What Is It Like to Attend Dartmouth?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Four cheerful students sitting together at the desk and studying while one man looking over shoulder and smiling

What Is It Like to Attend Dartmouth?

If you’re considering applying to Dartmouth College, one of the eight esteemed Ivy League institutions in the United States, understanding what life is like as a Dartmouth student can be instrumental in making your decision. This guide will break down various aspects of attending Dartmouth, ranging from its academic reputation to the dynamics of student life.

Understanding Dartmouth College

The History of Dartmouth College

Established in 1769, Dartmouth College has a rich history spanning over two centuries. Congregational minister Eleazar Wheelock founded it to educate Native American youth on European culture. However, over the years, the institution evolved into a co-educational liberal arts college, preserving its commitment to top-quality education.

Dartmouth College faced numerous challenges and triumphs that shaped its identity as it grew. In the early years, the college faced financial difficulties, but it persevered with the support of generous benefactors and dedicated faculty. The college also played a significant role during the American Revolution, with many of its students and faculty actively participating in the fight for independence.

Throughout its history, Dartmouth has made noteworthy progress in providing holistic education with deep respect for knowledge, intellectual curiosity, and cultural diversity. Its prestigious standing today is a testament to the continuous labor and innovative approaches utilized by its early scholars and administrators.

One of the defining moments in Dartmouth’s history was the landmark Supreme Court case, Dartmouth College v. Woodward, in 1819. The ruling affirmed the college’s status as a private institution and protected its charter against interference from the state government. This decision solidified Dartmouth’s autonomy and set a precedent for protecting private colleges and universities across the United States.

Dartmouth College’s Reputation and Rankings

Dartmouth prides itself on its academic reputation. It consistently ranks among the top universities globally, earning repeated recognition for its emphasis on undergraduate education. The U.S. News & World Report often places Dartmouth in the top 15 national universities, indicating its academic prestige.

However, Dartmouth’s reputation extends beyond its academic excellence. The college is renowned for its commitment to research and innovation. Faculty and students engage in groundbreaking research across various disciplines, contributing to advancements in medicine, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities.

The institution is also lauded for its sustainable practices and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion on its campus. Dartmouth College seeks to create an inclusive environment where students from all backgrounds can thrive. It offers numerous programs and initiatives to support underrepresented groups and foster a sense of belonging within the college community.

Furthermore, Dartmouth’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its campus operations and academic programs. The college has implemented numerous initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, promote renewable energy, and foster environmental stewardship. Students can engage in sustainability-focused research and participate in community service projects that address environmental challenges.

Dartmouth College website with logo

The mentioned qualities attributed to Dartmouth are not just for show; they reflect the core principles that Dartmouth lives by. The college’s commitment to academic excellence, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability is deeply ingrained in its mission and guides its decision-making processes. Dartmouth College continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its students and society, ensuring that it remains a leading institution in higher education.

The Dartmouth College Campus Experience

Welcome to Dartmouth College, where the campus experience is truly one-of-a-kind. From the moment you step on campus, you’ll be immersed in a vibrant community that values academic growth, personal development, and lifelong friendships.

Living on Campus: Dormitories and Housing

At Dartmouth, dormitory life is more than just a place to sleep. It’s integral to the college experience, shaping students’ lives and fostering a sense of community. The college guarantees all undergraduates housing, ensuring every student has a place to call home.

With a mix of dormitories, co-ed houses, and affinity houses themed around cultural and academic interests, Dartmouth offers a diverse range of housing options. Whether you’re interested in living in a residence hall with students from different backgrounds or joining a community that shares your passions, there’s a housing option for everyone.

But it doesn’t stop there. Dartmouth goes above and beyond to create a supportive and enriching student environment. In addition to the standard residence halls, the college offers living-learning communities.

These communities bring together students who share specific academic or extracurricular interests, providing unique opportunities for collaboration outside the classroom setting. Imagine living with fellow musicians, scientists, or entrepreneurs and learning from each other’s experiences and passions.

Dining and Social Spaces at Dartmouth

When it comes to dining, Dartmouth has you covered. The main dining hall, Class of ’53 Commons, affectionately known as ‘Foco,’ is a bustling hub of activity. Foco remains a firm favorite among students, with many delicious and nutritious options. From made-to-order omelets in the morning to international cuisine for dinner, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds.

