Dartmouth vs. Cornell: Which College is Right for You?

Dartmouth College and Cornell University are both members of the esteemed Ivy League, and draw students from around the world to their top-tier programs. So, which school is right for you? In this post, we’ll be going over their similarities and differences.

 

Learn more about Dartmouth and Cornell and see your chances of being accepted.

 

Cornell vs. Dartmouth: A Quick Overview

 

Cornell Dartmouth
Location Ithaca, NY Hanover, NH
Campus Type Rural Rural
Undergraduate Enrollment 15,043 4,417
Acceptance Rate 11% 7.9%
U.S. News Ranking 17 12
Middle 50% SAT 1470-1560  1440-1560
Middle 50% ACT 32-34 32-35
Sticker Price $72,468 $76,623
Need-blind, no-loan, or meets 100% demonstrated need? Need-blind

No-loan for families with incomes < $60k

Meets 100% of demonstrated need

Need-blind

No-loan for families with incomes < $100k

Meets 100% of demonstrated need

 

Dartmouth vs. Cornell: A Closer Look

 

Location and Weather

 

Despite being relatively far from one another, the locations of Dartmouth and Cornell have several similarities. Think cold and snowy in the winters but temperate and sunny in the summers. Given that Hanover and Ithaca are both rural towns — Hanover a bit more so than Ithaca — you’ll find plenty of nature-related activities, from skiing to hiking to simply enjoying the outdoors. Don’t miss Ithaca’s beautiful gorges!

 

These are quintessential college towns, but there’s plenty to do off-campus in addition to on-campus. Check out the Montshire Museum of Science and the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover, or the Ithaca Falls and Museum of the Earth in Ithaca.

 

Size

 

Cornell is significantly larger than Dartmouth, with 15,182 undergraduates to Dartmouth’s 4,417. The student to faculty ratio is 9:1, and close to 57% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

 

At Dartmouth, the student to faculty ratio is 7:1, and about 62% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

 

Academics

 

Cornell is comprised of seven colleges, with undergraduate programs in each:

 

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture, Art and Planning
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Ecology
  • School of Industrial and Labor Relations 

 

In each case, you’ll apply to your school of choice directly, as opposed to applying to the university. (Note: This is not the same as declaring your major). Cornell is widely known for programs such as hotel administration, architecture, and engineering.

 

Requirements vary by major and individual school, although all students must complete two physical education courses and pass a swim test. For example, in the College of Arts and Sciences, students must complete requirements such as writing and foreign language, along with distribution requirements. 

 

Meanwhile, at Dartmouth, you’ll apply to the university. While there are a number of popular majors — 60 in total — some of the most commonly-pursued programs include government and history. 

 

One of Dartmouth’s unique facets is its academic calendar, the D-Plan, which consists of four 10-week terms per academic year. Students are able to enroll in 12 terms of their choice over their college careers, with some minor restrictions. This allows them to work around their schedules and other commitments.

 

At both universities, students have the opportunity to create their own majors under the guidance of faculty. (This is limited to certain schools at Cornell).

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Housing

 

At Dartmouth, about 90% of students live on campus. The different types of residencies are intended to build community through shared academic and personal interests. First-year students live in halls or clusters specific to freshmen.

 

Far fewer students live on-campus at Cornell — about 46%. Housing is guaranteed for first-year students, although they’re not required to live on-campus. Many students, especially upperclassmen, opt for the apartments near the sprawling campus.

 

Both universities offer gender-inclusive housing, in which students can live on-campus with roommates of their choice regardless of gender.

 

Financial aid

 

As with the rest of the Ivy League, neither school awards merit scholarships; aid is need-based only. While both Dartmouth and Cornell are expensive at face value, with sticker prices higher than $70,000, many students receive financial aid — 52% at Cornell, and 54% at Dartmouth.

 

Both universities are committed to meeting 100% of students’ demonstrated need and offer need-blind admissions. They both also have no-loan policies, but Dartmouth’s is more generous, eliminating loans in financial aid packages for families earning less than $100k (Cornell is no-loan up to $60k).

 

Sports and Extracurriculars

 

The Dartmouth Big Green and Cornell Big Red are both members of NCAA Division 1 and, of course, the Ivy League. Cornell offers 37 varsity sports, while Dartmouth has 35.

 

There’s plenty to do off the field, too. Greek life plays a big role at both schools, for example. There is also a wide range of activities to fit nearly every interest. At Cornell, you can try Skateboarding Club or Kung Fu. Dartmouth students can take advantage of the Outing Club, the oldest outing club at a college in the U.S. Additionally, both schools have robust study abroad programs.

 

Culture and Diversity

 

Cornell has the following university-wide race and ethnicity makeup:

 

White 35.9%
Asian 14.8%
Hispanic or Latino 10.2%
Black or African American 5.06%
Two or More Races 3.53%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.291%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders 0.104%

 

At Dartmouth, close to 50% of students admitted into the Class of 2023 were people of color from the U.S. Meanwhile, 12% were students from countries outside the U.S., and 16% were first-generation.

 

Both universities offer services and support for LGBTQ+ students, including resource centers, advising, and more.

 

How to Decide Between Cornell vs. Dartmouth

 

Cornell and Dartmouth are both exceptional schools with plenty to offer. While there are a number of similarities between the two Ivy League institutions, some characteristics will make each more appealing to different students.

 

Cornell has a huge, sprawling campus with a large student body. You’ll be able to connect with students from each of the university’s seven schools across many different interests and backgrounds. Dartmouth, on the other hand, is much smaller, offering a more close-knit and intimate feel.

 

In terms of their strengths, while both schools offer programs across a wide range of disciplines, Cornell’s standout programs include math and engineering-oriented majors like computer science, along with unique niches like hotel administration. Dartmouth, on the other hand, tends toward more liberal arts-oriented programs like history and government.

 

General education and distribution requirements are a bit more rigorous at Cornell, while Dartmouth provides more freedom in terms of what to study and when — especially with the D-Plan.

 

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.