Dartmouth College Admission Counselors

A Guide to the Dartmouth Admissions Process - Essays, Interviews & Deadlines

What is Dartmouth Looking For?

If you are looking for a medium-sized liberal arts college focusing on undergraduate education that also happens to be an Ivy League school, then Dartmouth is the place for you. Dartmouth’s famous D-Plan, which is a flexible academic calendar system, allows students to intern or study abroad with ease.

Consequently, Dartmouth values qualities in students such as risk-taking, curiosity, and adventurousness.

Dartmouth rates every applicant in two separate areas on a 1 to 9 scale (9 being the highest and 1 being the lowest): (1) Academic Rating and (2) Personal Rating.

Dartmouth College Admissions

Academic rating

Dartmouth, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students who love learning for the sake of learning.

An applicant with the highest Academic Rating of 9 out of 9 at Dartmouth would have these credentials:

  • Top 1-2% of high school class
  • Most challenging courseload of AP courses
  • SAT/ACT scores in the 99th percentile
  • Glowing letters of recommendation indicating that student is best out of applicants from past several years from his/her high school
  • The intense love of learning, as evidenced by academic research outside the classroom with a college professor leading to publication in a journal
  • Potential to be a leader in the academic field in the future

An applicant with an Academic Rating of 7 out of 9 at Dartmouth would have these credentials:

  • Top 5% of high school class
  • Most challenging courseload of AP courses
  • SAT/ACT scores above the 95th percentile
  • Strong but unexceptional letters of recommendation
  • Lacking the intense love of learning of other students, with some independent reading outside the classroom but no published research with a college professor
  • Driven to achieve by competition more so than by a true love of learning

What is Dartmouth's current acceptance rate?

6.4% in 2021-2022 admissions cycle

Solomon Admissions works with all of our students to ensure you know all the ins and outs when applying to Dartmouth.

What is Solomon Admissions’ success rate for Dartmouth?

28.6% in 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

For the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, we had a 28.6% acceptance rate to Dartmouth. Solomon Admissions provided an advantage factor of 4.5X for our clients. You can see more of our acceptance rates here.

Personal rating

Dartmouth, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students who are specialists and not for students who are well-rounded.

Examples of applicants with the highest Personal Rating of 9 out of 9 at Dartmouth would be:

  • Published author
  • Intel STS Finalist (top 40 in-country)
  • Olympic medalist
  • Soloist at Carnegie Hall
  • US Math Olympiad Qualifier (USAMO)
  • Awards at the national level
  • Patent-pending (without parental involvement)

Examples of applicants with a Personal Rating of 7 out of 9 at Dartmouth would be:

  • Awards at the regional level
  • Significant commitment at a high level to a few activities
  • Student Body President
  • All-State Orchestra
  • Captain of a varsity sports team
  • Nationally ranked debater
  • Well-rounded and involved but not the most passionate about anything

Dartmouth Peer Recommendation 

At Dartmouth, peer recommendations are highly encouraged to shed more light on a candidate’s personality and possible contribution to the campus.

Peer recommendations can confirm interests that the candidate has stated in other parts of the application and give the admissions committee insights into their personality.

At Dartmouth, only candidates in the middle of the pile go to the admissions committee for a vote. Dartmouth also seeks out greater diversity in its incoming class and tends not to favor legacies as much as the other Ivies.

During the past decade, Dartmouth has made a push to improve its engineering program. Since Dartmouth’s engineering program has historically lagged behind those at other Ivy League institutions such as Cornell and Princeton, Dartmouth is very receptive to strong engineering applicants.

Approaching the Dartmouth Supplemental Essays

Solomon Admissions provides extensive guidance on Dartmouth supplemental essays to its clients, and here is an example of how our former admissions officers would recommend approaching the Dartmouth supplementals:

We’d like to know a little more about you. To that end, please choose one of the following questions and write a short response in the space below.

Every name tells a story: Tell us about your name--any name: first, middle, last, nickname--and its origin.

Tell us about an intellectual experience, either directly related to your schoolwork or not, that you found particularly meaningful.

When you meet someone for the first time, what do you want them to know about you, but generally don’t tell them?

Describe the influence your hero has had on your life.

We believe it is critical that your candidacy reflects the interests, experiences, and pursuits that are most important to you. To this end, is there anything else you would like us to know?

A paragraph to a page in length is ideal. Thank you!

We recommend that students select the “is there anything else you would like us to know” prompt. Dartmouth really seeks students who are risk-takers who will contribute to campus life, as evidenced by the fact that many Dartmouth freshmen start clubs and organizations on campus related to their interests and passions.

At Solomon Admissions, we recommend that students outline how they plan to contribute to the Dartmouth community, both academically through undergraduate research and extra-curricular.

In the Dartmouth supplemental essay, make sure to research specific professors you want to conduct undergraduate research with, as well as specific classes you want to take and clubs you would like to participate in. What's that famous JFK quote?

“Ask not what your college can do for you, ask what you can do for your college.” :-).

Dartmouth wants to know what you have to offer them (they know what they can offer you and don't need 30,000 applicants repeating what Dartmouth already knows). Questions to keep in mind when writing the Dartmouth supplemental essay:

  • How will you take risks using the D-Plan which allows for academic flexibility in scheduling internships and other opportunities?
  • How will you contribute to campus academically? By conducting undergraduate research? By contributing to the intellectual discourse on campus?
  • How will you contribute to the social life on campus? By founding a club? By becoming active in a student group?

"Act as if."  Act as if you go there and show them that you fit in perfectly and would contribute to academic life (undergraduate research and intellectual discourse), social life (starting an organization on campus that relates to your high school passions), and most importantly, show them that you have personality and are an interesting person with esoteric hobbies.

For more information about the Dartmouth College application process, contact us at one of the following: