Have you ever wondered how the Colby-Dartmouth Engineering Program works? Well, I too was a bit curious. So I interviewed Chris Hoder, a Colby student studying at Dartmouth right now, to hear a little bit more about the program...
Chelsea Sonksen: So, how did you come to consider the Dartmouth 3-2 Program?
Chris Hoder: I had been somewhat undecided about whether or not I was going to do this program. During sophomore year I considered a bunch of different options for my junior year-- from studying abroad to taking a term off for an internship. I actually decided I was not going to go on the 3-2 program at one point, but after visiting Dartmouth and talking to a few people who had done the dual degree program, I decided it was something I wanted to do academically.
CS: Can you explain what it entails?
CH: I applied my sophomore spring to the program and am currently spending my entire junior year “abroad” at Dartmouth, studying engineering. During this year I am taking 6 engineering courses, which consist mostly of the introductory/required engineering courses. I will then return to Colby next year to graduate with my class as a senior. After graduation I return to the Thayer school of Engineering as a graduate student for my Bachelor of Engineering degree.
CS: How is your Dartmouth experience different from your Colby experience academically?
CH: The Dartmouth academic schedule is different than Colby’s. Dartmouth runs in quarters (of which I take 3) with each term being about 10 weeks. And a typical student schedule only includes three classes. While I don’t feel that the classes are any more challenging than those at Colby, I do think that the engineering courses require more work than a typical science class at Colby. Most engineering course require a major project in addition to the weekly problem sets. This adds a considerable amount of work for each class. On the other hand, being removed from extracurricular commitments I had at Colby allows me more free time to go skiing and do other activities. I have come to really favor the quarter system over the semester system. While classes may be a bit more intense, I feel like it allows me to focus more on one particular class without needing to constantly switch focus between classes.
CS: How is it different socially?
CH: 3-2 students are more or less dropped into the Dartmouth social scene. While I participated in the freshman orientation trip and events at the beginning of the year, there isn’t much to help us integrate into the campus life. It’s like being a freshman except with harder classes and less free time. The first few weeks were definitely the hardest, knowing only a few kids on campus. Unlike most other students who do the 3-2 programs, I was not as close with all the other people in the program from Colby. So I had to put a lot of effort into meeting Dartmouth students in the fall term. While this definitely took up a significant amount of my time, in the end I think it was worth it.
There are almost always tons of things going on-- from plays to lectures to parties. I have been able to participate in a lot of activities that I don’t think I would have done otherwise. The parties are also very different than Colby’s. Almost all of the nightlife occurs at the fraternity houses and not in the dorms. Personally, I enjoy not being crammed into a small dorm room. And parties are way less exclusive because everybody is allowed in to most frats after 10 on the weekends.
CS: What's your favorite thing about Dartmouth?
CH: The resources available in the engineering department. Most of the engineering classes have a required project where we apply what we are learning in class. For example, my structural engineering class is designing and constructing a tree house. So all of the equipment is available for us to play around with on your own projects. (Though I don’t really have any free time to take advantage of this).
CS: Have you stayed in touch with your friends back on the Hill?
CH: This is one of the worst parts about being abroad for an entire year. While I talk to friends at Colby occasionally, it’s hard to stay in touch. And I have only managed to make a few trips up to Colby to visit...Both because I was trying to make new friends at Dartmouth, and this winter I had labs due most Sunday nights.