Dartmouth College has switched up its supplemental essay prompts for applicants to the Class of 2027. Over the last few years, Dartmouth has asked applicants to complete two essay prompts: a 100-word Why Dartmouth prompt as well as a 250-300-word essay in which students had the option to choose one of several prompts. But this year, Dartmouth has asked applicants to write not two but three essays. We can’t remember a time in which the College on the Hill asked so many essay questions of applicants. So what are this year’s Dartmouth essay questions, you ask? Wonder no more!
Dartmouth’s Class of 2027 Essay Prompts
The first prompt is familiar to Dartmouth applicants of old. It reads, “Dartmouth celebrates the ways in which its profound sense of place informs its profound sense of purpose. As you seek admission to Dartmouth’s Class of 2027, what aspects of the College’s academic program, community, or campus environment attract your interest? In short, Why Dartmouth? Please respond in 100 words or fewer.” So, yes, it’s a Why Dartmouth essay.
The second prompt, which is brand new, reads, “‘Be yourself,’ Oscar Wilde advised. ‘Everyone else is taken.’ Introduce yourself in 200-250 words.”
And the third prompt, which should look familiar to prior Dartmouth applicants offers applicants the chance to choose to respond to one essay among five options. Applicants are asked to answer the prompt in 200-250 words. “A. Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta recommended a life of purpose. ‘We must use our lives to make the world a better place to live, not just to acquire things,” she said. “That is what we are put on the earth for.’ In what ways do you hope to make—or are you making—an impact?; B. What excites you?; C. In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba ’14 reflects on constructing a windmill from recycled materials to power 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 made?; D. Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel of Dartmouth’s Class of 1925, wrote, ‘Think and wonder. Wonder and think.’ What do you wonder and think about?; E. ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” wrote James Baldwin. How does this quote apply to your life experiences?”
How to Approach Dartmouth’s Class of 2027 Essay Prompts
For the first essay prompt, the Why College essay prompt, every sentence should include a Dartmouth-specific. Most sentences should also showcase how a student hopes to contribute a singular hook to the centuries-old institution. An exercise we always encourage our students at Ivy Coach to do is to read each sentence aloud, stopping at every punctuation mark. During this pregnant pause, we like students to ask themselves, “Does this sentence work for any other school in America? Is it generic? Can I replace Dartmouth with Harvard and would the sentence still work?” If the answer is yes to any of these questions we’ve posed, the sentence should be promptly deleted. After all, the reason Dartmouth is asking a Why College essay is because they want to know that you’ve done your homework on the Hanover, New Hampshire-based institution. They want to know that you love them, that you really love them. Sentences lauding the school’s diverse student body or great student to faculty ratio can apply to virtually every school in America and are therefore a total waste of real estate, particularly in such a short essay. And, no, name dropping professors who may or may not be there next year and classes that you can easily cut and paste from one college’s course catalogue to the next do not count as genuine specifics. Why College essays should not be approached as a Mad Libs exercise!
For the second prompt, the new prompt on the Dartmouth supplement, applicants essentially have the opportunity — like with the Personal Statement on The Common Application — to write whatever it is they want. Applicants should just be sure to continue to showcase their singular hook, rather than well-roundedness, and to offer complementary rather than redundant information about themselves that will inspire admissions officers to want to root for them.
For the third prompt, one in which Dartmouth is proudly flaunting two men who attended the university — Dr. Seuss (we thought he was canceled — thank goodness!) and William Kamkwamba (a young man we dubbed years ago to be the greatest college applicant ever!), it’s an opportunity to highlight how a student hopes to make a difference in this world in one small, super specific way. It’s essentially yet another opportunity for students to write whatever it is they want. And we love that Dartmouth offers such flexibility to its applicants. They really want to get to know the students who hope to be a part of Dartmouth Undying.
Ivy Coach, The Dartmouth Whisperer
Finally, a post about the Dartmouth College 2022-2023 essay prompts would not be complete without touting Ivy Coach’s own success at Dartmouth. Hey, we’re not applying for college admission. We’re aloud to brag. We are, after all, known in many circles to be The Dartmouth Whisperer. And why so? Because every last student — with one exception in 2017 — who has completed applications with Ivy Coach over the last 16 years and applied Early Decision to Dartmouth has earned admission. That’s right. We’ve been perfect in 15 of the last 16 years. We wouldn’t be able to write that on our website if it weren’t true. Think about it. We’d be called out in a heartbeat. So when other college counseling companies boast that 90% of their students earned admission to their first choice college — a data point that can’t be verified — we’re sharing a data point that we simply would not be able to tout if it weren’t true. That is the Ivy Coach difference. We. Are. The Dartmouth Whisperer.
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