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College Admissions


Dartmouth College , located in Hanover, New Hampshire, is one of the best universities in the world. A member of the Ivy League, Dartmouth has notable graduates, top-of-the-line programs, and a minuscule admissions rate.

If you want to be one of the 7.9% of students accepted to Dartmouth every year, you'll need to write some amazing essays as part of your application's Dartmouth supplement.

In this post, I'll talk about what the Dartmouth essay prompts are, which essays you can choose to write, and how to craft standout responses that'll help ensure your admission.

What Are the Dartmouth Essay Prompts?

You can apply to Dartmouth using the Common Application or QuestBridge Application. No matter which application you choose, you'll also have to submit the Dartmouth Supplement.

Part of the Dartmouth Supplement involves answering three required writing prompts. The first two writing prompts are the same for all students. Students have five prompt options for the third essay and must answer one. 

According to Dartmouth's website, "the writing supplement includes questions specific to Dartmouth that help the Admissions Committee gain a better sense of how you and Dartmouth might be a good 'fit' for each other."

Basically, that means that the Dartmouth Admissions Committee wants to know who you are… and how you'll fit in on Dartmouth's campus. Your Dartmouth supplemental essays give the admissions committee a chance to get to know you beyond your test scores and other credentials. The essays will give Dartmouth a better idea of how you think and act, so they can see if you would be a great addition to the student body.

Similarly, the essays also give the admissions committee a chance to assess your passion for Dartmouth - how badly do you really want to go there? The more you can show your passion for Dartmouth, the better.

Let's take a look at the Dartmouth essay prompts.


Dartmouth Essay Prompts

Here are the 2022-2023 Dartmouth Essay Prompts. Like we mentioned earlier, the first two prompts are the same for all students. For the third essay, students are given five prompt options and must answer one. 

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.

Essay #2 

Please response in 200-250 words: 

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

Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 200-250 words:

  • 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?
  • What excites you?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • "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?

Dartmouth Essays Analyzed

Let's take a look at the Dartmouth essay prompts for 2021-2022.

Dartmouth Essay Prompt 1

All Dartmouth students are required to answer this prompt and for good reason — it's the "Why Dartmouth" essay! This essay shows the admissions committee why Dartmouth is the right school for you.

At only 100 words, this prompt doesn't give you a lot of room to expand upon your favorite parts of the College, so you should pick one or two aspects of Dartmouth that you really love and focus on those.

The prompt encourages you to talk about the program, community, or campus, so don't feel like you have to limit yourself to academics. You can talk about other things about Dartmouth that interest you, such as the student life or extracurricular activities.

Whichever features you choose to highlight, make sure your connection to them is real and personal. In other words, don't just say you're a fan of Dartmouth's sterling academic reputation. Instead, focus on a specific part of that reputation - a professor whose work you admire or a class that you really want to take.

Dartmouth Essay Prompt 2

First impressions can be daunting! How do you want to be perceived? What would you say to pique Dartmouth’s admissions counselors’ interest? This is your chance to be bold, and to stand out from the crowd. But remember the prompt: they’re not quoting Wilde for fun. You’ll need to introduce your most authentic self. In other words, introduce who you are, not who you think Dartmouth wants you to be.

Don't feel confined to traditional, linear methods of storytelling in this prompt. You can play around with form and structure, as long as you do it well. Get an advisor or mentor to read your work and offer feedback, especially if you deviate from your typical style.

Dartmouth Essay Prompt 3

Dartmouth's longer essay prompts give you plenty of room to think creatively and show off your individuality. All students are required to pick and answer one of the prompts in 250-300 words. Let's take a look at the prompts and examine how to answer them.

Prompt A: The Introduction Prompt

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?

This prompt is more tangible and concrete than the others available for selection. If you feel intimidated by discussing your creativity or personal history, this prompt is a good one to choose.

This prompt asks you to pick a real-world issue and discuss how you wish to address it (or are already addressing it). Don't feel like you have to pick something grand and far-reaching, like starvation or world peace. You can also pick an issue that affects people locally, in your community, for instance. The key is to pick a topic that you have a personal connection to and reason for wanting to fix. Your passion will come across in your description of the issue.

Prompt B: The Passion Prompt

B. What excites you?

This essay prompt is asking you to think toward your future and write about something—anything!—that gets you pumped. Dartmouth Admissions is looking to see if you have purpose and passion.

To answer this prompt, take some time to think about your future: your goals for your time in college, things you hope to achieve, opportunities that you find invigorating. You'll want your response to be focused and organized, so choose one idea, goal, or possibility that most excites you and go into detail about that in your response.

For example, maybe you're excited about the opportunity to improve your creative writing craft in the company of other student writers at Dartmouth, so you make becoming a better writer the central idea of your response to this prompt. You might go into detail about how you're excited to take writing workshop courses, learn from other students' writing styles, and eventually work on a creative writing publication with other students.

Whatever topic you choose to write about, you need to have a central idea—something that excites you—and you need to be able to explain how your excitement will shape your life choices as a student at Dartmouth.

There are no right or wrong answers in terms of what excites you, but it is important to try to think toward your future and explain

Prompt C: The Creativity Prompt

C. 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

Creativity is crucial to every field of study, and this essay prompt is asking you to show that your interests, academic or recreational, inspire you to make things. To respond to this prompt, you'll need to be able to explain an idea, issue, or interest that motivates you to make stuff, then describe what you've made in the past or hope to make in the future!

The first thing to do is establish what drives you to create . To do this, think about who you are, where you come from, what experiences you've had, and who you want to become. Like in the example given in the prompt, maybe there's a need right in your own home that inspires you to create. You could think locally, like The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, or you could think outside of your personal experience too. Is there a global issue that drives you to create something that will help others in the future, during, or after college? If so, describe that vision and the global issue that motivates it.

Keep in mind that "creating" and "making something" can be interpreted many different ways. Your vision for "making" doesn't have to be artistic or some scientific invention. It could be creating a virtual reading service for overworked parents who need help educating their children during a global pandemic! On the other hand, maybe you're creating a science curriculum through your school's independent study program so you can learn more about climate change, which is your passion.

Whatever the case may be, it's a good idea to relate that creativity to your time at Dartmouth. For instance, maybe your virtual reading service has inspired you to major in business, so you can turn that service into your future career. It would be a great idea to research and talk about joining the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth to help show admissions counselors that Dartmouth is the only school that can help your dreams become a reality.

Prompt D: The Curiosity Prompt

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?

This prompt is actually just an invitation for you to dive deep into something that you're insatiably curious about. Dartmouth admissions wants to see that you have that intrinsic motivation to learn, grow, and expand your horizons, and they want to get to know you better by hearing you go off about that thing that you're endlessly curious about.

So, how do you celebrate your curiosity in this response? Start by pinpointing that one thing that you're the most curious about. You can probably look to your activities, relationships, and even your Google search history to identify what that one thing is. Maybe you're endlessly curious about food: different cultures of eating around the world, America's relationship to food, how to select, prepare, and eat it...and if you're really curious about food, you could probably go on and on about everything you know and want to know about it in your response.

This is a good thing! To organize your response, describe the thing you're curious about in a way that helps admissions counselors get to know you better . Going back to the food example, you could talk about where your curiosity about food comes from, or your background with food, how your curiosity with food plays into your day-to-day living, and some specific things you hope to learn about or do with food as you continue engaging with it.

And finally, connect your past experience, present questions, and future goals at Dartmouth in your response. This will show Dartmouth that you're a dedicated, independent learner who will be an endlessly curious student too.


Prompt E: The Baldwin Prompt

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?

Some challenges in life appear insurmountable at first—and not all of them can be overcome. This prompt asks you to reflect on your own life, and on your own experiences with growth and change, whether or not you succeeded.

In your response, you'll get the chance to show that you see the value of being adaptable and accepting change. You can demonstrate this quality by writing about how you've seen something happening cyclically, something changing, or a season coming to an end in your life. It's important that you write about a situation that was meaningful to you—one where you saw yourself growing and learning.

Alternatively, you could write about an ongoing situation in your life that you are still facing. For example, maybe your school enacted a policy that you and your peers consider unfair, and you’ve been working for a while to make your voices heard.

It's okay if the thing you choose to write about is something you've had conflicted feelings about. What's important in your response here is showing how facing the challenges you describe strengthened your determination and adaptability —qualities that will be valuable when you become a Dartmouth student.


How to Write Great Dartmouth Essays

In order to write great Dartmouth essays, you need to show the committee two things. First, you need to give them a clear idea of who you are. Second, you need to show them, "Why Dartmouth." In other words, why Dartmouth is important to you. Here are some tips to help you accomplish both of those goals.

#1: Use Your Own Voice

The point of a college essay is for the admissions committee to have the chance to get to know you beyond your test scores, grades, and honors. Your admissions essays are your opportunity to make yourself come alive for the essay readers and to present yourself as a fully fleshed out person.

You should, then, make sure that the person you're presenting in your college essays is yourself. Don't try to emulate what you think the committee wants to hear or try to act like someone you're not.

If you lie or exaggerate, your essay will come across as insincere, which will diminish its effectiveness. Stick to telling real stories about the person you really are, not who you think Dartmouth wants you to be.

#2: Avoid Clichés and Overused Phrases

When writing your Dartmouth essays, try to avoid using common quotes or phrases. These include quotations that have been quoted to death and phrases or idioms that are overused in daily life. The college admissions committee has probably seen numerous essays that state, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Strive for originality.

Similarly, avoid using clichés, which take away from the strength and sincerity of your work. Don't speak in platitudes about how the struggle for gay and lesbian rights has affected you… unless it actually has! And even then, you don't want to speak in platitudes. It's better to be direct and specific about your experience.

#3: Check Your Work

It should almost go without saying, but you want to make sure your Dartmouth essays are the strongest example of your work possible. Before you turn in your Dartmouth application, make sure to edit and proofread your essays.

Your work should be free of spelling and grammar errors. Make sure to run your essays through a spelling and grammar check before you submit.

It's a good idea to have someone else read your Dartmouth essays, too. You can seek a second opinion on your work from a parent, teacher, or friend. Ask them whether your work represents you as a student and person. Have them check and make sure you haven't missed any small writing errors. Having a second opinion will help your work be the best it possibly can be.

That being said, make sure you don't rely on them for ideas or rewrites. Your essays need to be your work.

#4: Play With Form

Dartmouth's essay prompts leave a lot of room open for creative expression - use that! You don't need to stick to a five paragraph essay structure here. You can play with the length and style of your sentences - you could even dabble in poetry if that makes sense!

Whichever form you pick, make sure it fits with the story you're trying to tell and how you want to express yourself.

What's Next?

Learn more about the most selective colleges in the US . If you're applying to multiple Ivy Leagues, it's a good idea to know your chances at each!

If you're hoping to attend a highly selective school like Dartmouth, you'll need to have a very strong academic record in high school. Learn more about high school honors classes and societies.

Not sure what your GPA means for your chances of college admission? Find out what a good or bad GPA might look like based on your goals.

