Dartmouth College - Comments and Student Experiences|
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.