Columbia vs. Dartmouth

<p>I was accepted to Columbia (CC) for regular decision, but got off the wait-list at Dartmouth. I am planning in majoring in English, Comp. Lit, or maybe Religion/ History. Definitely a major in the humanities or social sciences. Eventually I'd like to get a PhD or work in non-profit. I definitely don't want to work on Wall Street or become a corporate lawyer.</p>

<p>I chose Columbia over Northwestern, WashU, Duke, UVA (Echols Scholar), and some safeties. To be honest the Ivy prestige held some sway in my decision, but fundamentally I liked the intimacy of Columbia which felt smaller and I really liked the core curriculum. I was slightly concerned about the social life (and still am), I think I might enjoy more of a campus environment where I can go sledding and live in a house with friends.</p>

<p>Now Dartmouth has entered the picture. I like the fact that Dartmouth seems to have more of a campus community. I also got a really nice sort of liberal-artsy vibe when I visited, it seemed like everyone was very enthusiastic about the place and the professors were very actively engaged with their students. I also like the abundance of special programs and the really unique study abroad program. Right now I'm leaning Dartmouth, but I'm not 100% sure. I went through the whole choosing process not really thinking about getting into Dartmouth, and now that I have its a whole new game and I'm trying to learn as much about the place as I can. Can anyone speak to how the Humanities are like at Dartmouth vs. Columbia. </p>

<p>Anyone have any other thoughts?</p>

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Can anyone speak to how the Humanities are like at Dartmouth vs. Columbia.

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<p>They're equally as good. Seriously, for MOST subject areas, use the following tier to assess quality:</p>

<ul>
<li><p>HYPS</p></li>
<li><p>The rest of the top-15 schools</p></li>
</ul>

<p>There really is NO difference between Dartmouth and Columbia in the humanities.</p>

<p>Anyway, since campus community and a vibrant and more collegial social life are important to you, I would have to advise you to go with Dartmouth. As much as I love Columbia, it is a social nightmare according to the majority of the student body. We're not the traditional college campus (no school spirit for instance), but that can also be a good thing if you like it. I had no problem with it, although, to be entirely honest, I do wish Columbia were slightly less dead socially, and that alums were more enthusiastic (nobody shows up to Columbia re-unions, and our alum giving rate is the lowest in the Ivy League...).</p>

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As much as I love Columbia, it is a social nightmare according to the majority of the student body. We're not the traditional college campus (no school spirit for instance)

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<p>Have you spoken to the majority of the student body, or just a few emphatic posters on college confidential? I found that the majority of undergrads were very happy with their experience and had a wonderful time at Columbia even if they weren't singing the fight song all the time. Columbia definitely offers a traditional college experience for those who want it - basketball and football games are packed, campus bars get packed on the weekends, people are out sunbathing, reading, playing Frisbee/soccer when it's warm and dry outside. I never felt a lack of a "traditional" college experience at Columbia, I cared about it and I got it. There are many students who do not have traditional experiences, but that's their prerogative.</p>

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our alum giving rate is the lowest in the Ivy League...).

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<p>incorrect, Cornell's is the lowest in the ivy league, Columbia's rate is equal to Stanford's rate and not far off from Harvard and Penn in the mid 30s.</p>

<p><a href="http://50topcolleges.com/Columbia.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://50topcolleges.com/Columbia.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>It sounds like Dartmouth is the right choice. Everything I know about it seems to echo what you seem to notice as well. I'm sure there are people who would prefer Columbia, but if you're into a campus community and an intimate education with lots of interaction with professors and special programs, I think that just shouts Dartmouth. </p>

<p>Congrats on getting into two great schools, go to Dartmouth and don't look back!</p>

<p>Hey,</p>

<p>Thanks for the responses so far. Really helpful. I wanted to add one thing, my decision ended up initially coming down to Duke and Columbia for RD. Columbia won because I felt Duke was too "jock-y" and I liked the core and Columbia seemed more intimate academically. </p>

<p>I definitely get an awesome liberal arts feel from Dartmouth, and I love their undergrad attention and special programs. Also I really like the community feel and alumni loyalty. But is Dartmouth "jock-y" like Duke felt? I'm a social person, but I prefer the company of fun, funny, nice normal smart kids over a bunch of jacked-up, cocky, rich lacrosse players (no offense to LAX players).</p>

<p>These schools seem quite different to me except for the fact they are both highly selective and play in the same sports conference. Surely you have a preference between the most urban and most rural of the Ivy league locations? The D-plan system of Dartmouth is quite distinctive giving you special opportunities for internships at times not competing with other students. The Columbia core is a big deal there. Academically the two schools are comparable. Nevertheless, I'm a bit surprised someone would apply to both these schools or even struggle deciding between the two of them. Did you do an overnight visit at either school when it was in session? Any chance you could do this in the coming week before you have to respond to Dartmouth?</p>

<p>I guess the common thread that drew me to both of them is the overall liberal artsy feeling I get from them. I think the core gives it to me at Columbia, but the more I read about Dartmouth's undergraduate focus and what I've heard from current students seems amazing. I get the feeling that Dartmouth really cares about its undergrads.</p>

<p>As of now I think I'm leaning towards Dartmouth. I haven't heard anything to convince me that my instant impressions are incorrect, or are they?</p>

<p>I think you should go with what your gut is telling you, and if that is Dartmouth, then you should go there and enjoy it. It's obviously a great school. There isn't a clear right or wrong answer, so you should go where you think you will be happiest.</p>

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But is Dartmouth "jock-y" like Duke felt?

