirements: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Getting into Northeastern and Dartmouth is highly competitive. Northeastern has an acceptance rate of 18%, while Dartmouth’s acceptance rate is 6%. Both universities consider a student’s high school performance, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and personal achievements when reviewing applications.

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However, Northeastern and Dartmouth have different admission requirements. Northeastern requires students to take either the SAT or ACT, while Dartmouth is test-optional. Students applying to Northeastern must also submit a co-op essay, and prospective Dartmouth students are required to submit two teacher evaluations and a peer evaluation.

It is important to note that both Northeastern and Dartmouth also value diversity and seek to create a well-rounded student body. They consider factors such as geographic location, socioeconomic background, and cultural experiences when reviewing applications. Additionally, both universities offer need-blind admissions, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into account during the admissions process.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Both Northeastern and Dartmouth offer generous financial aid packages and scholarships to help ease the financial burden of higher education. Northeastern provides need-based aid, merit scholarships, and co-op scholarships to eligible students. Dartmouth offers need-based financial aid, work-study, and merit-based scholarships, including the prestigious Dartmouth Scholars program. Prospective students need to explore the financial aid options available at both universities to make an informed decision.

In addition to financial aid and scholarships, both Northeastern and Dartmouth offer various resources to help students manage their finances. Northeastern has a financial wellness program that provides students with financial education and counseling services. Dartmouth has a financial aid office that offers guidance on budgeting, loan repayment, and other financial matters.

Furthermore, both universities have partnerships with external organizations that provide additional funding opportunities for students. For example, Northeastern has partnerships with organizations such as the Posse Foundation and the Davis United World College Scholars Program. Dartmouth has partnerships with organizations such as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the QuestBridge National College Match program.

Faculty and Class Size: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Faculty and class size are important factors to consider when choosing a university. Northeastern has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1, and the average class size is 28 students. Dartmouth has a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, and the average class size is 15 students.

Dartmouth’s small class sizes provide students with more individual attention and personalized interactions with their professors. On the other hand, Northeastern’s larger class sizes allow for more diverse perspectives and opportunities for collaboration with peers.

Another important factor to consider when comparing teaching styles at Northeastern and Dartmouth is the level of research and scholarship conducted by the faculty. Dartmouth is a highly research-focused institution, with a large percentage of faculty members engaged in cutting-edge research in their respective fields. This means that students at Dartmouth have the opportunity to learn from professors who are at the forefront of their disciplines, and who bring the latest research findings into the classroom.

View of a man talking to a teacher.

At Northeastern, the focus is more on experiential learning and real-world application of knowledge. Many faculty members at Northeastern have extensive industry experience, and bring that expertise into the classroom to help students develop practical skills that will be valuable in their future careers. This approach to teaching is particularly well-suited to students who are interested in pursuing careers in fields like business, engineering, and computer science.

Research Opportunities: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Both Northeastern and Dartmouth offer robust undergraduate research programs. Northeastern has a strong focus on experiential learning, allowing students to apply their knowledge in real-life settings. The university has over 2,800 active research projects and offers research opportunities across all fields, from engineering to journalism.

Dartmouth is also well-regarded for its research opportunities, especially in the sciences. Dartmouth faculty members are actively involved in research, and undergraduate students have the chance to participate in cutting-edge research alongside their professors.

However, there are some differences between the two universities when it comes to research opportunities. Northeastern has a co-op program that allows students to work in their field of study for six months, gaining valuable experience and making connections in their industry. This program is a unique opportunity for students to apply their research skills in a professional setting.

On the other hand, Dartmouth has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research. The university encourages collaboration between different departments and fields of study, allowing students to explore new areas of research and gain a broader perspective on their work.

Overall, both Northeastern and Dartmouth offer excellent research opportunities for undergraduate students, but the specific programs and focuses may appeal to different students depending on their interests and career goals.

Alumni Network: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

A strong alumni network can be an asset for students after graduation. Both Northeastern and Dartmouth have active alumni networks with chapters around the world. Northeastern has over 200,000 alumni, many of whom are involved in mentorship programs and job fairs for current students. Dartmouth has a network of over 74,000 alumni, who frequently provide career advice and networking opportunities to recent graduates.

In addition to mentorship programs and job fairs, Northeastern’s alumni network also offers a variety of events and resources for graduates. These include networking events, professional development workshops, and access to online job boards. Dartmouth’s alumni network similarly provides a range of resources for graduates, including career counseling services, alumni job postings, and opportunities to connect with fellow alumni in various industries.

Athletics Programs: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Athletics can be an essential part of campus life for some students. Northeastern is a Division I university with 18 varsity sports teams, including basketball, hockey, and soccer. The university’s athletic teams have a strong tradition of excellence and have won multiple conference championships over the years.

Dartmouth is also a Division I university with 35 varsity sports teams, including football, basketball, and track and field. The college has a long-standing rivalry with Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Yale and has a rich history of athletic achievement.

View of different sports equipments placed next to each other.

