El Segundo High School

Tour of the bucolic Dartmouth College

Dartmouth school shield.

My parent’s met at Dartmouth College during their years in graduate school. So, I was very interested in visiting, but fairly sure that I did not want to go to a college where I would meet my future ex-husband.

Before our visit, my mom pulled out pictures of me as a wee-toddler on the Dartmouth campus with the fall foliage spectacularly serving as a backdrop to the photo, and I thought, it cannot be that breathtaking. Nonetheless, I was really surprised by just how much even the first moments on campus took my breath away! Dartmouth truly in a magical and beautiful campus.

Dartmouth College, founded in 1769, is nestled in the college town of Hanover, N.H. It is the ideal college campus centered around “The Green,” a large square grass epicenter of campus, lined with red brick colonial buildings that house dorms and classrooms. This makes for a very intimate campus, and that is a good way to define the feeling on campus.

The 170-acre campus is home to 4,200 undergraduates. It is also home to 200 graduate students, including the prestigious (and the nation’s oldest) business school, The Amos Tuck School, as well as the renown Thayer School of Engineering and Geisel School of Medicine.

Dartmouth is known for the “D-Plan,” a quarter system calendar (instead of semesters) that last 10 weeks, for four quarters of the year. A student must take 12 terms total to graduate, at three classes per term. Students must be on campus for freshman and senior years (in fall, winter, and spring) and must be on campus the summer after sophomore year. Otherwise, they can do the other five terms however they choose over the fall, winter, spring and summer terms.

New to Dartmouth in 2016 is the House System. There will now be six houses where freshman will be randomly sorted into a house; this will remain their house affiliation for all four years. The idea is to further foster a sense of community. Harvard has a similar system of houses and it works effectively.

Some interesting facts about Dartmouth for those thinking of applying:

  • It is called Dartmouth College (not University) because of its emphasis on undergraduate education, and teaching. This means that 99.9 percent of classes are led by faculty, and there is an average 7:1 student to faculty ratio, and 2/3 of the classes have less than 20 students.
  • Dartmouth has the oldest Native American studies program in the nation, and also has graduated the most Native Americans from any college to date.
  • There is a ski mountain 10 minutes from campus!
  • Dartmouth owns a lodge in the White Mountains, an hour from campus, and students can stay the night there.
  • A student must take three terms of a foreign language (unless they test out); and three terms of physical education, but the ski hill counts as PE.
  • There is also a quantitative requirement as well as two freshman writing requirements.
  • 64 percent of undergrads participate in research. Students get to work one-on-one with a professor for 10 weeks.
  • There is a plethora of study abroad opportunities that many students engage in. There is language-specific study abroad and curriculum-specific.  And, study abroad is the same cost as staying in Hanover for classes.
  • 75 percent of students complete internships during their time.
  • There is a 50-50 male-to-female ratio; while the class is composed of 9 percent international; 11 percent first generation; 37 percent of color.
  • In 2016, Dartmouth graduated more women in engineering than men!
  • Forbes ranked Dartmouth No. 2 on the grateful grads index; meaning grads are happy while attending.
  • The average yearly scholarship is $46,310; and the average debt upon graduation is $29,373.
  • All freshmen live on campus, while 90 percent of students stay on campus all four years.
  • While 50% of students participate in Greek life, all events are open to everyone.

Dartmouth was an enchanting college campus. While quite rural, the campus seems to have enough energy all on its own. It was bustling with activity and joy.

Dartmouth is the perfect place to spend four years during college, and who knows, you might just meet your future ex-husband.

For more on the author see CeceJane.com