Timothy Peck
7 How to Get Into

How to Get Into Dartmouth: Admission Stats + Tips

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Located in the peaceful New England town of Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College is one of the most prestigious and highly ranked schools in the country. As an Ivy League institution, Dartmouth values academic excellence and boasts world-class faculty. However, Dartmouth students also know how to have fun—Dartmouth’s Greek life inspired the movie Animal House.

 

Although Dartmouth only has one undergraduate school, with over 40 departments and interdisciplinary programs there is something for every student to pursue. Since Dartmouth is a prestigious school, you’ll need to ensure you have a strong academic profile to get accepted. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about applying to Dartmouth!

 

How Hard Is It to Get Into Dartmouth College?

 

How difficult is it to gain admission to Dartmouth? Simply put, hard. The class of 2025 saw the lowest acceptance rate in Dartmouth’s history and the lowest number of admission offers in 40 years. 

 

Dartmouth offered admission to just 1,749 students from the pool of 28,357 applicants to the class of 2025, resulting in an acceptance rate of 6.17%. A record-high 2,664 applicants applied early decision, of which 591 were offered early admission—a 22% early decision acceptance rate. 

 

While Dartmouth College’s acceptance rate is historically low, your personal chances of acceptance are possibly higher or lower depending on the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can help you better understand your chances at Dartmouth by using your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more to estimate your odds of acceptance, and can also provide tips for improving your profile!

 

Average Academic Profile of Accepted Dartmouth College Students

 

GPA

 

Dartmouth doesn’t publish the average GPA of admitted students, however, you should make sure you have a high GPA to stay competitive among other applicants.

 

SAT/ACT

 

The middle 50% SAT score of Dartmouth’s class of 2025 was 1430-1550, and its middle 50% ACT score was 32-35. Of the students admitted to the class of 2025, 83% scored above 1400 on the SAT and 87% scored above a 30 on the ACT. 

 

Of the students who submitted test scores and were admitted to the class of 2025, 57% submitted SAT scores, while 43% submitted ACT scores. 

 

Class Rank

 

Dartmouth doesn’t publish the average GPA of admitted students, however, it does report that 92.8% of students accepted into the class of 2025 graduated in the top 10% of their high school class and 98.7% of admitted students graduated in the top quarter of their high school. 

 

What is Dartmouth Looking for?

 

Dartmouth is consistently ranked among the best institutions in the country and while it doesn’t publish the average GPA or class rank of admitted students, the school is extremely academically driven. Competitive Dartmouth applicants will need a high GPA and to graduate at, or near, the top of their class. 

 

Dartmouth recently added a writing supplement—two short answer questions—to its application to help the admissions committee judge how the college and the applicant fit with each other. The essays hold some sway in admissions decisions, but they are less valuable than at other selective institutions with school-specific writing supplements. 

 

With programs like Dartmouth’s outing club, which roughly a quarter of the student population is a member of, and the distinctive D-Plan, the quarter-based academic system known for its flexibility, it’s clear that Dartmouth prioritizes adventurous, curious individuals interested in learning both inside and outside of the classroom. 

 

How Dartmouth College Evaluates Applications

 

According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Dartmouth College considers the following factors “very important”:

 

  • Course rigor
  • Class rank
  • GPA
  • Test scores
  • Essay
  • Recommendation letters
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Character/personal qualities 

 

These factors are “important”:

 

  • Talent/ability

 

These are “considered”:

 

  • Interview
  • First generation
  • Alumni/ae relation 
  • Geographical residence 
  • Racial ethnic status 
  • Volunteer work
  • Work experience 
  • Applicant interest 

 

And these are “not considered”:

 

  • Religious affiliation
  • State residency 

 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Dartmouth College

 

1. Achieve a near-perfect GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.

 

GPA, class rank, and academic rigor are all “very important” in admissions decisions. Dartmouth doesn’t publish the average GPA of accepted students, but more than nine out of ten (92.8%) of students admitted to the class of 2025 graduated in the top 10% of their class. 

 

Selective schools that receive an enormous amount of applicants, like Dartmouth, use a tool known as the Academic Index to expedite the admissions process. At its most basic, the Academic Index is a distillation of a student’s academic performance into a single number that allows admissions committees to filter out candidates who are academically under-qualified. 

 

The best strategy for getting your application through this stage is to get all—or mostly all—As in the most challenging courses available. How many high-level classes should you take? It’s common for students applying to an Ivy League to have completed upward of 12 AP courses, or at least the maximum their school allows. 

 

If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.

 

2. Aim for a 1550 SAT and 35 ACT. 

 

Standardized tests are a “very important” factor in admissions decisions at Dartmouth, and while any score in the college’s middle 50% range—1430-1550 SAT and 32-35 ACT—is good, the higher your score, the better your odds of admissions. 