Both Northeastern and Dartmouth offer a variety of opportunities for students to get involved in athletics beyond varsity sports. Northeastern has a robust intramural sports program, with options ranging from flag football to ultimate frisbee. The university also has a state-of-the-art fitness center available to all students. Dartmouth offers a similar intramural sports program, as well as a variety of club sports teams, including rugby, sailing, and skiing. The college also has a beautiful outdoor recreation area, the Dartmouth Outing Club, which offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

Campus Safety: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

The safety of a university campus is a significant concern for students and parents. Both Northeastern and Dartmouth are generally considered safe campuses. Northeastern has its police force, and the university is located in a well-lit, heavily trafficked area of Boston. Dartmouth has its police department and has implemented various safety measures, including emergency phones placed throughout campus.

In addition to physical safety, both universities also prioritize mental health resources for their students. Northeastern offers counseling services and has a dedicated center for student support services. Dartmouth has a robust mental health program that includes counseling, therapy, and support groups. Both universities recognize the importance of addressing mental health concerns and providing resources for their students.

Career Services: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

After graduation, students want to know that their alma mater will prepare them for a successful career. Both Northeastern and Dartmouth have robust career services programs that help students find internships, network with alumni, and prepare for their job search.

Northeastern’s co-op program has a 90% job placement rate for its graduates, and the university is well-respected among employers. Dartmouth’s career center provides career counseling, job fairs, and on-campus interviews with recruiters from top companies.

In addition to these services, Northeastern also offers a program called NUsource, which connects students with alumni who are willing to provide career advice and mentorship. This program has been highly successful in helping students make valuable connections and gain insight into their desired career fields.

Similarly, Dartmouth’s career center offers a program called the Dartmouth Alumni Network, which connects students with alumni who are working in their desired fields. This program provides students with the opportunity to learn from successful professionals and gain valuable industry knowledge.

Diversity on Campus: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Both Northeastern and Dartmouth have diverse student populations. Northeastern’s student body represents over 140 countries, and the university is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Dartmouth has taken steps to address diversity and inclusion issues, including creating the Office of Pluralism and Leadership which works to promote a more welcoming and inclusive campus environment.a group of mix race students smiling for the camera

Despite their similarities in promoting diversity, there are some differences in the student populations at Northeastern and Dartmouth. For example, Northeastern has a higher percentage of international students, while Dartmouth has a higher percentage of students from underrepresented minority groups. This difference may be because Northeastern has a larger overall student population, while Dartmouth has a smaller, more selective student body.

Both universities also offer a variety of programs and resources to support diversity and inclusion on campus. Northeastern has a Multicultural Student Center, which provides a space for students to connect with others from diverse backgrounds and participate in cultural events and activities. Dartmouth has a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program, which offers workshops and training sessions for students, faculty, and staff to learn about issues related to diversity and inclusion and how to create a more inclusive campus community.

Cost of Attendance: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

The cost of attendance is a significant factor for many students and families. Northeastern’s tuition and fees are $60,192, while Dartmouth’s tuition and fees are $62,430 per year. However, both universities offer generous financial aid packages that may offset the cost of attendance.

Students need to consider the overall cost of attendance, including room and board, textbooks, and other expenses, when comparing the two universities.

Another important factor to consider when comparing the affordability of Northeastern and Dartmouth is the availability of scholarships. Both universities offer a variety of merit-based and need-based scholarships that can significantly reduce the cost of attendance for students. Students need to research and apply for these scholarships early in the application process.

In addition to scholarships, students should also consider the potential return on investment in their education. Northeastern and Dartmouth both have strong reputations and high job placement rates for their graduates. Students should weigh the cost of attendance against the potential earnings and career opportunities that come with a degree from each university.

Extracurricular Activities: Northeastern vs Dartmouth

Extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to pursue their passions outside of the classroom. Northeastern and Dartmouth offer a variety of clubs and organizations for students to get involved in, ranging from cultural clubs to academic groups to sports teams.

Group of students working in the forest.

At Northeastern, students can get involved in groups like the Entrepreneurship Club, the Outing Club, or the Dance Company. At Dartmouth, students can join organizations like the Dartmouth Outing Club, the Ivy Council, or the International Students Association.

Both Northeastern and Dartmouth also offer opportunities for students to participate in community service and volunteer work. Northeastern has a program called NU|Serves, which connects students with local organizations and non-profits to give back to the community. Dartmouth has a similar program called the Tucker Foundation, which offers service trips, volunteer opportunities, and community-based learning courses.


Choosing between Northeastern and Dartmouth ultimately comes down to personal preference, academic goals, and lifestyle. Northeastern offers an urban campus with a focus on experiential learning and co-op programs, while Dartmouth provides a more traditional liberal arts education in a picturesque town.

Both universities offer excellent academic programs, robust student life, and ample opportunities for research and extracurricular activities. By weighing the factors that matter most to you and carefully considering your options, you can make an informed decision and choose the university that is right for you.


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