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UPenn vs Dartmouth: A Comprehensive Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of UPenn sign

UPenn vs Dartmouth: A Comprehensive Analysis

Are you considering applying to an Ivy League university but can’t decide which one is the best fit for you? In this article, we will conduct a comprehensive comparison of two prominent universities – the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) vs Dartmouth College – to help you make an informed decision.

Introduction to UPenn and Dartmouth

UPenn and Dartmouth are both Ivy League Universities with a rich academic history. UPenn, located in Philadelphia, was founded in 1740 and is one of the oldest universities in the United States. Dartmouth, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, was founded in 1769 and is known for its picturesque campus in the New Hampshire wilderness.

Both universities offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, with UPenn being particularly well-known for its business and law schools, while Dartmouth is renowned for its liberal arts programs. UPenn has a student population of over 25,000, while Dartmouth has a smaller student body of around 6,500. Despite their differences in size and location, both universities share a commitment to academic excellence and producing well-rounded graduates who are equipped to make a positive impact in the world.

Campus Size and Location

UPenn’s campus is located in the heart of Philadelphia, with a compact campus spread over 299 acres. In contrast, Dartmouth’s campus sprawls across 269 acres of rolling hills and stunning natural landscapes. Both campuses offer a diverse range of cultural and recreational opportunities, though UPenn’s urban location provides a wider range of off-campus entertainment options.

View of Dartmouth campus at day time.

Despite its smaller size, UPenn’s campus is densely packed with state-of-the-art facilities, including cutting-edge research labs, world-class libraries, and modern sports facilities. The campus is also home to several museums and galleries, including the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Penn Museum, which houses an extensive collection of artifacts from around the world.

Dartmouth’s campus, on the other hand, is known for its picturesque beauty and natural surroundings. The campus is situated in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire, which offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking. The campus also boasts several historic buildings, including the iconic Baker-Berry Library, which is a popular spot for studying and socializing.

Admission Requirements and Selectivity

Both UPenn and Dartmouth are highly selective universities that receive a large number of applications each year. UPenn’s acceptance rate for the class of 2025 was 5.7%, while Dartmouth’s acceptance rate was slightly higher at 7.9%. Both universities require a competitive standardized test score, such as the SAT or ACT, and supplemental essays.

In addition to standardized test scores and essays, both UPenn and Dartmouth also consider a variety of other factors in their admissions process. These may include extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and demonstrated leadership abilities. UPenn, for example, places a strong emphasis on community service and civic engagement, while Dartmouth values intellectual curiosity and a passion for learning.

It is important to note that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance to either university. Both UPenn and Dartmouth have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider each applicant as a whole person, rather than just a set of numbers and achievements. As such, it is important for applicants to showcase their unique strengths and experiences in their application materials.

UPenn vs Dartmouth: Student-Faculty Ratio and Class Sizes

The student-faculty ratio at UPenn is 6:1, while at Dartmouth it is 7:1, indicating that both universities offer a small class size with individualized attention. At UPenn, the average class size is 28 for undergraduate courses and 13 for graduate courses. Dartmouth’s average class size is slightly smaller, with an average undergraduate class size of 16 and graduate class size of 12.

It is important to note that while small class sizes can provide a more personalized learning experience, they may also limit the diversity of perspectives and experiences within the classroom. Both UPenn and Dartmouth have taken steps to address this issue by actively recruiting and supporting a diverse student body and faculty. Additionally, both universities offer a variety of extracurricular activities and resources to supplement classroom learning and provide opportunities for students to engage with diverse perspectives.

Academic Programs Offered by UPenn and Dartmouth

UPenn offers an impressive 99 undergraduate majors across four undergraduate schools with a wealth of opportunities for interdisciplinary study. Dartmouth, on the other hand, offers a more traditional academic experience, with 60 undergraduate majors across four schools. Both universities are known for their strong undergraduate programs, and both offer a welcoming atmosphere for graduate students seeking a research-oriented program.

four students at the hallway smiling for the camera

Additionally, UPenn is home to several renowned graduate schools, including the Wharton School of Business, the Perelman School of Medicine, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dartmouth also offers a range of graduate programs, including the Tuck School of Business and the Geisel School of Medicine. Both universities have a strong commitment to research and offer numerous opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research projects alongside faculty members.

