Am I Good Enough for Dartmouth?

November 20, 2021
By AdmissionSight

Am I Good Enough for Dartmouth?

If you are a high school student that is looking to get into one of the very best schools in the United States, but you also want a liberal arts school feel to your education, there is little question that one of the very best schools for you is Dartmouth College.

Dartmouth College is part of the Ivy League – eight of the most prestigious and selective schools within the United States – but is unique in that group as being the only liberal arts school in the Ivies.

If you are thinking about going to Dartmouth, chances are good that you have one question ringing in your mind. That question surely is, “Am I good enough for Dartmouth?”

At AdmissionSight, we have a strong belief that any student can achieve their college admissions dreams if they are willing to put the work in. Without a doubt, the road to getting into any of the Ivy League schools is a long and difficult one.

Aerial view of an old building.

However, if you are able to commit to the pursuit fully during your high school years and while you complete the application, then there is a strong chance that you will be able to make your admission goals a reality.

So, whether you already have Dartmouth at the very top of your list of schools that you are looking to apply to and get into, or if you are just starting your journey towards targeting your top schools, then you have come to the right place.

Let’s get started on helping you figure out the answer to, “Am I good enough for Dartmouth?”

Dartmouth admissions requirements

Just like the vast majority of schools within the United States, Dartmouth College does not list any kind of admissions requirements that high school students will have to take during their four years in high school to be able to apply to Dartmouth.

With that being said, there is certainly a general breakdown of the kinds of courses that high schoolers should primarily focus on when they are choosing their curriculum. Overall, here are the kinds of courses that admissions officers at Dartmouth will be looking out for:

  • English – 4 years (preference for writing-intensive courses)
  • Math – 4 years (calculus recommended for STEM majors)
  • Science – 3 years of lab science (four years including physics for engineering majors)
  • History & Social Science – 3 years
  • Foreign Language – 3-4 years of one language (ancient or modern)

Perhaps most importantly, students need to make sure that they are taking as many advanced courses as possible throughout their high school years.

The reason for this is because Dartmouth offers a highly advanced and competitive curriculum to its students. Admissions officers will be looking for clear signs that any student that they are thinking about offering a spot to will be able to not only get by during their years at the school, but actually thrive.

One of the main ways that they determine that is by looking at the difficulty of the courses that a student took during high school. So, any high school that is really interested in attending Dartmouth should absolutely prioritize taking as many honors, AP and IB courses that they can.

At AdmissionSight, we always advise our students to take advanced courses in classes that they either naturally excel in or are most passionate about and interested in. This will vastly improve the student’s chances of not only taking advanced courses, but also give their grade point average a boost along the way.

What is the average GPA for students that get into Dartmouth?

Though Dartmouth does indeed adopt a holistic approach to the admissions process – meaning they consider far more than just a student’s grades and test scores – those factors absolutely play an important role.

So to answer the, “Am I good enough for Dartmouth?” question, looking at your GPA and comparing it to the average GPA of students that get into Dartmouth is arguably the best place to start.

Studying in a table while using a laptop.

The average GPA for students that get into Dartmouth is an incredibly competitive 4.11 GPA. From this, you can ascertain that in order to have a solid chance of getting into Dartmouth, you are going to be either near – or at – the very top of your class in high school. You will also have to have performed strongly since the very beginning of your high school years.

While there are always unique circumstances in which a student is able to gain admission to a top school with a below-average GPA, the vast majority of students are going to have grade point averages at or above the average.

What are the average SAT and ACT scores for students that get into Dartmouth?

Along with a student’s GPA, another factor that has been heavily considered by admissions officers are a student’s standardized test scores. The two tests that students take in the U.S. are – of course – the SAT and the ACT.

When it comes to the average scores of students that get into Dartmouth, the test scores are similarly competitive, much like the average GPA.

When it comes to the SAT, the average score for students that get in is an incredible 1500 out of the perfect score of 1600. The 25th percentile score is a 1450 and the 75th percentile score is a 1550. That should give you a fairly accurate range of scores that you are going to want to target when you take the test yourself.

As for the ACT, the average score for students that get in is a predictably high 34 out of the perfect score of 36. The 25th percentile ACT score is 32 and the 75th percentile ACT score is 35. That should give you a good range of what kinds of scores you will want to target if you are serious about attending Dartmouth.

An important note regarding standardized tests and Dartmouth

As you may already know if you are keeping track of current admissions trends, many schools around the United States have adopted a standardized test-optional policy amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Dartmouth is amongst those schools and currently is a test optional school for the graduating class of 2026, or students that will apply during the 2022 application cycle.

Filling out test paper using a pencil.

With that in mind, AdmissionSight does still encourage students to take either the ACT or SAT as long as they can do so safely amidst the current conditions. The reason for this is that – while students who do not send in a score will of course not be penalized – there is also little doubt that students who take the one of the tests and earn a great score will give themselves a boost from an admissions standpoint.

After all, the job that admissions officers have to undertake is a very difficult one indeed. Anything that a student can do to make their jobs easier – such as sending in an excellent SAT or ACT score – will surely help them!

To make that argument even more compelling, students should make note of the fact that Dartmouth gives students a major advantage when it comes to test taking. As the school’s official site states:

“If you submit multiple scores from the SAT or ACT, we will look at your highest section scores in either test, regardless of the test dates.”

What that means is that if you take multiple ACTs or SATs and score highly on one or two sections on one test and then highly on the other sections on another, the admissions officers will join up all your highest scores to make up the highest possible overall score for your exam. That’s a huge benefit and could really help your chances of getting a score that is at that average or above average score.

