How To Get Into Dartmouth – Ivy League Admissions Guide

Matt Larriva
Jan 13, 2022
Home » Blog » How To Get Into Dartmouth – Ivy League Admissions Guide

Dartmouth is a prestigious college with a historic dedication to diversity and excellence, and with an average acceptance rate of only 6.2%, Dartmouth is extremely hard to get into. Dartmouth regularly ranks as one of the top universities in the world. In 2022, U.S. News ranked it 13th in the nation and 5th in best undergraduate teaching. This comes as no surprise considering Dartmouth has always ranked in the top 10 of all schools in best undergraduate teaching, and has ranked first in several previous years.

So, if you’ve decided to go to Dartmouth, then you’ll need some assistance. The Ivy League institution is highly competitive, and this article provides all you’ll need to know in order to achieve your best chance of admissions to Dartmouth.

While there is no one way to get into any school, here, we will discuss Dartmouth’s history, application requirements, and admission statistics to help you to access your own application and to discover what you can do to make your application more competitive.

Ready to learn all you’ll need to know in order to achieve your best chance of admissions to Dartmouth? Read on to get an edge over the competition while learning all there is to know about this historic American institution.

Want to know your chances at Dartmouth? Calculate your chances with CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator.

Dartmouth History

Located in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College is the ninth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, the ninth and last of the colonial colleges chartered before the Revolutionary War, and the only colonial college to conduct its educational mission without interruption through the American Revolution to the present.

Dartmouth College was founded in 1769 on traditional, unceded Abenaki land along the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. The Rev. Eleazar Wheelock founded the college with the goal of educating the “youth of the Indian tribes in this land… English Youth, and any others” in Christian Theology and liberal arts. Rev. Samson Occom, an ordained minister of the Mohegan Tribe and one of Wheelock’s first students, was instrumental in raising the funds to found the college.

To build and sustain a new college in the wilderness, Rev. Wheelock made use of the uncompensated labor of his enslaved men and women of African descent. Later funding for the College came from private sources tied to profits from the Atlantic slave trade.  Not only this, but during its first 200 years, Dartmouth did little to actualize its founding commitment to Native students. These unfortunate facts are ones which Dartmouth readily acknowledges.

Here’s a quick timeline of some pivotal moments in Dartmouth’s’ history:

1769

Dartmouth was Founded

Dartmouth College was founded in 1769 by Rev. Eleazar Wheelock on traditional, unceded Abenaki land along the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.

1769
1819

Dartmouth v. Woodward

In addition to diversity, politics have been an integral part of Dartmouth’s history since its earliest days. The College was the subject of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in 1819 (Dartmouth College v. Woodward) in which the College prevailed against the State of New Hampshire, which had attempted to change Dartmouth from a privately funded institution into a state university.

The case is one of the most important and formative documents in United States constitutional history, paving the way for American private institutions to conduct their affairs in accordance with their charters without interference from the state. 

1819
1824

Students of African Descent Admitted to Undergrad Programs

Beginning in 1824, students of African descent were continuously admitted to the undergraduate class, four decades before other Ivy League institutions.

1824
1970

Dartmouth Reaffirms Founding Mission to Native American Students

in 1970, Dartmouth reaffirmed its founding mission to Native American students.  Two years later, it established one of the first Native American programs in the country and at the same time began the transition to full coeducation. 

Today, 200 Indigenous students, representing more than 70 different tribal nations & communities, attend the College, and it counts over 1,200 Native graduates among its alumni. 

1970

Dartmouth Today

Now, through its celebrated liberal arts curriculum, pioneering professional schools, its deep commitment to outstanding undergraduate and graduate education, and its distinguished research and scholarship opportunities, Dartmouth has forged a singular identity. 

