Saturday, July 3, 2010
Today we visited Dartmouth College! Of all the schools we have visited so far, Dartmouth was the one that made the best immediate impression on me. From the second we stepped foot on campus, it was plain to see that the campus took great pride in its appearance. The grass of the college green was perfectly trimmed, the sidewalks were in pristine condition, and the buildings all were glimmering like gems in the bright New Hampshire sun.
In my AP United States History class at school, we had learned that Dartmouth was established in 1769 to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. Because of this, I had expected the college to look very classical, with lots of very historic buildings and locations. Instead, what I saw there was a modern, sleek, and dynamic campus. Everything seemed new and exciting there, with no traces of old or unkempt classrooms or dorms.
When we arrived, we were surrounded by dozens of college tours. We picked one randomly, and followed the tour guide around the school. We first visited the libraries of Dartmouth, where we learned that Dartmouth has an open library system, where students can go to any section of the library to peruse the books they need without asking for a librarian to take out the book for them. Professors at Dartmouth like this system so much that they strongly encourage that their students use this system, and a few professors actually expect their students to utilize this service often. In addition to the libraries, there are study spaces located conveniently near the libraries, and each study space has a unique feel and mood. Some are very quiet and silent, while others are distinctly more social than educational. No matter which one you prefer, there is a study space for you somewhere on Dartmouth.
After the library, we moved onto the fraternities and sororities. I was shocked that more than sixty percent of Dartmouth students participate in Greek life. But participation is restricted to students in the years of sophomore and above. Nonetheless, I was put off by this high number of fraternities and sororities. The tour guide reassured us that being in a sorority or not had no bearing on social status or friendships, but I still don't plan on joining Greek life in college.
Next we visited the dining halls, during which we Brownies paid very close attention. To our dismay, Dartmouth operates on an a-la-carte system, which means that when you pay for food on your meal card, you only pay for each separate item, not buffet-style, which is what we are used to. But fortunately, the tour guide explained that even the smallest meal plan was more than sufficient for her, and that eased our worries greatly.
In addition, the she told us a lot about the educational system at Dartmouth: the "D-Plan." The "D-Plan" allows for students to have a flexible college experience. Each year is divided up into four terms: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. Most students have thirteen terms in class, and three terms off. That allows the student to arrange their terms to satisfy their needs, such as using a term off to study abroad. Also, the school highly recommends that seniors and freshman stay on campus for the regular year cycle, and that during "Sophomore Summer", the sophomores stay on campus to learn. I like the flexibility offered by such a program, and I think that it would definitely be something that I would look forward to in such a college.
I like Dartmouth because of their sleek modern campus and because of their comprehensive D-Plan that allows for a lot of variability and flexibility, but I really didn't like the fact that there are so many fraternities and sororities on campus, and that such a large percentage of the students are part of the Greek life. I think that I will definitely consider applying to Dartmouth when deciding which colleges interest me. Thank you Mr. Ramsey, Don, Mrs. Kronenberg, and Ms. Bulls for helping me visit so many colleges and expanding my horizons so that I may see further than I had thought ever possible.
--Brownies at Dartmouth--
After the college tour, Ms. Bulls took us to tour the city of Hanover a little, and we visited the Connecticut River and the White River, which were both gorgeous.