The Ivy Coach Daily

July 10, 2023

How to Get Into Dartmouth College

An orange sky hovers over The Green at Dartmouth College.
Learn some of the ins and outs of the Dartmouth admissions process (photo credit: Derrick Smith).

Are you interested in earning admission to Dartmouth College? The Ivy League school, which ranks #12 among national universities in the 2023 US News & World Report annual college ranking, offers graduate programs in engineering, medicine, business, and more. Still, it is known as a college because of its focus on the undergraduate experience.

Daniel Webster, one of America’s most distinguished Secretaries of State and a proud Dartmouth alumnus, once argued in the landmark Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward Supreme Court case, “It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet there are those who love it.”

And, yes, Dartmouth alums sure tend to love Dartmouth! Among the Ivies, Dartmouth ranks behind only Princeton University for the percentage of alumni who give back to the school through donations — a reliable measure of “the loyal ones who love her,” to cite from Dartmouth’s alma mater (which seemingly every undergraduate at Dartmouth knows by heart and chooses to sing on a whim!).

About Dartmouth College

Situated in the white mountains of Hanover, New Hampshire, the smallest of the eight Ivy League institutions, Dartmouth’s student body, which consists of 4,408 undergraduate students according to the most recent 2022-2023 Common Data Set, hails from all 50 states and almost one-third of the world’s nations. 2,254 identify as men, 2,154 identify as women, and 49 identify as non-binary.

How to Get into Dartmouth College

Dartmouth Admissions Requirements

When applying to Dartmouth, it’s about more than just meeting specific requirements since thousands of students with perfect or near-perfect grades and scores are denied admission year in and year out. That said, if a student’s grades and scores don’t meet certain baselines, their chances of admission become infinitesimal.

So let’s address some common questions concerning Dartmouth admissions requirements!

What kind of GPA is necessary to get into Dartmouth?

Dartmouth admissions officers review GPA in context — in the context of the quality of the high school and the rigor of the coursework.

Dartmouth is looking for students with perfect or near-perfect grades and scores who take the most rigorous courses available at their high schools — and then some.

Since some high schools weight GPA and others do not weight GPA, any single figure listed as a GPA needed to get into Dartmouth would be misleading.

As Dartmouth’s admissions office writes about GPA requirements, “Is there a minimum grade point average required for admission to Dartmouth? No, each application is reviewed holistically, regardless of GPA. A strong GPA in high school is one indicator that you will continue to do well in college. We also look at the rigor of your courses and grade trends that help us understand your academic trajectory.”

And while more specific GPA information for first-year students is not available, for transfer students to Dartmouth, most boast a GPA of 3.7 or higher.

Are Dartmouth’s admitted students typically at or near the top of their high school classes?

While Dartmouth does not release information on the average GPA of admitted students — since this figure would be meaningless for the reasons mentioned above — the school does release information on where admitted students fall in their high school classes.

For enrolled students in the Class of 2026, of the 49% of students who submitted information on class rank, 94.1% were in the top tenth of their graduating high school classes. 98.7 were in the top quarter of their graduating high school classes. 99.5% were in the top half of their graduating high school classes.

What kind of SAT or ACT scores are needed to get into Dartmouth?

Dartmouth, like all of its Ivy League peers, is test-optional. Dartmouth will remain test-optional through at least the Class of 2028 (we at Ivy Coach expect the school will remain test-optional for many years to come).

For the Dartmouth Class of 2026, the below is the SAT and ACT data for enrolled students who chose to submit test scores:

Mean733
Median750
Mid 50% Range710-770

Does Dartmouth superscore students’ SAT or ACT scores?

Yes, Dartmouth superscores both the SAT and ACT.

For those unfamiliar with superscoring, Dartmouth will accept your highest section scores from multiple test dates for the SAT or ACT.

That said, it’s ideal to submit only one test score as submitting multiple scores shows students have to work hard to secure the scores.

But, of course, if a student’s best section scores are on multiple administrations at the end of the day, it will behoove them to submit the multiple administration subscores.

What classes do students need to take to get into Dartmouth?

Below are the minimum high school coursework requirements for Dartmouth:

Of course, we would never recommend a Dartmouth applicant complete only three years of history, three years of science, and three years of foreign language.

Admissions officers at Dartmouth — and all highly selective colleges — want to see students excelling in each core subject (English, history, math, science, and foreign language) all four years of high school. In fact, they expect to see five years for foreign language since most students begin their first level of foreign language in eighth grade.

What kinds of extracurriculars should students get involved in to get into Dartmouth?

For over 40 years, Dartmouth admissions officers have sought to admit students who demonstrate a depth of involvement in a singular pursuit — be it a sport for which they’re being recruited by a Dartmouth coach, award-winning science research, prize-winning poetry — you name it.

What Dartmouth admissions officers are not looking for is well-rounded students: students who excel in sports, music, community service, leadership, and more. Rather, they want singularly talented students. Together, the singularly talented students admitted to Dartmouth form a well-rounded class.

But there’s no specific extracurricular that Dartmouth seeks in its applicants. After all, if every admitted student did the same kinds of activities, they’d have admitted a very boring, uniform class. As Dartmouth seeks to admit a diverse class comprised of students from various backgrounds with various interests, admitting students who all participated in the same extracurriculars would undercut their institutional needs.

Dartmouth Application Requirements

In addition to completing the full Common Application (or Coalition Application, depending on your choice of applications), Dartmouth applicants are asked to submit letters of recommendation and to complete the Dartmouth supplement.

Let’s zero in on the Dartmouth admissions requirements and how students should tackle them.

Who should students ask for letters of recommendation for Dartmouth?

