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Dartmouth College in the Ivy League Context – Insight from an Educational Consultant and Alumnus

Hi, I’m mark Montgomery here with some
great college advice. Today we’re going to talk about Dartmouth College. There are probably at least three things
you need to know about Dartmouth College, and maybe that’s prefaced by first the
fact that I went there. So, I know a lot about the school, both good and bad, and,
while I’m a loyal alumnus, I’m not beyond seeing the warts on the actual
institution. So, it’s a great place, it’s not for everyone. But, what are some
things that you need to think about as you’re examining Dartmouth College in
the context of the other seven Ivy League institutions? Well, the first thing
is it’s the smallest of all the other Ivy League schools. That means that
Dartmouth College: it is the only College among the Ivy Leagues. Classes
generally are going to be smaller, they are generally going to be taught by
professors. While there are some professional schools at Dartmouth, they
are very much disconnected from the undergraduate experience. There is a
growing number of graduate students in the “arts and sciences” shall we say, and
there’s actually a change now that they’re creating a school for all of
those programs. But the numbers of graduate students that are actually in
the classroom with the undergraduate students, really insignificant. Whereas
at some of the other larger Ivies, like Penn or Cornell, you’re going to see
graduate students a lot. Not so at Dartmouth. The second thing that you
might think about is Dartmouth is geographically the most remote. It’s two
hours, almost exactly, by car from Logan Airport in Boston, and it is in the woods.
We talk about it, you know, the granite of New Hampshire, and the woods
and all that that stuff, but the area of the Upper Valley of the Connecticut
River is actually relatively cosmopolitan. There are lots of startups
up in the area. Housing prices are kind of crazy because lots of people want to
live there. There’s the Dartmouth Hitchcock hospital as well as the
Veterans Hospital, which makes it a medical center for all of upper New England. It has a great Arts Center: the Hopkins Center. Which is a magnet for
artistic creativity in the region. It doesn’t feel remote. There are only a couple of stoplights, maybe three, four stoplights
in the whole town, but it doesn’t feel like it is in the boonies. Actually,
it’s a relatively cosmopolitan atmosphere. The third thing, is that
Dartmouth has often been considered the most conservative of the Ivies and
in some ways that’s true. It’s certainly the Ivy that has the greatest
participation in the Greek system, so an overwhelming percentage
of students, and last I heard at a reunion was that about 70% of students,
belong to either fraternity or sorority. Now, that is definitely true that
that culture, you know it may or may not be your thing. However, there are
openly gay members of fraternities, there’s actually recently was an openly
gay president of a fraternity. It is not a completely intolerant environment.
And of course, you also have to look at the fact that, like all of the Ivies, the
demographic is changing. Whereas all of the Ivies used to be dominated by white
anglo-saxon Protestants that kind of looked like me, actually now only 47 percent of students, according to according to statistics reported to the government,
only 47 percent of students at Dartmouth are white. There are 14 percent who are Asians, seven percent are black or African-American, eight percent are
Latino or Hispanic, and, an interesting two percent are actually Native Americans because Dartmouth was established way back in 1769 to educate Native Americans.
It’s a promise that they actually didn’t make good on until 1970s when president
Kennedy at the time said: we must do what we said
we were going to do. So they’ve made a very concerted effort to recruit Native
Americans with some success. Also we have to remember that 5 percent of students are of
more than one race, which is kind of the way
America rolls right now. And there are nine percent of students who did not declare
their race on the forum. Either that’s because they were confused and didn’t
know how to answer the question, or actually more likely I like to think
these are guilt ridden white anglo-saxon Protestant types who
decide that they are feeling too guilty about their white privilege, and decide not to
mark their race on the form. So anyway, however you slice it, Dartmouth is a much
more diverse place, certainly than when I went there and certainly than the generation
before. So while it’s conservative maybe, because of the fraternity system, that
doesn’t mean that it’s an intolerant place. I would also highlight the fact
that because of its remote location, it is a paradise if you’re interested in
outdoor activities of any kind. They have their own ski way, they own a
mountain with this really cool lodge at the bottom of it if you want to go
hiking at any time, and then there’s this network of cabins and stuff–it’s really a cool
place if you’re interested in the outdoors. So Dartmouth: the smallest of
the Ivy League. Yeah, most remote, but not in the boonies. Conservative, perhaps by
some measures, but certainly reflective of the American population, and certainly
reflective of all the other Ivy League schools. And if you like the woods, it’s
the place to be. So check out Dartmouth and, if you’re
interested in figuring out how to get in let me know. Give me a call.

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