In its own words, Dartmouth is an institution of academic excellence, independent thought, and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Their faculty of scholars are leaders in their fields, passionate about teaching, and committed to mentorship and collaboration with their students.  They focus on building a diverse community of faculty and students, and they leverage that diversity to enrich and deepen the education of their students while also promoting vigorous and open debate of diverse opinions with mutual respect.  They instill a sense of responsibility for one another and for the broader world in their students while providing them ample opportunities to share their expertise and passions. 

Finally, they provide comprehensive out-of-classroom experiences, including service opportunities, international study, and global engagement.

Dartmouth Notable Alumni

Dartmouth boasts numerous notable alumni.  They include:

dartmouth famous alumni
  • Michael Arad (Class of ’91), designer World Trade Center 9/11 memorial
  • Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) (class of ’25)
  • William Kamkwamba (class of ’14), author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
  • K Barry Sharpless (Class of ’63), winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001
  • and Kirsten Gillibrand (Class of ’88), U.S. senator

Other notable alumni include Mindy Kaling, Daniel Webster, Shonda Rhimes, Robert Frost, Fred Rogers, and Ernest Everett Just.

Dartmouth Fun Facts & Trivia

This is what a college should look like.

Dartmouth’s picturesque 269-acre campus which imparts “a profound sense of place” has become one of the College’s hallmarks. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited the campus in 1953, he remarked, “This is what a college should look like.

Dartmouth college
Dartmouth College

Dartmouth Goes For Gold

Since 1924, 147 Dartmouth-affiliated athletes have competed in the winter Olympics, the most in the Ivy League, and as of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the total medal count of these athletes is 13 gold, 10 silver, and 6 bronze. Were Dartmouth a country, its haul would place the College 21st in the all-time medal count, just behind Great Britain.

Experience The Presidential Election Process

Many people know that New Hampshire hosts the first presidential primary in the United States.  What they may not know is that Dartmouth is a frequent stop on the campaign trail during this primary.

For more than a quarter of a century, the College has hosted debates featuring key presidential candidates, allowing students nearly unparalleled up-front and personal exposure to the election process.

What Kind of Student is Dartmouth Looking For?

Dartmouth is looking for students who will go on to become leaders in their field, whether that be “in government, industry, academia, journalism, or so on.”

Dartmouth College wants students who embrace collaboration, who make their communities more vibrant, and who will stay engaged with Dartmouth as alumni.

Dartmouth wants students who will take full advantage of their programs and offerings, which generally means they are looking for exceptional humanities students.

Dartmouth is historically a humanities-centric institution. Notice the fields of interest they specified above:

  • government
  • industry
  • academia
  • and journalism

They all based in the humanities and social sciences, and those fields, unsurprisingly, are Dartmouth’s strengths.

While the institution briefly refocused on STEM fields during the tenure of Dartmouth President Jim Kim between 2009 and 2012, the humanities seem to have taken the center stage once again.  Some admissions officers from this past cycle have even reported that the admissions office was requesting readers to “flag” humanities applicants.

Will you get accepted?

Calculate your chances of acceptance at 1,500+ schools based on GPA, test scores, and even extracurriculars on CollegeVine.

Calculate your chances

Will you get accepted?

Calculate your chances of acceptance at 1,500+ schools based on GPA, test scores, and even extracurriculars on CollegeVine.

Calculate your chances

Is Dartmouth the Right Fit For Me?

To answer this question, we’ll look at few different aspects of what the life of a Dartmouth student may look like. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Where Dartmouth is located and if it’s surroundings suit your living style
  • What kind of activities there are at Dartmouth
  • The academic schedule and requirements of Dartmouth Collège

Let’s take a closer look at life as a Dartmouth College student…

Where Is Dartmouth College?

Dartmouth College is located in Hanover, New Hampshire where it reside on it’s 269-acre main campus.

Dartmouth Map

Below you will find a map of Hanover, New Hampshire, specifically the Dartmouth Campus. You can find additional Dartmouth campus maps on their website, including a mobile device friendly version as well as a printable version in case you’re so excited to be attending Dartmouth, you want to hang a map of the campus on your wall to study during your downtime.

