How to Get Into Dartmouth: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Strategies
May 15, 2023
Throughout the ’90s Dartmouth College sported an acceptance rate between 21% and 26%. By around 2010, that figure had fallen to 12-13%. In 2023, the school posted a 6% admit rate for the third consecutive year. As with any Ivy League school, every successful Dartmouth applicant possesses a glowing transcript, standardized test scores above the 95th percentile (usually higher), and brag-worthy talents that extend outside of the classroom. Now receiving 28,000+ applications each year, Dartmouth will only make offers of admission around 1,750. Finding out whether or not you are a competitive applicant to Dartmouth will take some research.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- Where is Dartmouth College?
- Is Dartmouth an Ivy League School?
- Dartmouth’s Class of 2027 ED acceptance rate
- Dartmouth’s Class of 2027 acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Dartmouth applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2027
- Why being “well-rounded” won’t help you get into Dartmouth.
- How Dartmouth evaluates applicants
- A look at the demographics of Dartmouth undergraduates
- The percent of accepted students that attend the college (yield rate)
- Tips for applying to Dartmouth
- How to write the Dartmouth supplemental essays
- How to assess whether applying to Dartmouth is even worth the $80 application fee (for you)
Where is Dartmouth College?
Dartmouth is located in Hanover, New Hampshire. Hanover is a small town in Western New Hampshire in the Upper Connecticut River Valley. The river itself is the border between New Hampshire and neighboring Vermont. Hanover has a population of only 11,000. Dartmouth students make up roughly half the population.
Is Dartmouth an Ivy League School?
Yes, Dartmouth is indeed one of the eight Ivy League schools. It was established in 1769 making it the second youngest of the Ivies–only Cornell was established later.
Dartmouth Acceptance Rate (Early Decision) – Class of 2027
Of the 3,000+ early decision applications received in the 2022-23 admissions cycle, Dartmouth accepted 578 students into the Class of 2027. This means that the Dartmouth ED acceptance rate was 19% for the Class of 2027.
Dartmouth Acceptance Rate – Class of 2027
There were 28,841 applications submitted for a place in the 2023-24 freshman class, higher than the previous year. For perspective, Dartmouth received just over 16,500 applications for a spot in the Class of 2012. The Class of 2027 Dartmouth acceptance rate was 6%, tied for the lowest total in the school’s history. This was the seventh time in the school’s history that the acceptance rate fell into single-digits.
Historical Dartmouth Acceptance Rates
- Class of 2026: 6%
- Class of 2025: 6%
- Class of 2024: 9%
Dartmouth Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank
According to the most recent statistics available, the median SAT score for enrolled freshmen was 1520; the ACT mean was 33. Ninety-four percent of the Class of 2025 had earned a place in the top 10%. In a typical year, more than 500 admitted students were either the valedictorian or salutatorian of their high school class.
Admissions Trends & Notes – (Class of 2027)
- Admits into the Class of 2027 included representatives from every U.S. state and 75 countries.
- Among U.S. citizens, 41% of ED admits identify as people of color.
- 15% of ED admits are the first in their family to attend college.
- 14% of ED admits are children of alumni.
- 56% of admitted students attended a public or charter school.
Being “Well-Rounded” is Not Enough
Dartmouth is looking for young people who are among the best, or, have the potential to be among the very best at something in the world. They are less interested in a jack of all trades, master of none type of individual. Just look at the list of notable Dartmouth alumni and you’ll get a sense of what the college is looking for: the next generation of politicians (Nelson Rockefeller, Kristen Gillibrand), award-winning writers (Dr. Seuss, Robert Frost), scientists (Samuel Katz, inventor of the measles vaccine), intellectuals (countless), and actors and actresses (Meryl Streep, Mindy Kaling).
For advice about how to stand out on the extracurricular front, check out our previous blog entitled How Many Extracurricular Activities Do I Need for College?
