Princeton vs. Dartmouth: Which School is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student standing and thinking about something.

Princeton vs. Dartmouth: Which School is Right for You?

Making the decision about where to attend college can be a difficult process for many students. When choosing between the numerous options, the dilemma often revolves around discerning the best fit for your educational desires, with Princeton vs. Dartmouth being two eminent U.S. institutions.

In this article, we’ll examine these two institutions from a variety of different angles to help you decide which one is the right fit for you.

Overview of Princeton and Dartmouth

Both Princeton and Dartmouth are Ivy League schools located in the Northeastern part of the United States. Princeton is situated in New Jersey and is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Dartmouth is nestled in the woods of New Hampshire and is renowned for its liberal arts education.

Princeton University was founded in 1746 and has a long history of academic excellence. It is known for its strong programs in engineering, economics, and the natural sciences.

Dartmouth College, on the other hand, was founded in 1769 and is the smallest of all Ivy League schools. It has a strong focus on undergraduate education and offers a wide range of majors in the liberal arts and sciences. Dartmouth is also known for its unique traditions, such as the Winter Carnival and the Dartmouth Outing Club.

History and Tradition of Princeton and Dartmouth

Princeton was founded in 1746 and has a long and storied history. Over the years, it has produced numerous famous alumni, including two former U.S. Presidents. Dartmouth, on the other hand, was founded in 1769 and has a strong tradition of excellence in teaching and research. Both schools have rich histories and proud legacies.

Princeton University is located in Princeton, New Jersey, and is known for its beautiful campus and Gothic architecture. The university has a strong commitment to research and has produced many groundbreaking discoveries in fields such as physics, economics, and medicine.

Group of students walking in the campus.

In addition to its academic achievements, Princeton is also known for its vibrant student life, with over 300 student organizations and a thriving arts scene.

Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, is a member of the Ivy League and is known for its strong undergraduate program. The college has a unique academic calendar, with four 10-week terms instead of the traditional two semesters. This allows students to take a wider variety of courses and to participate in off-campus programs during breaks.

Dartmouth is also known for its strong commitment to athletics, with a long history of success in sports such as football, ice hockey, and skiing.

Admission Process: Princeton vs Dartmouth

The admission process for both schools is highly competitive, and both institutions are known for their high academic standards. Princeton and Dartmouth both require applicants to submit transcripts, test scores, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.

However, the admission rates differ, with Princeton being more selective and with an acceptance rate of just 5.5% compared to Dartmouth’s acceptance rate of around 9%.

Another difference between the admission processes of Princeton and Dartmouth is the use of interviews. While both schools offer interviews as part of the application process, Princeton places a greater emphasis on them. In fact, Princeton strongly recommends that all applicants participate in an interview, either on campus or with an alumni interviewer.

Dartmouth, on the other hand, offers interviews to a select group of applicants, typically those who have already been identified as strong candidates.

It’s also worth noting that both schools have a need-blind admission policy, meaning that they do not consider an applicant’s ability to pay when making admission decisions. Additionally, both schools offer generous financial aid packages to students who demonstrate financial need.

However, the specific details of the financial aid packages may differ between the two schools, so it’s important for applicants to carefully review the information provided by each institution.

Campus Life: Princeton vs Dartmouth

Princeton and Dartmouth both offer vibrant campus communities with plenty of opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports teams and volunteer activities. Both schools also have a strong Greek life presence, with a variety of fraternities and sororities to choose from.

However, the campus culture and social scene differ significantly between the two schools, with Princeton campus life being considered more preppy and competitive, while Dartmouth campus life is known for its inclusivity and laid-back vibes.

Another notable difference between Princeton and Dartmouth is their location. Princeton is located in New Jersey, just a short train ride away from New York City, while Dartmouth is situated in the rural town of Hanover, New Hampshire. This difference in location can greatly impact the types of activities and events available to students.

While Princeton students have easy access to the cultural offerings of a major city, Dartmouth students often take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding their campus, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.

Academic Programs: Princeton vs Dartmouth

Princeton and Dartmouth both offer a rigorous academic education, with a focus on critical thinking and intellectual curiosity. However, the schools differ in their academic strengths, with Princeton being particularly renowned for its engineering and computer science programs, while Dartmouth excels in the humanities, liberal arts, and social sciences.

Both schools have world-class faculty and offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Close up view of a woman holding her things.

Princeton’s engineering program is consistently ranked among the top in the country, with a strong emphasis on research and innovation. The computer science program is also highly regarded, with a focus on both theoretical and practical applications. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources, including cutting-edge labs and research centers.

Dartmouth’s liberal arts education is highly respected, with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking. The humanities and social sciences programs are particularly strong, with renowned faculty and a wide range of course offerings. Students also have the opportunity to participate in unique programs, such as the Dartmouth Outing Club, which offers outdoor adventure and leadership opportunities.

Campus Resources and Facilities: Princeton vs Dartmouth

Both Princeton and Dartmouth offer a wide array of resources and facilities to support student learning and enrichment. Both institutions have impressive libraries with vast collections, state-of-the-art research facilities, and robust student centers with plenty of amenities.

However, Princeton has more high-end facilities compared to Dartmouth, such as art museums, a world-renowned music lab, and an extensive network of research centers.