But Dartmouth doesn’t stop at just one dining hall. The campus has various eateries catering to different tastes and dietary requirements. Whether you’re craving a freshly baked pastry from King Arthur Flour Café, a quick bite at The Courtyard Café, or a late-night study snack from Novack Café, you’ll never run out of options.

These dining establishments replenish the food supply and serve as vibrant social spaces. They are where students come together to unwind, share meals, and spark meaningful connections. Whether catching up with friends over coffee or engaging in lively discussions about your latest class project, these social spaces are integral to the Dartmouth experience.

So, come and experience the Dartmouth College campus for yourself. Immerse yourself in a community that values academic excellence, personal growth, diverse perspectives, and lifelong friendships. Your journey starts here.

Academics at Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College is known for its exceptional academic programs spanning the arts, sciences, and humanities. With a wide range of majors to choose from, students have the opportunity to explore their interests and find their passion. Among the student population, some of the most popular majors include Government, Economics, Computer Science, and Engineering.

View of computer engineers working on a project.

One of the unique aspects of academics at Dartmouth is the concept of the ‘D-Plan.’ This innovative option allows students to design a custom academic calendar, giving them the flexibility to pursue internships, study abroad programs, or take a term off to explore other interests. The D-Plan empowers students to create a personalized educational experience that aligns with their goals and aspirations.

Another defining feature of Dartmouth’s academic program is the emphasis on undergraduate research opportunities. Dartmouth scholars are given the chance to engage in sophisticated research projects early in their educational journey. Under the guidance of distinguished professors across disciplines, students have the opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research and make meaningful discoveries.

Faculty and Class Sizes

Dartmouth’s classes are intentionally kept small to foster an intimate and collaborative learning environment. Students with a low student-to-faculty ratio can engage in meaningful discussions, receive personalized attention, and develop close relationships with their professors.

The faculty at Dartmouth comprises leading scholars who are not only experts in their respective fields but also deeply passionate about teaching. They are committed to providing a transformative education that goes beyond the classroom. With their guidance and mentorship, students are encouraged to challenge their perspectives, think critically, and develop a deep understanding of the subject matter.

Furthermore, the small class sizes at Dartmouth create a nurturing learning space where students can actively participate in discussions, collaborate with their peers, and develop strong analytical and communication skills. The close-knit community allows for meaningful connections to be formed, both academically and personally.

Student Life at Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College offers a vibrant and engaging student life experience with a wide range of opportunities for extracurricular involvement. In addition to its rigorous academic pursuits, Dartmouth boasts a diverse array of student-led clubs and organizations catering to various interests and passions.

Extracurricular Activities and Clubs

One notable organization at Dartmouth is The Dartmouth Review, the school’s renowned student newspaper. This publication provides students a platform to express their opinions, report on campus news, and engage in investigative journalism. The Dartmouth Review is a valuable source of information for the student body and offers aspiring journalists a chance to develop their writing and reporting skills.

Group of hikers on a mountain. Woman helping her friend to climb a rock.

The Dartmouth Outing Club is a popular choice for those seeking outdoor adventures. This club organizes various activities, from hiking and camping to rock climbing and skiing excursions. Students can explore the breathtaking natural beauty of the surrounding area while building friendships and developing leadership skills.

Participating in these communities creates a balance between academic and social life and fosters essential skills like leadership, teamwork, and time management. Dartmouth takes pride in the variety and enthusiasm these organizations bring to student life.

Athletics and Fitness at Dartmouth

Athletics play a significant role in the Dartmouth College community, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle among students. The Dartmouth Big Green sports teams compete in the Ivy League conference of the NCAA Division I, showcasing their talent and dedication on a national level. Students can cheer on their classmates and experience the excitement of collegiate sports.

In addition to varsity sports, Dartmouth offers a range of options for students to engage in physical activity. Intramural sports provide a chance for friendly competition among students, allowing them to form teams and compete in various sports leagues. Club sports offer a more structured and competitive environment for those pursuing their athletic passions at a higher level.

Dartmouth College is also committed to promoting fitness and wellness on campus. The College’s excellent athletic facilities, including the Alumni Gymnasium and the Thompson Arena, provide state-of-the-art equipment and spaces for students to engage in various fitness activities. Students can access resources supporting their physical well-being, hitting the weights, attending group exercise classes, or practicing yoga.

