Dartmouth receives the fewest number of applications of the eight Ivy League schools. There were 28,336 hopefuls for the Class of 2026, less than half the number at Columbia or Harvard. Yet, that still represented a 33% increase in the number of Dartmouth applications from the two years prior. Further, the acceptance rate of 6.2% which was tied for the lowest in school history. When applying to a school that rejects 94% of applicants, you need to find ways to grab an admissions officer’s attention and give them a reason to say, “Yes!” The Dartmouth supplemental essays are one such chance.

 Want to learn more about How to Get Into Dartmouth College? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into Dartmouth: Admissions Data and Strategies for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.

One of the best opportunities to move the admissions needle is through the three supplemental essays that Dartmouth requires. Dartmouth College’s essay prompts for the 2022-23 admissions cycle are listed below along with accompanying advice about how to tackle each one:

1)Dartmouth Supplemental Essays – Required Essay #1

100 words max:

Dartmouth celebrates the ways in which its profound sense of place informs its profound sense of purpose. As you seek admission to Dartmouth’s Class of 2027, what aspects of the College’s academic program, community, or campus environment attract your interest? In short, Why Dartmouth? Please respond in 100 words or fewer.

This is, in essence, a straightforward “Why this College?” essay. Great things to highlight here include:

Make sure to really do your research on the school. As a side benefit (and not an unimportant one), you may discover further reasons why Dartmouth truly is the perfect fit for you.

2) Dartmouth Supplemental Essays – Required Essay #2

250 words max:

“Be yourself,” Oscar Wilde advised. “Everyone else is taken.” Introduce yourself in 200-250 words.

This is a fun opportunity to share something genuinely unique about yourself that may not shine through anywhere else on the application. The key to answering this one is to pick a few key aspects of your personality/background that truly reveals something deep and meaningful about you. As you brainstorm this one, consider the following avenues:

  • What moves your spirit? Discuss any art, movies, music, and books that you find deeply moving and personally important.
  • Your role in your family.
  • Your role in your social group.
  • The funniest things you’ve even done.
  • The strangest things you’ve ever done.
  • Commitment, passion, and enthusiasm.
  • Core values and beliefs.
  • Important aspects of your upbringing.
  • Most intriguing and unique attributes.
  • Cultural, religious, community influence.

3) Dartmouth Supplemental Essays – Required Essay #3

Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 200-250 words:

1. Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta recommended a life of purpose. “We must use our lives to make the world a better place to live, not just to acquire things,” she said. “That is what we are put on the earth for.” In what ways do you hope to make—or are you making—an impact?

This is your chance to show that you are a global citizen, aware and sensitive to issues faced by this planet and all life which occupies it. If you are passionate about climate change, the fate of democratic institutions, food scarcity, human rights, the impact of disinformation campaigns, privacy issues related to big tech, or any of the millions of other challenges faced by humanity, this is a great choice for you.

2. What excites you?

Out of everything on this Earth, what makes you tick? What keeps you up at night? What subject makes you read books and online content until your eyes bleed? If you could address one problem in the world, large or small, what would it be? If you are answering at least one of these questions, you are on the right track with this essay.

3. In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba, Class of 2014, reflects on constructing a windmill from recycled materials to power the electrical appliances in his family’s Malawian house: “If you want to make it, all you have to do is try.” What drives you to create and what do you hope to make or have you already made?

If you are an applicant to the Thayer School of Engineering, this prompt may be an excellent choice for you. Studio art applicants might find this choice equally relevant. “Makers” of all varieties can write a very compelling response here. However, applicants of all aims and intentions can utilize this selection to talk about what they want to create in the world—whether it is a novel, a solution to world hunger, or a better government. That said, Prompt F may strike you as a superior fit if you wish to speak about “creation” in a less tangible sense.

4. Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel of Dartmouth’s Class of 1925, wrote, “Think and wonder. Wonder and think.” What do you wonder and think about?

This prompt is quite similar to “What excites you?” You can essentially write the same essay attached to either of those two prompts. Other than the obligatory Dr. Seuss reference (he’s an alum), we’re not seeing a substantial difference.

5. “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” wrote James Baldwin. How does this quote apply to your life experiences?

Of course, some teens have lived more challenging lives than others—some applicants come from affluence, others from low-income households. Some have two supportive parents; some have more difficult family relationships. Others have dealt with mental/physical or learning/attentional challenges while others have enjoyed smooth sailing in all of those areas. The important thing to keep in mind is that the challenge/story itself is less important than what it reveals about your character and personality. Make sure you share what you were feeling and experiencing; this piece should demonstrate openness and vulnerability. Further, you don’t need to be a superhero in the story, just an ordinary human trying their best to learn how to navigate a challenging world.

How important are the Dartmouth Supplemental Essays?

The essays (both the Common App essay and the supplemental ones) are “very important” to the evaluation process. Seven other factors are “very important”. These factors are: rigor of coursework, class rank, GPA, recommendations, test scores, character/personal qualities, and extracurricular activities. Clearly, Dartmouth College places enormous values on the quality of your supplemental essay.

Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

To conclude, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Dartmouth supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote today.