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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How To Answer Dartmouth's Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023/24

How To Answer Dartmouth's Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023/24

What's New in 2022/23

What Are Dartmouth's Essay Prompts

Why Dartmouth Question

Dartmouth's Deep Dive Questions

Dartmouth's "Exploratory" Questions

Dartmouth is an Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire. It has an acceptance rate of around 6%, making it one of the most prestigious and selective schools in the United States. The Supplemental Essays offer you a unique opportunity to showcase your motivations for being a Dartmouth student. These essays are also a great opportunity to provide insights into your journey of self-awareness, your values, and aspirations. This blog serves as a comprehensive guide to each of the prompts in the Dartmouth Writing Supplement for 2023/24. Use the tips and insights below to craft strong responses that will help you stand out from other applicants.

How Julian Got Into Dartmouth

Dartmouth College's 2023/24 Supplemental Essay Updates: What's Changed?

Gaining admission into Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution with an illustrious history, is no small feat. Among the diverse components of the college application, the supplemental essays play a pivotal role in presenting your unique story and illustrating how you resonate with Dartmouth's values.

Elite universities like Dartmouth continually adapt their application requirements each year, seeking a holistic grasp of their potential students' backgrounds, aspirations, and values.

This year, similar to last year, Dartmouth applicants have three required “writing supplements” to complete. For the 2023/24 admissions cycle Dartmouth has made some limited but notable modifications to essay prompts.

1. Modification of Existing Prompts

The foundational prompt about Dartmouth's distinctive sense of place and purpose remains largely unchanged, with minor tweaks in phrasing for clarity.

2. Introduction of New Topics

Dartmouth's second required essay now offers a choice between introducing oneself, in line with Oscar Wilde's famous quotation, or describing the environment in which one was raised, inspired by a Quaker saying. This presents applicants with the opportunity to either present a personal introduction or delve deeper into their upbringing and its influence.

3. Expanded Choices for the Third Prompt

Previously, Dartmouth gave applicants five options to choose from for their third essay. This has been expanded to six, including a chance for applicants to "celebrate their nerdy side", discuss embracing differences, or share about their promise and potential in line with Dartmouth's mission statement. These additions seek richer insights into applicants' personalities, values, and potential contributions to the Dartmouth community.

4. Rephrased Prompts for Clarity and Depth

Several of the essay options have been reworded to invite deeper reflection. For instance, the Dolores Huerta inspired prompt now adds "Why? How?" to drive applicants to think more about their motivations and methods.

5. Inclusion of Diverse Themes

The newly introduced prompts encompass diverse themes like embracing differences and individual promise, showcasing Dartmouth's commitment to nurturing a varied and dynamic student body.

These alterations underline Dartmouth's ever-evolving admissions perspective, spotlighting a more profound comprehension of applicants' diverse experiences, aspirations, and the intrinsic values they might bring to its vibrant academic community.

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What Are Dartmouth's Supplemental Essay Prompts for 2023/24?

For the 2023/24 application cycle, Dartmouth College has thoughtfully designed supplemental essay prompts that delve deeply into the perspectives, backgrounds, and aspirations of its applicants. These prompts aim to illuminate your personal growth, understanding of Dartmouth's ethos, individuality, and potential contributions to the Dartmouth community.

1. Dartmouth's initial prompt is the “Why Dartmouth” prompt.

This prompt revolves around the institution's essence and its impact on your educational pursuits. Note, this first supplementary essay is only 100 words or fewer, making it shorter than the remaining two essays.

Dartmouth's Unique Ethos : 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 2028, what aspects of the College's academic program, community, and/or campus environment attract your interest? In short, why Dartmouth? (100 words or fewer)

For the remaining two essays (each 250 words or fewer), Dartmouth offers several creative prompts. Choose ONE from each list.

2. Deep Dive Questions

Pick one prompt from two offered. These essay options are crafted to provide a window into your character, upbringing, and thought processes.

  • Personal Background and Upbringing : There is a Quaker saying: Let your life speak. Describe the environment in which you were raised and the impact it has had on the person you are today.” (250 words or fewer)
  • Introducing You : "Be yourself," Oscar Wilde advised. "Everyone else is taken." Introduce yourself. (250 words or fewer)

3. Exploratory Prompts

Pick one prompt from the six offered. These prompts are diverse, encouraging you to showcase various facets of your personality, aspirations, and beliefs:

  • Passions and Interests : What excites you? (250 words or fewer)
  • Purposeful Living : 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 already making — an impact? Why? How? (250 words or fewer)
  • Inner Thoughts: Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel of Dartmouth's Class of 1925, wrote, "Think and wonder. Wonder and think." As you wonder and think, what's on your mind? (250 words or fewer)
  • Embrace Your Quirks: Celebrate your nerdy side. (250 words or fewer)
  • Celebrating Otherness: "It's not easy being green..." was the frequent refrain of Kermit the Frog. How has the difference been a part of your life, and how have you embraced it as part of your identity and outlook? (250 words or fewer)
  • Unearthing Potential: As noted in the College's mission statement, "Dartmouth educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership…" Promise and potential are important aspects of the assessment of any college application, but they can be elusive qualities to capture. Highlight your potential and promise for us; what would you like us to know about you? (250 words or fewer)


Ensure your response to the initial question does not exceed 100 words. For the deep dive and exploratory questions, maintain a word count of 250 words or fewer.

Dartmouth's admissions process is exceptionally competitive, but these essay prompts offer candidates a golden chance to shed light on their unique experiences, aspirations, and the richness they'd contribute to the Dartmouth mosaic.

How to Answer Dartmouth's Supplemental Essay Questions?

How to answer the “why dartmouth” question, 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 2028, what aspects of the college's academic program, community, and/or campus environment attract your interest in short, why dartmouth, - 100 words or fewer.

This prompt seeks to understand your motivations behind choosing Dartmouth. It's an invitation to dive deep into your reasons and showcase how Dartmouth aligns with your academic and personal aspirations.

Reflect on Dartmouth's Essence

Think about the distinct attributes of Dartmouth that appeal to you.

  • Is it a specific academic program?
  • The close-knit community feel?
  • The rich traditions and serene campus environment?

What combination of features like these, and others, make Dartmouth appealing to you and why?

Be Specific

Avoid vague statements. Instead of saying you're attracted to Dartmouth's "strong academic reputation," mention a particular program, research opportunity, or professor that aligns with your interests.

Personalize Your Answer

What personal experiences or goals make Dartmouth the right fit for you? Maybe you're drawn to Dartmouth's unique D-Plan or its emphasis on undergraduate teaching. Relate these aspects back to your own journey and aspirations with authentic and genuine insights into your unique interests, aspirations, and values and how they fit with specific campus attributes.

Stay Concise

With only 100 words, every sentence must be purposeful. Ensure each word contributes meaningfully to your response, and avoid redundancy.

  • Drawn to Dartmouth's renowned Engineering program, I'm excited about its interdisciplinary approach, blending liberal arts and technology. Additionally, the Dartmouth Outing Club aligns with my passion for outdoor leadership.
  • The intimacy of Dartmouth's community and its emphasis on undergraduate research in the sciences resonate deeply with my aspirations. Coupled with the picturesque Hanover setting, Dartmouth embodies my ideal learning environment.

Dartmouth's first essay prompt provides a canvas to illustrate your unique connection with the college. By being specific, personal, and concise, you can effectively convey why Dartmouth's academic program, community, and environment align seamlessly with your aspirations.

How to Answer Dartmouth's "Deep Dive" Questions?

There is a quaker saying: 'let your life speak.' describe the environment in which you were raised and the impact it has had on the person you are today., - 250 words or fewer.

Dartmouth, like many elite institutions, values a diverse student body, recognizing that every individual's background shapes their perspectives, values, and contributions. This prompt is an avenue to shed light on the influences that have shaped your character, beliefs, and aspirations.

Exploring Your Roots  

Begin by painting a vivid picture of your upbringing:

  • Physical setting: Were you raised in a bustling city, a rural village, a suburban neighborhood, or a tight-knit community?
  • Cultural influences: What traditions, customs, or rituals were integral to your family or community?
  • Key figures: Who played pivotal roles in your formative years? How did they influence you?

Reflecting on the Impact

Moving beyond mere description, analyze how these elements of your background molded your beliefs, values, and aspirations:

  • Challenges and Triumphs: Did certain experiences, perhaps dealing with adversity or celebrating triumphs, particularly influence your growth?
  • Evolution: How have the cultural and familial lessons from your upbringing influenced your worldview, values, and future aspirations?

Crafting a Cohesive Narrative

While 250 words might seem restrictive, focus on weaving a concise yet impactful story that encapsulates your upbringing and its influence on you.

Dartmouth's first "Deep Dive" prompt seeks to understand the fabric of your background and how it has sculpted your character and aspirations. Dive deep, be introspective, and craft a narrative that offers a genuine glimpse into your world.

'Be yourself,' Oscar Wilde advised. 'Everyone else is taken.' Introduce yourself.

Dartmouth's prompt resonates with the essence of individuality. Every student brings their unique narrative, beliefs, experiences, and quirks. Through this prompt, Dartmouth seeks to understand *you*, beyond academic achievements and extracurriculars.

Embracing Your Uniqueness

While it's tempting to present an idealized version of oneself, Dartmouth is looking for authenticity. Reflect on:

  • Personality: Are you introspective, outgoing, witty, or analytical? What qualities define you?
  • Passions and Hobbies: What do you love doing in your free time? How do these activities reflect your character or aspirations?
  • Personal Stories: Share an anecdote or experience that captures your essence.

Moving Beyond the Resume

Avoid reiterating what's already in your application. This is a chance to share aspects of your life and personality that don't fit neatly into traditional application boxes.

Be Genuine and Introspective

While keeping your introduction relevant and the tone appropriately formal, consider how you can also incorporate some touches of intimacy and vulnerability with some deeper introspection and with some authentic and genuine sharing about who you are.

Using Your Voice

Sometimes an introduction is formal. But for this essay, also consider using elements of your authentic personal voice to help convey unique features of your personality. Be it a streak of humility or a sense of humor, use an authentic voice to reveal meaningful insights into your individuality.

Crafting a Personal Statement

Given the brevity of the prompt, every word should contribute to your narrative. Be concise yet compelling, ensuring the introduction offers a genuine reflection of who you are.

Dartmouth's second "Deep Dive" prompt is a canvas for you to paint a portrait of yourself. This isn't about showcasing achievements but about presenting an authentic, holistic image of who you are. Dive deep into introspection, embrace your uniqueness, and introduce yourself in a way that remains memorable and genuine.

How to Answer Dartmouth’s “Exploratory" Questions?

Navigating Dartmouth's exploratory essay prompts requires a blend of introspection and a clear understanding of what the college values. While each question is a chance to spotlight a distinct facet of your character, they collectively serve to convey your fit for Dartmouth's vibrant community.

What excites you?

Genuine enthusiasm.

Share what genuinely excites you, not what you think Dartmouth wants to hear.

Make it Compelling

Don't only skim the surface or introduce sources of excitement that are superficial in nature. Connect what excites you with deeper passions and aspirations.

