| Sort By:
| Dartmouth is definitely a unique experience. And the vast majority of Dartmouth loves it here, a lot. The school is not for everyone though - for instance, people who love shopping and fashion tend to feel the isolation a lot more than the outdoorsy kids. It is a wonderful place to be if you are good at finding the beauty around you; students are intelligent, enthusiastic, laid-back, friendly, and generally very happy. However, if you take the wrong attitude towards the place, it's pretty easy to wake up and really mope about the cold, or the isolation. I think one of the really essential things that comes out of living here, though, is that you find yourself really learning to actively engage in life - I come from the southwest, and my friends and I sat down freshman year saying "you know what, we want to love the cold winters, we need to go learn a snow sport instead of feeling depressed about being stuck inside all of the time." I have heard of only one person in my entire time here who claimed to be anything less than delighted with the school. And like the person who commented before me said, yes, this may just be that some students are being pressured into not saying that they dont like it, but I feel like it is more of an infectious attitude towards the school. So many people love D that it's hard not to catch on and feel proud of the campus. On my freshman tour around the campus, an upperclassmen stopped and told us, "You guys are incredibly lucky you've still got four years here. Enjoy it."|
Personally, Dartmouth was quite an adjustment. College IS inevitably going to be an adjustment, and I came from a group of naive friends who didn't drink, go out, or party in the least. So transitioning to college, where people party every weekend took a little bit of time and effort. It took for me to realize that drinking and partying are a part of life at virtually every school, not just Dartmouth. But it's something to be considered for incoming students, that the frat scene here is significant. Basically, that means that instead of drinking in their rooms or at houses, kids go out to the frats for dance parties and socializing virtually every weekend. And they are an integral part of the social scene. Along with clubs, outdoors groups, and sports teams, they ARE the social scene, to be honest. But frats are open to everyone, and it's basically a bunch of kids standing around in a room, drinking, dancing, talking, and playing pong (real pong - with paddles). After a while, you learn to enjoy it most of the time, even if you dont drink much, like me.
The student body is relatively diverse, but there is a definite tendency towards long curly haired, khaki-wearing, outdoorsy types who love to laugh and have fun. Everyone on campus is a part of either the Mountaineering Club, Canoeing/Kayaking club, or Cabin and Trail. It's because proximity to the outdoors is honestly one of Dartmouth's greatest (and most defining) resources. At no other time in your life will you live in a situation like this, with 4000 other young, lively people in walking distance from woods, a gorgeous pond, whitewater rapids, and mountains. There's great climbing 10 minutes away, our own ski mountain 15 minutes bus away, Mt Moosilauke and the river only a few minute walk through trees from the center of campus. It would be wasting an amazing opportunity not to take part in the access to nature that Dartmouth provides. The location is something that few other colleges of its caliber offer. That said, it is difficult for people who are accustomed to spending their time in Manhattan boutiques and clubs. Hanover, New Hampshire is far from metropolis. The town proper is really one main street, and it feels a lot like a gilmore-girlsy quiet New England town. There's a cute family breakfast diner, a few bookstores, a few clothing stores, the Gap, CVS, and a coffee shop or two - all within 5 minutes walking distance from the college green. But that's the end of town. The small-town aspect of Dartmouth does a lot to the social structure. Everyone talks about how there is a definite sense of community - the focus of all 4000 undergrads is directed towards the school itself and the people around them, rather than the city. So by the end of four years spent in the middle of nowhere with awesome people, the personal bonds are intense, a sense that is tougher to create when the school scatters off into the city each weekend. But, that's definitely a matter of personal preference. Some people will nonetheless feel restricted by the size of the town.
One of the other significant aspects of life is the size. Being small and undergraduate focused has a big impact upon life at Dartmouth. I was personally looking at places like UCLA and USC as well as Dartmouth, and have been surprised that the size has been one of my favorite parts of the school. It's a wonderful feeling to know that if you're feeling lonely, you can just walk to the campus center (it's nicely organized around a large green, the library, the theater/arts center, and food) and be guaranteed to run into someone you know. But at the same time, it's unlikely that in 4,000 people you wont find SOME people you click well with, and you'll never be able to get to know everyone. Size changes things a lot; if you meet someone one day at an a capella show, you're quite likely to run into them on multiple occasions again, so it's entirely possible to get to know people thoroughly, without having to live next door to them. The students are friendly and not at all competetive. Honestly, the people are probably the best resource. If you dont understand math, there are 5 people who live a few doors down in either direction who are brilliant at it and willing to help. But even with an overwhelming number of friendly people, Dartmouth is real, and you will run into the occasional person you dont like. Also, Blitzmail (email) instead of cell-phones dominate life, and we write emails like crazypeople. Nobody owns a cell phone. I told you, unique.