 

Dartmouth will accept your highest SAT section scores regardless of test dates and will only accept your highest single ACT composite score. Both SAT and ACT takers will benefit from sitting for the test two or three times. SAT takers get the benefit of using their best section scores across multiple sittings while studies show repeat ACT takers have a composite score of 2.9 points higher than their single test counterparts, which is approximately the difference between being in the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile. 

 

Due to the challenges presented by COVID-19, Dartmouth paused its test requirement for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and is continuing test-optional admissions for 2021-2022. In spite of Dartmouth’s test-optional admissions policy, we advise that you take a test if you can do so safely. Applicants who submit scores are accepted at higher rates than students who do not. 

 

CollegeVine generally recommends submitting a score, so long as it’s in the 25th percentile or above. Not sure if you should submit your scores or apply test-optional? Students can get recommendations on whether or not they should apply test-optional using our free chancing engine. 

 

To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:

 

 

3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)

 

Dartmouth considers extracurricular activities “very important” when making admissions decisions. Many applicants believe that colleges are looking for well-rounded students with a wide range of unrelated interests, however, you’re much better served at a top 20 school like Dartmouth by having a highly-developed interest known as a “spike.” 

 

Not all extracurricular activities are created equally, and some add much more to your profile than others. The best way to judge the value of an extracurricular activity to a college is through the 4 Tiers of Extracurriculars.

 

  • Tier 1: Demonstrate exceptional achievement and are exceedingly rare. For example, getting selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, winning the USA Math Olympiad (USAMO), or being named a Gatorade State Player of the Year award. 

 

  • Tier 2: Similar to Tier 1 activities in that they demonstrate high levels of achievement, but are more common. For example, winning a regional competition such as a Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS), holding a high-level leadership position in a well-known club, or getting selected to an all-state team. 

 

  • Tier 3: Highlight an applicant’s interests but don’t demonstrate the high levels of achievement or leadership as Tier 1 and Tier 2 activities. Tier 3 extracurriculars include holding a lesser leadership role in a club or being captain of the varsity tennis team. 

 

  • Tier 4: The most common and least impactful extracurricular activities. These include participating in a club, playing a sport, and doing volunteer work like helping out at the local food bank. 

 

4. Write engaging essays.

 

Dartmouth states that essays and character/personal qualities are both “very important” when making admissions decisions. Essays provide you with an excellent forum to highlight your writing skills as well as show off the characteristics that set you apart from other candidates. In fact, once you clear Dartmouth’s academic thresholds, essays are the best way to distinguish yourself from other applicants. 

 

Dartmouth applicants must submit three essays: a personal statement and two short-answer supplemental questions. A tried-and-true essay strategy is to write in your voice and to spotlight how you fit at a school. For more school-specific essay advice, check out our article on How to Write the Dartmouth College Essays 2021-2022.

 

5. Request great letters of recommendation.

 

Recommendations play an integral part in Dartmouth admissions (the college considers them “very important”). Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation—one from your high school counselor or advisor and two from your teachers. The school also strongly recommends submitting a fourth letter of recommendation from a peer. 

 

A peer recommendation should come from someone you consider an equal, for example, a teammate, classmate, co-worker, sibling, or friend. Most importantly, the person providing your peer recommendation should offer fresh insight into your interests and character. 

 

Whether you’re asking a teacher or a lab partner for a recommendation, there are some steps you can take to ensure the best endorsement possible. First and foremost, give them plenty of notice so they have ample time to compose a compelling letter. It’s also a good idea to make the writing as easy as possible by providing the person writing your recommendation with relevant information like a resume or an applicable anecdote. Once you’ve received your recommendation letter, make sure to thank them for their time and assistance. 

 

Looking for more great advice about recommendation letters? Check out our article about 9 Rules For Requesting Letters of Recommendation from Teachers.

 

6. Apply Early Decision.

 

Dartmouth has an early decision (ED) program, which is binding—by applying through ED, you commit to attending Dartmouth if accepted. The advantage of applying for early decision is that the 22% ED acceptance rate is much higher than the 6.17% overall acceptance rate.

 

Early decision offers better odds of acceptance, but there are some drawbacks. Since Dartmouth’s ED is binding, students may not apply to another institution through another binding early admittance program. Students applying ED at Dartmouth also agree to attend if offered admission, which limits their ability to compare offers from other colleges. A good rule of thumb is that early decision is a good path for students who are absolutely sure they want to attend Dartmouth and can afford it. 

 

How to Apply to Dartmouth College

 

Deadlines

 

Application Timeline

Deadline

Decision Notification 

Early Action

November 1

December 15

Regular Decision

January 2

April 1

 

Application Requirements

 

All candidates applying to Dartmouth must use the common application. Other application requirements include: 

 

  • Dartmouth writing supplement 
  • Transcript
  • Counselor/advisor recommendation 
  • Teacher recommendations (2)

 

Other optional materials include: 

 

  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Peer recommendation 
  • Art supplement 

 

Learn more about Dartmouth College

 

Interested in learning more about Dartmouth? Check out these other informative articles: 

 

 


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.

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