What Does it Mean to be Undergraduate-Focused?
For me, and many of my peers, one of the biggest reasons why we chose Dartmouth was because of its "undergraduate focus." And during my first term here on campus, I found this characteristic to be very evident. So, in this blog post, I'm here to share with you all in what ways Dartmouth is emphasizing undergraduate education!
- Close Relationship with Professors
Two of the three classes I took this quarter were fairly large, with around 100 students enrolled. Despite this, at the end of the term, I genuinely felt like I got to know every single one of my professors; in fact, during my chemistry office hours, I found out that one of my professors even shared the same hometown as me! Every professor was there in every class, alongside the TAs, instructing students and guiding us to the right direction. Aside from class time, they also were present at every office hour session, continuously assisting students in visualizing concepts and absorbing information. I truly felt like I belonged as a student, not as a number.
- Research Opportunities
Most of the time, cold-emailing professors for research opportunities is daunting, followed by rejections or no responses. However, coming to Dartmouth, even as a freshman, I found it very easy to just express interest to professors who I felt had intriguing research interests and projects and begin working in their lab—many of my peers felt the same! Dartmouth has what is called UGAR or Undergraduate Advising and Research database that students can use to find ongoing research opportunities professors are seeking interns for. But, even if the specific research professor/project you want to partake in is not listed here, it's okay to shoot the organizer an email. This is how I was able to land a position in a microbiology lab!
- Help Around Campus
During my first term, I found the different ways I could seek help very accessible. As a student on a pre-health track, I had various questions regarding my path, timeline, course schedules, and et cetera. And each time I did have a question, Nathan Smith Society alongside the Health Professions Program and our pre-health advisors were there to answer and provide additional assistance. When I needed help on my writing projects or application essays, RWIT (Dartmouth's Peer Writing Center) tutors were available to provide extremely helpful feedback. Upperclassmen and faculty were also very open to questions and helping us first-year students as well.
This approachable atmosphere established within Dartmouth's campus allowed me to have a very successful first term experience, and I'm excited to see what will come next.
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