For Dartmouth applicants applying this coming year, you will be required to complete one supplemental essay. This was the case last year as well. Last year marked the first time that Dartmouth required a supplemental essay (in addition to the peer review, which is unique to Dartmouth). Applications to Dartmouth did drop last year and the fact that the school required a supplemental essay may have been to blame. But Dartmouth also experienced its highest yield rate in the school’s long history last year (54.5%) so requiring a supplemental essay may disincline a few students from applying, but would these students have attended anyway? Kudos to Dartmouth for choosing to continue to mandate that applicants complete a supplemental essay.
According to an article in “The Dartmouth” entitled “Potential 19’s to use a supplement essay,” “Last year’s supplement posed only one additional question about a meaningful out-of-classroom activity, but this year’s supplement will have five options for responses. One prompt asks candidates to explain the story and meaning behind their name, and another asks about the influence a hero has had on the applicant’s life. Dean of admissions and financial aid Maria Laskaris said her office made the addition of a required essay last year because of the Common Application’s elimination of the short activity essay, which asked students to briefly elaborate on an extracurricular or work experience. When formulating this year’s application, Laskaris said admissions officers could not decide on just one topic and allowed for a choice. ‘We brainstormed a variety of different questions that might get at some of those intangible qualities we are seeking,’ she said.”
Each of the Ivy League colleges offers at least one supplemental essay and for each of the Ivies except for Harvard, this supplemental essay is required of applicants. As for applicants who believe an optional essay is optional, well, you don’t read our college admissions blog much…do you?
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