Better College - Dartmouth or Columbia?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: June 2004 Archive: Better College - Dartmouth or Columbia?
By Pacificali04 (Pacificali04) on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 01:09 pm: Edit

if u had to choose between these schools, which one would u go to and why?

By Treyy685 (Treyy685) on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 01:41 pm: Edit

dartmouth! the people at columbia are boring, conservative dorks. haha that's all. :D good thing about columbia--it's in the best place ever--NYC!

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 01:47 pm: Edit

columbia = conservative??


By Stanfordman99 (Stanfordman99) on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 01:49 pm: Edit

Definitely Dartmouth. That's almost a no-brainer because Dartmouth kids are the happiest in the ivy-league. Plus they have better grad school placement.

By Caustic_Juggler (Caustic_Juggler) on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 06:17 pm: Edit

I actually had this very choice to make and decided on Columbia over Dartmouth for a couple reasons:

1) Location. Columbia is in NYC; Dartmouth is in the middle of nowhere. And while some people are accustomed to that sort of isolation, I am definitely not one of them.

2) I was attracted to the breadth of Columbia's core curriculum. As a student, you are forced to read many of history's greatest and most influential works, whereas in Dartmouth, you have fewer requirements.

3) Columbia seems to have more of an intellectual feel to it than Dartmouth.

4) Columbia is slightly more prestigious than Dartmouth.

5) This one relates back to #1. There are many, many more social opportunities at Columbia because of its location. Sure, there may not be a hugely cohesive student body or vibrant campus life, but why would there be given that the students are living in NYC? Whatever you're into, you'll find it there. At Dartmouth, on the other hand, social opportunties are limited to pretty much frat parties and generic college fare.

Of course, these are all just personal preferences. Some might like the fact that Dartmouth doesn't have as rigorous a core curriculum as Columbia or that it is isolated.
Well, to each his own. They're both awesome colleges and you couldn't possibly go wrong at either.

By Kimfuge (Kimfuge) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 12:07 am: Edit

Dartmouth all the way...Dartmouth is more prestigious than Columbia (refer to all rankings...i.e. Princeton Review, U.S. News, Broden (?). Dartmouth is also a better feeder for grad school.

By Gk06 (Gk06) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit

i choose Dartmouth

By Kimfuge (Kimfuge) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 12:09 am: Edit

i know more ppl who chose Dartmouth over Columbia than the other way around

By Deferreddude (Deferreddude) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 12:29 am: Edit

Yeah I always figured Dartmouth was both more prestigious and harder to get into than Columbia since the application pool is so self-selective. Everyone, even the weakest of applicants, apply to Columbia because of its location in NYC.

My vote goes for Dartmouth.

By Kimfuge (Kimfuge) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 01:43 am: Edit

pacificali, have you been taken off the waitlist or something?

By Adxj220 (Adxj220) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 09:18 am: Edit

Columbia, because it's international and national prestige is somewhat higher than dartmouth's. Kimfuge, I don't know why you cited those sources, none of those are a measure of prestige, and princetonreview doesn't even rank! I don't have a copy, but I would guess that columbia's peer asessment--the only measure of prestige in these rankings--is higher than dartmouth's, but I'm just guessing (could be wrong).

At my school, nobody of 5 people who got into Dartmouth is going--instead to places like Wash. U and Davidson. But I guess it is sort of unpopular here; this stuff varies a lot form school to school. Anecdotal evidence never works.

Columbia is also much more significant as a research intitution so you would have more resources available if you wanted to do stuff beyond the normal academic process. This is also why it is more reputed, due to the much larger amount of scholarly research that takes place there. And its campus is nicer--but I'm a city person (in my opinion)

If you want a LAC atmosphere, go to Darmouth. It is in a very isolated but beautiful location, but great for those who enjoy doing outdoor stuff. It's a big drinking social scene over there, because of the limited non-campus social options.

NYC, of course, is one of the best, (and high in social and academic resoures) most vibrant cities in the world. Clubs, restaurants, nightlife, arts, internships, you name it. It is too hectic for many people, though.