Graduate Programs Available at Both Universities

UPenn offers graduate programs in a variety of disciplines, including law, business, nursing, and veterinary medicine. Dartmouth offers graduate programs in business, medicine, engineering, and the arts and sciences. Both universities are renowned for their research-oriented graduate programs, and graduates from either program are highly sought after by employers.

In addition to the graduate programs mentioned above, UPenn also offers graduate programs in education, social work, and public policy. These programs are designed to prepare students for careers in fields that require advanced knowledge and skills in these areas.

Dartmouth, on the other hand, has a strong focus on interdisciplinary graduate programs that combine multiple fields of study. For example, their Master of Engineering Management program combines engineering and business, while their Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program allows students to explore a variety of subjects in the arts and sciences.

UPenn vs Dartmouth: Research Opportunities

UPenn is a research powerhouse, with over 165 research centers and institutes, and students are encouraged to participate in research projects early in their academic careers. Dartmouth, too, offers a variety of research opportunities across multiple disciplines, and students are often able to work closely with faculty members on research projects as early as their first year.

Both universities also offer summer research programs for students, providing them with the opportunity to engage in full-time research projects and gain valuable experience. UPenn’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) offers students the chance to work with faculty members on cutting-edge research projects, while Dartmouth’s Women in Science Project (WISP) provides research opportunities specifically for women in STEM fields. These programs not only allow students to develop their research skills, but also provide them with the chance to network with professionals in their field of interest.

UPenn vs Dartmouth: Extracurricular Activities and Student Life on Campus

Both UPenn and Dartmouth offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including club sports, student government, and cultural organizations. UPenn’s urban location provides students with access to world-class cultural institutions and entertainment venues, while Dartmouth’s natural landscape is ideal for exploring the great outdoors.

At UPenn, students can also participate in community service projects through the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. This program allows students to engage with the local community and make a positive impact through various service projects. Dartmouth also offers a unique program called the Outing Club, which organizes outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing for students.

Both universities also have a vibrant social scene, with numerous events and activities organized by student groups throughout the year. UPenn hosts an annual Spring Fling, which is a week-long celebration of music, food, and fun. Dartmouth’s Winter Carnival is another popular event, featuring ice sculptures, ski races, and other winter activities. With so many opportunities for involvement and socializing, students at both UPenn and Dartmouth can enjoy a well-rounded college experience.

Class Of University Students Using Laptops In Lecture

UPenn vs Dartmouth: Housing Options for Students

UPenn offers a variety of housing options, from campus dormitories to off-campus apartments. Dartmouth offers on-campus housing options for all four years of a student’s undergraduate experience, and students are encouraged to live on campus to fully engage in the Dartmouth community.

At UPenn, students can choose to live in traditional dormitories or in college houses, which are smaller communities within the larger university. Additionally, there are several off-campus apartment options available for upperclassmen who prefer more independence. UPenn also offers a limited number of on-campus apartments for graduate students and families.

Dartmouth’s on-campus housing options include traditional dormitories, residential communities, and special interest houses. Students can also choose to live in Greek houses, which are affiliated with Dartmouth’s Greek system. For upperclassmen, there are also on-campus apartments and townhouses available. However, some students choose to live off-campus in the surrounding Hanover community.

UPenn vs Dartmouth: Cost of Attendance

Both UPenn and Dartmouth are expensive universities, with annual tuition and fees exceeding $60,000 per year. However, both universities offer robust financial aid packages, and students seeking financial assistance should not shy away from applying. UPenn and Dartmouth both offer need-based financial aid, and UPenn offers a no-loan policy for students from families with incomes below a certain threshold.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance at UPenn and Dartmouth goes beyond just tuition and fees. Students should also consider the cost of room and board, textbooks, and other expenses. However, both universities offer resources to help students manage these costs, such as work-study programs and scholarships.

Additionally, students should also consider the potential return on investment of attending UPenn or Dartmouth. Both universities have strong reputations and alumni networks, which can lead to valuable career opportunities and higher earning potential in the long run. It is important for students to weigh the cost of attendance against the potential benefits of attending these prestigious universities.

UPenn vs Dartmouth: Alumni Network and Career Services

Both UPenn and Dartmouth have active alumni networks, and graduates from these universities often hold influential positions in various industries. Both universities offer a range of career services, including career fairs, counseling, and networking events.

