Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Dartmouth Experience

Josten and I after a short conversation

Josten the tour guide

Today we were scheduled to go visit Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. I must confess, I am absolutely in love with that college now.

Being an Ivy League school, Dartmouth is special. Though it provides a large variety of graduate programs, those programs are not its only focus. Dartmouth puts effort into undergraduate education and still has not changed the formal title of the school from "College" to "University".

As a liberal arts institution, Dartmouth requires general education classes in order to produce academically well-rounded students. There are no Pre-Med or Pre-Law programs. According to our tour guide, Josten, Dartmouth students only take classes they are interested in. For example, a student has to take a psychology class for general education requirements. She would have a variety of psychology classes to choose from. She might choose chose Psychology of Love, which is just about loving people. The class suited what she was looking for.

It has been said that the professors at Dartmouth come to teach undergraduate students because they love teaching. From what I can see, they really do care about their students. Even a professor teaching Introductory Biology (about 100 people per class) will remember everyone’s name, not a simple feat. Josten gave us an idea of what talking to professors outside of class is like. Even when she went to them during their office hours, they wouldn’t explain the subject without first asking “How are you adjusting to the new environment?” or “Are you are doing alright?”

As far as the Dartmouth environment goes, it is big and beautiful. Unlike UC Berkeley or Brown, Dartmouth is located in a very small town and the campus is not broken up at all. The campus looked very clean and quiet, a perfect environment for studying.

I was highly impressed by Dartmouth. Not only by its fine faculty and environment, but also by the love the students have for it. Everyone here calls Dartmouth “home”, and that is exactly what I want to do with my future school. I will definitely apply to go here. 

After Josten finished her explanation of Dartmouth, I talked to her personally and learned about what Dartmouth expects from its prospective students; most certainly academic excellence, but also a passion for what they intend to do in life.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Zijun! But then I write that about almost all blogs that start off with lots of pretty photos. :-)

    But even after the photos your blog continued with its excellence.

    When we come from an urban area--especially one that is as depressed as West County is--it's very easy to fall in love with a school set in a rural setting. The greenery, the trees, the quiet solitude--they all send a message that this is a little slice of heaven.

    One of our recent Pinole Valley HS grads--Peter Chau--works in the admissions office at Dartmouth (after his own graduation from Dartmouth) so if you're interested Mr. Ramsey can put you in touch with him so you can explore Dartmouth options more thoroughly.

    When you wrote that Dartmouth has no Pre-Med or Pre-Law programs, that may be technically true as far as structured programs are concerned. However, two of my own HS classmates went to Dartmouth and one became a doctor and the other a lawyer so I'm betting they're teaching something at Dartmouth that will help with those two disciplines.