Columbia is also somewhat more selective. Its acceptance rate is 11% and declining for the past few years, while dartmouth is up to about 18%, and increasing. I got into both, and am probably going to Columbia. Self-selection at Dartmouth, if any, is by type of person--those who prefer a LAC, isolated environment. It's not the self-selection of academically srtong applicants (as opposed to say, Chicago). So that doesn't really affect anything in terms of academic quality or selectivity.

As to those grad placement rankings: 8.45% to top professional schools at Dartmouth vs. 7.14% at Columbia. I looked at these before making my decision. These numbers are really close, and vary considerably each year--so they are in effect meaningless, except to give a sense of general rates.

So go to Columbia, from my perspective.

By Kimfuge (Kimfuge) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

Yes it does:

By Foreignboy (Foreignboy) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 11:19 am: Edit

Grrr.. Columbia! Dartmouth reminds me of beer.

By Adxj220 (Adxj220) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 01:05 pm: Edit

Ummm..that's not really a credible ranking system, it's the perception of a private college-counseling firm (which, imho, are just sleazball groups that are out to cash in on the college admissions paranoia). There are literally tens (?, probably not hundreds) of these groups, each w/ a different ranking.

I could post this, but it's meaningless, just another college admissions firm:

You can check out a past, but large, thread on general perceptions of the ivy league schools:

And yes, I know, this is really stupid. But a point is a point.

By Pacificali04 (Pacificali04) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

Adxj220 where did u get the numbers from? and was barnard included in columbia's? cause that might screw the numbers up

By Stanfordman99 (Stanfordman99) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 02:14 pm: Edit

Columbia's 11% acceptance rate is almost a meaningless measure of selectivity. Caltech has a 20+ acceptance rate, but everyone knows that Caltech is way harder to get into than either Columbia or Dartmouth. And what about Columbia's Fu Foundation of Engineering with a 31% acceptance rate, the School of General Studies, and the School of Nursing which are much less selective than Columbia College.

With Dartmouth, you know that EVERYONE who got in is on par with everyone else. At Columbia, however, the ones in Columbia College had to work harder to get in, but in the end, everyone gets the same degree from the same university. So go to Dartmouth, which has no backdoor to admissions like Columbia University.

By Deferreddude (Deferreddude) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Yeah I agree. Columbia is considerably easier to get into than Dartmouth if you apply in the right majors. Columbia College's selectivity is probably at the level of Dartmouth's overall selectivity.

By Adxj220 (Adxj220) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 03:18 pm: Edit

When will people get it out of their heads to stop including the school of general studies in columbia's acceptance rate!? It's not a normal school--it's for "mature" students, similar to programs which almost all other universities offer--such as Stanford's (I figure you guy's might appreciate this) School of Continuing Studies and Center for Professional developement (which confer Stanford degrees). Stanford doesn't include these in its admissions numbers, but if it did, its numbers would baloon. I guess it's a BACKDOOR TO STANFORD OMG, according to you guys. Seriously, nobody includes these schools in their numbers, and it's foolish to imply that it is a "backdoor" anywhere.

There is no Columbia undergraduate school of nursing, don't be an idiot. That's UPENN. There is only the college and SEAS.

As for the school of engineering at Columbia. Its acceptance rate is actually 26% (among the top 6 lowest engineering acceptances in the country and highest SAT range), and its SAT range higher than columbia college. Taking into account the self-selected nature of engineering schools, it is extremely selective.

Columbia is more selective than Dartmouth in every venue. Columbia college is much more selective than Dartmouth's college of A&S. I can't technically compare Dartmouth's Thayer engineering school (which is TRULY crappy, almost pontless, and which recieves few applications) and Columbia's SEAS because Dartmouth won't even release it's specific numbers. If it did, they would be pretty bad, worse than Columbia's for sure, because their engineering program is terrible.

But the integrated numbers still point in Columbia's favor. 12% acceptance vs. 18%, and higher SAT average at Columbia. that's ENGINEERING+COLLEGE...