The Surrounding Community of Hanover, New Hampshire

Hanover, New Hampshire, is a charming town that serves as the perfect backdrop for Dartmouth students. Hanover uniquely blends natural beauty and small-town charm in the picturesque Upper Valley region. The town exudes a sense of tranquility and warmth with its tree-lined streets and historic buildings.

Local Attractions and Activities

Within Hanover, students can explore various attractions and activities that cater to their interests. The town has many charming boutiques where students can browse through unique clothing, accessories, and gifts. Coffee shops dot the streets, providing cozy spaces for studying or catching up with friends over a cup of artisanal coffee.

A man looking at a work of art in a museum.

For those seeking cultural experiences, Dartmouth’s Hood Museum and Hopkins Center for the Arts are local treasures. The Hood Museum showcases a diverse collection of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary.

At the same time, the Hopkins Center hosts a vibrant calendar of events, including art exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical performances. Students can immerse themselves in the rich cultural scene, expanding their horizons and deepening their appreciation for the arts.

But Hanover’s allure extends beyond its borders. Nature enthusiasts can venture out to the nearby Appalachian Trail, where they can embark on exhilarating hikes and soak in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

The Connecticut River, which flows through Hanover, offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and other water activities. The town becomes an outdoor playground for those seeking adventure and a connection with nature.

Interaction between Dartmouth and Hanover Community

The relationship between Dartmouth and the Hanover community is one of symbiosis. Students actively engage with the townsfolk, creating a vibrant and interconnected society. Through service projects, internships, and volunteering, students contribute to the local community, positively impacting and fostering meaningful connections.

Moreover, Dartmouth students and Hanover residents seamlessly share social spaces, creating a sense of unity and camaraderie. Whether grabbing a meal at a local restaurant, attending community events, or simply enjoying the town’s scenic beauty, the integration between the student body and the local community is truly admirable.

What’s the Social Scene Like at Dartmouth?

If you’re wondering what it is like to attend Dartmouth, you’ll find that the social life is as vibrant as the autumn foliage that graces the campus each year. The college’s rural setting in Hanover, New Hampshire, far from isolating students, seems to foster a tight-knit community that thrives on engagement.

Whether it’s a late-night study session at Baker-Berry Library that turns into a heartfelt conversation about life goals or a weekend hiking trip organized by your dorm’s floor, the opportunities to connect are endless.

Greek life plays a significant role but is not the be-all and end-all of social interactions. Various student organizations, from the Dartmouth Outing Club to cultural and academic societies, offer alternative spaces for socialization.

Greek Life: A Dominant but Not Exclusive Social Option

When you think of Dartmouth’s social scene, Greek life often comes to mind. It’s a dominant force, no doubt, with approximately 60% of eligible students involved in fraternities and sororities. But here’s the kicker: it’s not your only option, nor does it have to define your social experience.

Suppose you’re pondering what it is like to attend Dartmouth; know that the Greek system here is more inclusive and less hierarchical than you might find at other schools. Rushing is a less formal process, and many houses focus on specific interests or causes, from sustainability to LGBTQ+ advocacy.

For those who opt out of Greek life, the college offers a plethora of other avenues for social engagement. Co-ed houses, affinity programs, and many student organizations ensure you’ll never feel left out, even if you don’t don a Greek letter.

Traditions and Events: More than Just Academics

If you’re still curious about what it is like to attend Dartmouth, you can’t overlook the college’s rich tapestry of traditions and events that go beyond the academic sphere. The Dartmouth Winter Carnival, a tradition dating back to 1911, is a weekend-long celebration featuring many winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding competitions to ice sculpture contests.

Then there’s Green Key Weekend in the spring, a music festival that brings the entire campus together in a jubilant celebration of the end of another academic year. These traditions aren’t just frivolous fun; they serve as milestones that mark your journey through Dartmouth, creating a sense of unity and shared experience among students.

Whether you’re a freshman eagerly participating in your first Homecoming bonfire or a senior taking part in the “sweep” to clean the campus before Commencement, these traditions become integral to your Dartmouth identity.

How Diverse and Inclusive is Dartmouth?

If you’re contemplating what it is like to attend Dartmouth, one of the questions that might be swirling in your mind is about the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Dartmouth has been making strides to ensure that its campus is welcoming for students from all walks of life.

Students smiling at the camera together.

The college has a dedicated Office of Pluralism and Leadership, which offers resources and programs to foster an inclusive environment. This isn’t just lip service; Dartmouth’s initiatives extend from recruiting diverse faculty to implementing inclusive curricula in various departments.