The cold. Consider it. It's essential. I haven't minded it, personally, but I am not really troubled by throwing on an extra down jacket before I walk to dinner. Winters are quite cold, but it's all worth it for the school-wide snowball fight that happens at midnight on the green during the first night of every term. Tradition is big. Homecoming is a big deal, where everyone is decked out in Dartmouth gear and stands around a giant bonfire in the center of the green, watching the freshmen run around it 100-some times, or Winter Carnival, Tubestock, and Green Key weekend.
Those are the most defining aspects of Dartmouth life: it's setting, temperature, student body, and social life. But Dartmouth is wonderfully unique. You feel included from the moment you step on campus and have seniors dancing around in tu tu's and singing to welcome you. The education is thorough and focused, I've had wonderful, incredibly passionate professors and professors who I felt were mediocre. That's just a fact of life.Remember, college is exactly what you make it.
|Jan 15 2005|| 2nd Year Female --
Class 2007 |
| Dartmouth is an Ivy League school, but perceived as "second-rank" Ivy. The drawback for many students is its remoteness and relative isolation. Hanover is a small town and there are few opportunities for internships and jobs there, not to mention shopping opportunities. The weather, particularly in winter, is fairly nasty--lots of snow and ice, COLD! And yes, there are some "spoiled rich kids" around--although they tend to be more of the "giving back" and "let's have fun" variety than the "I'm SO privileged because of my daddy's trust fund, and much better than you" type. Few minorities, as a previous rant stated?? Yes, and it is hard for outsiders to break into those well-supported groups, which consist of people actively recruited and often given financial aid, in general, who apparently never realized before arriving on campus that rural New Hampshire is just that, and not New York City or the Badlands of the Dakotas. I'm Asian, and it is amusing to me to be lumped in with "whites" as The Oppressor. . .|
In any case, Dartmouth is for you if you like small classes, dedicated teachers, and an academic focus. It can be a challenge to make your own social life if you are not part of the Greek system, and a lot of people join frats and sororities here who might not do so on other campuses, just because the small town and small campus seem to necessitate creating a network for interaction. Yes, there are too many drugs and too much drinking for my liking. I'm a teetotaler. However, I visited many campuses before deciding to come here, and the drinking and drugs were just as prevalent elsewhere--and my friends at other schools report just as many drunken parties as I've heard about.
The classes are good, but must be selected mindfully. Teachers tend to have high expectations and to set high standards for themselves and for their students. If you are looking for excellent instruction and accessible faculty, then Dartmouth is your school President Kim is the most accessible and congenial and proactive college president I've ever heard of, and he takes great pains to meet with students and LISTEN to them and to their concerns. There are opportunities to dine and converse with visiting dignitaries and stars, just by requesting the ticket and showing interest.
Foreign study and volunteer service are emphasized at Dartmouth, and, frankly, the "D Plan," which mandates that the summer after sophomore year be spent on campus, taking courses, is a pain in the behind. It was instituted when the college became co-ed and there were not sufficient living accommodations for all students. I disliked it because the "off term" interrupts the continuity of education and friendships. On the other hand, my months abroad were indeed very real learning experiences, even if the lessons were largely learned outside the classroom. (I don't think that this is unusual in study abroad programs.)
Dartmouth is one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen, and there is considerable environmental awareness and incentives to be "green" (Dartmouth Green!) The food is so-so, in my opinion, and there are not enough options and limited serving hours. However, halal, kosher, vegetarian, vegan choices are always available, and there are on-campus houses that cater to these needs as well. The outdoors is part of the Dartmouth experience, and freshman year begins with an outdoors adventure that is intended to bond the newcomers to the existing community and to one another--and the efforts pay off. There are many festivals and events throughout the year that reinforce the bonding--bonfire, winter carnival, and other togetherness celebrations that are special and memorable.
Dartmouth Alumni are unusually loyal and committed to the school and remain active. Scholarship students like me also get to meet the people who are helping to fund their education and to form a relationship with them. This inspires the recipients to perform at their best level, gives them a face or faces to go with their gratitude, and also helps encourage them to give once they have "made it" themselves. Like so many others, the program emphasizes community and connectedness. It's not a perfect school, but if you want to learn with a group of basically intelligent, socially conscious, "nice" and well-scrubbed folks, if you like a sense of belonging and have a need for challenging and well-crafted courses, you might well love Dartmouth, as I do. It's all here, if you take the trouble to become part of it and optimize the opportunities. I would choose to come here again, although I might experiment more with courses given another chance.
|Mar 27 2011|| 3rd Year Female --
Class 2012 |
| Be ready to accelerate your learning. Though a typical student takes but three classes a term, the terms are both short (8 to 10 weeks) and intense. Indeed, the very textbooks that authors intend to cover a year's worth of material are often thoroughly dissected and analyzed in a single term. For those who discipline themselves from the get-go, the intensity will prove an enviable opportunity for intellectual enrichment. For those who choose not to, four tempestuous years lie ahead. |
|Feb 07 2003|| 1st Year Male --
Class 2006 |