What appealed to me most (I’m a '19) is Dart’s undergraduate focused education and high quality of life. There are a total of 6,000 students at Dartmouth - 4,000 of them are undergraduates. As a result, interactions with faculty will be much more personal. This has led Dartmouth to be the #1 school in the nation for undergraduate teaching for the last five years. Dartmouth’s perfect size means it has the tightly knit community feel of a liberal arts school as well as the research capabilities available at much larger universities. When I visited, I immediately felt at home with the campus.
In addition, Dartmouth students have the highest quality of life in the nation. Study abroad is extremely common (best in the Ivy League) due to the D-Plan which allows for multiple off terms in the fall, winter, and spring terms during sophomore and junior year. I believe the statistics reveal that ~70% of students study abroad once and 10% of students study abroad three times during their four years at Dartmouth.
There has been a lot of negative press about Dartmouth due to its Greek scene and the Dartmouth stereotype as an elitist conservative bastion still exists. However, the Greek houses are extremely inclusive and open to all students. Dartmouth’s negative stereotype could also not be further from the truth. Like most higher education institutions, Dartmouth’s student body is liberal leaning and Dartmouth’s commitment to diversity has had positive implications. For example, in the Class of 2018 about 49% or half the students were either minorities or international students.
Dartmouth is not for everyone - it’s away from the hectic bustling city life and runs on a different academic calendar. Many students have grumbled at the ban on hard alcohol as well as the administration’s attempt to make academics more rigorous. That being said, your experience at Dartmouth is what you put into it.
For me, Dartmouth offered the “traditional” college experience while ensuring that I will be prepared post-graduation. The most intriguing statistic for me is the alumni participation rate, which is extremely high. If you go here, http://www.forbes.com/sites/schifrin/2015/07/29/top-50-roi-colleges-2015-grateful-grads-index/ it shows that Dartmouth alumni are very grateful and that is a result of the amazing education and experience after four years at this institution.