I think Dartmouth students tend to have a lot of fun which makes some perceive it to be non-intellectual. I've found that having a good time and having intellectual conversation and big dreams are hardly mutually exclusive. I had countless intellectual conversations at Dartmouth and an unbeliveably fantastic academic experience. i wouldn't worry at all.
Location: Leaving this shiznit for good. Viva la vida!
Dartmouth can hardly be characterized as intellectual. Most people here take gut classes to fulfill their distribs. The student body is extremely preprofessional (business, law school, and med school type-A personalities). I took several higher level Economics classes here, and the toolish people in those classes (all prospective Investment banker types) basically killed my desire to continue on with the Department. Sure intellectual discourse and intellectual people DO exist. In fact, my inner circle of friends mainly consists of those types of people (so if you look very hard, you CAN find them. But it's hard...took me about a year). But the point is, this intellectual culture you're looking for is hardly prevalent at Dartmouth.
Taking a snippet from the Columbia boards, the frats and athletics "rule" at Dartmouth. I would suggest Chicago, Reed, Harvey Mudd, and Caltech as the ultimate intellectual schools in this country.
Sorry slipper, we're going to yin-yang on this one.
Hmm, I'd say schools like Williams/Amherst are intellectual places... though athletics are big at Williams, the student body is truly exceptional.
And Yale is a HUGE intellectual haven.
I would say Chicago is the most "intellectual" college out of the ones you listed, aerial.
I'll say what I said in another thread, any school with kids that have the stats they have at Dartmouth is oozing with intellect. At some schools, they wear it on their sleeve and take great pride in feeling they have daily intellectual discourse--that would be Chicago, Reed, Swat and several others. You'll find more at those schools will seek PhD's and fewer will head to Wall Street.
At Dartmouth, Princeton and Williams you have brilliant kids who do tend to be weighted towards the pre professional. It will be much harder to find a group intensely discussing Plato in the common room on Friday night.
Are the kids at Chicago any smarter than the kids at Dartmouth. No. Are they in general different? You bet! Are they more intellectual? Depends on how you define the word.
It is very important to understand at which group of schools you would feel more comfortable, so read up on the cultures at these schools.
Aerialblue, you have become a completely different person as of late!
You seem to criticize students who try and take 'gut' (easy) classes to fulfill their distributives... Yet not 4 months ago, you wrote me two page-long messages about the best gut classes to take your freshman fall. (And how you had wished you had known to do that, so you wouldn't have completely wrecked your GPA.)
You are, in fact, the only person at Dartmouth that has ever talked about gut classes with me. Maybe it is just because I'm a freshman, and people are still easily finding classes that they enjoy to fulfill their distributives, but still...
We understand that something about Dartmouth has set you off, but you would have your time better spent on your transfer app (or a plan B exit strategy). Regardless, I look forward to getting some update postings about how your transition fared, and whether or not your new school is as perfect for you as we hope it will be.
About the intellectual culture at Dartmouth...
A lot of the time people don't seem outwardly intellectual, because it is a social faux-pas to brag (self-call) about your accomplishments. I went to an elite high school, and I found the outward intellectualism to actually be really fake. It was so refreshing to be around people with whom I could carry a stimulating conversation that went beyond more than how awesome they are.
I would definitely agree with the fact that our type of intellectualism would not satisfy most people. It is completely understandable. So many people on this website have worked incredibly hard, and achieved incredible feats in the past 4+ years of their life. Coming to Dartmouth might make your previous accomplishments feel worthless if nobody is going to shower you in praise about them.
There is certainly an ethos at Dartmouth to be socially friendly, unpretentious and not "stuck up". This can be mistaken for a lack of interest in the intellectual. You will be able to find plenty of folks who will be willing to get into discussions about issues that don't interest 99% of the rest of the us until dawn and beyond.
Having spent half my adult life at the University of Chicago and working here now, there are plenty of students who hang their hats on their intellectualism almost as a defense mechanism. This is the only area in which some feel comfortable and accomplished. The percentage of students like this has dropped as the admissions rate has fallen from 70% toward 30% or so. The admissions office has been able to become more selective with the echo-boom generation and the overflow from the Ivy League.
If you actually ARE someone whose identity is tied up in intellectualism, please consider the Dartmouths, Williamses and Stanfords of the world.
aerialblue, why is it that every time you say something valid, you follow it up with something utterly unintelligent, as if to destroy the credibility of your semi-intelligent posts? Calling another poster "retarded" over and over is completely unnecessary (not to mention immature and politically incorrect), even if--gasp--they dare to disagree with you.
