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. . .
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.
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.
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
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.
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.