Dartmouth was established in 1769, making it the ninth oldest institute of higher education in the United States. The college was originally founded by Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, an American Congregational minister. Its purpose was to educate Native Americans, English youth and others living in the area; however, it was primarily attended by the sons of British colonists. In 1792, the college began to admit women and established one of the first Native American programs in the country. Today, Dartmouth has more Native graduates (nearly 1,000 alumni) than all of the other Ivy League Universities combined.
Located in Hanover, New Hampshire, on the banks of the Connecticut river, Dartmouth’s remote campus and small size (and harsh winters) foster strong bonds among students and a sense of community. Nearly ninety percent of undergraduate students live on-campus in Dartmouth housing during all four years of study. In addition to the more traditional residence halls, Dartmouth offers Living Learning Programs, from “Global Villages” to the DEN, for students interested in entrepreneurial or technical development. There is also the Triangle House, for students passionate about issues surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community, and the Great Issues Scholars in Residence program, aimed to enhance students’ understanding of the world and the challenges it faces. Students even have the option of designing their own Living Learning Program that is focused on an issue or interest that is important to them. There is also a very strong Greek presence on campus, with sixty percent of the student body participating in Greek life and 29 active chapters, which all operate from residential facilities.
Dartmouth’s year-round academic calendar, with four 10-week terms, offers a flexible study program known as the “D-plan.” Freshmen and Senior Fall, Winter and Spring semesters and the Sophomore Summer are devoted to on-campus study, while Sophomore and Junior semesters can be spent off-campus to pursue “leave-term learning” experiences. Students can use these terms to pursue internships, study abroad, or even conduct field research. Many Dartmouth programs even offer funding to encourage students to go out and explore the world. Though students are encouraged to participate in Dartmouth-sponsored programs, students are permitted to independently pursue alternative programs in exchange for transfer credit.
In addition to a flexible schedule, students are often given a great deal of flexibility in choosing a major. With more than 50 majors to choose from, students can pursue multiple majors, special student-designed majors, or a modified major, which combines two subjects with an emphasis on one to create a unique specialized program of study. Students are also encouraged to participate in hands-on research. With a variety of funding and mentors, students have many opportunities to contribute to the creation of new knowledge.
In addition to pursuing intellectual challenges off campus, students are encouraged to go outdoors and explore New England’s beautiful landscape. The Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), the oldest and largest outing club of its sorts in the country, was established in 1909 to stimulate interest in outdoor and winter sports. It now operates year-round and ecompasses many clubs that organize all types of outdoor experiences, from skiing to hunting to organic farming. The club is open to all members of the Dartmouth community, and currently has 1,500 student members alone. Anyone can stay in one of the DOC’s many cabins, rent some gear from their extensive collection, and take a class or go on a trip with the club. In addition to all it offers students and the community, the DOC supports Dartmouth’s commitment to sustainability and maintains over 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail.