dartmouth essays

Dartmouth Essays

Like many schools, Dartmouth College requires supplemental essays as a part of the admissions process. Through the Dartmouth essays, you can showcase elements of your application that may get lost otherwise. The Dartmouth supplemental essays can help admissions officers get to know you better. So, the more time and energy you dedicate to your Dartmouth essays, the more holistic picture you’ll paint for the Dartmouth admissions office. 

In total, students will submit three Dartmouth essays and can choose between several prompts. Selecting which Dartmouth essay to write can be a difficult choice. This guide will break down each of the Dartmouth College supplemental essays so that you can make the best choice for your Dartmouth application.

Dartmouth Supplemental Essays: Quick Facts

Dartmouth Supplemental Essays Quick Facts

  • Dartmouth College Acceptance Rate: 6% – U.S. News 
  • Understanding the Dartmouth College Essay Requirements: 
    • Three Supplemental Essays
      • One 100-word essay
      • Two 250-word essays
  • Dartmouth College Application: Students must submit their Dartmouth College application through the Common Application. Make sure to have all your Dartmouth College supplemental essays and other application materials ready before applying. 
  • Early and Regular Decision Dartmouth College Application Deadlines
    • Early Decision: November 1st 
    • Regular Decision: January 2nd 
  • Dartmouth Essay Tip: Make sure you choose the right Dartmouth essay prompt for your responses – try writing an essay for each prompt to see which one connects with you the most! 

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website. 

Does Dartmouth have supplemental essays?

Yes, the Dartmouth supplemental essays are a required part of the Dartmouth application. The Dartmouth essays allow students to choose from several different prompts. In total, each applicant will submit three Dartmouth supplemental essays. 

The Dartmouth essay prompts are designed to add to your overall application. So, use them as a chance to demonstrate your interest in Dartmouth. The Dartmouth College supplemental essays are required for all applicants and can be submitted via the Common App. 

Overall, the Dartmouth essays form a key part of the Dartmouth requirements. Moreover, the Dartmouth essay prompts help admissions officers get to know you better. The Dartmouth essays can help the Dartmouth admissions team determine if you are a good fit for their campus, so it’s important to present your best work. This guide will walk you through the Dartmouth essay prompts to help you tackle the Dartmouth supplemental essays. 

How many essays does Dartmouth require?

dartmouth essays

The Dartmouth requirements include three separate Dartmouth supplemental essays. The first Dartmouth essay prompt is required for all applicants. The second and third Dartmouth essays allow students to choose between several prompts. With three separate Dartmouth essays, students have ample opportunities to shine in the Dartmouth application process. 

Additionallyy, it can help to read Dartmouth essays that worked to inspire your writing process. This can give you a sense of what the Dartmouth admissions team looks for. Overall, your Dartmouth essays should highlight your authentic voice and bolster your application narrative. 

The Dartmouth supplemental writing prompts help students showcase their unique perspectives to the admissions committee. So, make sure to dedicate time and energy to each of the Dartmouth essay prompts.

What are the Dartmouth essay prompts?

There are several different Dartmouth essay prompts. The first Dartmouth essay prompt is required for all applicants and is commonly referred to as the Why Dartmouth essay. 

The second Dartmouth essay has two prompt choices, and the third Dartmouth essay has 6 different prompts to choose from. We’ll go into each Dartmouth essay prompt later in this guide and provide some tips on how best to tackle the Dartmouth essays. 

With so many options, the Dartmouth essays give students the chance to showcase their talents, interests, and goals. The different Dartmouth essay prompts allow students to write essays that will highlight the best parts of their application. Keep reading for a deep dive into the different Dartmouth supplemental essays.

Why Dartmouth Essay

dartmouth essays

The first Dartmouth essay prompt is required for all applicants. Students must respond in 100 words or fewer: 

Why Dartmouth Essay

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?

The Why Dartmouth essays help admissions officers understand your desire to go to Dartmouth. Specifically, the Why Dartmouth essays seek to determine if you would be a good fit at Dartmouth and to gauge your interest in the school. All applicants must complete this Dartmouth supplemental essay, so be prepared to explain why you’re interested in Dartmouth. 

The Why Dartmouth essays can be difficult to tackle—explaining why you want to go to Dartmouth in less than 100 words is a tricky task. So, think through why you’re interested in Dartmouth and pick 1-2 things to focus on. Consider researching a specific class or professor you’re interested in working with, or focus on the unique campus environment Dartmouth offers. You can also focus on the unique quarter system, any specific programs or majors you’re interested in, or a club you’re excited to join. 

Do your research

The Why Dartmouth essays require students to research the unique reasons why they’re interested in Dartmouth. As an Ivy League school, many students apply to Dartmouth each year. Your Dartmouth essays can help your application stand out, so it’s important to highlight the research you’ve done. So, spend some time on Dartmouth’s website. You can read about student life at Dartmouth and student stories – this can help inspire your Dartmouth supplemental essays. You can also read through Dartmouth’s student newspaper, The Dartmouth, for inspiration.  Envisioning your life at Dartmouth can help your Dartmouth essay shine. 