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<p>Dartmouth is a lot more similar to Duke than Columbia is, so if you felt the atmosphere at Columbia was better than at Duke for you, I'd assume you'd prefer the Columbia atmosphere to Dartmouth. But I guess you don't for some reason (not saying that's impossible though as obviously Duke and Dartmouth are still different...) I wouldn't call Dartmouth (or Duke for that matter) necessarily "jock-y", but I'd say it's a more pre-professional student body and parties are dominated by the Greek system unlike at Columbia. Dartmouth definitely is more a community-feel like an LAC, while Columbia is seen as more independent intellectuals. Not saying there's no sense of a community at Columbia, but Dartmouth will give you a more "traditional" college experience most likely. Since Dartmouth is located in the middle of nowhere, your experience is obviously dominated by campus life (which I personally prefer, but others might prefer being in NYC.)</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>How can anybody be torn between those two polar opposites? </p>

<p>STUDENT BODY:
Columbia: 25,000
Dartmouth: 6,000</p>

<p>At Columbia, graduate students outnumber undergrads by a ration of 3:1. At Dartmouth, undergrads outnumber graduate students 2:1. This gives those two university distinctively different campus atmospheres.</p>

<p>LOCATION:
Columbia: NYC, population of 18,000,000
Dartmouth: Hanover, population of 11,000</p>

<p>Columbia is located in one of the four great cities of the world (the other three being Paris, London and Tokyo). Hanover is a small, quaint and upscale town with gorgeous outdoors..</p>

<p>STUDENTS BELONGING TO GREEKS:
Columbia: 10%
Dartmouth: 50%</p>

<p>Columbia's greek life is relatively small and can easily go unnoticed. Dartmouth's greek life is well pronounced and plays a significant role in the social fabric of the college.</p>

<p>NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS AFFILIATED TO THE UNIVERSITY:
Columbia: 97
Dartmouth: 3</p>

<p>The Nobel numbers do not speak to the quality of instruction or academics, but it does demonstrate the extent to which Columbia is committed to research and to which Dartmouth isn't. This also impacts the campus culture and environment.</p>

<p>CURRICULUM:
Columbia: Core
Dartmouth: D Plan</p>

<p>By its very nature, Columbia has a very rigid and intense core that all students must go through. Dartmouth is quite the opposite, having a relatively flexible curricular requirement.</p>

<p>LEARNING ENVIRONMENT:
Columbia: Intense
Dartmouth: Laid back</p>

<p>I can point many other differences, but the above alone should make it clear which school is a better fit for any student considering those two universities.</p>

<p>I actually transferred from Columbia to Dartmouth. The aspects of Dartmouth that you like in your description are absolutely true. As a student, I was amazed at so many of the intangibles of Dartmouth, from the educational culture (where professors go out of their way to be active participants, invite you to dinner, etc) to the programs you mention like the absolutely unique study abroad (across majors and languages, lots of Dartmouth-only aspects), to the grants and thesis opportunities. I think you'd love the academics. I actually really liked the Core at Columbia, but Columbia is more of a research University outside of the core. Bigger classes, more T/As, etc. With this also comes more options. I've always felt that for certain very specific majors (music, art, urban planning) the research University model is better, but for a large majority of majors (humanities, social sciences, many sciences) I think the liberal arts model can provide a, as you describe, more "intimate" education. In turn, I've seen pretty much equal placement into top graduate schools from both schools. There is no advantage coming from Dartmouth vs. Columbia or vice-versa. They're pretty much exactly the same. </p>

<p>Socially, I don't think Dartmouth falls into the "jock-y" category. It definitely is more athletic than Columbia, and the scene is more of a traditional college campus. But the social scene overall is very inclusive, its unlike a frat scene I've ever seen at another college. Everyone is invited everywhere. There are definitely some "jocks" on campus, but the nice this is that this can be avoided and there are people of all types. </p>

<p>Anyway good luck! Feel free to PM me with any concerns or questions.</p>

<p>Thanks! I really appreciate all of these comments, they have been very helpful. </p>

<p>After a lot of thinking, I think I'm going to attend Dartmouth. I actually also just spoke with a current student (my Dad's co-worker at his Hospital's daughter) and she basically affirmed my thoughts about the school. It seems like a truly unique place, and I love the community + academic learning environment. It also seems really really fun, with a great community feel based on what she was telling me and everything I've heard on CC and read. </p>

<p>I'm actually really excited. Thanks everyone.</p>

<p>"the other three being Paris, London and Tokyo"</p>

<p>I guess that you are French. The great cities of the world include NYC, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Paris, Shanghai, Rome, etc. No need to limit to four; if limited to four, there are a lot of cities that can compete with Paris for the fourth spot.</p>

<p>OP, you have great choices. You can't go wrong with either. I think the biggest differences are location and undergrad/grad ratio. I would recommend Dartmouth based on what you wrote.</p>

<p>It'd be Dartmouth for me too. Congratulations!</p>