Get Into Dartmouth
Dartmouth College holds the #11 spot in the most recent US News and World Report’s list of National Universities, and it ranks #2 for Best Undergraduate Teaching. Founded in 1769, Dartmouth is among the youngest of the Ivy League schools. (The oldest, Harvard, was founded in 1636.) It currently has an undergraduate enrollment of 4,310 students, most of whom live on the school’s rural campus in Hanover, New Hampshire.
All Dartmouth students belong to one of six house communities, the College’s new residential college system. Roughly 60% of the student body is also involved in Greek life, which forms a center of social activity on campus, and almost a quarter of the student body participates in Dartmouth’s NCAA Division I varsity sports. The arts also abound on Dartmouth’s campus, and students passionate about music, theater, film, dance and visual arts can find a thriving scene at the Hopkins Center for the Arts and the newly renovated Hood Museum. Student entrepreneurs can receive support, mentoring and funding for their ventures through the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network. In addition, Dartmouth boasts over 160 student-managed groups and organizations, all of which are open to enrolled students. In keeping with its emphasis on the outdoors, the school’s most popular organization is the Dartmouth Outing Club, dedicated to exploring the natural landscapes of New England.
Undergraduate students at Dartmouth can pursue 57 different majors in nearly thirty different degree programs through the school’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, including Art History, Biological Sciences, and Government. Arts and Sciences also offers almost a dozen interdisciplinary programs—such as the Environmental Studies Program and the Linguistics and Cognitive Science Program—which allows students to earn degrees that combine multiple fields of study. Dartmouth undergraduates can also earn engineering degrees through the Thayer School of Engineering, which has the distinction of being the first engineering school to enroll equal numbers of men and women pursing engineering majors. (The Thayer School offers a dual-degree programs for students from other liberal arts colleges who want to study engineering at Dartmouth.) For graduate students, Dartmouth offers a series of graduate programs through the Geisel School of Medicine, the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business.
Dartmouth is renowned for its D-Plan, a system that allows students to customize their own academic calendar. Under the D-Plan, Dartmouth uses the quarter system and offers courses year-round. Students are able to pick which twelve of the sixteen possible terms they would like to spend on campus during the course of their college career. This allows them the flexibility to pursue their academic and professional goals by participating in off-campus programs, field research, internships, or jobs during any season. Dartmouth also requires students to take only three classes per term, which gives them the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in their studies.
Dartmouth is well known for its strong classroom environment and its institutional emphasis on teaching. The school boasts a student-faculty ratio of 7:1, and 62.3% of all classes have fewer than twenty students. Dartmouth pointedly allows only faculty members to teach undergraduate classes, ensuring that students will have access to the school’s leading scholars.
Applying to Dartmouth
Applicants to Dartmouth can apply Early Decision or Regular Decision. As with most schools, Early Decision applications are binding. Early Decision candidates can apply to other schools Early Action or Regular Decision, but they must withdraw these applications if they are accepted to Dartmouth. For this reason, it only makes sense to apply Early Decision to Dartmouth if it is your first-choice school.
Applying Early Decision to Dartmouth does give you an advantage, though. Dartmouth typically admits over 45% of each year’s entering class in the Early Decision round, meaning that Early Decision applicants are admitted at a higher rate than Regular Decision applicants. Dartmouth also regularly defers some Early Decision candidates for consideration in the Regular Decision round. Of these applicants, only 5% to 10% are ultimately admitted.
Students interested in Dartmouth can apply using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Regardless of application type, students must submit the SAT or the ACT with writing. Dartmouth superscores these tests, meaning that, if a student submits more than one SAT or ACT test, Dartmouth will consider only the highest component scores earned across multiple test dates. Dartmouth also highly recommends that students submit scores from two SAT Subject Tests. Based on our 20+ years of working with Dartmouth students and Dr. Michele Hernandez’s and Maria Laskaris’ (TTA team) experience in the Dartmouth Admissions Office, however, we can tell you that most students submit four or more strong subject tests.
In addition to test results, Dartmouth also requires recommendation letters from each applicant’s school counselor and from two teachers. Dartmouth highly recommends that applicants submit a peer recommendation. The school asks that your recommender provide insight into your life and character, speaking about you as a person rather than a student. You might choose a friend, a teammate, or a coworker to serve as your recommender. The trick is to find someone who can talk about your personal strengths and the great qualities that you would bring to the Dartmouth community. Additionally, most applicants are offered the opportunity to interview with alumni of the College.
For the class of 2022, Dartmouth received a record 2,270 Early Decision applications, which marks a 13.5% increase over the number of received last year. 565 students were accepted from this pool for an early acceptance rate of 24.9%. 95% of those accepted are expected to graduate in the top 10% of their class, while 105 are likely to be valedictorian or salutatorian. 13% are first-generation college students, 10% are international students, and 33% are Americans of color.
Last year, Dartmouth received 20,034 applications for the class of 2021, and the school accepted only 2,092 students. This means that Dartmouth’s acceptance rate was 10.3%, its lowest rate since 2013. Of those admitted students, 550 were accepted during the Early Decision round. Accepted students hailed from all 50 states and from over 63 foreign countries, but international students only made up 11% of the admitted class. Accepted students were also very academically talented: 96% were in the top 10% of their class, and over 26% were valedictorian or salutatorian. The mean SAT score for admitted students was 1495, and the mean ACT score, 33. Finally, 9% of accepted applicants were children of Dartmouth undergraduate alumni, 15% were first-generation college students, and 10% were recruited athletes.
A tip from Top Tier’s Maria Laskaris, former Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth: “Key to the review of applications at Dartmouth is a deeper look at students’ intellectual and personal qualities. What you bring to the community—both in and out of class—really matters. Share your love of learning and the ways you have made a difference to your community.”