Dartmouth applicants should ask two teachers — ideally two junior year teachers in core subjects — in addition to their school counselor and a peer for letters of recommendation. That’s right. A decades-old unique staple of the Dartmouth application is the peer letter of recommendation, which is strongly encouraged.

As Dartmouth’s admissions office states of the peer letter of recommendation, “It should not be someone who is in a supervisory or oversight role in the applicant’s life. A few examples are a classmate or teammate; brother, sister, or cousin; a co-worker; a friend met at summer school or summer camp; lab or debate partner.”

Does Dartmouth require an interview?

No, Dartmouth offers the chance for students to interview with alumni. There are no on-campus interviews. But Dartmouth’s alumni interview is optional. Also, securing a Dartmouth alumni interview — or not securing an interview — does not indicate the strength or weakness of a student’s application. Instead, it only indicates the availability of an alum in a student’s area to meet with the prospective student. It should also be noted that the alumni interview is one of the less important components of the college admissions process — to Dartmouth and all highly selective institutions.

What are Dartmouth’s Supplemental Essay Topics?

The essays, however, are one of the most important components in the admissions process to Dartmouth and all highly selective institutions. Applicants to the Dartmouth Class of 2027 were required to write three supplemental essays. These essays were in addition to The Common Application Personal Statement and the optional Common Application Covid-19 impact essay.

The three Dartmouth supplemental essays were as follows:

1. Required of all applicants. Please respond in 100 words or fewer:

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.

2. Required of all applicants. Please respond in 200-250 words:

“Be yourself,” Oscar Wilde advised. “Everyone else is taken.” Introduce yourself in 200-250 words.

3. Required of all applicants. Please choose one of the following prompts and respond 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?

When are Dartmouth’s application deadlines?

Dartmouth has two rounds of admissions: Early Decision and Regular Decision.

Early Decision applications to Dartmouth are due on November 1st of each year. For the Class of 2027, Regular Decision applications were due on January 3rd (the Regular Decision deadline can vary slightly from year to year, but it’s always in early January).

Dartmouth Acceptance Rate and Statistics

So just how hard is it to get into “The College on the Hill”? For the Class of 2027, a record 28,841 students applied to Dartmouth. Of these students, 578 earned admission through binding Early Decision, 47 matched with the school through QuestBridge, and 1,173 through Regular Decision. Dartmouth’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 thus stood at 6.23%.

Dartmouth CollegeOverall Acceptance RateRegular Decision Acceptance RateRegular Decision Applications AcceptedRegular Decision Applications ReceivedEarly Decision Acceptance RatePercent of Class Filled by Early ApplicationsEarly Decision Applications ReceivedEarly Decision Applications AcceptedExpected Number of Students to EnrollTotal Applications ReceivedTotal Applications Accepted
Class of 20276.23%4.54%1,17325,83219.2%50.26%3,009578 (+47 through QuestBridge)1,15028,8411,798
Class of 20266.24%4.7%1,20725,70321.27%48.7%2,6335601,15028,3361,767
Class of 20256.2%4.5%1,15825,69321.2%51.4%2,6645911,15028,3571,749
Class of 20248.8%6.9%1,33419,32526.4%47.6%2,0695471,15021,3941,881
Class of 20237.9%6.1%1,30221,17623.2%49.9%2,4745741,15023,6501,876
Class of 20228.7%6.9%1,36019,76324.9%49.1%2,2705651,15022,0331,925
Class of 202110.4%8.5%1,53718,03527.8%47%1,9995551,18020,0342,092
Class of 202010.5%9.0%1,68218,74825.6%44.1%1,9274941,12020,6752,176
Class of 201910.3%8.8%1,63718,64526%43.1%1,8594831,12020,5042,120
Class of 201811.5%9.9%1,75117,61827.9%42.3%1,6784691,11019,2962,220
Class of 201710.0%8.6%1,78820,84229.4%41.4%1,5744641,12022,4162,252
Class of 20169.4%8.0%1,71521,31025.8%42.1%1,8004651,10523,1102,180
Class of 20159.7%8.4%1,73420,62625.2%40.4%1,7594441,10022,3852,178
Class of 201411.5%9.9%1,70417,18425.5%42.3%1,5944611,09018,7782,165
Class of 201312%10.8%1,78316,55925.5%35%1,5714011,09018,1302,184
Class of 201213.2%11.8%1,79015,10828.0%36.7%1,4284001,09016,5362,190
Class of 201115.3%13.8%1,78512,89129.6%35.2%1,2853801,08014,1762,165
Class of 201015.4%13.9%1,75212,62030.2%37%1,3173981,07513,9372,150
Class of 200916.9%15.1%1,75311,58633.9%36.9%1,1713971,07512,7572,150
Class of 200818.3%16.8%1,75910,45530%35.4%1,2783841,08511,7332,143
Class of 200717.7%16%1,70510,63632.4%37%1,2173941,06511,8532,099

Dartmouth Tuition Costs

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Dartmouth’s total estimated tuition is $87,793. The total estimated cost breaks down as follows:

How Ivy Coach Helps Students Get Into Dartmouth

Ivy Coach has long been known as “The Dartmouth Whisperer.” As we like to say for those who remember the old Bo Jackson commercials, “Bo knows baseball. Ivy Coach knows Dartmouth.”

It’s why in 28 of the last 30 years, all students who completed Early Decision applications to Dartmouth earned admission with Ivy Coach’s assistance — higher than any other school.

It’s why when students who first come to Ivy Coach after being waitlisted, 48% of students who retain our assistance end up earning admission off the waitlisthigher than any other school.

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance, directly with Ivy Coach’s Ben Schwartz, a former Dartmouth admissions officer, in optimizing your child’s case for admission to Dartmouth College, fill out our free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch.

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