What’s The Vibe Like In Hanover?

One thing a student should ask themselves when considering whether or not Dartmouth College is a good fit for them is, “will I enjoy living in this region?” which inevitably means asking oneself, “will I enjoy living in Hanover?”

The town of Hanover and Dartmouth are intimately connected. The College lies in the heart of the town and there is little separation between Dartmouth and the portion of Hanover in which it is located, and one could even consider the town to be part of the campus. 

Hanover is a smaller town with a suburban feel and is often called one of the best places to live in the United States.  It offers several excellent and diverse food options close to campus: Thai, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Italian, American, pizzerias, bakeries, cafés—not to mention the best authentic gelato in the United States. 

Dartmouth campus in Hanover New Hampshire
Main Street, Hanover. Photo by: Ken Gallager CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The region also supports major teaching hospitals, a burgeoning high-tech sector with global connections, and a world-class arts scene. The town is also nestled between multiple nature preserves and areas of unspoiled natural beauty.  An entrance onto the Appalachian trail even comes right up to the campus’s doorstep.  

Most students who attend Dartmouth will take advantage of these various activities, especially those relating to the outdoors, a fact which Dartmouth encourages. 

In fact, Dartmouth’s First Year Trips, an orientation program for incoming students led and organized by returning students, is an outdoor program.

Take a Dartmouth Campus Virtual Tour

If you’d like to take a virtual tour of the Dartmouth Campus, the college has put together a tour, which we embedded below or view it a new tab by clicking here.

It’s recommended the Dartmouth Campus Virtual Tour be accompanied by this guide on the Dartmouth Campus, which also gives prospective students a glimpse into the lives’ of five different Dartmouth students living in Hanover. It’s pretty informational so be sure to check it out!

For additional ways to experience a Dartmouth Campus Tour, head over to the tours page on the Dartmouth website.

Will Dartmouth’s Academic Requirements Work For You?

dartmouth student

In terms of academics, Dartmouth operates on a unique quarter system.  There are four ten-week academic quarters per year in the fall, winter, spring, and summer. Of the 15 academic quarters between matriculation and graduation, most students take classes during 12 of those terms to earn their degrees.

Students are required to take on-campus classes for the fall, winter, and spring quarters of their first year, for two of the three quarters in their final year, and for one summer quarter in a year of their choice.  (Yes, you read that correctly: you are required to take at least one summer class in order to graduate.) 

However, beyond these requirements, students have near complete control over when and where they complete their coursework, and when they take their leave terms.  During those leave terms, Dartmouth students can undertake field research, internships, travel, work, or to just take a break, and they can receive funding and networking support for their activities during that term.

So, students who enjoy living in a suburban atmosphere, who enjoy the outdoors, and who seek flexibility in their academic schedule will likely enjoy life at Dartmouth.

Admissions Demographics (Class of 2025)

Dartmouth Acceptance Rate

The Class of 2025 saw 28,357 applicants applying to Dartmouth.  Of those, 1,749 were accepted, of which 46% enrolled early decision. 

The acceptance rate was 6.2%, which is low for Dartmouth and may indicate that the College is becoming even more competitive to get into. 

For context, the Class of 2024 saw 9.2% of applicants admitted, and that was the third lowest acceptance rate in the school’s history.

dartmouth acceptance rate is 6.2%

Dartmouth Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Of the 1,749 students accepted into Dartmouth’s Class of 2025, 46% enrolled early decision

Ninety-five percent of the incoming class ranked in the top decile of their high school graduating class. 

Most students (54%) attended public schools, 34% attended an independent school, and 12% attended a religious school.  In total, 956 high schools were represented in the incoming class.