  • Look for more profound topics. For example, going to a baseball game may be exciting for you, but does it connect to deeper experiences, reflections, or aspirations? That said, maybe going to a baseball game with a specific family member was exciting because of the relationship and the opportunity these baseball outings presented to deepen it.
  • Emphasize sources of excitement that truly reflect or shape your personality and which connect with things you care deeply about.

Personal Anecdote

  • Illustrate your passion through a personal story, giving a genuine glimpse into what drives you.
  • Highlight anecdotes that will help the reader appreciate the contexts that make your insights compelling for you.
  • Craft vivid narratives that cast light on people, events, or circumstances that shaped your feelings of excitement and to make your response more memorable.

Connect with Dartmouth

Maybe there's a Dartmouth program or club that aligns with your passion or with what excites you. Showing that connection can demonstrate both your genuine interest and how you'd immerse yourself on campus. Reveal how what excites you will shape your contributions to campus life and specific goals or aspirations you have for college and beyond.

  • Discovering the world of computational biology during a summer program transformed my view of computer science, from merely app development to solving biological mysteries. Dartmouth's interdisciplinary courses promise further exploration into this thrilling intersection.
  • Art, for me, isn't just a hobby; it's a lens through which I see the world. Every brush stroke or sketch is a reflection of my interpretations. At Dartmouth, I'm excited about the potential of integrating art with academic studies, enriching my perspectives further.

The first "Exploratory" prompt is very open ended. Try to home in on a source of excitement that offers insights into your more profound passions, motivations, and perspectives on life. Be genuine and be sure to connect what excites you with larger aspirations.

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 already making — an impact? Why? How?

This prompt calls for a profound understanding of your own commitment to betterment and change. Dartmouth values students who are not just achievers in the academic sense but also those who aspire to make a meaningful impact on society through commitment, conviction, and courage.

Genuine Motivations

Deeply reflect upon the driving forces behind your actions. What inspires you to create change? Whether it's a personal experience, someone you look up to, or a broader vision for society, share the root of your motivations.

Link to Dartmouth's Values

Show that your vision aligns with Dartmouth's ethos. Perhaps there's a Dartmouth initiative, club, or program that corresponds with your efforts to create positive change.

Narrative Engagement

Use storytelling to bring your experiences to life. Instead of simply stating facts, walk the reader through your journey, the challenges you faced, and the lessons learned.

Vision for the Future

Expand on how Dartmouth can be the platform for furthering your initiatives or supporting your drive for societal improvement.

  • Driven by witnessing educational inequalities in my community, I initiated a tutoring program for underprivileged students. Dartmouth's Tucker Center, with its extensive community service programs, inspires me to scale my initiative to broader horizons.
  • Ever since participating in a local environmental cleanup, I've been motivated to promote sustainable living. At Dartmouth, I see an opportunity to engage deeply with the Dartmouth Organic Farm, expanding my understanding and driving larger community initiatives.

Dartmouth's second "Exploratory" prompt offers an avenue to express your genuine commitment to pursuing a purpose-driven life and enacting positive change. Through a combination of personal storytelling and a forward-looking mindset, this is your chance to showcase how your life's purpose aligns with Dartmouth's values. Share how you can contribute positively to campus life and reflect on how Dartmouth can help you further your impact on the world.

Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel of Dartmouth's Class of 1925, wrote, 'Think and wonder. Wonder and think.' As you wonder and think, what's on your mind?

This unique prompt from Dartmouth encourages you to introspect and share your musings, highlighting how deep reflection forms an integral part of your character. It offers a window into your mindset, showcasing how you engage with the world around you.

Venture Beyond the Superficial

While it might be tempting to discuss a recent event or popular topic, delve deeper. Reflect on those bigger questions or thoughts that linger in your mind. It could be something philosophical, societal, or even a personal revelation.

Relate to Dartmouth’s Legacy

Given the mention of Theodor Geisel, an illustrious Dartmouth alumnus, consider ways in which your reflections might connect to Dartmouth’s storied history, its emphasis on liberal arts, or its commitment to fostering critical thinkers.

Just as with the previous prompt, storytelling can be a powerful tool here. Walk the reader through your thought process, the genesis of your musings, and the conclusions or further questions they led to.

Consider Dartmouth’s Environment

Dartmouth's unique setting, amidst the serene landscapes of Hanover, provides the perfect backdrop for reflection. Consider weaving in how such an environment can further fuel your introspection and quest for answers.

  • Contemplating the ever-evolving nature of language, I often wonder about the next phase of human communication. Dartmouth’s rich linguistic courses and its diverse community provide the ideal setting for such explorations.
  • In today's digital age, I ponder the balance between connectivity and genuine human interactions. Dartmouth’s tight-knit community offers a compelling environment to explore this, bridging the traditional with the contemporary.

Dartmouth’s third “Exploratory” prompt is an opportunity to provide insights into your deeper reflections and how you process the world around you. By delving into genuine thoughts and connecting them with Dartmouth's ethos and environment, you can craft a compelling narrative that underscores your fit for the institution.

Celebrate your nerdy side.

Dartmouth recognizes that it's often our quirks, those distinctive characteristics and passions, that make us uniquely interesting. This prompt invites you to showcase a side of yourself that might not be immediately evident but is an intrinsic part of who you are.

True Colors

It's vital to ensure your response is genuine. Highlighting an authentic quirk or passion can create a more memorable and personal essay. Whether it's a hobby, a talent, or a particular mindset, delve into something you truly identify with.

Narrative Storytelling

Consider using anecdotes or personal stories to illustrate your point. A short narrative about a time when your "nerdy side" played a significant role can effectively showcase your personality and make your essay more engaging.

Relate to Dartmouth

While discussing your quirks, find a way to connect it to Dartmouth's environment or ethos. Perhaps there's a club, organization, or course at Dartmouth that aligns with your quirky side. Demonstrating how your unique traits would fit into and benefit the Dartmouth community can add depth to your essay.

Deep Reflection

Go beyond just describing your quirks. Reflect on why they matter to you, how they've shaped your perspectives, and the role they've played in your life.

  • Ever since I started collecting antique calculators, I've been dubbed the "math historian" among my friends. At Dartmouth, I hope to merge this love for history and math by delving into the evolution of mathematical theories.
  • I've always been fascinated by the intricacies of board games, often creating my own. Through Dartmouth's Game Design Club, I hope to bring my unique designs to life, encouraging strategic and creative thinking.

Dartmouth's fourth "Exploratory" prompt offers a chance for applicants with a passion for, or obsession with, a particular intellectual or academic interest, or other kind of interest that captivates them, to embrace it and share it in an essay that is compelling and memorable. By focusing on genuine characteristics and weaving a narrative that connects to Dartmouth's values and offerings, you can create a standout essay. Highlight an important area of personal fascination while helping Dartmouth understand how this might shape your aspirations and participation in college life.

'It's not easy being green…' was the frequent refrain of Kermit the Frog. How has difference been a part of your life, and how have you embraced it as part of your identity and outlook?

Dartmouth acknowledges and celebrates the diverse backgrounds and experiences of its students. This prompt provides an avenue to discuss how you've encountered, processed, and embraced differences in your life, be it in terms of race, culture, beliefs, or personal experiences. It’s an opportunity to highlight your unique journey — and perhaps exceptional resilience or insights shaped by this journey — while foreshadowing the positive ways you’ll impact the college community.

Personal and Genuine Experiences

Begin by introspecting on moments in your life when you felt different or stood out. Was it due to cultural, racial, personal beliefs, or perhaps a unique experience? Share these genuine stories to give a deeper insight into your journey.

Navigating Challenges and Growth

Being different often comes with challenges. Discuss how you navigated them, the insights gained, and how these experiences contributed to personal growth. Show how these challenges strengthened your character and shaped your worldview.

  • Did they help you develop personal resilience? If so, how is this reflected in real events or relationships in your life, or in challenges you’ve faced?
  • Does your experience with difference shape your worldview, personality, or your perspectives?
  • Do these factors impact other facets of your life experiences, such as interpersonal relationships, school or community life, or your views on society?

Connect to Dartmouth

Highlight how you see Dartmouth's diverse community as an extension or complement to your experiences. Maybe there are student groups, initiatives, or programs at Dartmouth that align with your journey. This connection can underscore your fit within the Dartmouth community.

Celebrate the Differences

Rather than merely discussing the challenges, celebrate the advantages and strengths that come from embracing diversity. How has it made you a more empathetic, open-minded, or resilient individual?

  • Growing up in a multicultural neighborhood, I've always been the bridge between various cultures, facilitating understanding. Dartmouth's Global Village program, emphasizing cultural exchange, resonates with my experiences.
  • Being the only left-hander in my family always made me feel unique. This simple difference taught me early on that there's no one-size-fits-all approach. At Dartmouth, I'm eager to be part of communities that appreciate and celebrate such nuances.

Dartmouth's fifth "Exploratory" prompt offers an opportunity to reflect on your personal journey and how it's shaped by the differences you've encountered or embraced. By intertwining personal narratives with Dartmouth's ethos and values, you can create an impactful essay that showcases your understanding and appreciation of diversity in its many forms.

As noted in the College's mission statement, ‘Dartmouth educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership…’ Promise and potential are important aspects of the assessment of any college application, but they can be elusive qualities to capture. Highlight your potential and promise for us; what would you like us to know about you?

Dartmouth is seeking students who not only excel academically but also exhibit promise in their endeavors and potential to impact the world. This prompt is your opportunity to showcase your capabilities, determination, and the promise you hold for the future.

Highlight Authentic Moments

Recall instances where your potential was evident, be it through academic accomplishments, extracurricular leadership, or personal growth moments. Choose stories that capture your drive, ambition, and the qualities that set you apart.

Relate to Dartmouth's Values

Dartmouth's mission emphasizes both lifelong learning and responsible leadership. Ensure your essay reflects these aspects. Discuss how Dartmouth's programs, values, or opportunities align with your potential and how they can further amplify it.

Evolution and Growth

Rather than just stating your achievements, reflect on your journey. How did you overcome challenges? What did you learn? Demonstrating growth gives depth to your potential and makes it more tangible.

Envision Your Future

Project into the future. How do you see your potential evolving at Dartmouth? In what ways do you hope to contribute to the community and eventually make an impact in your chosen field or the broader world?

  • My initiative in founding a community service club showcased not just leadership, but a potential to drive change. At Dartmouth, I'm excited to further this potential through hands-on service projects and leadership seminars.
  • From initiating a school-wide recycling program to representing my school in national debates, my journey has been about discovering and nurturing my potential. Dartmouth's focus on holistic education and fostering leadership resonates deeply with where I see myself evolving.

Dartmouth's sixth "Exploratory" prompt is an open canvas for you to highlight your strengths, journey, and vision for the future. By weaving in authentic experiences with Dartmouth's values and offerings, you can craft a compelling narrative that showcases not just who you are, but who you aspire to be in the Dartmouth community and beyond.

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General Guidelines for Answering Dartmouth's Supplemental Essay Questions

1. deep dive into dartmouth.

Dartmouth's prompts allow you to demonstrate your affinity with the college's ethos and community.