I agree with danas here. The reason our friends often seem more willing to engage in intellectual discussions is, simply, that they're friends who aren't afraid of being "too intellectual" or "nerdy." I, too, find myself more willing to talk about my own interests when I'm with my close friends; with strangers or acquaintances, I'm more reserved, listening more to what others have to say and trying to find common interests.
Since aerial is determined to annoy anyone from former floormates to workers at the Hop, I'll bail these couple paras out of my response to him in the other thread lest people overlook them in the flamewar:
Originally Posted by Me
Again, it depends on personal experience - some people are unlucky. I went to Harvard for a visit freshman winter and at first I was bummed that the people there did seem more interested in intellectual discussion than most people I knew at Dartmouth. But now a year later, I've realized that in my circle of friends, we have a lot of interesting discussions about intellectual things all the time. Sure, most people here aren't very intellectual. But that doesn't mean everyone is like that.
Another counterpoint: that same Harvard visit, I stayed with a bunch of Harvard guys who reminded me a lot of Dartmouth dudes, only lamer. They went out to SAE, got smashed, played video games all day long... I had more or less a similar experience visiting a friend at Yale last fall. Most people anywhere are not very intellectual. It just happens that Dartmouth is such a small school that it can be harder to find people who are interested in the intellectual side of life. School size is an important variable to consider. Larger schools by definition have a larger variance of personal traits across their student bodies.
My sense is that different people have different ideas of what "intellectual" means. In the strict sense of talking about human psychology or arguing about the viability of the free market system or discussing what makes life meaningful, I would definitely say that I have found that kind of discussion at Dartmouth. Some people like aerial haven't.
However, I would say that the kind of "intellectual" discussions I have with my friends would bore quite a few people here. So yes, there is a certain strain of anti-intellectualism present. But that's present almost anywhere. I've visited HYP each a couple of times and I'd say the tenor there is more or less the same as it is at Dartmouth. Kids get drunk and do stupid things all the time. For a lot of people college isn't an intellectual experience so much as it is a time to experiment with freedom. That isn't to say you can't find people interested in more than random acts of drunkenness - I certainly found them my freshman year. Because everyone at Dartmouth is pretty smart, most of us are fully capable of holding forth on an intellectual subject that catches our eye.
I agree completely with everyone else that we at Dartmouth don't wear our intellects on our sleeves. It does annoy me at times that we feel uncomfortable talking about anything overtly intellectual unless we know the other person well, but I've had my fair share of conversations about intellectual topics here with my friends, and even with some acquaintances who I see often enough. I find many of the preprofessionals as annoying as the next person, but quite often they're fairly intellectual themselves (yes, I have had some stimulating conversations with preprofessionals).
But if you're the kind of person who is seriously thinking about a place like UChicago or Swarthmore, it's a good sign that Dartmouth may not be a good place for you. People here are smart, but the culture isn't conducive to meeting new people by launching into a discussion of the merits of minarchism, the rationale behind the 1798 Sedition Act, or the arguments for legalizing partial birth abortion. As I've said before, that's a plus to some, a neutral to some, and a minus to yet others. I'm just fine with this, as are most of the other people I know who like thinking about these things.
Also note that if you've decided that the difficulty in striking up these kinds of conversations on a casual basis is a major turn-off, most other top universities have pretty much the same issues. Sure, HYP don't party as hard as Dartmouth (when I went to Yale with some friends, there was much grouching about how there was nothing to do at 1AM), but party they do. There are a lot of people who wind up falling over each other drunk as hell. The thing is, Dartmouth being a small and rural school means you may not immediately find the right circle of friends for you, or the right kind of conversation. It's easier to do those things in a big school because there's just such a wider range of people to meet.
And kids, this is why you do your research before picking a school. When I applied to Dartmouth all I knew was that it was an Ivy, focused on undergrads, and students had a lot of fun. (All true.) By the time I decided on Dartmouth I knew a lot more about it and decided it was a worthwhile trade-off. I then came to Dartmouth and found out even more - freshman fall was a bit hard, but I came out of it pretty ok and happy. So far I've enjoyed my time here and adjusted well to Dartmouth life, and things have only gotten better as a sophomore. You need to think hard about what school fits best, and what kind of chances you're willing to take.
Location: Leaving this shiznit for good. Viva la vida!
Originally Posted by johnleemk
What concerns me, however, is the practicality of this proposal, which would eliminate 305 beds for the entering freshman class. This problem may be what has delayed the destruction of the Choates, which has been falsely promised every year. Eliminating housing for almost a third of the incoming class without an immediate replacement is simply not viable.