Dartmouth academic background

Dartmouth Collège Gender Demographics

For the Class of 2025, the ratio of men to women is roughly even.  Of the 1,228 who entered the incoming class:

  • 600 identified as men
  • 617 as women
  • and 11 as genderqueer/non-binary/questioning

Legacy Students & First Generation College Students at Dartmouth

  • 15% of students are first generation college students
  • 13% are legacy students
  • 13% are international students

Dartmouth College Ethnicity Demographics

A little more than half of the students are white, with 44% of the incoming class being students of color. Of those, the majority are Asian Americans followed by African Americans and Latinos. 

Native Americans make up about 5% of the incoming class, more than double that of most other Ivy League institutions. 

Note that in the figure below, 17% of students reported as belonging to more than one race or ethnicity, so the percentages will not add up to a perfect 100%.

dartmouth college ethnicity demographics

The geographic make-up of the class of 2025 is fairly spread out.  The most well-represented regions are the West, Mid-Atlantic, and New England.  The least represented region is the Mid-West.

dartmouth college student demographics

SAT/ACT Test Scores and GPA You Need to get into Dartmouth

(The following data is representative of the Class of 2024, as testing data for the class of 2025 was not made available due to Dartmouth’s testing optional policy.)

To have a chance at being admitted to Dartmouth, students will need to achieve mostly A’s in high school while taking the most difficult coursework available to them. 

high school percentile of dartmouth college students

Dartmouth does not list any official statistics regarding the GPA of students admitted to the incoming undergraduate class. However, 94% of those students had earned a spot in the top 10% of their high school graduating class, and more than 500 students (a little less than half) in the incoming class were either the valedictorian or salutatorian of their high school class. 

What GPA is Required To Get Into Dartmouth?

Furthermore, most admitted transfer students have a 3.7 GPA or above.  So, it is safe to assume that students will need to target a GPA close to 4.0 to be considered a competitive applicant.

high school gpa required to get into dartmouth college

What SAT and ACT Test Scores are Required To Get Into Dartmouth?

Dartmouth College is continuing its optional testing policy through the 2021-22 admissions cycle.  Students may take and submit an SAT or ACT score if they wish, but it will not be required for a student’s application to be considered (as it would normally be).  That said, because they are not required during this admission cycle, submitting a competitive SAT or ACT score may be one way for a student to stand out amongst their competition.

On the SAT, most admitted students scored between a 1440 and a 1560, and, on average, most scored close to or above a 1500.  Most students also score higher on the Math portion than on the reading portion (the average was a 750 in Math and a 730 in Reading).

sat test scores and act test scores of students accepted to Dartmouth

On the ACT, most admitted students scored between a 32 and a 35.  Unlike students who took the SAT, most students who submitted an ACT scored higher on the English and Writing portion than on the Math potion.  ACT English scores were generally between a 33 and a 36, while most ACT Math scores were between a 30 and a 35.

For students who wish to submit an SAT or ACT, Early November is the last date for testing.

Dartmouth Application Basics

All first-year applicants are required to submit their application through the Common App.  With their application, students must submit a secondary school report with a transcript, a school profile, a counselor evaluation, and two teacher evaluations.

Dartmouth also requires a personal statement and a writing supplement which consists of two brief essays.  The Dartmouth writing supplements read as follows:

  1. Please respond in 100 words or fewer:
    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?
  2. Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250-300 words:
    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?

Dartmouth Application Deadlines

At Dartmouth, the deadline to apply Early Decision is November 1 while the deadline to apply to Dartmouth via Regular Decision deadline is January 3.

Are Peer Recommendations Required For Dartmouth Admissions?

dartmouth peer recommendations

Students may also submit a Peer Recommendation with their application. 

While this is not required for an application to be accepted, Dartmouth strongly recommends that students submit one. 

It is a statement written in of support of the student’s candidacy, completed by anyone the applicant considers a peer.  Examples include “a classmate or teammate; brother, sister, or cousin; a co-worker; a friend met at summer school or summer camp; lab or debate partner.” It should not be someone who has acted in a supervisory or oversight role in the student’s life.

