So the consensus is in—Dartmouth is a great place to go to school! For most students in most situations, it is truly the experience of a lifetime. An overwhelming majority of Dartmouth students fall head-over-heels in love with the place. It is little wonder that Dartmouth has one of the highest alumni giving rates of any college or university in the country. The College is certainly a very unique place to pursue an undergraduate degree, and the academic experience alone is worth its weight in gold. For the most part, Dartmouth professors, administrators, and support staff care deeply about the students and want to do whatever they can to make each student’s experience the best it can possibly be.
All that being said, Dartmouth is not for everyone. It is definitely a high-intensity school. The turnaround time between when classes begin and when finals are due each term is pretty rapid, and it’s not at all difficult to get snowed under—no pun intended. The social scene at Dartmouth is dominated by savvy, urban, prep-school types who are accustomed to living away from home and making their own rules, so learning how to share in many of the values, attitudes, and elements of their lifestyle and still remain true to yourself can be a challenge for many students. Dartmouth’s isolation and insularity are two of its biggest drawbacks. A phenomenon known as the “Dartmouth Bubble”—the news, information, and culture vacuum caused by Dartmouth’s geographic isolation from all major population centers—tends to breed a myopic view of college life among students and causes many to overemphasize the importance of the social goings-on at Dartmouth. It is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that the world is a lot bigger than Hanover and that your life will ultimately be a lot richer than those four short, crazy years you spend in college. If you commit yourself to taking Dartmouth exactly as it is and prevent yourself from building it up in your mind into something it’s not, you will likely do well here and enjoy your college experience immensely.