How to Choose Your Off-Term
You may have heard of the unique opportunity that all Dartmouth students face – choosing when to take their off-term. To give you a crash course on the D-Plan, all freshmen have to be taking classes at Dartmouth during their fall, winter, and spring. Seniors have the same requirement. In addition, most sophomores stay in Hanover the summer after their sophomore year. That extra term, compared to students at other colleges, means you can choose when to take your lost “summer break” sometime else.
I will be taking my junior year winter off. This is a pretty common choice, especially among pre-med students. And that brings to the first criteria to decide when your off-term should be:
- No. 1
It depends on what you want to use your off-term for, but for students intent on graduate school, oftentimes they plan on spending at least part of their off-term in junior year studying for entrance tests (MCAT, LSAT, etc.). In that case, the off-term has to be after you have finished all the courses associated to those tests.
- No. 2
Since the D-plan is so flexible, it’s possible to search for internships for numerous seasons, and then choose the one that you receive an offer from or the one that is the best fit for your interests. Some of my friends have interviewed for sophomore summer internships, but if they do not hear back, they will stay in Hanover and take classes instead. There is usually less competition for internships during the fall, winter, and spring.
- No. 3
There are so many other factors that might influence when you want to go off, including other obligations you may have, such as athletics, student groups, and jobs. Although the vast majority of people who work with Dartmouth students are accustomed to the D-plan, and the rotating schedule of people going on and off during various terms, it’s still important to keep in mind.
- No. 4
Besides what you must and must not do, there are also your personal preferences to keep in mind, which is one of the things that makes the D-Plan so great. Although I do love the winter in Hanover, I would rather be on-campus during the fall and spring. If there are also big family events that you would like to be home for, like a graduation or wedding, those can also be taken into consideration. Ultimately, you have time from freshman fall to your junior year to decide when to take your off-term, the most important thing being that it is all up to you.