On the other hand, Dartmouth has a unique outdoor program that offers students the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area through activities such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking. The program is highly regarded and has been recognized as one of the best in the country.

Additionally, Dartmouth has a strong focus on undergraduate teaching, with smaller class sizes and more opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects and independent studies.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities: Princeton vs Dartmouth

Both Princeton and Dartmouth have strong athletic programs and offer a wide range of sports teams for students to join or support.

Princeton is especially known for its football and basketball programs while Dartmouth is known for its skiing and rowing programs. Both schools also have many clubs and organizations that cover a vast range of interests, including everything from politics to entrepreneurship to community service.

However, there are some differences in the way athletics and extracurricular activities are approached at Princeton and Dartmouth. Princeton places a strong emphasis on varsity sports and has a highly competitive athletic program, while Dartmouth places more emphasis on club sports and intramurals, which are open to all students regardless of skill level.

Additionally, Princeton has a larger student body and therefore a wider range of clubs and organizations, while Dartmouth’s smaller size allows for a more tight-knit community within its clubs and organizations.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Princeton vs Dartmouth

As with all Ivy League schools, Princeton and Dartmouth are expensive. Tuition for both institutions is upwards of $50,000 per year, not including room and board and other expenses. However, both schools offer generous financial aid packages to qualifying students, so it’s worth exploring these options to see what kind of support you might be eligible for.

An empty college application form attached with US dollar bills

It’s important to note that the financial aid packages offered by Princeton and Dartmouth differ in some ways. While both schools are need-blind in their admissions process, meaning they do not consider a student’s ability to pay when making admissions decisions, Princeton’s financial aid policy is more generous in terms of the amount of aid offered and the percentage of students who receive aid.

In fact, Princeton has a “no-loan” policy, which means that students who qualify for financial aid do not have to take out loans to cover their education costs. Dartmouth, on the other hand, does offer financial aid to qualifying students, but it may include loans as part of the aid package.

It’s important to carefully review the financial aid policies of both schools to determine which one may be a better fit for your financial situation.

Alumni Network and Career Opportunities: Princeton vs Dartmouth

Both Princeton and Dartmouth have extensive alumni networks, with graduates working in a vast range of fields and industries. Both schools have career centers that provide students with a variety of resources and support to help them prepare for their future careers.

However, Princeton’s recent graduates tend to do slightly better in terms of job placement and salaries compared to Dartmouth’s recent graduates.

One factor that may contribute to Princeton’s higher job placement and salaries is its location. Princeton is located in New Jersey, which is home to many large corporations and financial institutions. This proximity to major employers may provide Princeton students with more internship and job opportunities compared to Dartmouth, which is located in New Hampshire.

On the other hand, Dartmouth has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The school has a number of programs and resources dedicated to helping students start their own businesses and pursue careers in startups. This may be an advantage for students who are interested in entrepreneurship or who want to work in smaller, more innovative companies.

Student Satisfaction and Success Rates: Princeton vs Dartmouth

Overall, both Princeton and Dartmouth have high rates of student satisfaction and success. Students who graduate from these institutions typically enjoy successful and rewarding careers, and the schools are renowned for providing a top-quality education that prepares students for the challenges of the real world.

However, there are some differences between the two schools when it comes to student satisfaction. According to a recent survey, Princeton students reported higher levels of satisfaction with their academic experience, while Dartmouth students reported higher levels of satisfaction with their social experience on campus.

View of a woman smiling at the camera.

This may be due to the fact that Princeton has a more competitive academic environment, while Dartmouth places a greater emphasis on community and social activities.

Location and Surrounding Area: Princeton vs Dartmouth

One of the key differences between Princeton and Dartmouth is their location and the surrounding area. Princeton is located in a bustling college town just outside of New York City and Philadelphia, both of which offer many job opportunities and cultural attractions.

Dartmouth, on the other hand, is located in a more rural area of New Hampshire, surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, which may be more suitable for those who want to be closer to nature.

Princeton’s location also offers easy access to major airports, making it convenient for students to travel home or explore other parts of the country. Additionally, the town of Princeton itself has a rich history and culture, with many museums, theaters, and restaurants to explore.

On the other hand, Dartmouth’s rural location provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and camping. The surrounding area also has a strong sense of community, with many local events and festivals throughout the year. However, the nearest major city is over an hour away, which may be a drawback for those who prefer a more urban lifestyle.

Conclusion: Which School is the Best Fit for You?

Ultimately, the decision about which school to attend comes down to your individual needs, preferences, and goals. Both Princeton and Dartmouth are excellent institutions of higher learning, each with their unique strengths and distinctive campus cultures.

We hope this article has provided you with an informative overview of these two schools and helped you make an informed decision about which one is the right fit for you.

When considering which school to attend, it’s important to also think about the location and surrounding community. Princeton is located in a suburban area of New Jersey, while Dartmouth is situated in a rural area of New Hampshire. Depending on your personal preferences, one location may be more appealing than the other.

Additionally, it’s worth researching the specific programs and departments that interest you at each school. While both Princeton and Dartmouth offer a wide range of academic disciplines, one school may have a stronger program in your desired field of study. Taking the time to thoroughly research and compare the academic offerings at each school can help you make a more informed decision.



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