  • Highlight specific courses, faculty members, research opportunities, or clubs that align with your interests.
  • Be detailed in your approach to specific aspects of college life or specific academic offerings or resources that hold a genuine interest for you personally in order to spotlight the depth of your commitment to understanding Dartmouth.

2. Introspective Insight

Dartmouth highly values self-aware learners. When discussing personal experiences or academic interests, always loop back to the personal growth, insights, or lessons you've absorbed over time.

3. Champion Diversity

Dartmouth is proud of its diverse and inclusive student community.

  • Highlight the unique perspectives, experiences, or backgrounds you'd bring and how these have influenced your own evolving self-awareness and life journey in profound ways.
  • Emphasize how these perspectives and experiences will enhance diversity at Dartmouth and shape unique contributions you’ll make to community life and academic dialogue at Dartmouth.

4. Genuine Narratives

Honesty resonates deeply. Craft responses that echo your true passions, hurdles, and aspirations, rather than what you feel the admissions committee wants to hear.

  • Use a personal voice and/or personal anecdotes to convey authentic glimpses into your unique life circumstances and influences.
  • Keep it relevant to the college admissions process, but don’t shy away from sharing intimate features of your personality, inner thoughts, “hidden” interests, and remember some glimpses of humility and vulnerability may add authenticity or further help you make your essay more memorable.

5. Focus on Depth

The word limits mean precision is crucial. Opt for depth over breadth, delving into a few points in detail rather than skimming over many.

6. Engaging Storytelling

Craft your essays in a compelling narrative format. An evocative story or reflection often remains etched in the reader's mind longer than mere facts. Use relevant narrative or storytelling techniques and vivid description, with an emphasis on showing, not telling, to help make introspective elements and reflections more natural, convincing, compelling, and memorable.

7. Meticulous Proofreading

Ensure your essays are impeccable. Beyond checking for grammatical errors, ensure your narrative flows smoothly and communicates your main points effectively. Consider getting feedback from peers or mentors for fresh insights.

8. Tie to the Larger Context

Position your answers in the broader context of your potential contributions to Dartmouth.

  • Highlight future-facing aspirations, goals, or commitments.
  • Describe how the college's offerings and ethos align with your aspirations.
  • Reveal what contributions you expect to make as a valuable member of the Dartmouth community.
  • Explain how Dartmouth will further your goals and aspirations.

9. Embrace the Process

Remember, these essays offer a unique opportunity to showcase facets of yourself beyond academics. Relish this chance to illustrate why Dartmouth and you could be the ideal fit.

Armed with these guidelines, you're poised to craft compelling responses that not only answer Dartmouth's supplemental questions but also resonate with the spirit of the institution.

What Makes Crimson Different

Final Thoughts

Dartmouth doesn’t shy away from creative supplemental essay prompts. Nor do they want you to shy away from embracing and celebrating what most makes you, you — whether something deep and purposeful, something quirky, something that’s complex and laced with vulnerability, or an exciting passion…

When multiple prompts are offered, choose the prompt that resonates best with you and will allow you to probe qualities of your personality, life journey, and college aspirations that will play a central role shaping your contributions and achievements at Dartmouth.

Dartmouth wants to get to know you better. Be authentic to your personality. If you’re unsure if the essay sounds like you, have someone close to you read it and tell you if it sounds like you. While grammar and spelling are important, showcasing the unique qualities that make you perfect for Dartmouth are equally important.

Need help with your supplemental essays? Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admission consulting company. Our expert admission strategist can help you narrow down your ideas and word choice to help you craft the perfect essay prompt response. Get your essay reviewed today!

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Dartmouth University Essays that Worked

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Dartmouth Essays that Worked – Introduction

Are you interested in learning more about how to get into Dartmouth? Dartmouth is a highly-ranked Ivy League institution with a competitive applicant pool. Located in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth is ranked #12 in the nation by U.S. News. However, this high ranking also means the Dartmouth acceptance rate is low—just 6% . So, you should understand all aspects of the Dartmouth application and review some Dartmouth essays that worked as you prepare to apply.

In this guide, we will focus on the Dartmouth supplemental essay requirement. Many Ivy League institutions have similar approaches to their application review. Reading college essay examples for Ivy League colleges and reviewing sample Ivy League essays can help you put your best foot forward. 

Does Dartmouth have supplemental essays? 

Yes—Dartmouth has supplemental essays.

The Dartmouth writing supplement is a required portion of the Dartmouth application. The Dartmouth admissions committee uses Dartmouth supplemental essays to gather additional information about each applicant.

In this article, we will cover Dartmouth essays that worked and offer tips on how to get into Dartmouth. You can also check out this guide for more college essay examples for other schools like Dartmouth.

How many essays does Dartmouth require?

Dartmouth Essays That Worked

The Dartmouth admissions committee requires three Dartmouth essays in addition to the Personal Essay required on the Common Application . Three Dartmouth essays may seem like a lot. However, don’t worry—it’s not as overwhelming as you might think. Each Dartmouth essay varies in length and theme. Some Dartmouth essay questions are even as short as 100 words.

Keep reading for some Dartmouth supplemental essays examples. 

Dartmouth Essay Requirements 

Dartmouth essays can vary from year to year, so you should always double-check the prompts on the Dartmouth website. The Dartmouth essay prompts are typically announced on August 1 st when the new application launches. However, it’s never too early to begin reviewing sample Ivy League essays. Later in the article, we will review a series of Dartmouth essays that worked from previous application cycles. 

Current Dartmouth essay prompts: 

Prompt #1: why dartmouth (100 words): .

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.

Prompt #2: Introduce Yourself (200-250 words): 

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

Prompt #3: Choose One ( 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?

The Dartmouth acceptance rate can be intimidating, but CollegeAdvisor is here to help . Keep reading to review some Dartmouth essays that worked. We will start by covering three real Why Dartmouth essay examples. 

Why Dartmouth Essay Examples

Dartmouth Essays That Worked

Dartmouth admissions cares about why you are interested in their school. Essay prompts that ask applicants to articulate what interests them about a school are often referred to as “Why <Insert College>” essays. In this guide, we will discuss Why Dartmouth essays specifically. 

It’s important to note that Why School essay prompts can be worded differently from school to school. Prompts may also change from one year to the next. 

In this guide, we will cover four Why Dartmouth essays that worked . The first three Dartmouth essays that worked answer a more creative prompt. The last Dartmouth essay answers a more straightforward prompt. However, in each of the prompts, the Dartmouth admissions committee is asking students to ponder some of the same questions: 

Why Dartmouth Reflection Questions

  • What interests you in Dartmouth compared to any other college?
  • What academic and social features would make you a good fit at Dartmouth?
  • How would attending Dartmouth help you achieve your future career goals?

Now, let’s review some Why Dartmouth essay examples.

Dartmouth Essays that Worked #1

Since LGBTQ+ homeless youth are often at the intersections of racism, ableism, and queerphobia, no one discipline, or class, could cover every facet of their experience. 

However, at Dartmouth, I can use the Presidential Scholar Program to research with Dr. Zaneta Thayer. By examining ways poverty and trauma affect health, I will refine the research skills I’ll use during a Senior Fellowship on Houston’s LGBTQ+ homeless youth. 

With help from a Rockefeller Center faculty member, I can spend my senior-year researching ways policymakers and practitioners can better assist LGBTQ+ homeless youth, preparing me for a lifetime of meaningful change.

Why this essay worked: 

The first of our Why Dartmouth essays that worked focuses on an element of diversity and inclusion on Dartmouth’s campus. The author has clearly done their research about what Dartmouth has to offer inside and outside of the classroom . The essay begins by explicitly stating a cause that the author finds valuable and that Dartmouth supports. The author then proceeds to mention a current Dartmouth professor whose research aligns with this work. 

Successful Why Dartmouth essay examples mention campus and community impact. This author not only paints a picture of how they might expand awareness of LGBTQ+ issues on Dartmouth’s campus, but also how they will use their Dartmouth education to engage with their broader community. Finally, the author mentions how their Dartmouth college experience will ultimately prepare them to make a lifelong impact after graduation.

A strong Why School essay should also touch on the missions and values of the institution. Dartmouth’s mission statement states, “Dartmouth educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge”. This Why School essay perfectly embodies the mission by focusing on dedicated faculty and lifelong impact. Keep reading for more Dartmouth supplemental essays examples. 

Why Dartmouth essay examples #2

Within a venn diagram of “small liberal arts college” versus “large research institution,” I have discovered that I cannot simply choose between the two; I greatly value ideals from each distinct circle. 

Dartmouth is the millimeter-wide overlap. With the robust undergraduate education characteristic of small liberal arts colleges and the vast resources offered by large research institutions, Dartmouth encapsulates my ideal college community. Tight-knit relationships, check. School spirit, check. Top-notch alumni network, check. 

For a small college, Dartmouth furnishes big possibilities. Within a Venn diagram, it is inside this unique, all-encompassing space that I wish to make my home.

Why this essay worked:

The second of our Why Dartmouth essay examples addresses how, as a small college, Dartmouth is a perfect fit for the writer. The author places Dartmouth at the intersection between a small college and a large research institution. Not only does this Dartmouth essay example show that the applicant is knowledgeable about Dartmouth; it also shows that they have researched how Dartmouth stacks up to other schools. 

Unlike the previous essay, this Dartmouth essay didn’t feel the need to name-drop any top faculty members or signature academic programs . Instead, this author chose to highlight campus features such as school spirit and the alumni network. This Dartmouth essay example is straightforward, unpretentious, and relatively informal in its writing style. This author goes deeper than Dartmouth college rankings and paints a picture of the soul of the institution. 

Why Dartmouth essay examples #3

I loved Dartmouth the moment I heard about the Sanborn Tea. There’s something magical, romantic , about it—sitting under dark wood bookshelves, surrounded by the scent of books, sipping hot tea in front of a roaring fireplace.

When visiting Dartmouth, I asked about the tea, but my tour guide didn’t mention the checkered floors or the buttery cookies I’d read about. Smiling gently, she spoke about loving the chance to chat one-on-one with her favorite professor every week at four o’clock—tea time. 

Dartmouth offers not only academics, but absolutely unmatched intimacy, tradition, and community. Tea at Sanborn is just the start.

So far, we’ve read two why Dartmouth essay examples. Each chose to take a different approach. Our third essay in the Why Dartmouth essay examples series is no different. This author chooses to focus on tradition. The author uses descriptive language to paint a vivid picture of the Sandborn tea tradition. They use vivid descriptions and evocative language to highlight their connection to this tradition and their desire to experience it at Dartmouth. 

Some colleges use demonstrated interest as part of their admissions process. Demonstrated interest can be anything from attending a college fair or going on a campus tour to opening an email from the admissions office. While Dartmouth does not consider demonstrated interest in their application process, visiting campus is always a great way to better answer the Why School essay question. Not every author of Dartmouth essays that worked had the opportunity to visit campus. However, they all find some way to add an insider’s touch to these Dartmouth supplemental essays examples. 

Here is the last of our Why Dartmouth essay examples: 

What attracts you to dartmouth (100)   .

