How to Get Into Dartmouth: Admissions Data and Strategies
Throughout the ’90s Dartmouth College sported an acceptance rate between 21% and 26%. By around 2010, that figure had fallen to 12-13%. In 2022, the school posted a 6% admit rate for the second 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.
The intent of this article is to give those considering applying to Dartmouth College:
1) An understanding of what you are up against.
2) More data on which to accurately assess your chances of admission.
3) Advice for how to get your application to Dartmouth stand out, even against other superb applicants.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- Dartmouth’s Class of 2026 ED acceptance rate
- Dartmouth’s Class of 2026 acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Dartmouth applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2026
- 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)
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Dartmouth: Early Decision Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026
Of the 2,600+ early decision applications received in the 2021-22 admissions cycle, Dartmouth accepted 560 students into the Class of 2025. This computes to a 21% acceptance rate, identical to the previous year.
Dartmouth Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026
There were 28,336 applications submitted for a place in the 2022-23 freshman class, lower than the previous year. For perspective, Dartmouth received just over 16,500 applications for a spot in the Class of 2012. The Class of 2026 saw 6.2% of applicants admitted, tied for the lowest total in the school’s history. This was the sixth time in the school’s history that the acceptance rate fell into single-digits.
Dartmouth Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank
According to the most recent statistics available (Class of 2024), the median SAT score for enrolled freshman 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 2026)
- Admits into the Class of 2026 included representatives from every U.S. state and 73 countries.
- Among U.S. citizens, 53% of admits identify as people of color.
- 17% are the first in their family to attend college.
- 19% of Class of 2026 invitees are Pell Grant recipients.
- 15% of those accepted into the Class of 2026 hail from a rural community.
- 22% of ED admits were projected to graduate as valedictorian or salutatorian
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 Gillebrand), 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.”
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 2025.
Geographically, the Class of 2025 was comprised of students from:
- Mid-Atlantic States: 20%
- Southern States: 16%
- Western States: 24%
- 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 2025 members were international students. The countries that are most represented on campus are:
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: 49%
- Asian: 15%
- Hispanic: 10%
- African American: 6%
- American Indian: 1%
- Two or more races: 6%
Type of Secondary School:
- Public School: 54%
- Independent Schools: 34%
- Religious Schools: 12%
- Total Number of High Schools: 956
Dartmouth’s 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 64%. 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. Once you apply, your information will be sent to a volunteer alum in your area and they will contact you to set up the interview. Dartmouth interviews for early decision candidates are scheduled in November and interviews for regular decision applicants are scheduled between December and mid-February.
- For advice on what types of questions you should be prepared to answer/ask visit our blog—College Interview Tips.
- Dartmouth does consider “demonstrated interest” so, if possible, it is a good idea to make a campus visit, contact an admissions officer, connect with 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 2025, 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. The Hawaiian word mo’olelo is often translated as “story” but it can also refer to history, legend, genealogy, and tradition. Use one of these translations to introduce yourself.
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. “Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away,” observed Frida Kahlo. Apply Kahlo’s perspective to your own life.
F. In the aftermath of World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloane Dickey, Class of 1929, proclaimed, “The world’s troubles are your troubles…and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” Which of the world’s “troubles” inspires you to act? How might your course of study at Dartmouth prepare you to address it?
For detailed advice on how to approach the Dartmouth essays, visit our blog: Dartmouth College Supplemental Essay Prompt and Tips.
Should I Apply to Dartmouth?
If you are academically qualified, there is no harm in filling out a Dartmouth application, but—as with all ultra-elite colleges in 2022—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.
A licensed counselor and published researcher, Andrew’s experience in the field of college admissions and transition spans more than one decade. He has previously served as a high school counselor, consultant and author for Kaplan Test Prep, and advisor to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admissions and financial aid.