Dartmouth acceptance rate

One final very important factor to note for students that are wondering about their chances of getting into Dartmouth is the overall acceptance rate for students that apply. Just like the rest of the Ivy League, Dartmouth has an incredibly low acceptance rate.

When it comes to the students that applied to Dartmouth in 2021 via regular decision, 20,034 total students applied and just 2,092 students were accepted. It marked an acceptance rate of 10.4 percent which was the lowest admissions rate for the school since 2013. Still though, 10.4 percent is quite a bit higher than the acceptance rate of other schools in the Ivy League such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

On top of that, the Early Decision applicants in 2021 had an even better chance of getting into Dartmouth. Out of a record high 1,999 Early Decision applicants in 2021, 555 students were offered admission.

That marked an Early Decision admission rate of 27.8 percent! So, if you are a student who has already identified Dartmouth as your end-all, be-all top school that you want to attend, applying Early Decision is a fantastic option that will more than double your chances of getting in.

With that in mind, it is absolutely crucial for every student to know that Early Decision admissions at Dartmouth is binding. That means that if you do end up getting accepted to Dartmouth, you will have to withdraw your applications to all of the other schools that applied to or were thinking of applying to and accepted the offer from Dartmouth.

That is not a decision to take lightly!

What we know about Dartmouth’s “ideal” student

When it comes to getting into schools like Dartmouth that are incredibly selective, sometimes a student’s best bet is to try to make clear why they exemplify and reflect what the school sees as an “ideal” student.

While there is no single roadmap that a student can take in order to guarantee their chances of getting into a school like Dartmouth, there are ways that students can signal to the school that they would not only be a good fit academically, but also a great fit culturally.

Three students studying in a library.

Schools like Dartmouth are constantly looking for students who are curious, cultured, introspective, goal-oriented and natural born leaders. As a high school student, it is your job to prove through your application, the way you spent your time in and out of the classroom in high school, your letters of recommendation and your personal essays that you are all that and more!

When it comes to the “ideal” student at Dartmouth, the school itself actually goes so far as to list what the Dartmouth community values most strongly. This list should help you better understand what makes up an “ideal” student at this fantastic Ivy League program.

While there is no way to guarantee your chances of getting into Dartmouth, exemplifying as many of these core values in yourself is a great place to start off!

  • We expect academic excellence, encourage independent thought, and promote a robust culture of interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • We support a faculty of scholars who are leaders in their fields, passionate about teaching, and committed to mentorship and collaboration with their students.
  • We recruit and admit outstanding students from all backgrounds, regardless of their financial means, so that finances are never a barrier to admission.
  • We build a diverse community of faculty and students and leverage that diversity to enrich and deepen the education of our future global citizens.
  • We foster lifelong bonds among faculty, staff, and students to encourage a culture of integrity, collaboration, and collegiality.
  • We instill in students a sense of responsibility for one another and for the broader world, and give them ample opportunities to share their expertise and passions.
  • We promote the vigorous and open debate of ideas while encouraging mutual respect for diverse opinions.
  • We provide comprehensive out-of-classroom experiences, including service opportunities, international study, and global engagement.

From this alone, you should already be coming up with important and meaningful ways that you can prepare for what you surely hope is a meaningful and impactful four years at Dartmouth.

How to improve your chances of getting into Dartmouth?

Now that you know the average GPA and standardized test scores of students that get into Dartmouth, you may feel as though all you have to do to improve your chances of getting into Dartmouth is hit those benchmarks and send in your application. You may even feel especially confident given the fact that you now know how much better your chances become if you decide to apply via Early Decision.

However, no student – no matter how accomplished – should ever feel as though getting into Dartmouth is a sure thing.

Luckily, there are a lot of impactful ways that any student can improve their chances of getting into Dartmouth. Here are some key things that you can do.

Form a relationship with the school

One key way that high school students can improve their chances of getting into Dartmouth or other similarly competitive schools is to form a strong bond with the school – and people connected to the school – before and during the application process.

One way that students can get connected to the school is by enrolling in one of the summer programs that are offered at Dartmouth during the summer months.

The two programs that high schoolers can enroll in at Dartmouth are the Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth (primarily for students from under-resourced high schools) or the GenCyber Program.

Moreover, students can schedule official visits to Dartmouth and take part in the voluntary alumni interview during their application process to learn more about the school and signal their very serious interest in attending Dartmouth.

Earn wonderful letters of recommendation

At Dartmouth, the admissions officers at the school take letters of recommendation into serious consideration. In fact, the school requires three letters of recommendation (one from a school counselor and two from two different teachers), and also “strongly encourages” a fourth letter from the applicant’s peer.

No matter if you plan on sending in three or four letters, make sure that you give everyone who you want to write your letters ample heads up. This will give them the time they need to craft really fantastic letters of recommendation that will reflect incredibly well on you!

Craft fantastic personal essays

As another part of the application, Dartmouth requires all applicants to complete several personal essays. For students who are determined to attend Dartmouth, they should make sure that they take the time and focus necessary to write truly unique and insightful essays.

Writing in a notebook under a tree.

With the test-optional policy still in effect, there is no question that the essays have taken on an even greater sense of importance in the eyes of admissions officers.

For that reason, make sure that you react in kind and treat the process of writing these essays incredibly seriously. Doing so will not only allow admissions officers to learn important things about who you are as a person and student, it will also improve your chances of getting into Dartmouth.

Will you get into Dartmouth College?

At AdmissionSight, we pride ourselves on the fact that 75 percent of the students that we work with get into either an Ivy League program or a different top 10 school elsewhere in the United States.

If you are curious about learning how AdmissionSight can help you in your pursuit of attending Dartmouth, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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