I always had a keen interest in numbers, probability, and finance. Early on, I could quickly calculate sales tax, analyze probabilities, and visualize complex mathematical models. After taking AP classes in economics and statistics, I became intrigued with mathematical representations for economic markets and statistical models. This sparked my desire to pursue an actuarial career to utilize my talents in quantitative reasoning. The Major in Mathematical Data Science will provide me the skills to apply abstract mathematical and statistical theories to the concrete world. I will also have the opportunity to stimulate my academic intrigue through an intensive research project.

The last of our Why Dartmouth essay examples is much more straightforward than the previous one. This author chooses to focus solely on the academic components of Dartmouth. However, this simple approach works quite well for this applicant. 

The Dartmouth acceptance rate and the Dartmouth college ranking show just how important academics are at Dartmouth. This applicant speaks directly to their ability to succeed in an academically rigorous environment. 

The author talks us through what has prepared them for the academic rigor at Dartmouth. They also mention how their passions and talents led them to choose a career in actuary science . Finally, they tell us what they plan to do once at Dartmouth. 

This is one of the more simply structured Why Dartmouth essay examples. However, it still answers the prompt perfectly. Keep reading for more Dartmouth supplemental essays examples. 

More Dartmouth Essays that Worked

Dartmouth Essays that Worked

The second Dartmouth essay prompt gives students several prompts to choose from. These prompts change frequently from year to year. In the following Dartmouth essays that worked, we will review a selection of these prompts.

While prompts may change frequently, a strong supplemental essay often contains the same essay components. So, don’t worry about these prompts being from previous admissions cycles. You can use these Dartmouth Supplemental essays examples and other sample Ivy League essays to help craft your own essay. 

After reading through the following Dartmouth supplemental essays examples, we encourage you to view one of our webinars on brainstorming for your college essay,  editing your supplemental essays, and essay advice from admissions officers . 

Now, let’s review some more Dartmouth supplemental essays examples. With several different prompts these Dartmouth supplemental essays examples allow students to show their personality off!

Dartmouth Essays that Worked #1: Introduce Yourself Essay 

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. (250-300 words).

Since my earliest days, my favorite game has been Truth or Dare. In the 1001 ways my friends posed the question, I loudly called out “Dare!” each time and found myself devouring dead ants or climbing trees sky-high. As we grew older, we left behind our hushed whispers and daredevil operations. But something in me never quite stopped playing—never quite stopped choosing dare.

Fifteen years old, I circled the backstage of Spivey Hall, nervously evaluating a plethora of “what-if”s.” What if my bow bounces on the artificial harmonic? Worse, what if — CRACK! The room jolted into pitch black, followed by the conductor barging through the stage doors. “[NAME REDACTED], I’m so sorry… seems like… you won’t be able to perform your concerto…” he sighed. 

I was only half listening, as an idea had crossed my mind. It was crazy, the sort of thing that might have come to me in a fever dream, where nothing made sense. For the first time in years, I felt that question flicker inside me again. Truth or Dare ?

I began to tighten my bow. “Mr. Thibdeau, the show must go on.”

My intense desire to discover, to brave the unknown, is what defines me. Because of Truth or Dare, I do not fear what lies at the end of the tunnel. To dare brings the possibility of glory and of undoing. I subsist on finding the beauty in both. The fall from a tree that illuminates physics principles, the slip of memory in a blind performance that invokes a hidden propensity for improvisation—even through undoing, I make new parts of myself.

Perhaps one day, ants and trees and Mozart will have all coalesced into nothing but ancient history. Until then, my world is born through Truth or Dare.

I will still choose dare every time.

This author used the widely known game “Truth or Dare” to introduce themselves. Immediately, the Dartmouth admissions committee can see that the author has taken a unique approach to this essay prompt. This shows the applicant thinks out the box and takes intellectual risks. The author does a great job at describing how their daring nature transcends different areas of their life. 

From a stylistic vantage point, the author uses prose, descriptive sentences, and dialogue flawlessly throughout the essay. This dynamic writing style keeps the reader engaged from the beginning to the end of the essay. While the author does not explicitly mention how they might “dare” on Dartmouth’s campus, the final sentence leaves you wondering what’s next for this risk-taking student.

Dartmouth Essays that Worked #2: Celebrate Curiosity 

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. .

Exhausted and bored, I stare at the hands of the clock in agony. With each tick I digest another spoonful: memorize the formula, rearrange it, plug in the knowns, and solve. I am left perpetually unstimulated. For years, this is what math was about for me — plug and chug. However, I have discovered that mathematics does not have to be so dry and uncreative. Probing and problem-solving captivate me. At once, I am the intrepid Olivia Benson of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit , and then I am the analytical Spencer Reid of Criminal Minds .  

And thus, as I entered Calculus BC in September of junior year, I was begrudgingly prepared to embark on the usual plugging and chugging. However, I found myself staring at a proof: determine why sin(x)/x goes to one as x approaches zero. Why . I heard pencils nervously tapping on the desks then collapsing one by one. I raced through a mental check-list of techniques I had previously learned. And, I analyzed the function in my head, visualized it, and then transferred that picture onto paper. With no single, linear method to solving it, my scribbled attempts painted pages of graph paper. Frustrating. Agonizing.  

Student’s notebooks shuffled onto different subjects. I persisted, raising question after question, much like Captain Olivia Benson, in her attempts to identify the perpetrator. I eventually found success using the “sandwich theorem” — ironic, since I was often hungry in that class. After multiple endeavors, I demonstrated that the limit equals one. Frustrating. Agonizing. Beautiful. A wave of pleasure rolled over me as I softly set down my pencil. From then on, every few weeks, an interesting problem awaited us.

Though I was not alone in solving these proofs, it appeared that I was the only one relishing this process. Like Agent Spencer Reid, I was not concerned with the “usefulness” of this information in my future; I found pure pleasure delving into this abstract material that requires creativity. 

My inquisitiveness is not learned from these TV personalities: I feel as if I were born with these analytical tendencies. Curiosity is the genesis of scientific, political, and social — practically all  — advancement. To some, mathematical skills seem mundane, but synthesizing information to surmount my daily obstacles is enticing! I find myself employing the use of these skills in my exploration of literature, synthesizing history and language to better understand the characters of Crime and Punishment: empathizing with Sonia’s suffering and Dounia’s sacrifice.

Similarly, this mindset helped me find a unique way to stop my neighborhood-famous homemade guacamole from browning and helps me expeditiously calculate distances and speed limits,  technology-free, in order to find the quickest way to a friend’s house. While Emily Dickinson immersed herself in writing and Vincent Van Gogh was constantly painting, my characteristic is to never stop my questioning. Challenges are extremely enticing, and I cannot cease exploring them on my own.

Curiosity is often thought of as the cornerstone of intellectual growth. With Dartmouth’s low acceptance rate, it makes sense that the Dartmouth admissions team would be interested in how applicants display curiosity. The author takes time to illustrate exactly what curiosity means to them while also giving examples of curiosity displayed in multiple areas in their life. 

The author describes their interest in learning for the sake of learning alone. They describe television shows, books, and courses in school as the playground that allowed them to discover their love of learning. This level of intellectual exploration is exactly the type of curious student that Dartmouth would like to see. 

Dartmouth Essays that Worked: Passion to Action Essay

Labor leader dolores huerta is a civil rights activist who co-founded the organization now known as united farm workers. she said, “we criticize and separate ourselves from the process. we’ve got to jump right in there with both feet.” speak your truth: talk about a time when your passion became action. (300 words) .

I sat waiting for my nails to dry while a hoard of anxiety-ridden freshmen trudged onto the bus. I was returning to the place where it all started four years ago: when my classmates used ‘faggot’ instead of gay and left me terrified. 

As a peer leader, I wanted to be the overzealous queer presence I wished I had seen as a freshman. Gay jokes and bigotry weren’t fortifying closet locks under my watch. 

The boys on my bus didn’t disappoint. Within the hour, an intense game of ‘find the homo’ was on. 

This was where I belonged. And after my topcoat was done, I was ready for war. 

Upon arrival, I grabbed two other peer leaders–I’ll call them Adam and Steve–and debriefed them. Although they had a religious objection to homosexuality, they agreed to support me. 

That night, we sat the freshmen before the campfire. I watched my words carefully, referencing their comments and my own experiences from freshman year so they would understand my concerns rather than dismiss me. 

I told them I was there to talk without judgment. None of them were bad people. Until that night, their behavior had gone uncorrected, and just scolding wouldn’t motivate them to change. I wanted them to learn how their peers should be treated. 

The next day, several jokesters apologized. I stressed to them that even if someone believes that homosexuality is wrong, common decency still matters. Later, several closeted students came out to me and asked for advice.

My queer identity has taught me how to create queer-affirming spaces while still having difficult conversations. I’ve learned that bringing people together has less to do with finding common ground than teaching others to respect differences.

This Dartmouth essay example centers the author’s identity while also answering the prompt. The author shows vulnerability by writing about a situation that invoked both sadness and anger. Through the author’s own queer identity, they were able to illustrate how passionate they were about this cause. 

While this is one of the Dartmouth essays that worked, this author took some risks. Using vulgar or offensive language in your college application must be done very thoughtfully. The language used in the first paragraph of this essay might be jarring at first glance. However, the author uses this language only to further underscore their passion. Being a member of the queer community also eases any negative impact of the language used. 

Keep reading for more Dartmouth supplemental essays examples. 

More Dartmouth Essays that Worked 

Yes, books are dangerous,” young people’s novelist pete hautman proclaimed. “they should be dangerous—they contain ideas.” what book or story captured your imagination through the ideas it revealed to you share how those ideas influenced you..

I think that this is best answered by sharing the letter I wrote to the author after reading A Place for Us:

Reading has always been my favorite escape, my favorite pastime. Only, your book was never an escape, but a mirror: the first time I saw my life truly reflected in literature, and not because you told an Indian-American story. I felt as though you’d written my story through the raw, honest meditation on family conveyed in your book.

As is true with many immigrant families,  my family resorts to anger too quickly. We shy away from expressing love. I’ve cried out that I hate my father on more than one occasion, passionately believing it to be true each time — just like Amar did to Rafiq. 

However, as I read Rafiq’s dying words to Amar at the end of the story, expressing his regrets, his love for his son, I couldn’t stop crying because I suddenly saw my family in a completely different light. Not that we will never disagree or fight again, but I began to consider all that goes unsaid between us.

Behind the anger is almost always love. Although I’ve known this subconsciously, there is something about seeing your struggles outside the context of your own life that compels you to confront the truth about them. 

I’m endlessly indebted to you, in awe of you, and I needed to say thank you. I cannot begin to express how much this book truly means to me but have tried to explain a small portion of my love for it. Thank you, Ms. Mirza, for my new favorite book. I will carry it with me always.

[Name redacted]

This essay takes a creative approach to answering the prompt. Instead of just discussing their favorite book, they take a stylistic risk by sharing their essay in a letter format. The letter format works because it shows just how personally the book affected the author. And it still answers the prompt! 

This author also shares a window into their culture. If you read other Dartmouth supplemental essays examples or sample Ivy League essays, you will notice many students sharing some part of their identity, background, or culture. This author does a good job of giving the Dartmouth admissions committee more insight into their upbringing. 

