Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community polls, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

Harvard vs Dartmouth

bubbles15bubbles15 Posts: 4Registered User New Member
edited April 2010 in College Search & Selection
I'm looking for some insight about the atmosphere at each of these schools. I really liked the sense of community at Dartmouth and also the setting. However, I don't know if I can pass up the opportunity to go to Harvard. What is the community like at Harvard? And as it is a larger university, what are class sizes really like? And is it necessary to study 24/7 to do well? Any and all information about these two schools would be really helpful. Thanks!
Post edited by bubbles15 on
«1

Replies to: Harvard vs Dartmouth

  • bdudebdude Posts: 115Registered User Junior Member
    Since you liked the sense of community at Dartmouth and the setting, I would pick Dartmouth. It's great that you got into Harvard, but to be honest, I never really regarded Harvard as a great undergraduate institution. You'll get more attention from professors at Dartmouth and I think that's the main difference between the two. Students fall in love with Dartmouth. I don't think Harvard students share the same kind of enthusiasm for their school.

    I haven't visited any of the two colleges so take my advice with a grain of salt.
  • astonmartinDBSastonmartinDBS Posts: 532Registered User Member
    are you serious? Harvard >>>>>> Dartmouth. Is 4 years of school enthusiasm really worth giving up Harvard?
  • spanglishspanglish Posts: 355Registered User Member
    ^ Yes. There's always grad school.
  • coureurcoureur Posts: 11,386Registered User Senior Member
    >...but to be honest, I never really regarded Harvard as a great undergraduate institution. You'll get more attention from professors at Dartmouth and I think that's the main difference between the two. Students fall in love with Dartmouth. I don't think Harvard students share the same kind of enthusiasm for their school.<<

    ^^I disagree with every point.

    I have two daughters. One went to Harvard and the other is currently at Dartmouth. And based on what they have experienced, I can't see one whit of difference between the undergrad teaching at Dartmouth and Harvard. Both have been taught by smart professors, highly-accomplished in their respective fields, who care a lot about the students they teach. At both schools the profs are eager to help the students and readily make themselves available. And at both schools the profs will leave a given student alone if s/he prefers no contact with the professor.

    And what is especially bogus is the claim you often see on CC that Harvard somehow treats its grad students better than its undergrads. Harvard College (the undergrad school) is the very heart of Harvard University. Its students are the true Harvardians, the princes of the campus. They love their school and the school loves them back

    Is my daughter getting a great undergrad education at Dartmouth? Most certainly. Did my other daughter also get a great undergrad education at Harvard? Absolutely!

    The education at both schools is top-notch. So if I were you I'd make the decision based on what you are looking for in a campus. If you want a vibrant, urban campus with a lot of city-type ECs available, where social life revolves around the 12 residence Houses (think Gryffindor) choose Harvard. If you prefer a more isolated, bucolic campus with a lot of outdoor-type ECs available, where social life revolves around the frats and sororities, choose Dartmouth.

    Go on Youtube and search on the term "Dartmouth by air" Turn your speakers on and enjoy. It gives a great view of the Dartmouth campus and surrounding area. And if you like that sort of thing it will make you want to go there.


    >>Yes. There's always grad school.<<

    I always laugh when someone says "Forget Harvard for undergrad - you can always go there for grad school." Yeah, sure - "always." Getting into Harvard is a long, longshot for either undergrad or grad school. If you want to go to Harvard at some point and have and undergrad acceptance in hand, Take It! Lightning may not strike twice.
  • iamtbhiamtbh Posts: 262- Junior Member
    coureur wrote:
    >>Yes. There's always grad school.<<

    I always laugh when someone says "Forget Harvard for undergrad - you can always go there for grad school." Yeah, sure - "always." Getting into Harvard is a long, longshot for either undergrad or grad school. If you want to go to Harvard at some point and have and undergrad acceptance in hand, Take It! Lightning may not strike twice.


    I agree 100%. As if Harvard med is as easy to get into as Harvard undergrad. Not that either is "easy," of course.
  • nose2Dgrindnose2Dgrind Posts: 93Registered User Junior Member
    Having spent a significant amount of time at Harvard, I don't think most kids (undergrads) would say they "love" it. Most that I talked to said they "enjoy" it, and then spent the next 10 minutes complaining about their thesis. That being said, I'm sure they're grateful for the educational opportunities it affords.

    In the long run, someone who is successful at Harvard will also be successful at Dartmouth. Both are world class universities; pick the one you like the most, and go there. Good luck!
  • iamtbhiamtbh Posts: 262- Junior Member
    Only 25% of Harvard acceptees turn it down and almost always for either Y, P, S or M. If you get into any one of these undergrads, DO NOT turn it down if you think you could just go there for grad school. Because chances are, as another poster pointed out, "lightning may not strike twice"!!
  • coureurcoureur Posts: 11,386Registered User Senior Member
    >>I don't think most kids (undergrads) would say they "love" it.<<

    My daughter spent four years as an undergrad at Harvard and she certainly loved it. As did her blockmates, her freshman dorm mates, and her other college friends that I got to know through her. In fact, "Loved It" are her exact words.

