As I mentioned before, the student body is unquestionably smart, hard-working, and accomplished, but everyone puts up a good fascade that they don't try too hard and are just an average joe. Some will lead you to believe that all they do is play pong and "hang out", while others have no problem telling you they spent the past three days holed up in Berry library, but there is never a competitive or "look at me, I'm so smart" vibe. The student body is pretty diverse - racially, religiously, ecomonically, geographically and sexual orientationally (if that's a word). Some minorities have their own Greek organizations and many of the typical frats/soroties are predominantly white, so in this respect the school isn't as integrated as it could be. I don't think there is ever any hostility, just a chosen separation. The school and its history are fairly conservative with an "old boy" mentality prevailing until recent years, but the student body is rather liberal, in line with most college student bodies. There are active political groups, but republican and democrat, but on the whole students are too political. There is a tendency to get sucked into the "Dartmouth bubble", where you are unaware of outside current events and tend to think that everything else in the world is secondary to what's going on in the Dartmouth world. There are your typical groups: the athletes, nerds, frat boys, sorority girls, alternative druggies, crunchy hippies. But there is enough cross-over that you'll meet the soccer player/frat brother/econ whiz who dates a girl who works at the organic farm and is involved with student assembly.
All racial, religious, LGBT, socio-economic groups exist on campus. In general, I felt everyone was treated fairly and with few exceptions, without incident. The exceptions were dealt with very publicly and political correctness reigned supreme. I'm not sure who would feel out of place at Dartmouth but can guess folks completely unfamiliar with the outdoors, closed-minded about trying new things, and unwilling to befriend non-like individuals would have difficulty. Perhaps citylovers would be out of place too. Students wear whatever is warm and comfortable. Function over fashion. Different types of students do interact but tend to spend most of the time around similar types. Four tables... table 1: me and my comedy friends from the improv group, humor magazine, and film classes table 2: wealthy lacrosse folks taking a break from drinking at the frat house table 3: outdoorsy girls eating granola and yogurt and studying while they talk table 4: african american table Most Dartmouth students are from middle to uppermiddle class suburban North Eastern states. Students are politically active for the New Hampshire primary (once every four years). The other times of the year, only the student government folks are politically active. Most are way left of center. Some students talk about how much they'll earn. Avoid them and avoid being them.
Dartmouth RAVES about its diversity. In my class alone, we have people from tens of countries, from every race, speaking many languages, having different sexual orientations, etc. But even though we are all so different, we're all very similar, too. All of us LOVE Dartmouth, we all want to get a great education and be successful with our lives, we're all ambitious, and we all like to have fun, too. Everyone is very welcoming, and there aren't any cliques unless you include the Greek system, but that's what really brings people together: it doesn't divide them. Politics is obviously a big deal at any university. Nationally, many of the students are very aware of what is going on in the world, and because New Hampshire has some of the first primary elections in the country, there are always candidates coming to Dartmouth. Most lean to the left, but that's because they haven't made their own money yet; once people are working EXTREMELY hard and becoming successful, they'll want to keep the money that THEY've earned, not just hand it over to someone else. As far as wealth goes, Dartmouth is very fortunate. Many people are on financial aid, some with full rides, which is only possible because of the people, including myself, who are paying the full tuition, which is over $50,000 a year.
I have never in my life encountered such an accepting atmosphere. On my floor alone I’ve met: Bongani from Swaziland who loves hip hop and improve comedy, Virginia from Bulgaria whose quick quips and coffee making skills are unmatched, Jake a Native American student who teaches snowboarding and is a film connoisseur, Meghan from Boston who spent her summer interning with a senator in Rwanda, and Lauren from San Francisco who creatively infuses her Cuban heritage into her passion for Celtic dance. At the beginning of fall term I often looked at our kaleidoscopic bunch and wondered, “What could we possibly have in common?” My questions were answered as the six of us raced around the homecoming bonfire, unified by our “11” shirts and visceral screams. We’re united by our love for this school and the passion it inspires. Each of us has found our individual niche but still enjoys coming together with the entire student body to celebrate our inexplicable bond when singing the alma mater after a Dartmouth victory.
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 student body is reasonably diverse and very laid back. People who wear a suit or something to class would get looked at. On a nice day people are in shorts, polos, dresses, etc. In the winter, women wear Northface fleeces and jackets with tights and ugg boots, while the men just wear whatever. Many students are from the northeast (specifically New Hampshire, New Jersey, NYC and Massachusetts) although there are tons from California and other nations. People generally socialize predominantly with those who are similar to them or from the same region, but sports teams and activities act as ways of mixing things up. However, there is still some voluntary segregation by most students (for example, some of the international students feel more comfortable with other internationals.)
Students are pretty relaxed on campus. I've gone to class wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt and no one said anything. In fact, such attire is pretty common for morning classes. Students are accepting of people from all types of backgrounds. Less than half of the student body receives any type of financial aid so a large portion of Dartmouth students come from families that are well off, however, students typically do not discuss their financial situation with others. Students are very much politically active and during election time, it can get hectic. Dartmouth has a reputation as being the most conservative Ivy, but I don't think this is true. Though the conservative groups on campus are very vocal, they are small groups and represent a minority of the student body's opinion.
i would think that it would be hard for a person who does not have a lot of money to fit in as there are always a lot of things that you randomly have to pay for here. it seems that there are a lot of very wealthy kids here. i would definitely say, though, that students of all kind of backgrounds interact. however, sometimes you will see the typical 'asian' table and 'black' table. Those would be two of the four tables. the other two i would say would be filled with athletes from a team and then a group of girls. there is not much talk about life after college. the students are politically active.
Everyone here is brilliant, talented, and yet very normal. The students who are winning accolades in academia can be found here skiing on Dartmouth Skiway after class and building snowmen in the winter, swimming in the river in the summer, lounging on the green and chatting with friends in the fall and spring, and being social and fun. A typical day might consist of classes, dinner with friends at Food Court, going to see an a cappella show at one of the greek houses, then hanging out with friends in the dorm or at a party.
My classmates come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and it is that diversity that I most value. Despite our differences, everyone is incredibly friendly and willing to learn more about one another, creating a social environment that allows all of us to mature and grow in our appreciation of different cultures and values. Many students are caring and compassionate and willing to do whatever they can to make things easier for me when I am having trouble, and overall the environment is very conducive to a strong community.