Dartmouth Essays that Worked: Kermit the Frog Essay 

”it’s not easy being green” was a frequent lament of kermit the frog. discuss. 300 words..

It’s well intentioned, I get it. Flowers are an ephemeral beauty, conveying underlying meaning. Yellows for friendship, red roses for romance. Remembering a girlfriend’s favorite flower is a common trope, the epitome of a loving partner.

But to me, flower shops are slaughterhouses, the vendors of a tragic foie gras. A snip severs the artery of a bud, a flower doomed to death by lack of foundation, losing the security of Maslow’s hierarchy.  A doomed career, wilting, never to see the light of sun again.

So here I am crusading for the mute, their silence a frequency more piercing than words. That flower bud had endless potential, surviving as a seedling, buried in peat as civilizations rose and fell at the hands of greedy men. That seed finally found her opportunity to thrive, to be worthy, to be a flower, then cruelly seized for a few dollars and fewer days of appreciation. It’s difficult to be a plant among the egotistical human, a being which thinks himself to be the top of the chain. The flower counterclaims – flowers mean fruit, and fruit is beautiful sustenance.

Somehow, trying to choose a thank-you bouquet turned into this internal debate, a realization of how poorly we treat other life forms, as if they are to accommodate us in this universe in which we’ve only existed for a second. I thought of that village in China, lost without its bees, its remaining flowers pollinated by hand one-by-one.

It isn’t easy being green. You have no voice, no way to fight back except at the very end to yell with a faint echo from the grave: a cry of  “I told you that you needed me,” before fading back to silence as Earth implodes around you, succumbing to exponentially rising extinctions and global warming.

This author takes a creative and reflective approach to this prompt. The essay is full of prose and shows off the authors’ strength as a writer. Instead of focusing on Kermit the Frog, the author chooses to personify flowers. In flowery language, the author describes the lifecycle of a flower, causing the reader to feel empathy.

The author ends the essay with a nod to all green things on earth. This shows their awareness of environmental issues, particularly in the closing sentence. Overall, this essay is the perfect match for this unconventional prompt. The author is confident in their approach and shows the reader they are deep, thoughtful, and aware of issues plaguing the globe. 

Dartmouth Essay Examples: Dr. Seuss Essay 

Oh, the places you’ll go is one of the most popular books by ”dr. seuss” (theodore seuss geisel, dartmouth class of 1925). where do you hope to go what aspects of dartmouth’s curriculum or community might help you get there 100 words.

With my head full of brains and my shoes full of feet, my path through Dartmouth would include a D-Plan of semesters on campus and study-abroad. While on campus, I would pursue my interest in the philosophical and linguistics aspects of cognitive science, conducting research under renowned faculty such as Dr. Kraemer, working in education and specifically teaching STEM with his papers on anxiety towards mathematics. Yet Dartmouth would also specifically support my further interest in abroad programs for global health, such as the Dickey’s Center Global Health Initiative’s research site in Peru, a place I have longed to go.

We’ve included this essay in our general Dartmouth supplemental essays examples. However, it could also be included in the Why Dartmouth essay examples. This is another example of a prompt that may be worded differently but in essence asks the same question: why Dartmouth?

This student has clearly done their research on Dartmouth. They mention faculty, research centers on campus, and other opportunities. They also display an inside knowledge of the curricular progression in their major of interest. 

How do you write a Dartmouth essay? 

Dartmouth essay examples

Now, you’ve had a chance to read several Dartmouth essays that worked. As you likely noticed, the Dartmouth essays that worked in this guide have many of the same strengths. Next, let’s discuss how you can apply the same techniques to your Dartmouth supplemental essay. 

Check out these tips used in the Dartmouth essays that worked to assist you while writing your Dartmouth essay.

Dartmouth Essays that Worked Tips

  • Answer the prompt. This one may seem obvious, but it makes a major difference. 
  • Narrow the scope of your essay. You may be tempted to discuss numerous ideas throughout your essay. However, the best essays are those that are focused and narrow in scope.
  • Watch out for grammar and formatting issues . It is important to have multiple proofreaders involved in your revisions. 
  • Every supplemental essay is an opportunity to share “Why Dartmouth.” Don’t miss the opportunity to show that you are a good fit. 

The Why Dartmouth essay examples in this guide can help you get a better sense of what admissions committees look for. Ivy League institutions are highly competitive, and there are no guarantees. However, reviewing sample Ivy League essays can give you insight on how to enhance your application. 

Dartmouth Essays That Worked – Final Thoughts 

When strategizing about how to get into Dartmouth, supplemental essays should be high on your priority list. After all, it’s easy to be intimidated by the Dartmouth acceptance rate or the Dartmouth college rankings . 

Still, as you can see, college essay examples for Ivy League colleges don’t differ much from other essays. However, the more competitive the college, the more you need to stand out. Our Dartmouth supplemental essays examples highlight what makes each writer unique. By highlighting your strengths in your supplemental essays, you can leave a lasting impression on admissions officers. And with many colleges going test-optional , supplemental essays are more important than ever.  

Dartmouth essays that worked are specific, thoughtful, and tailored to Dartmouth. No matter when you plan to apply, you can use our why Dartmouth essay examples and other Dartmouth essays that worked in this guide to help frame your writing. While prompts change each year, the academic standard for a school like Dartmouth rarely changes. Good luck!

Dartmouth Essays that Worked

This article on Dartmouth Essays that Worked was written by Chelsea Holley . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.

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3 Strong Dartmouth Essay Examples

What’s covered:, essay example #1 – the power of stories, essay example #2 – the power of genealogy, essay example #3 – making an impact.

  • Where to Get Your Essay Edited

Dartmouth College has been a sought-after higher education institution since its founding in 1769. This Ivy League college boasts a tight-knit, engaging community that is tucked away in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dartmouth’s student body of around 4,400 is able to explore its interests in 40 departments, and through 65 distinct undergraduate degrees. 

Writing strong essays is one of the most effective ways to stand out among the competition, especially since Dartmouth greatly values creativity in their applicants.  The best way to write well is to read well, so in this post we will share two strong Dartmouth essays and analyze what they did well and where they could improve. Hopefully this will give you a clearer idea of what approach you should take to write your own essay!

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our Dartmouth essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

Prompt: 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. (250-300 words)

As a child, darkness meant nightmares, so I would pester my grandmother to tell me stories while the sun was trapped amongst silver hues. My religious grandmother would proceed to tell me about the Supreme Being in Hindu mythology, made of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer). Together, these Gods defined the cyclical nature of mortal existence through creation and destruction – life and death.

Although I found this idea interesting, each year in my life brought on a better understanding of these Gods’ purposes – I only had a certain number of years before I faced my life’s “destruction.”

My only answer to living more in my one life was to stuff my head into pages filled with the journeys of fictional characters. I was a member of a motorcycle club, a terminally-ill teenager, and much more than what I could be in my physical life. Authors let me experience hundreds of lives through literature, therefore, inspiring me to create fictional lives of my own.

So, hello! I’m Navya – named after a star shining the night I was born. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with the idea that we each experience life only once before our own lives are destroyed, but books have helped me find a way to live thousands of lives. I am an aspiring author and want to write historical fiction books that cheat the Gods, who said that everything must be destroyed, because my characters will never fade. And all this happened because of my grandmother and her love of Hindu mythology. Mythology sparked a quest for me to find how I could get the most out of my life but my mo’olelo is nowhere near its ending. I have more lives to experience and more lives to write. 

What the Essay Did Well

This essay beautifully combines this student’s life story with their passion for physical stories. Connecting these two types of stories gives extra depth and nuance to the essay, showing this student’s ability to think creatively. The idea that her life story revolves around fictional stories shines through in sentences like: “ My only answer to living more in my one life was to stuff my head into pages filled with the journeys of fictional characters .”

Our stories aren’t just comprised of the past though, and this essay does a great job of transitioning from the past to the future. Telling the reader “ Authors let me experience hundreds of lives through literature, therefore, inspiring me to create fictional lives of my own ” lets us appreciate how deeply engrained literature  is in this student’s personal story. The admissions officers reading this essay walk away knowing exactly what this student hopes to do one day and where the inspiration for that career came from. 

The idea of stories are woven throughout this essay, making it exceptionally well-connected. Although the beginning is meant to introduce a sense of fear at mortality this student encountered, it is done so through a story her grandmother told about her culture. Then the student explains the sanctuary and inspiration she found through famous stories, and finally it concludes with her describing the stories she will tell. Combined, all these pieces of mythology and literature form this student’s personal story.

What Could Be Improved

The only real weakness in this essay is the conclusion. While it is well-written and nicely summarizes everything the author has explained, it doesn’t contribute anything new to the essay. The only new pieces of information the reader gains is that the student wants to “ write historical fiction books ” and that her “ mo’olelo is nowhere near its ending .”

To avoid redundancy, the conclusion could have been made stronger if it was simply focused on the future. Discussing this student’s aspirations to be a historical fiction writer—maybe including possible stories or time periods she dreams about—would have made the finale more focused and also have given the same amount of attention to the future of her story as she did the past and present. Then, the essay would chronologically follow this student’s life story from when she was young, to her current passion, to her future goals, allowing the reader to seamlessly see the progression, rather than having it restated for us. 

My earliest memory is spinning in circles with folk dancers in a flurry of gold, red, and green embroidered on black dresses. We weren’t in a dance hall, but in a gymnasium, twirling on three-point arcs and free throw lines. The Bohemian Hall has tons of contradictions like that. In their beer garden, they serve chicken schnitzel and buffalo chicken wings, macaroni and cheese and tlachenka (head cheese). Happy drunken twenty-somethings pass by little kids and nobody thinks anything of it.

Like the Bohemian Hall, the apartment complex I grew up in had its own contradictions. Our Czech landlord, Jardo, was the stereotypical Slavic badass from the movies. Chatting up a crowd drinking their umpteenth Pilsners, he insulted a tenant that dared complain about asbestos in his apartment. After all, asbestos only spreads if you cut the old pipes. Hung on the walls of Jardo’s basement were works of all shapes and sizes, from the lush, rolling hills of Moravian landscapes to the curves of the female body in… suggestive posters. 

Jardo smelled of cigarettes and beer, which my mom told me to avoid at all costs. I wondered why she befriended him. But then I realized that he reminded her of home. We couldn’t go to the Bohemian Hall everyday, but we could always go to Jardo’s basement and talk Czechoslovak celebrity gossip. 

I am constantly brought back to my Slovak heritage, but it is influenced by American lifestyle . I eat goulash at Thanksgiving dinner, speak a mix of English and Slovak (Slovglish?) with my great aunt, and say Na zdravie! instead of Cheers! when I drink champagne on New Year’s Day. My Slovak-American heritage was, and always will be, perfectly contradictory. 

This essay is excellent at telling a vivid story using flowing writing and an organized structure. It has a clear focus that explains how the past has forged the writer’s identity, starting with their earliest memory. The first paragraph establishes the themes of contradiction and the dichotomy between Slovak and American culture. The essay then expounds upon these themes with a human example of what “home” means for the writer’s mother, and ends with a riveting conclusion that clearly states the main message ─ the fascinating cultural contradiction of the writer’s heritage has created their mo’olelo . 