    As with all schools, your mileage may vary. But the unhappy Harvard kid who is disappointed in the school, a stereotype you hear about all the time on CC, is the very rare exception and not all the rule. In four years of getting to know bunches of Harvard kids, I personally never met one.
  • spanglishspanglish Posts: 355Registered User Member
    If this person likes Dartmouth better, they should go there. If they want to go to Harvard just for the name, that isn't a good reason. There is always the POSSIBILITY of going to Harvard for graduate school. Don't just go there because you want to graduate from Harvard.
  • SaintSaensSaintSaens Posts: 1,153Registered User Senior Member
    People seem to be forgetting that you can go to grad school at Dartmouth, unless you want to go to law school.
  • thegeezer44thegeezer44 Posts: 299Registered User Junior Member
    My sister goes to Harvard and I'm going to Dartmouth next year. Based on what my sister's has told me, I have to disagree with coureur. She felt that she was constantly neglected by her professors and that her classes were often taught by TA's. Her professors couldn't care less about her whereas it's different at Dartmouth. She specifically told me not to apply to Harvard for undergrad; it's a research institution. My sister's a pretty reliable source; she's graduating with a 3.8 and is working at Goldman's next year.
  • coureurcoureur Posts: 11,386Registered User Senior Member
    >>If this person likes Dartmouth better, they should go there. If they want to go to Harvard just for the name, that isn't a good reason.<<

    That I agree with. Dartmouth is a wonderful school. If it is a better fit for you, by all means chose Dartmouth.


    >>There is always the POSSIBILITY of going to Harvard for graduate school.<<

    It would be far more accurate to say there is always a REMOTE possibility of going to Harvard for graduate school.
  • MyOpinionMyOpinion Posts: 759Registered User Member
    coureur, I disagree with you in almost every point.

    There is not a "remote' possibility of going to Harvard for graduate school. As a matter of fact, it is the opposite. Most people who make a passionate decision of going to Harvard Grad, end up doing so at some point (which is not what happens for undergrad -remotely)

    And getting anecdotal myself, most people i know (and my parents know) did not like their undergrad experience at all. It has nothing to do with the quality of the education, it has to do with the "atmosphere". I have been so curious about this for a couple of years now that whenever I run into someone (professors, interviewers and alumni at my parents work) I ask the question. I am getting pretty consistent answers.
  • nose2Dgrindnose2Dgrind Posts: 93Registered User Junior Member
    the unhappy Harvard kid who is disappointed in the school, a stereotype you hear about all the time on CC, is the very rare exception and not all the rule. In four years of getting to know bunches of Harvard kids, I personally never met one.

    Well then we'll have to agree to disagree. One of my friends last year explicitly stated that while she enjoys Harvard, she "certainly wouldn't call it love." From the time I've spent there (including living on-campus), I would have to agree. The students seem grateful for the opportunity to obtain that world-class degree, but you don't see the enthusiasm toward their experience that you do at many other schools. I'm sure there are exceptions, like your D, and that's great. But overall, that is not the feeling I have gotten from students, and from my visits there, AT ALL.
  • gadadgadad Posts: 7,752Registered User Senior Member
    coureur, I disagree with you in almost every point.

    I confirm every point that Coureur says. In fact, I had my own response planned out in my head, and then read it, paragraph for paragraph, in Coureur's post.

    Both my Ds are at Harvard. Both "love" it. Their friends (of whom we know dozens) are equally enthusiastic. Both Ds will tell you how welcoming its been, how they've had great personal relationships with profs, and how the school will bend over backward to accommodate undergrad programs and initiatives. I would suggest that there's a sense that H students were chosen for their initiative, and accordingly, you may not see the kind of effusive support that LACs often provide. That may make it a choice that's not for everybody.

    A couple observations: If your perspective on H is a number of years old, it's probably out of date. I warned my Ds about considering applying there because of my stereotypes - intense, elitist, rich, haughty, ambivalent toward undergrads. When the Ds visited, the tour guide had them call out all the stereotypes they could come up with and then laughingly dispelled them all. Four years later, I can say that none of the off-putting stereotypes I had were accurate. Secondly, Harvard is the only school in the country with no aspirational peer. Yale students will rarely criticize their school - 1) because they love it, but 2) because they're eager to catch Harvard in the public's estimation. Harvard students will generally give their impression of the good and the bad with little concern about causing their school to slide in your estimation of the higher education pecking order.

    Another poster recently said that students who love Harvard may be less likely to say they're "happy" there, and more inclined to say it's "awesome" there (that's awesome in the literal sense of the word, not in the teenage interjection sense :)). What you have to realize is that the typical Harvard student is never happier than when immersed in a setting of awesome people doing awesome things.
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.