Dartmouth College has released its essay prompts for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. And just like last year, the College on the Hill asks applicants to complete two essays: a 100-word essay along with a 300-word essay. the 100 word essay remains the same as last year. It reads, “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?” Now, regular readers of our college admissions blog can summarize in a mere two words what precisely Dartmouth is asking applicants to write in the first essay prompt. That’s right. It’s a Why College essay. And while it’s a short essay, every sentence should have specifics within it that apply only to Dartmouth. If you can replace Dartmouth with Harvard University or Yale University, the sentence should be deleted in its entirety. After all, the reason so many elite universities ask Why College essays is to gauge if a student actually wishes to matriculate if they’re offered admission. If the sentences within this essay are generic and can be applied to all or most schools, the student has failed this vital test.
The second Dartmouth essay prompt, like in past years, offers students an option. They can choose to write an essay from one of six prompts in 250-300 words (applicants to elite universities should always, of course, use all of the real estate they’re given to make their case…so they should write 300 words!). So what are the six prompts posed to applicants to Dartmouth’s Class of 2026? Wonder no more! As Dartmouth includes on the application, “(1) 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. (2) What excites you? (3) 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? (4) 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. (5) “Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away,” observed Frida Kahlo. Apply Kahlo’s perspective to your own life. (6) 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?”
Have a question about the 2021-2022 Dartmouth College essay prompts? Let us know your question by posting it below. Want to learn more about William Kamkwamba, a young man we once deemed the greatest college applicant ever? If so, read our blog on The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. We look forward to hearing from you!
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