Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rural College Not a Bad Idea

Today, our third day on the East Coast, we drove a total of six hours to and from Hanover, New Hampshire to visit Dartmouth College. We met at 6:45AM, grabbed breakfast at Starbucks, and headed out. Frank and I spent most of our ride sleeping. The most exciting incident that occurred during our time on the road was a turkey flying so close in front of our car on the freeway. The girls screamed in shock and burst into laughter after the danger passed while the boys shrugged off the hilarious close call.
We arrived at Dartmouth in time to catch some of the informational session and go on a tour. Our tour guide Elise was entertaining as she shared with us her experience as a student at Dartmouth. I learned that Dartmouth runs on a quarter system with each class lasting only ten weeks but still covering the same amount of material as a semester long class. I actually like this type of system because it allows students to take different courses they originally wouldn’t have taken if they were a whole semester long. There is also a popular club called the Dartmouth Outing Club that organizes small groups of freshmen to go into the wilderness and bond with each other before the start of school. The beauty and atmosphere of the school really appeals to me. Dartmouth is currently my favorite school out of the three we’ve visited so far.
For lunch, we dined at the Canoe Club. We were joined by John Beck, current Assistant Director of Admissions at Dartmouth, and Peter Chau, a Dartmouth alum. They provided us with details about the college’s study abroad programs and flexible majors. I was intrigued to hear about the numerous study abroad opportunities offered at Dartmouth. Peter traveled to Beijing, China to study Chinese while John spent time in France learning French. I am planning to take part in a study abroad program at college so I was happy to listen to their stories.

After our delicious lunch consisting of American burgers, BLTs, salad, and veggie wraps, John and Peter took us to see parts of Dartmouth not shown during the tour, including the famous Epic of American Civilization by José Clemente Orozco, which Erin was dying to see. After John left, we sat on the grass with Peter and discussed the college admissions process with him. His advice was a wakeup call for me to start looking into college applications and certain school requirements. I certainly gained a lot of insight about Dartmouth from John and Peter and might consider applying there. I usually like urban areas such as Boston, but surprisingly I was quite taken with Dartmouth’s rural location.
I checked last night that there would be a thunderstorm in Hanover today. Not only was there no rain cloud in sight, the day was very warm and the sun was very strong, leaving my face and arms a shade darker. Tomorrow’s weather calls for a thunderstorm in Providence. I hope the weather channel is wrong again.


  1. Wow, I really like the quarter system they have here! Only 10 weeks, but covering the same amount of material as a semester-long class! That sounds really fast-paced and productive!

  2. Kathleen (and Cynthia):

    I think you may be misunderstanding some things about the quarter system.

    Under the quarter system the year is broken into 3 ten week quarters whereas under the semester system you usually have two 18 week semesters.

    They don't compress an 18 week course down into 10 weeks. If they did that, the four year college education would only take 2.2 years.

    There are pros and cons to both systems so before making up your mind you may want to talk to someone who has experienced both systems. I went through that when Cal was on the quarter system and then I took courses elsewhere on the semester system.


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