Forever New: A Ten Year Report

Outside the Classroom
The Dartmouth Experience

Photo of students on mountaintop

Students enjoy a mountain view

Dartmouth’s character as a residential learning community is as important to the College mission as our commitment to the liberal arts. The faculty’s dedication to teaching and the creation of new knowledge creates a rich intellectual environment that prepares and inspires students for a lifetime of learning and leadership. Our academic strength is complemented and enriched by the opportunities for learning outside the classroom, laboratories, studios, and libraries. Indeed, the relationship between academic and out-of-class learning, and its impact on intellectual and personal development, is what many of us have in mind when we talk about the distinctive “Dartmouth experience.”

Much of that learning is indeed the fortunate consequence of enrolling the most promising students of each generation: Living together in residence halls, sharing meals at Thayer Dining Hall or Collis Center, participating in organizations and teams, students inevitably learn from one another—especially from differences in one another’s background and perspective. For many, Dartmouth is the most richly diverse and stimulating community they have ever experienced. These and other opportunities for extracurricular learning are a significant part of the Dartmouth experience. Community at Dartmouth can’t be taken for granted, either: The annual cycle of admission and graduation as well as the enrollment flexibility created by the “D-Plan” makes the undergraduate community highly transient. Extracurricular learning and fostering an inclusive environment where students can thrive requires planning, facilities, resources, and a committed professional staff. It also needs an appropriate safety net, so that students—young adults—can learn from mistakes and receive support in times of personal need. In other words, while Dartmouth is characterized by a strong and spirited tradition of student independence and innovation outside the classroom, we also are necessarily intentional in how we support student life.

The positive results of this combination—the students we enroll and the resources, programs, facilities, and people allocated strategically to advance our purposes and priorities —are evident in the high satisfaction graduating seniors report with their out-of-class experience.

Graph showing increase in student satisfaction with extracurricular activities
Forever NewA Ten Year Report