The creative language employed in this essay is also noteworthy. The writer consistently paints a picture with words, for example they use the metaphor of a “Slavic badass” rather than going into detail about Jardo’s personality. They further explain his character by describing his actions, i.e. drinking and insulting, as a third person observer. The hyperbole of “umpteenth” adds humor to the essay, which always helps your essays if done subtly! 

The essay responds to the full essence of the prompt from the angles of genealogy and tradition. She explains her traditions by showing her story rather than telling, which is crucial. The writer also doesn’t frame their essay in a cliché manner, such as by starting the essay with the phrase “the tradition which has had the largest impact on who I am is…” Starting in media res is a great strategy, as is adding unique human details to the story. Jardo would have been less interesting and amorphous had we not been told about his smell and attitude towards asbestos. The essay is the ideal balance between directly and indirectly answering the prompt.

While the essay has many strong points, it has some room for improvement. At 283 words, the writer has extra room they could take advantage of. The most valuable way they could use this space would be to expand their list of contradictions in the conclusion. Much of the essay focuses on the story of Jardo, and while this story is valuable, it could easily be condensed and retain its meaning. Meanwhile, comparisons between traits such as “Slovak frankness and American niceties” would add commentary that the writer couldn’t express with the Jardo story. 

The essay would also benefit from more comparisons that go beyond food and festivities, and ideally a sentence which shows how the writer’s Slovak heritage influenced them at the big picture level. It would be a nice transition to mention how the contradiction of their “Slovak identity” has led them to seek out other contradictions in life—maybe studying two unrelated topics—because they have found the beauty in combining things.

They were everywhere— on the streets begging, in the market stealing, at the prison fighting. Even more disturbing however, was the fact that they were just children. 

In my neighborhood, people give birth to kids in numbers they can barely cater for. These kids in their quest for survival engage in criminal activities, resulting in an alarmingly high rate of juvenile delinquency. 

Having witnessed several cases of jungle justices carried out on these underprivileged kids, I pondered day and night on what to do to save their futures, until I came up with an idea– education. I opened a free school where I taught the kids basics in mathematics, English, and moral ethics. In no time, they began engaging in menial jobs to fend for themselves and eventually dumped their mentality of “steal to eat.” I was also able to successfully liaise with some philanthropists who helped the kids further their education after they graduated from my free foundation. A few other kids who got no sponsors surprisingly took up menial jobs to sponsor themselves. 

Many people were quite puzzled at the fact that I put in so much passion into the kids’ education despite not receiving monetary incentives. However, there was something more than money that inspired me. It was satisfaction– satisfaction from seeing smiles on formerly smileless faces, satisfaction from the feeling that I am brightening dark paths, and satisfaction from knowing that I am impacting my community in a measure no amount of naira can settle.

This writer does an excellent job of fulfilling perhaps the most important objective of this kind of  “Community Service” essay: not only describing the issue they worked to resolve, but also explaining which solution they identified and how this experience as a whole shaped particular aspects of their personality, background, values, etc. They provide us with enough background context for us to understand what’s going on, and then dive right into the details of how they grew.

For example, rather than going on and on about the horrors the kids in their neighborhood faced every day, the student quickly pivots to talking about what they did in order to improve these kids’ lives. That shows that this student is altruistic and can take initiative, two qualities Dartmouth admissions officers prize in applicants. Additionally, by describing how they saw education as the best path towards bettering these kids’ futures, they teach us something about their values—to them, education is clearly key to success, and that knowledge will help admissions officers envision how they would take advantage of Dartmouth’s resources to contribute to the school’s community.

Finally, on a structural level, this student has organized their essay in a way that makes their ideas both impactful and easy to follow. Setting the scene with short, factual lines underscores that while these kids’ circumstances were tragic, they were also simply a part of life in this neighborhood, until this student came along.

Then, the length of the third paragraph helps readers get fully immersed in the story of how this student made a difference for these kids, one step at a time. Finally, they use the last paragraph to effectively sum up the lasting impact this experience had on them and their values, giving Dartmouth admissions officers a clear sense of why this story is relevant to understanding what kind of college student they will be.

Although this prompt does have a somewhat restrictive word count of 250, the student would’ve been well-served if they had gone into more detail about the specific actions they took to better these kids’ lives. Right now, they provide a nice overview of what they did, but there are almost no details about how they made those things happen. In this kind of essay, you want to paint as clear a picture as possible of the impact you made, as the more concrete details admissions officers have, the better they’ll understand which skills and life perspectives you’d bring to Dartmouth.

Since this student is currently right at 249 words, they’ll need to reallocate some space, which means thinking critically about which parts of the essay aren’t absolutely essential in order for readers to understand their story. For many students, wrestling with word counts is the most frustrating part of college essays, but unfortunately it’s an unavoidable reality that you won’t be able to include every single detail, even ones that feel quite important to you.

For example, the lines “I was also able to successfully liaise with some philanthropists who helped the kids further their education after they graduated from my free foundation. A few other kids who got no sponsors surprisingly took up menial jobs to sponsor themselves” are only tangentially related to the core of this story, which is the student’s initiative to educate kids in their neighborhood. Remember, the purpose of the college essay is always to teach admissions officers about yourself , and while the student does touch briefly on their successful liaison skills, overall these lines are more about the philanthropists than the student themself.

Cutting these lines would save the student 40 words, which they could then use to talk more about what exactly they did to set up their free school—that’s an amazing thing to do as a high schooler, and yet the student is selling themselves short by telling pretty much nothing about how they did it! Something like the following, if added after the sentence which ends with “ethics,” would do much more to highlight which abilities/personal talents the student utilized to make this achievement possible:

“Initially, the school idea had seemed far-fetched—I couldn’t afford to buy a building or hire teachers. But then I noticed our family friend’s bakery had an empty back room, and when I asked if I could use it as a study space, he agreed immediately, and even offered to buy some simple chairs and desks. I then recruited some friends to help teach our neighborhood’s kids, and in no time…”

While this suggested replacement is a little longer than the section that was cut, other tweaks here and there in grammar or phrasing could get the student back under the word count. Needing to cut a handful of words may feel a little tedious, but that time will be well spent, as the added details in the lines above give us a much more concrete sense of how the student took initiative to make their dream a reality. 

Finally, these lines also make the sense of satisfaction the student describes in the final paragraph much more impactful. Previously, that paragraph felt like a broad-strokes summary of the student’s emotions during this experience, but now, we can anchor those emotions to specific actions they took, and thus we have a clear sense of exactly how the student earned that satisfied feeling.

Where to Get Your Dartmouth Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your Dartmouth essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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Luke Grayson

Luke Grayson '25

Welcome to the blog of an Englishman studying at Dartmouth—do take a look around! Hopefully, my blogs will provide you with an insight on life at Dartmouth, and specifically through the eyes of an international student. Dartmouth has a ton to offer from the staggering natural beauty of its surroundings and stellar academic programs to the wonderful people you meet along the way. So stay a while, I'll make us cups of tea, and take a moment to discover life at the College on the Hill.

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Favorite thing right now .

Hiking! Especially at sunrise!


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Why Dartmouth?


Why Dartmouth? With a max word count of 100 and asked in a much more convoluted Daniel Webster related fashion, my cursor blinked mockingly at me. At the time I saw this question as a challenge, a hurdle poised to test my true knowledge and attachment to the idea of attending Dartmouth College; 'how many aspects of Dartmouth can I possibly fit into 100 words?' I already knew I desperately wanted to attend Dartmouth, and I knew why - I wanted the small tight-knit community, the beautiful campus, the amazing study-abroad options, and most importantly, the vibe that campus radiated to me. Alas, the words to fill that box evaded me.

Why Dartmouth?

Now I am here (an amazing fact I still wrestle with the reality of every day), I often think back to answering that question. How different would it be if I was answering it to a high school student asking me why THEY should come to Dartmouth? Would I write it in the same way, about the same things? Would I be able to articulate so many feelings in 100 words? I honestly don't think I could really even truly put my thoughts and feelings into words at all. I could manufacture some crude imposter of my experiences here, but they would be simplified down to fit our current methods of verbal and written communication.

I think if I was to answer that question now, I'd want to write about a lot of things. I'd write about how this place is basically one big family in the woods (and we love it), about how we go swim in the river in the summer, hike 53.5 miles without sleep, throw axes and chop wood, learn convoluted traditional Dartmouth dances, watch a silent film in a ski lodge, build a huge bonfire and run around it, wear fancy clothes and carry candles deep into the woods towards choral singing; I'd write about how even if the food isn't as good one day, we still go to enjoy dinner together; how classes are extremely hard, but you have full agency over your degree; about how yeah, sometimes being hours away from a major city feels isolated, but actually it makes our community the strongest there is. At Dartmouth, we advertise a profound sense of place, the unrivaled opportunities you get, the chances to study abroad, but for me the true value here lies far deeper in the soul of our college: our personality.

We truly are a college of people, and every day when I walk outside to go to Foco (The Class of '53 Commons dining hall) or to class, I see a sea of familiar faces and fend off 'hi's and 'hey wassup's' from all angles. When I was sick in the third or so week, my floormates and friends from other dorms lined up to deliver me medication and even meals from Foco. I feel here as if I found home. A home with a plethora of opportunities to intern, study abroad, go hike and chop wood, and learn from some of the world's most distinguished faculty.


To any high school students considering Dartmouth, I hope you read this and it gives you an insight to how life is here. To any students that have decided already to apply and were hoping this blog post (due to the name) would help them with their 'Why Dartmouth' essay? You are sadly mistaken because as you can see I VERY much cannot condense my thoughts into 100 words (c'mon, we weren't going to make it THAT easy for you)!

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No two days are the same at Dartmouth, but here is what a typical Wednesday looks like for me!

Nathan in his Dartmouth sweatshirt in his bedroom

Nooks and Crannies: A STACKSploration

This week I went on an in-depth adventure into the Baker stacks!

Matt with a Dartmouth sweatshirt

A Winterstellar Extravaganza: The Joys of Winter Carnival

Each winter, a celebration of the Upper Valley's beauty is hosted on Dartmouth's campus: Winter Carnival! In honor of its 114th year in existence, I wanted to document its kick-off and the variety of activities students can participate in during it!

blog_828 × 1026_brendilou

Return of Fourth Floor Rauner

My residential floor has continued to be a very active social group as well as academically motivated.

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My First Birthday of College

What it's like to have a celebration at Dartmouth.

Julia smiling set against some greenery

Lunar New Year 2024: Dartmouth Edition

This past weekend was not just Winter Carnival, but also Lunar New Year! Read on to see how I celebrated Lunar New Year here at Dartmouth.

Cal standing on the Dartmouth Green in front of Baker Tower

Building Community through Residential Life

In the past month, I've been conducting interviews for Dartmouth's Regular Decision applicants and during one of these interviews, I talked about how every aspect of Dartmouth residential life fosters and enables such a close-knit community.