As to Pacificali's question: No, Barnard is not included in those numbers. Just CC and SEAS. I got it them from the WSJ article.

It would be nice if people made informed arguments. You guys aren't even close to being right. You're just making it clear that you don't know what you're talking about. Everyone at Columbia is on clear and equal footing.

Again, go to Columbia.

By Wisconsinguy (Wisconsinguy) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit

Just a comment: you lose a lot of credibility by verbally assaulting other posters.

By Adxj220 (Adxj220) on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 06:19 pm: Edit

Ok, I apologize, it was probably unneccessary--their comments were fine, and I agree that everyone has a right to an opinion.

It's just that I have encountered obnoxious and insulting comments from these guys in the past, and I just associate those things w/ all their comments, insulting or not.

But yea, sorry for the unneccessary hostility.

By Gk06 (Gk06) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 12:24 am: Edit

Although I believe it comes to personal preference, IMO:

Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth
Penn, Cornell

that makes columbia and dartmouth equal

By Pacificali04 (Pacificali04) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 04:20 pm: Edit

sigh, this is a tough choice. i like being close to home (nj) but i dont know if i necassarily wanna bein the city.... and dartmouth is beautiful..... HARD CHOICE!

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 04:30 pm: Edit

Well would you rather be in the city or in the middle of no where?

You sometimes forget you are even in the city while at Columbia. The campus is extremely well defined, lots of green lawns etc. However the great thing about is if you ever get sick of the traditional college setting, all you have to do is step off the campus and BAM NyC!!
(my bro goes to columbia)

..And if you look at the numbers, columbia is defintely more selective than dartmouth

By Kimfuge (Kimfuge) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 06:38 pm: Edit

it's not like your accepted to both at this point. then why care about selectivity? IMO they are equally pretigious, so apply to where your heart is.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 08:03 pm: Edit

Columbia and Dartmouth are relatively unknown, as far as Ivies go. Many of them havent' heard of either of them, primarily because they concentrate in liberal arts type fields. They're equally prestigious, I'd say in Cali, for the students that have heard of them. The downside of both schools is that they don't have the international punch that many of the other Ivies+s+m do.

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 08:12 pm: Edit

concentrate in liberal arts types fields?

Columbia has the #6 mba program in the nation, the #4 law program and the #8 med school

Too much sun for the cali's who never heard of it

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 09:47 pm: Edit

mba and law programs are filled with liberal arts majors though.

By Dsh (Dsh) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 10:04 pm: Edit

All the Ivies are liberal arts schools.

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 10:20 pm: Edit

for undergrad ya

but grad is what counts as far as a school being "well-known" or "respected"

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 02:11 am: Edit

"All the Ivies are liberal arts schools"

That's not true. Harvard, Cornell, Princeton and Yale all have great science programs in addition to liberal arts programs.

By Gk06 (Gk06) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 03:12 am: Edit

i thought science programs were part of the liberal arts program... i think it's more the pre-professional tendencies of the school more than the science programs. I think all schools except Penn and Cornell are liberal arts schools.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 03:40 am: Edit

Sciences are totally separate from liberal arts!

Cornell, Harvard and princeton are the ones that really focus on the sciences. Brown and Dart focus on liberal arts, as does Columbia to a lesser extent.

By Dsh (Dsh) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 08:29 am: Edit

Schools dedicated solely to sciences aren't liberal arts schools, but sciences certainly are part of liberal arts programs.

Cornell and Penn are liberal arts schools too. The Ivies may include preprofessional colleges (such as engineering schools) in addition to the liberal arts colleges, but the liberal arts colleges are the main Ivy undergrad schools.

By Sac (Sac) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 01:29 pm: Edit

Madelinemay 11,
You might want to check out a recent issue of Science which listed the top 10 research institutions in the world. Eight of the ten were in the U.S. and one of them was Columbia.

By Arc (Arc) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit

can we get a link to these top ten schools? or their names?

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 03:12 pm: Edit

Again, liberal arts are totally different from sciences!

I'm not saying that LACs don't provide a science education. I know for a fact that they at least offer introductory courses, even though the curriculum is heavily loaded with liberal arts courses.