In addition to researching Dartmouth’s campus and programs, it can be helpful to read other Why Dartmouth essays. While your Dartmouth supplemental essays should be unique to you and your goals, reading other Why Dartmouth essays can give you a great place to start. Other Why Dartmouth essays can also help inspire you if you don’t know where to take your Dartmouth supplemental essays. You can read examples of “Why This College” essays here

Dartmouth Essays #2: Introduce Yourself

dartmouth essays

In addition to Why Dartmouth essays, the Dartmouth College supplemental essays have two additional requirements for students to complete. The second Dartmouth essay has two different prompts from students to choose from and should be no more than 250 words.

Here are the prompts: 

Dartmouth Essays #2

A. 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.

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

Both of these Dartmouth essays ask you to introduce yourself to the admissions team. This essay should be slightly longer than the Why Dartmouth essays, giving you a little more room to write about yourself. This is one of the more challenging Dartmouth supplemental essays, as summarizing yourself in 250 words is difficult. 

Let’s break down each of these Dartmouth essay prompts and give you some tips for each one. 

Prompt A 

Both of these Dartmouth essays aim to introduce students to the admissions committee. However, they each have a slightly different way of doing so. 

Prompt A focuses on your environment and how it’s shaped who you are. You may want to reflect on your hometown, family structure, cultural environment, religion, or anything that you feel has contributed to your upbringing. Did you experience a change in any of these things at any point? How do you think that impacted you? Is there anything unique about the way you grew up or anything you want to reflect on? 

Try to focus on one or two elements—250 words is not a lot of room! You want to give the reader enough context to understand your upbringing. However, you should focus your essay on reflection and how your upbringing impacted you. Striking that balance can be tough and may take several drafts. 

Prompt B 

The second of these Dartmouth essays is a lot more general—it asks you to simply introduce yourself. With such a general prompt, many students may not know where to begin. It can be helpful to brainstorm what you want to focus on with a mentor or a teacher—what do you think are the top 3 facts about yourself that you would want Dartmouth to know? Focus on your passions and goals—and remember that the Why Dartmouth essay may have already captured your academic goals. So, is there something that you feel is not currently reflected in your application that you want the admissions committee to know? Moreover, what aspects of your identity feel the most central to who you are? 

While the Why Dartmouth essays can capture your academic goals, this prompt gives you a great chance to focus on your identity more holistically. Who are you outside of school? What are your core values? What extracurriculars are you involved with and why?

This Dartmouth supplemental writing prompt can be challenging, so spend some time brainstorming your topic. Additionally, try to write multiple drafts of this Dartmouth essay and share them with family and friends. They might help you decide which one represents you the best. 

Dartmouth Supplemental Essay #3: Choose one

dartmouth essays

The final Dartmouth essay has 6 different prompts to choose from. Students are required to pick one of the following prompts and compose a 250-word response: 

Dartmouth Supplemental Essay #3

A. What excites you?

B. 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?

C. 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?

D. Celebrate your nerdy side.

E. “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?

F. 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?

Each of these Dartmouth supplemental prompts lets you paint a more holistic picture of who you are. It can be difficult to select which Dartmouth essay to pick, so we’ve broken down each prompt to help you.

Breaking down Dartmouth’s ‘Choose One’ Essay

Prompt A: What excites you? 

Prompt A asks what excites you. So, this Dartmouth essay can be a great place to discuss one of your passions that you haven’t highlighted elsewhere. Make sure to pick something that hasn’t come up in your other Dartmouth supplemental essays. The Why Dartmouth essays capture academic goals, so this may be a good place to elaborate on your passions outside of school. This is also a great Dartmouth essay to pick if you have a unique hobby or interest. 

Prompt B: Understanding your impact

Prompt B asks you to reflect on what impact you hope to make. Then, it asks you to elaborate on why and how you’ll make that impact. This Dartmouth essay is a great choice for students with a clear career goal in mind. Be sure to not repeat your Why Dartmouth essay, however. This essay should focus on what you hope to achieve on a larger scale. Moreover, it should explain why and how you hope to reach your goals. If you participated in a community service-oriented club in high school, this may be a great essay for you. 

Prompt C: Thinking and wondering

Prompt C focuses on wonder and asks you to reflect on what comes to mind when you’re wondering and thinking. This can be a great essay to reflect on possibilities for your future. However, you can also get really creative with this prompt. With such an open-ended question, this Dartmouth essay can really center around anything. You can take this essay as a chance to invite admissions officers into your thoughts and showcase your creativity. 

Prompt D: Your nerdy side

Prompt D asks you to celebrate your nerdy side. So, like many of the other Dartmouth supplemental essays, this is a great place to highlight your passions and interests. Be sure to focus on something that hasn’t come up in your other Dartmouth essays. Instead, take this as an opportunity to share something that hasn’t come up elsewhere in your application. What topic do you feel the nerdiest about? Try to pick something outside of school  – this will help admissions officers get to know you much better! 

