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a Dartmouth professor in front of a whiteboard teaching Dartmouth students in a classroom.

As the Dartmouth Admissions Office reads through applications for Dartmouth's Class of 2028, I have been conducting a few applicant interviews, especially for international applicants. I often leave a few minutes for questions at the end of the interviews to allow applicants to gain a perspective on Dartmouth from a current Dartmouth student. Many applicants have asked me how I balance and navigate academic stress and difficulties at Dartmouth. Answering these questions has made me appreciate the various resources available at Dartmouth that help students manage academic challenges.

two Dartmouth students on the porch of the student center building, sitting, reading and doing work

At a college like Dartmouth, where students place a lot of value on academic excellence, rigor, and exploration, it is sometimes easy to feel overwhelmed. However, one of the first things I realized that helped me deal with this feeling was that every other Dartmouth student goes through the same things and that so much help is available from peers, clubs, and campus organizations. Firstly, because of how small classes at Dartmouth are, it's almost certain that you can make a new friend in class—or take a class with someone you already know—and work together on problem sets, prepare study guides, and study for exams. Aside from peers and classmates, professors, teaching assistants, learning fellows, and group tutors also offer several office hours each week. For instance, in my econometrics class alone, there are 2 hours of office hours with the TAs, 2 hours of office hours with the professors and 3 hours of group tutoring.

a teaching assistant conducting office hours for three students in a small study room

Another important lesson I've learned is that a bad grade does not make or break your experience at Dartmouth. Aside from the fact that grades do not define your experience as a student, the Dartmouth term and curriculum are set up in a way that gives room for trial and error. Students are allowed to select up to three courses with a non-recording option (NRO) which basically allows a student to set the minimum letter grade, and if they end up getting a grade less than that, the grade is not recorded. Many of my friends have used this option when taking a class in a new discipline they want to explore. Dartmouth also allows students to withdraw from a course they might not be performing or enjoying as much as they would like up until the seventh or eighth week of classes, which is more than halfway through the term. 

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