One of the most unique things about Dartmouth is at the same time the best thing about the college and probably the worst. With the "D plan", there are four 10-week long terms a year, and you must be on campus fall, winter, and spring of your freshman and senior years, and the summer after your sophmore year. The rest of the terms you can either take classes on campus, study abroad, do internships, stay on campus but not take classes and work, or do nothing... as long as you complete 12 terms of classes (and of course all your requirements). This is great in that you can get internships in the spring or fall when other students are in school, not be in Hanover in the freezing cold weather in the winters of your sophmore and junior years, and have many opportunities to study abroad. The ten week terms are nice too, since even though they're fast paced courses and finals are upon you almost as soon as midterms end, you get to change courses quickly and even where you live as people are coming on and going off each term. This also gives the chance to make friends with more people than might otherwise happen, since if most of your friends are off campus one term, you're forced to make new ones. The downside to all this is that your schedule isn't the same as your friends who go to other schools. They go back to college in mid August while you're stuck at home until end of September, and then they're out in early May while you're still at school until June. Also, when you find yourself in a great living situation, great classes, and great social situation one term, it will end shortly and new people, new classes, and new situations will be upon you soon. I would say you have to like almost constant change; I think it's exciting. Lastly, the very best thing about the D plan and probably Dartmouth in general is sophmore summer. This is the term after your sophmore year where your entire class has to be on campus taking classes. You think, summer school - ick! Oh no, this is AWESOME. It's all of your friends together (since most of them have been off various terms sophmore year), with no annoying upper or lower classmen, and takes on a vibe almost like summer camp. Classes and professors are more relaxed (many students take only 2 classes), much of your day can be spent lying on the green "reading" or hanging out at the dock by the river, and there is even more partying, hanging out with friends, and friendly spirit than usual. New Hampshire is gorgeous in the summer too, with swimming, camping, kayaking, sailing, berry picking, rock climbing and much more all available. Some of my best friendships were made or solidified sophmore summer, and it was definitely my favorite term at Dartmouth.
The cold. Consider it. It's essential. I haven't minded it, personally, but I am not really troubled by throwing on an extra down jacket before I walk to dinner. Winters are quite cold, but it's all worth it for the school-wide snowball fight that happens at midnight on the green during the first night of every term. Tradition is big. Homecoming is a big deal, where everyone is decked out in Dartmouth gear and stands around a giant bonfire in the center of the green, watching the freshmen run around it 100-some times, or Winter Carnival, Tubestock, and Green Key weekend. Those are the most defining aspects of Dartmouth life: it's setting, temperature, student body, and social life. But Dartmouth is wonderfully unique. You feel included from the moment you step on campus and have seniors dancing around in tu tu's and singing to welcome you.
Again, Dartmouth focuses on its undergraduates rather than the graduates. Most classes have 20-100 students and all classes are taught by the professors. Attendence is actually taken in many classes. Homework and rough drafts of essays are actually asigned and hand graded by the professor. Students have the unique opportunity to develop relationships with highly educated and experience professors; furthermore, guest lecturers who are experts in their fields are invited continuously. Student organizations are highly active and encourage participation. Finally, the dining service is not too shabby. Actually, i love it.
Dartmouth is amazing. There are times it's difficult and frustrating, but there are just so many wonderful things about this school. The students/alums are fantastic. The traditions are so unique to the school. Dartmouth MEANS something to all the students here- there's a reason that so many Dartmouth people get married and send their kids here. This is a special place, and you want to be with someone who can understand that. And while Hanover winters are ridiculously cold and the town is super small and people say they need to get away- at the end of the day no one really wants to leave.
The students at Dartmouth are really what makes the school what it is. There is an incredible sense of pride, spirit, and creativity that flows through the veins of every Dartmouth student that isn't present at other schools. We thrive on not taking ourselves too seriously, live for adventure, and still manage to accomplish amazing things in the academic and research worlds. On the outside, almost every Dartmouth student is a member of at least one club or team on campus, while managing to juggle academics on the side and accomplishing amazing things in and outside of the classroom.
What I love about Dartmouth is that everyone here embraces their individuality while still feeling like one devastatingly good-looking, dysfunctional family. Where else can you roll out on a Friday night rocking a cheetah print spandex onesie and still feel completely comfortable in your own skin? Whether it be volunteering through Tucker, exploring nature with the DOC, studying in a different country or styling yourself with a bit of flair, Dartmouth students are “out there,” but in the best way possible. Dartmouth inspires us to be adventurous and step out of the box.
I feel so fortunate to have had as great a college experience as I have had at Dartmouth. Dartmouth alumni are crazy! They come back every year for Homecoming, come out for athletic games held in their cities, help students get internships through the Alumni Career Network, and have donation rates among the highest in the country. There is a place for everyone here, and it will become part of your character: there is a reason why are alumni are so involved and passionate- this place instills something in you that will stay with you forever.
The best thing about Dartmouth is the community, the family, that I've found. The students are all hard-working, and amazing, individuals, and all of the professors have become like parents to me. As the only person from my high school to ever attend Dartmouth, I was scared that I would be lost and alone. But, I've found my place, and it's absolutely the most amazing and fulfilling thing that has ever happened to me. I love Dartmouth.
At Dartmouth, there is a sense of mutual community like no other. When I first step foot on campus, I was not too thrilled about the secluded location of the campus (the nearest city is 2 hours away!). However, after meeting new people, I find that it is exactly this kind of campus that builds strong community. Moreover, the students that attend Dartmouth are people similar to myself, and together we form a family away from home.
Students are prohibited from pledging a greek community until their sophomore fall. The ability for students to declare modified majors, which are a mixture of two completely different but related majors. The dartmouth quarter system also allows for fall, winter or spring internships, foreign study programs, transfer terms or research depending on when you take your academic leave term during the school year.