How to Get an Edge at Dartmouth

If you dream of getting into Dartmouth, there are a handful of things that can give students an edge in the completion. Below, we’ll cover seven different options that our research shows gives Dartmouth applicants a leg up during the admissions process.

Demonstrate Interest

Dartmouth considers “demonstrated interest” during the admission process.  Students who make a campus visit, contact an admissions officer, connect with the college on social media, attend any local presentations by admissions officials such as at college fairs, and so on will likely have an advantage of students who do not demonstrate such interest.

dartmouth campus visit

Well-Rounded and Focused

Dartmouth seeks to admit students who are among the best or who have the potential to be among the very best at something in the world.  That said, Dartmouth does seem to value students who are “well-rounded” more so than its Ivy League counterparts.

So, while having a particular passion and uncommon achievements in that passion will boost a student’s application, having a few commonplace interests as well may also benefit a student’s application. When it comes to commonplace interests, Dartmouth may prefer interests which are slightly more athletic and outdoorsy.  However, it could just as easily be the case that students who have such interests already prefer Dartmouth and not the other way around.

Make the Admissions Officer say “Oh, that’s cool,” when reading your application.

According to a few former admissions readers from Dartmouth, Dartmouth admissions officers tend to fall for the “cool factor.”

So, students who can put something unique on their application which will catch admissions readers’ attention will be more competitive applicants. 

Being a Model United Nations champion is not as unique and interesting as starting a nonprofit to host a Model United Nations conference for students in a less developed nation.

Apply to the Humanities

As written above, Dartmouth has traditionally been a college which focuses on the humanities and social sciences.  As such, they have excellent programs in those areas, and they know it.  Therefore, they will see students who are interested in those programs as more likely to attend Dartmouth when accepted. 

That said, students applying for a STEM program may have less competition within their own field, as fewer applicants will likely be applying for those programs.  However, this will only be an advantage for those students who can give a convincing reason for why Dartmouth is their preferred school over another more STEM oriented institution.

Recruited Athletes

dartmouth lacrosse player

Dartmouth’s 35 Division I sports teams make up about 25% of the undergraduate population, so athletes who can get recruited will likely enjoy an edge in the admissions process.

Geographic Advantages

Students who hail from states which are less populated will not have to compete against an endless stream of qualified applicants (as is the case for students who hail from the Northeast and the West Coast). So, qualified students who hail from the Deep South or the Mid-West are likely to have slightly higher admissions chances.

Demographic Advantages

Students who are part of a minority group, especially students who are Native American, may find that they have a slightly higher chance of admission. 

native american students at dartmouth college
Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD) is a student organization that was founded to support and celebrate Native and Indigenous students at Dartmouth and to bring awareness to cultural and social issues that affect Indigenous people and communities both on-campus and globally. 

Dartmouth’s commitment to a diverse student body is foundational to its original charter, and it is a component of that charter which they have recommitted to in recent years.

Summary: This Is How You Can Get Into Dartmouth

In the words of Dartmouth’s most famous alumni:

“Congratulations, today is your day. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

With that in mind, if you have decided that you want to get into Dartmouth, remember the school has a deep commitment to diversity which is fundamental to its founding.  They have especially been focusing on their commitment to Native American communities in recent years.

Additionally, Dartmouth ranks the following as “very important” to the admissions process:

  • rigor of secondary school record
  • class rank
  • GPA
  • standardized test scores
  • application essay
  • recommendations
  • extracurricular activities
  • and character/personal qualities

Students interested in attending Dartmouth should make sure they have difficult classwork and excellent grades and test scores first and foremost.

It is highly recommended that students submit the optional peer recommendation with their application.

Also, demonstrated interest is a factor if you want to get into Dartmouth! Be sure to visit the Dartmouth campus, reach out to an admissions officer, anything to get on Dartmouth’s radar!