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Decoding Dartmouth: A Strategic Guide for High Schoolers Eyeing the Ivy League

Discover how to join the ranks of Dartmouth's elite through CollegePass's proven admissions strategies. Delve into the specifics of Dartmouth’s unique approach to selecting future students


April 19, 2024 4 min read

Located in the scenic town of Hanover, Dartmouth College is renowned for its strong focus on undergraduate education, close community, and academic rigor. These qualities make it a standout in the Ivy League. Each year, CollegePass students successfully navigate Dartmouth's detailed admissions process, consistently securing their places among its distinguished student body

Holistic Review Returns to Include Standardized Testing

Dartmouth College prides itself on a holistic admissions process that evaluates candidates beyond mere academic achievements. The College seeks students who bring diverse perspectives, leadership, community engagement, and a palpable desire to contribute positively to the world. “We look for individuals who are not just academically capable but also demonstrate a vibrant commitment to their communities and an innate intellectual curiosity,” says a Dartmouth admissions officer.

Following a temporary test-optional policy, Dartmouth has reinstated standardized testing requirements, reflecting its commitment to a multifaceted review process. For the Class of 2029 and beyond, applicants will once again include SAT or ACT scores with their submissions. This change underscores Dartmouth’s holistic approach by considering a wide array of factors, including academic records, test scores, essays, recommendations, and extracurricular involvement.

The Crucial Components of Dartmouth’s Application

Academic rigor remains paramount, with the expectation that applicants pursue a challenging high school curriculum. Admissions officers value engagement with AP, IB, or honors courses, seeing them as indicators of a student’s readiness for Dartmouth’s demanding academic environment.

Essays and recommendations offer a window into the applicant’s character and potential. Personal statements and Dartmouth-specific supplemental essays allow candidates to share their unique stories and aspirations. Meanwhile, recommendations from teachers and counselors shed light on the student’s academic and personal attributes.

Extracurricular involvement is also a key component, reflecting the applicant's ability to contribute to Dartmouth's dynamic community. Whether through leadership roles, community service, or other pursuits, active engagement outside the classroom is highly valued.

Democratizing Education: Financial Aid and Scholarships

Dartmouth’s commitment to accessibility and affordability in education is evident in its financial aid policies. Offering need-blind admissions for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented students, Dartmouth ensures that financial circumstances do not affect admission decisions. The College meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for every admitted student through scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities.

For international students, Dartmouth offers need-based financial aid, although the admissions process is need-aware for this group. This approach aims to support as many students as possible within the constraints of available funding.

Preparing for Dartmouth: Advice for Applicants

As Dartmouth resumes its consideration of standardized test scores, students are encouraged to plan accordingly. However, Dartmouth’s admissions philosophy emphasizes more than just academic achievement. “We seek individuals eager to engage with the Dartmouth community, ready to challenge themselves and grow,” notes the admissions officer.

Prospective students are advised to delve deeply into their interests, embrace leadership opportunities, and consider how they can contribute to Dartmouth and the broader world. Engaging stories from current Dartmouth students underscore the transformative potential of this approach, demonstrating the myriad ways students can make their mark.

Dartmouth Admissions: Where Old Meets New

Dartmouth College’s approach to admissions is a delicate balance between celebrating academic achievement and fostering personal growth. By reinstating standardized testing while maintaining a holistic review, Dartmouth affirms its commitment to assembling a diverse and dynamic student body. For those navigating the admissions process, understanding Dartmouth’s values and criteria is crucial to presenting a compelling application. With a clear view of what Dartmouth seeks, applicants can approach their submissions with confidence, ready to take the first step towards an enriching collegiate experience that prepares them for leadership in a rapidly evolving world.

Discover how to stand out in your Dartmouth application—talk to an advisor today.

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