How Dartmouth Evaluates Applicants
In the words of the Dartmouth Office of Admissions: “Every student we admit brings something unique to the community: a combination of qualities, experiences, and point-of-view that isn’t duplicated by any other student.”
Dartmouth ranks the following categories as being “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, application essay, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and character/personal qualities. Only talent/ability is rated as “important,” and interviews, first-generation status, legacy status, geographic residence, racial/ethnic status, volunteer work, work, experience, and the level of an applicant’s interest are “considered.”
Dartmouth Acceptance Rate (Continued)
Outside of the classroom, Dartmouth is not going to be impressed that you filled the ten spaces on the Common App Activity List; they are looking for genuine excellence in one or more activities. For example, you won a prestigious international math competition, you are one of the top cellists in the United States, you published original scientific research, or you started a charitable organization that made a monumental impact. Of course, being a star athlete can also help. Dartmouth’s 35 Division I sports teams suit up 25% of the undergraduate population. Recruited athletes will enjoy an edge in the admissions process.
Who Actually Gets Into Dartmouth?
Let’s look at the demographics of the Class of 2026.
Geographically, the Class of 2026 hailed from the following regions:
- Mid-Atlantic States: 20%
- Southern States: 18%
- Western States: 19%
- Midwestern States: 8%
- New England States: 17%
Competition is stiffest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (the entire Northeast & the West Coast). If you hail from the Deep South or a less-populated state like Montana or Idaho, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances.
Additionally, 15% of Class of 2026 members were international students. The countries that are most represented on campus are:
Dartmouth Acceptance Rate (Continued)
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of current undergrads is as follows (percentages do not add up to 100% as applicants can list multiple races):
- White: 55%
- Asian: 22%
- Hispanic: 11%
- African American: 11%
- Native American: 4%
- Two or more races: 17%
Type of Secondary School:
- Public School: 56%
- Independent Schools: 32%
- Religious Schools: 12%
- Total Number of High Schools: 910
Dartmouth Yield Rate
Dartmouth’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 62%. This number is on the high side even compared to other highly-selective colleges and universities. For comparison, elite schools such as Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Vanderbilt, Rice, Emory, and Georgetown all have yield rates under 50%.
Tips for Applying to Dartmouth
If you plan on joining the 28,000+ Dartmouth hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- The school will remain test-optional for those applying to enter the Class of 2027.
- Dartmouth does schedule alumni interviews for its applicants. Dartmouth interviews for early decision candidates are scheduled in November and interviews for regular decision applicants are scheduled between December and mid-February.
- Dartmouth does consider “demonstrated interest” so, if possible, it is a good idea to make a campus visit, contact an admissions officer, connect with the college on social media, and/or attend any local presentations by admissions officials at college fairs.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essays and short answers required by Dartmouth. In the 2021-22 cycle, they are as follows:
Dartmouth’s writing supplement requires that applicants write brief responses to two supplemental essay prompts as follows:
1. Please respond in 100 words or fewer:
While arguing a Dartmouth-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818, Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, delivered this memorable line: “It is, sir,…a small college, and yet there are those who love it!” As you seek admission to the Class of 2026, what aspects of the College’s program, community, or campus environment attract your interest?
2. Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250-300 words:
A. 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?
B. What excites you?
C. 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?
D. Curiosity is a guiding element of Toni Morrison’s talent as a writer. “I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost…magnificent, when I write,” she says. Celebrate your curiosity.
E. 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?
F. “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?
For detailed advice on how to approach the Dartmouth essays, visit our blog: Dartmouth College Supplemental Essay Prompts and Tips.
Dartmouth Acceptance Rate – Final Thoughts
If you are academically qualified, there is no harm in filling out a Dartmouth application, but—as with all ultra-elite colleges in 2023—even the strongest applicants need to have an array of “Target” and “Safety” schools selected. For more on this, consult our blog—How to Create the Perfect College List.