The college also offers a range of affinity houses and cultural centers, such as the Shabazz Center for Intellectual Inquiry and the Native American House, which serve as safe spaces for underrepresented communities. These centers offer a sense of community and enrich the broader Dartmouth experience by hosting events and dialogues encouraging cross-cultural understanding.

Demographics: A Snapshot of the Student Body

When considering what it is like to attend Dartmouth, the demographic makeup of the student body is a crucial factor. Dartmouth’s student population is increasingly diverse, with many students identifying as people of color.

The college also has a growing international student body, adding cultural richness to campus life. Financial diversity is another aspect that Dartmouth is keen on improving; the college offers generous financial aid packages to make a Dartmouth education accessible to students from various economic backgrounds.

The presence of first-generation college students is also on the rise, thanks to initiatives like the First Year Student Enrichment Program, which provides resources and mentorship to help these students navigate the challenges of college life.

LGBTQ+ and Gender Inclusivity: More than Just Policies

If you’re still curious about what it is like to attend Dartmouth, you’ll be pleased to know that the college’s commitment to LGBTQ+ and gender inclusivity goes beyond mere policies and statements. Dartmouth has an active LGBTQIA+ community, supported by resources like the Triangle House, a living-learning community focused on LGBTQIA+ issues.

The college also offers gender-inclusive housing and restrooms, and its healthcare services include support for transgender students, such as hormone therapy. Student organizations like “Spectrum” and “Pride” offer peer support and advocacy, creating a campus culture that tolerates and celebrates diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity.

These initiatives are not just checkboxes on a diversity report; they are woven into the fabric of Dartmouth’s community, making it a place where you can be authentic.

What Are the Financial Aspects of Attending Dartmouth?

When you’re weighing the pros and cons of what it is like to attend Dartmouth, the financial aspects inevitably come into play. Like most Ivy League institutions, Dartmouth comes with a hefty price tag.

However, it’s crucial to understand that the college has a robust financial aid program designed to make a Dartmouth education accessible to students from diverse economic backgrounds. The college follows a need-blind admissions policy for domestic students, meaning your ability to pay doesn’t influence your admission chances.

Moreover, Dartmouth is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, domestic and international alike. This commitment manifests in various forms, from grants and scholarships that don’t need to be repaid to work-study programs that allow you to gain practical experience while offsetting educational costs.

Tuition and Financial Aid: The Numbers Laid Bare

If you’re keen to know what it is like to attend Dartmouth from a financial standpoint, let’s talk numbers. The tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year stands at approximately $60,000, with additional costs for room, board, and other fees pushing the total cost of attendance to around $80,000 per year.

However, nearly half of Dartmouth students receive financial aid, with the average aid package amounting to over $50,000. The college’s financial support is primarily need-based, although a few merit-based scholarships are available.

Importantly, Dartmouth’s financial aid packages are loan-free, consisting entirely of grants and work-study opportunities. This approach minimizes the debt burden on students, allowing them to graduate with greater economic freedom.

The Hidden Costs: Things You Might Not Consider

When contemplating what it is like to attend Dartmouth, it’s easy to focus solely on tuition and overlook other expenses that can add up. Textbooks, for instance, can cost hundreds of dollars each term.

Then there are the costs associated with extracurricular activities, social events, and even the winter clothing you’ll need to survive the Hanover winters. While these may seem like minor expenses, they can accumulate into a significant sum over four years.

However, Dartmouth offers various resources to mitigate these costs, such as free or discounted event tickets for financial aid recipients and a textbook lending library to ease the burden of academic expenses.

Ready to Make Your Dartmouth Dream a Reality? Let AdmissionSight Guide You!

You’ve delved deep into what it is like to attend Dartmouth College—from the vibrant social scene and diverse community to the financial aspects of an Ivy League education. Now, you might wonder, “How can I be a part of this incredible experience?” That’s where AdmissionSight comes in.

College admissions can be overwhelming, especially for a prestigious institution like Dartmouth. Our team of experts is here to guide you every step of the way. From crafting compelling essays that resonate with admissions officers to preparing you for interviews, we offer a comprehensive suite of services tailored to your needs.

Take the Next Step Towards Your Future—Schedule a Free Consultation with AdmissionSight Today! Don’t leave your Dartmouth dreams to chance. Let us help you turn them into reality. Click the button below to get started.


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