Chidera Duru '25

Winter Carnival 2024: Winterstellar!

Winter Carnival is an incredible time to be on campus – you can see the whole community come together in the snow, and enjoy the cold weather!

Luke Grayson '25

  • College Application

Dartmouth Supplemental Essay Examples

Dartmouth Supplemental Essay Examples

Dartmouth supplemental essay examples will help you in your quest to deliver the very finest essay that you can. Seeking guidance on how to write a college essay can be useful, but equally useful can be reading over existing essays to see what the pros do, and how all the bits fit together.

Your essays are one of the most important aspects of your college application, and they should be as polished as possible. This might mean seeking out an essay workshop for students or reading expert college essay tips , but checking out examples can be helpful as well.

This article will take you through the necessary essays for Dartmouth’s supplemental section and provide you with some general essay writing tips.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 10 min read

Dartmouth supplemental essays.

Dartmouth requires students to write three essays. For the first two essays, students get one prompt that they will all follow. Pay close attention to all three prompts but note that if a school is requiring absolutely everybody to respond to the same prompt, that prompt is universally important, and something Dartmouth cares a lot about.

There are several prompts for the third essay, so you can choose the one you think will show off your unique abilities, talents, and experiences. Remember: essays in applications are about showing why you are the best possible candidate for that particular school.

All Applicants

Essay no. 1.

“Dartmouth celebrates the ways in which its profound sense of place informs its profound sense of purpose. As you seek admission to Dartmouth ... what aspects of the College’s academic program, community, or campus environment attract your interest? In short, Why Dartmouth?”

Word limit: 100 words, max.

With the beauty of New England, the academic discipline, and exciting research opportunities, there is nothing about Dartmouth that doesn’t appeal to me. 

My primary reason for wanting to attend Dartmouth is the research potential in energy engineering; I want to make an impact on environmental conservation, starting with energy. Dartmouth’s research on biomass processing technologies is very exciting.

Besides academics, I also have family in Hanover, so my support network would be strong at Dartmouth. Furthermore, the beauty and heritage of the campus is inspiring.

Dartmouth imbues me with a sense of place and purpose that inspires.

“‘Be yourself,’ Oscar Wilde advised. ‘Everyone else is taken.’ Introduce yourself...”

Word limit: 200–250 words

Given the prompt, it seems appropriate to start by saying that I am a big fan of Oscar Wilde. I am normally a shy person, and I may be uncomfortable being talked about, but I know there are worse things…

My sense of humor is my favorite aspect of myself, and I have always had a love of comedy – hence my interest in Oscar. My parents have said I laughed uproariously as a baby and they have taken as much delight in introducing me to Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, Monty Python, and Mr. Show as I have in laughing with all of them.

I believe that a sense of humor and irony will aid everybody, and we could all use a good laugh at our own expense now and again. So much of politics and business and social anxiety could be better managed with a few well-placed guffaws.

In fact, learning to laugh at myself has been instrumental in conquering my shyness and allowing me to meet people and gain opportunities. Without that, I couldn’t have run for student government at my school – becoming vice president – or attempted stand-up comedy for the first time this summer. For the record, I mostly bombed my set, but I’m re-writing my material and learning how to bounce back from a setback – they won’t stop me!

So, that’s my “me.” Let everybody else be taken, Wilde, I’m perfectly content as I am.

Essay No. 3

Students choose one of the following essays to complete.

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?”

Six hours in the sun pulling a wagon, knocking on doors, and asking people for used aluminum isn’t a fun way to spend a day, but I knew the importance of helping out with our local recycling programs. In this case, we were looking for aluminum tabs from pop cans to be remade into wheelchairs and provided for low-to-no cost to those in need.

My brother Jack uses a wheelchair, and so this cause appealed to me on two levels: I am also an environmentalist – like my parents, who are environmental scientists. Aiding a recycling program and getting wheelchairs to patients was therefore a win-win.

Let’s start with your format, while looking at how to write a college essay . You will follow the standard essay format as often as possible. This is composed of three major sections: the opener, the body, and the conclusion. You can think of them as “beginning, middle, end,” if that is helpful.

The opening paragraph should start with an attention grabber, or “hook,” that will live up to its name and command the focus of the reader. This is the best approach to how to start a college essay . Make it such a good opening line that even someone who isn’t on the admissions committee would want to keep reading.

Your opener also sets up the rest of the essay, providing the central themes and ideas that you’ll explore – these are all contained within the prompts provided by Dartmouth, but your opener will connect those prompts to you, personally. Specifically, reading college essay introduction examples will show you how to accomplish this.

In the body of the essay, you will explore the prompt, how it relates to you, and, ideally, show how you have grown as a person or student, some accomplishments you have made, or skillsets and abilities that you have – all of which must be desirable for a potential Dartmouth student.

If you can connect specifically to Dartmouth, all the better. Mentioning programs or research that are unique to the school or highlighting that you have the qualities they are seeking in their mission and vision statements will connect you to the school and show off how you would be the ideal candidate.

Your overall goal is to make the committee want to bring you in for an alumni-conducted interview, so if your conclusion would make anybody want to meet you, ask questions, and learn more about you and your experiences, you will have succeeded.

Most of Dartmouth’s essays have a short limit of 250 words. The exception is a 100-word essay: even shorter. What this means for you is that you don’t have a lot of space to develop a variety of complex ideas per essay. Be surgical; get in, tell the necessary details for the prompt, and get out.

Be prepared to truncate and mess with the essay format a bit for the 100-word essay, as that prompt really requires a precision answer, and you might not be able to shape the essay in a standard way.

To build a successful application, give yourself every edge and benefit. A strong supplemental essay will achieve that. You are already taking the right steps by reading up on essay writing and seeking out examples to improve your work. Take your time refining the essays for your dream school.

No, you must answer those two essay questions, as per the requirements. Most schools want answers to the questions “Why this school?” and “Tell us about yourself.” They are two of the most common questions asked of students for a reason: they produce information that the admissions committee needs to know.

The amount of time will vary, but generally speaking, we think you should take 2–3 weeks to work on your essays. You don’t need to put in 40+ hours per week, but give yourself time to brainstorm, write, re-write, edit, and proofread; you’ll likely need and want time to get professional feedback as well.

If you’re stuck on an optional prompt, you could switch to a different prompt proposed by the school and see if it resonates more with you. If your required essay is giving you difficulty, you’ll want to break your writer’s block with a little brainstorming. Take two minutes to free-associate on your topic, writing down anything you think of, and you’ll likely open up your thought processes and start to figure out what you want to say.

If you are successful, you will be invited for an interview, which means that you might want to start thinking about how to prepare for your interview.

The Common Application allows for changes to essays after submission, but with Dartmouth, you will specifically need to upload additional materials via your portal.

Look for a credible college essay review service . Teachers and other mentors might be able to help as well, but keep in mind that they are already busy people, so sticking with a professional service might be the better option.

You might think that all you need to do is hit your academics and emphasize how smart you are, but that strategy might not be all that clever. Your transcripts and high school resume will show off your numbers. Instead, use your essay to introduce the “real you” to the admissions committee. They want to know you, and your uniqueness is your best shot at getting into your school of choice. Put the essential you on display for the best results.

Deadlines change from year to year, so just follow the instructions in the Common App or Coalition App. Start as early as possible to maximize your time between now and the deadline.

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why dartmouth essay reddit

Using the SAT, ACT in college admissions isn't 'racist.' What else has the left got wrong?

Counter to the progressive groupthink on this issue, researchers found that low-income students are actually harmed when sat or act scores aren't considered in their admissions application..

why dartmouth essay reddit

It’s hard to admit when you’ve made a mistake. And it’s rare for a mea culpa to come from the world of education. 

Yet, that’s what Dartmouth did this week. Sort of. 

The Ivy League college announced that it is bringing back a standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admissions, starting with the Class of 2029, after doing away with it in response to the pandemic nearly four years ago. A large number of top colleges and universities have gone “testing optional” in recent years with the aim of boosting diversity , so Dartmouth’s decision makes it an anomaly. 

Why is it doing that? Dartmouth researchers used the years-long pause to study the actual impact of the policy’s absence. Turns out that was a smart idea. 

“Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve − not detract from − our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus,” Dartmouth said in a statement . 

Counter to the progressive groupthink on this issue, the study found that low-income students are actually harmed when SAT or ACT scores aren’t considered in their admissions application. The researchers discovered economically disadvantaged students had withheld their test scores when it was optional, mistakenly believing they were too low.  

“It (standardized testing) is another opportunity to identify students who are the top performers in their environments, wherever they might be,” Dartmouth stated. 

Maybe standardized tests aren't racist? 

Wait a minute. We’ve been told for years that standardized tests like the ones used traditionally for college entrance exams are racist , inequitable and unfair . 

Perhaps not. 

Standardized tests have always been a solid predictor of student success (when combined with other factors), and they offer a consistent measuring device of student preparation, regardless of where they’re from. 

Dartmouth’s research supports those facts.

So, good for this college in saying it would change course. I’m not holding my breath, however, that others will follow. Not for a while, anyway.

Higher education has gone all in on the DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) bandwagon, and it will not be easy to untangle itself from this way of thinking. 

New path for Harvard: With Claudine Gay out, Harvard can double down on DEI or embrace freedom and true diversity

And the left is adept at sidestepping criticism of its ideas by calling out detractors as racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic or simply mean.

Yet, just because something sounds kind doesn't mean it is.

In name of 'equity,' schools are embracing horrible ideas 

If so many progressives got something as big as standardized tests wrong, what else are they wrong about?   

There are a slew of worrisome policies , not just in higher education but in K-12 schools, too. Many of these measures will ensure low-income and minority students are even less prepared to succeed in college. 

Here are a few that should set off alarm bells: 

  • Progressive Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and his appointed Board of Education announced in December that they would do away with the city’s selective-enrollment schools (even though the students attending them are high-achieving) in the name of “equity.” That is such a backward way to approach the issue. If the concern is that these schools aren’t diverse enough , then put resources to better equip students to participate. Don’t punish gifted students or limit opportunities for others to excel in the name of not making other students feel bad. 
  • A California high school in a Los Angeles suburb chose to eliminate honors classes for ninth- and 10th-grade students. School officials claimed it was to increase equity. Apparently, teachers were concerned that not enough Black and Hispanic students were enrolling in Advanced Placement courses. So the default option is to take away the honors coursework that could best prepare students for AP classes and college?
  • School district officials in Portland, Oregon, signaled last fall that they are making grading more “equitable” to reduce bias in the classroom. District data showed “racial disparities” in students’ performance. Rather than get to the bottom of these disparities, the district opted to change how it graded students. If a student cheats? It can’t affect the child’s grade. If an assignment is late or missing? The teacher can no longer give a zero.

Parents have power: After COVID school shutdowns, parents have learned an important lesson

Forcing this fake kind of “equity” by lowering standards and removing opportunities for students is disturbing. 

I hope Dartmouth’s reinstatement of the standardized test requirement compels more DEI warriors to rethink some seriously misguided ideas. 

Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at [email protected] or on X, formerly Twitter: @ Ingrid_Jacques

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