Academic Support at Dartmouth
A word to describe most Dartmouth students? Ambitious. Dartmouth's unique liberal arts curriculum attracts students with varying academic interests. There is something here for everyone, and we are all eager to explore all that the college has to offer. Luckily, we are not alone on this "academic adventure"; faculty are always by our side, ready to help.
As a first-year student, we are entering the new worlds of both higher education and Dartmouth. All first-years are assigned to an academic faculty adviser who will help guide our thinking as we select courses. They are also available for broader questions, such as how to NRO (non-recording option) a course. These faculty advisers serve as great resources before students declare a major their Sophomore year, when we'll receive a major advisor.
More broad in their depth of expertise, Undergraduate Deans are another level of support. They may offer advice for academic, personal, or even social concerns. Deans can give specific advice, and also help with "seeing the big picture" of your time at Dartmouth. I've had no regrets about getting to know my Dean, Dean Natalie Hoyt, better. She helped me figure out if pre-med was the right track for me (spoiler: I have mixed feelings). It is important that your relationship with any advisor is genuine, so that they can give you more pointed advice.
The Academic Skills Center is another really, really, great resource. Their mission is "to assist students in achieving their academic goals". But they truly go above and beyond. They'll help improve anything from note-taking skills to time management. And, they do so on a personal level. They'll take the time to get to know you and what you personally might be struggling with. I remember one of my tour guides at Dartmouth talking about how much the Academic Skills Center has helped him with poor time management due to his ADHD. But you don't need to be diagnosed with a learning disability to find the center useful. 1:1 Academic coaching, peer tutoring, and motivation sessions are just a few of the other programs they offer.
On a more informal level, there are also student positions that help with academic advising. UGAs (Undergraduate Advisors) are upper-level peer mentors who live on our residence floors. Mine is a '25 (someone graduating in 2025), and loves to give my floor advice on how to survive certain classes that she took last year. It's more anecdotal advice, but she'll also draw from the experiences of her friends. I always find her insight to be very helpful. Language fellows or Peer Study Group Leaders are also in similar positions. Their main goal is to supplement our learning of a particular subject outside of class. But since they have obviously already taken the class, they're able to offer advice on how to do well in it.
I always feel comfortable talking to my professors whenever I need help in a class. They are eager to help, and meet me halfway wherever they can. Struggles that I have with academics in general, though, might require me to expand that "bubble" of support to other faculty or peers. I feel at ease knowing that there are so many ways to get academic support at Dartmouth.
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