Typical arts-type courses would be something like "advanced writing, literature, world mythology, american history etc"

The science courses would be somethign like "organic chemistry, hamiltonian/quantum physics, computer science algorithm, botany etc."...these usually involve heavy mathematical and analytical proofs.

Here is a definition of the liberal arts:

Liberal arts are are exactly defined by:


By Dsh (Dsh) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 07:33 pm: Edit

That definition is either antique or just plain wrong. I know it's not the curriculum at any liberal arts school I've ever heard of. Liberal arts schools offer science majors, not just introductory courses. But I'll agree to disagree with you, Madelinemay11, because it's clear you're sure you're right.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 07:49 pm: Edit

Why don't you look at a sample class roster is a link to amherst's. The arts to science ratio is about 50 to 1.

By Pacificali04 (Pacificali04) on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 09:19 pm: Edit

liberal arts schools tend to be smaller

By Sac (Sac) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit


By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:10 am: Edit

That should have read Astro-NOMY....lolz.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:33 am: Edit

but Astronomy is part of Science rite ???

By Dsh (Dsh) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 08:28 am: Edit

I think you just disproved your own point, Madelinemay11. Didn't you see all the science courses listed? Amherst is a liberal arts college.

What defines a liberal arts education is not what kind of subject a student concentrates in; it's the breadth of subjects studied.

By Arc (Arc) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:19 pm: Edit

so what school IS better? dartmouth or columbia?

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:46 pm: Edit

They are on Par !!! Personal preference !!!

By Immortal (Immortal) on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:56 pm: Edit

Columbia...NYC, tons of research opportunities, NYC, a student body that isn't usually drunk; oh, and did I mention NYC?

By Variance173 (Variance173) on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 07:03 pm: Edit


By Kousuke (Kousuke) on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 02:36 pm: Edit

madelinemay, you are one confused young lady. that was a link to class WEBSITES. it wasnt a comprehensive list of their offered classes at amherst.
heres a link to all of their different departments-
they have a math and computer science dept. and according to your link they only offer one math class. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF COLLEGE HAS A DEPARTMENT FOR ONE CLASS? they even have a physics dept. and if you follow the links you can find the classes offered by the depts. you know nothing about liberal arts.
even going by your website, they have more chemistry courses listed than english courses.

oh, personally i like columbia better, it sounds cooler! dartmouth smells like molding old old old money, and sounds like some sort of sea bass. columbia uses better colors too! :)

By Joshjmgs (Joshjmgs) on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 05:28 pm: Edit

Madelinemay11, read on ;)

... These liberal arts made up the core curriculum of the [b]medieval[/b] universities. Colloquially, however, the term 'liberal arts' has come to mean studies intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills, rather than occupational or professional skills. The scope of the liberal arts has changed with society.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 04:52 pm: Edit

"The scope of the liberal arts has changed with society."

That's certainly true, but the definition above helps in understanding why LACs are generally not good at sciences, and therefore focus more on Arts.

A case in point is that Berkeley manages to place about 100 professors into the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, as do the Ivies and other great science schools. LAC professors usually aren't qualified enough in sciences to land them into NAS...All the LACs in the U.S. put together may have 50 or so professors in NAS (that's a huge maybe).

There are some confused people on this board that believe the people think LACs are good at sciences

...if anyone has questions about which schools are in fact good, they should refer to several rakings in sciences offered by NRC (probably the best ones) and USNews...or alternatively, see how many professors in the university have been admitted into the National Academy of Sciences (or Engineering). Most LACs are not even mentioned by these organizations, much less considered "good" in sciences.

P.S. This is barely a discussion that needs to be argued. All the facts are out there, and they say the same thing.

By Kousuke (Kousuke) on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 06:07 pm: Edit

just saying, youre making LAC look like they dont teach science what so ever.

"The arts to science ratio is about 50 to 1. "

you want to back that up?

By Bee_Bee (Bee_Bee) on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 07:28 pm: Edit

I think you're a little confused Madeline. LACs can be good for sciences.