UPenn’s alumni network is particularly strong, with over 300,000 alumni worldwide. The university’s Career Services office offers a variety of resources, including job postings, resume reviews, and mock interviews. UPenn also hosts an annual career fair, which attracts recruiters from top companies across industries.

Cheerful Indian asian young group of college students or friends laughing together in campus

Dartmouth’s alumni network is also robust, with over 70,000 alumni worldwide. The university’s Career Services office provides students with access to career counseling, job and internship postings, and networking events. Dartmouth also offers a unique program called the Dartmouth Outdoors Leadership Experience (DOLE), which provides students with leadership training and outdoor adventure experiences to help them develop skills that are highly valued by employers.

UPenn vs Dartmouth: Ranking Comparison

UPenn is consistently ranked among the top ten universities in the United States, with recent rankings placing it at #6 by U.S. News & World Report, while Dartmouth tends to rank in the top twenty, with a current ranking of #14 by U.S. News & World Report. Both universities are recognized for their academic excellence and research-oriented programs.

However, while UPenn is known for its strong business and law programs, Dartmouth is renowned for its undergraduate liberal arts education and its Tuck School of Business. Additionally, UPenn has a larger student body and offers a wider range of academic programs, while Dartmouth has a smaller, more tight-knit community and a focus on undergraduate education.

Notable Faculty Members and Alumni from UPenn and Dartmouth

Both UPenn and Dartmouth boast a wide range of notable faculty members and alumni. UPenn has produced twenty-three billionaires and multiple Nobel laureates, including Derek Bok and Joseph Stiglitz. Dartmouth has notable alumni such as Robert Frost, Dr. Seuss, and Mindy Kaling.

UPenn’s faculty includes renowned scholars and researchers such as Angela Duckworth, who is known for her work on grit and perseverance, and Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist who served as a key architect of the Affordable Care Act. Dartmouth’s faculty includes notable figures such as Michael A. Resnick, a professor of psychology and neuroscience who has made significant contributions to the study of learning and memory, and Susan Ackerman, a professor of religious studies who is an expert on the Hebrew Bible.

UPenn and Dartmouth also have a strong tradition of producing leaders in various fields. UPenn alumni include Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, and Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in history. Dartmouth alumni include Shonda Rhimes, the creator of hit TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and Robert Reich, a former U.S. Secretary of Labor and prominent political commentator.

Prospective Student Considerations: Which University is the Better Fit?

Choosing a university that is the best fit for you can be challenging, but thorough research can make the decision-making process easier. Students considering a more urban experience with a wider range of cultural opportunities might want to consider UPenn, while those seeking a more remote and traditional academic experience may find Dartmouth to be a better fit. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your individual needs and preferences.

It’s important to also consider the academic programs and resources offered by each university. UPenn is known for its strong business and engineering programs, while Dartmouth is renowned for its liberal arts education and strong undergraduate research opportunities. Additionally, UPenn has a larger student body and more diverse range of majors, while Dartmouth has a smaller, more tight-knit community and a focus on undergraduate teaching. Consider your academic goals and interests when making your decision.

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Comparing UPenn and Dartmouth

Both UPenn and Dartmouth are excellent universities that offer a rigorous academic experience and a wide range of opportunities for students. Ultimately, the decision to choose one over the other depends on individual needs and preferences. While UPenn’s urban campus provides access to incredible cultural opportunities, Dartmouth’s close-knit community in the wilderness of New Hampshire offers an all-encompassing educational experience. Whichever you choose, it is a decision that will have a lifelong impact on your career and personal development.

It is important to consider factors beyond academics when making a decision between UPenn and Dartmouth. Both universities have unique campus cultures and social scenes that may appeal to different students. UPenn is located in the heart of Philadelphia, a bustling city with a diverse population and vibrant nightlife. Dartmouth, on the other hand, is situated in a small town surrounded by natural beauty, offering outdoor activities and a tight-knit community.

College students walking together outdoors. Group of young people in college campus.

Another important consideration is the cost of attendance. While both universities offer financial aid and scholarships, the cost of living in an urban environment like Philadelphia may be higher than in a rural area like Hanover, New Hampshire. It is important to research and compare the financial aid packages offered by each university to make an informed decision.

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