Prompt E: What difference means to you

Prompt E asks you to reflect on difference and how it has impacted your identity and outlook. This can be a great Dartmouth essay to pick if you want to share something personal with the admissions office. In it, you can reflect on how difference has shown up in your life and how it’s shaped who you are. Additionally, out of all the Dartmouth essays, this prompt can be the most personal for students to pick. So, try to focus on the reflection part of the prompt. Then, think through how being different has made you who you are. 

Prompt F: Potential and promise

The final Dartmouth essay prompt asks you to reflect on your potential and promise. This can be a good essay for students with focused career goals or students with a clear sense of what they wish to accomplish at Dartmouth. While it can be similar to the Why Dartmouth essays, this prompt is a little more focused on what you may accomplish beyond Dartmouth. Be sure to include ways in which Dartmouth will help you meet your potential, but it’s important to paint a holistic picture. 

Overall, you should choose the Dartmouth College supplemental essays that speak to your accomplishments and highlight what you want your readers to know. 

The next section of our guide will focus on how to write the Dartmouth essays, so if you’re still feeling stuck, read on! 

How to write Dartmouth supplemental essays

dartmouth essays

The Dartmouth essays form a major part of the Dartmouth requirements for admission. So, if you’re wondering how to get into Dartmouth, make sure your Dartmouth supplemental essays reflect your personality and goals. The Dartmouth College supplemental essays offer the perfect chance to show the admissions team who you are and why they should admit you. 

The first step to writing your Dartmouth supplemental essays is to select your Dartmouth essay prompts. It can be helpful to write a draft for more than one prompt and see which essay fits the best. Try to pick Dartmouth supplemental essays that highlight your accomplishments the most. You should also select prompts that help explain aspects of your application you want to expand on. Additionally, you can change your mind on which Dartmouth essays to complete – just give yourself enough time to finish your drafts before the application deadline

Drafting the Dartmouth essays

Once you’ve chosen your prompts for the Dartmouth essays, it’s time to write your first draft. Try to outline each essay with the general topics you wish to cover. Research different programs, classes, and clubs at Dartmouth that you want to incorporate. Try to organize your Dartmouth supplemental essays around a central idea – this can help anchor your essays and make them feel cohesive. 

Your Dartmouth supplemental essays should represent an honest reflection of your interests, goals, and passions. For a first draft, it can help to just write the first things that come to your head. Then, edit your writing to suit the prompt and the word count. Additionally, make sure to share your Dartmouth College supplemental essays with a teacher or mentor for feedback—the more people who can read them, the better. You should plan to edit your Dartmouth supplemental essays at least 2-3 times before you submit them. This will help ensure your Dartmouth essays are the most polished they can be.

Dartmouth essays that worked

When starting your Dartmouth supplemental essays, it can help to read through essay examples. When you read Dartmouth essays that worked, you can learn what the admissions team typically looks for. You can find examples of Dartmouth essays in our guide to Dartmouth University essays that worked guide here. These Dartmouth supplemental essays are organized by prompt, so you can refer to the specific Dartmouth essays you plan to write.

For students researching how to get into Dartmouth, reading other Dartmouth supplemental essays can be key. With such a competitive admissions process and many highly-ranked programs, Dartmouth is one of the hardest schools to get into. So, reading successful Dartmouth supplemental essays can help you learn what kind of Dartmouth essays impress admissions officers. If you’re feeling stuck, read through different Dartmouth College supplemental essays—it may help spark some inspiration!  

Reading other Dartmouth College supplemental essays can also give you a sense of the grammar standards and general flow of a strong essay. However, while reading other Dartmouth supplemental essays can be helpful, be sure that your Dartmouth essays speak to your authentic passions and goals. 

Dartmouth Supplemental Essays: Final Takeaways

dartmouth essays

For students interested in how to get into Dartmouth, perfecting the Dartmouth College supplemental essays is key. So, here are some final takeaways as you prepare to write your Dartmouth supplemental essays: 

1. Pick the right prompt 

The Dartmouth essay prompts are designed to help admissions officers get to know the “real” you. So, choose the prompts that best highlight your skills, passions, and goals. 

2. Start early 

The Dartmouth essays can take some time to perfect, so start the writing process as soon as you can. The Dartmouth essay prompts are typically released in late summer, so plan to start your first draft once they’re available. 

3. Write multiple drafts 

In addition to writing multiple drafts for the prompts you select, try to write some drafts for other prompts—just to see which one works the best. Then, ask others to read your Dartmouth essays and incorporate their feedback through the editing process. 

4. Be ready to edit 

The editing process is a crucial step in writing strong Dartmouth College supplemental essays. So, take the time to carefully reread and edit your work. This will help you write the best Dartmouth essay possible. 

5. Be yourself

Remember, this is an opportunity for the admissions officers to get to know you on a deeper level. So, make sure your Dartmouth essays reflect you and your personality! 

Looking for more support as you approach the Dartmouth supplemental essays? Click here to schedule a meeting with our team and learn how one-on-one college admissions support can help you succeed.

dartmouth essays

This essay guide was written by senior advisor, Jess Klein. 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 CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.