By August (August) on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 07:33 pm: Edit

I think Madeline May is some kind of a robot, and obviously not one that utilizes the most modern artificial intelligence technology (perhaps she was manufactured by a substandard liberal arts college professor?). No matter what topic is being discussed, and no matter what arguments are presented, her program simply keeps outputting minor variations on "Sciences are not liberal arts", "LACs are great in the arts and inadequate in the sciences", "NAS membership statistics and US News and World Report rankings make it clear that LACS offer undergraduates a substandard science education", etc.

Does anybody know how to turn her off?

By Bee_Bee (Bee_Bee) on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 07:44 pm: Edit

Hey August, I was wondering the exact same thing. And frankly, I'm starting to get annoyed by all this "LAC is not good for science" BS. Can't we get someone like Northstarmom to clarify things for her.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 08:50 pm: Edit

"I think you're a little confused Madeline. LACs can be good for sciences."

Sure, they can be good if they improved their curriculum and started hiring top notch professors, like the other good science schools do. Currently though, the science funding is very low.

Amherst college students frequently attend UMass Amherst (a public university nearby the collge) to do research in science fields.

By Bee_Bee (Bee_Bee) on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 10:42 pm: Edit

Amherst does have a strong science curriculum and they do hire excellent professors. To say that they don't is an insult to them. When will you realize that LACs are just as capable of being strong in the sciences as universities. In fact, part of the reason I chose Grinnell was because of its strong science program. According to the Fiske Guide to Colleges, some of their strongest departments include biology and chemistry. Now I suggest you put a stop to your arrogant attitude, and open your eyes to see what LACs are really about.

By Virginia12345 (Virginia12345) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 01:55 am: Edit

By Kimfuge (Kimfuge) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 02:21 am: Edit


By Beachbum (Beachbum) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 02:58 am: Edit

"Sciences are totally separate from liberal arts!" If you look at some science sites at LACs you'll notice many of their graduates going on to attain PhDs in science programs... I highly doubt you can do that with only "intro courses".

"The National Research Council performed a detailed evaluation of GRADUATE PROGRAMS in 1994, providing data on 20 different criteria for each program." ...Thus the reason why LACs are not included, becuase they have no graduate programs! Ditto with USNews.

In terms of Professors in the National Academy of Sciences... they go to schools with most amount of resources for research, again, those with graduate programs... because they do RESEARCH! They are noted for their excellence in research (and these professor's won't really be accessible to most undergraduates).

LAC science professors are noted for their excellence in teaching, which is most important for an undergraduate.

I'm not preaching for either side though. I research at a major University over the summer, but I'm going to a LAC for the year to learn. Best of both worlds.

But that's beside the point. I like dartmouth cuz I'm not a city-type of person

By Beachbum (Beachbum) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 03:16 am: Edit

Oh yeah, failed to mention one more thing.

"Liberal Arts"=grammer, rhethoric, dialect, music, astrology, arithmetic, geometry.

A "Liberal Arts College"=A curriculum that includes many fields and not solely focused on a single study.

From the Harvard website: "A liberal arts education emphasizes both breadth and depth. In our liberal arts program, students are broadly educated in the social and natural sciences and in the humanities, as well as trained in a particular academic field of specialization. "

The end.

By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 09:22 am: Edit

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Sponge Bob Square Pants!
Absorbent and yellow and porous is he.
Sponge Bob Square Pants!
If nautical nonsense be somethin' ya wish.
Sponge Bob Square Pants!
Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish.
Sponge Bob Square Pants!

By Cangel (Cangel) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 10:14 am: Edit

Sponge Bob is my hero (and i admit that I'm 45 years old).
We should all be both absorbent and porous, and brave enough to just be yellow (how's that for philosophy?)

By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 10:39 am: Edit


By Variance173 (Variance173) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 12:45 pm: Edit

why are we discussing liberal arts??
this is a DARTMOUTH V. COLUMBIA thread for god's sakes.

By Bee_Bee (Bee_Bee) on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 01:53 pm: Edit

sorry, i guess i'd go with dartmouth

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