Crafting Your Dartmouth Application Essay: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring College Students

June 22, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Crafting Your Dartmouth Application Essay: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring College Students

Hello, aspiring Dartmouth students! If you’re reading this, you’re probably knee-deep in the college application process, and you’ve set your sights on Dartmouth College, one of the prestigious Ivy League schools. One of the most crucial parts of your application is the Dartmouth application essay.

What are the specific requirements for the Dartmouth application essay?

What are the particular requirements for the essay portion of the Dartmouth application? Dartmouth College requires applicants to submit a Common Application or Coalition Application, both of which include a general essay.

In addition to this, Dartmouth has supplemental essay questions that are unique to the college. These supplemental essays allow Dartmouth to get a better understanding of who you are as an individual and what you could bring to the Dartmouth community.

Female student writing on a sofa.

The supplemental essays usually consist of one longer essay and several shorter responses. The prompts change slightly from year to year, but they generally aim to gauge your intellectual curiosity, commitment to learning, and how you could contribute to the Dartmouth community.

What topics are recommended for the Dartmouth application essay?

What are the best topics for the Dartmouth application essay? When it comes to the application essay, the college is interested in learning more about you as an individual. The essay is your opportunity to share your unique experiences, perspectives, and aspirations. While the specific prompts may vary from year to year, here are some general topics that are often recommended:

Intellectual Interests

Dartmouth is a highly intellectual environment, and the admissions committee is interested in students who are passionate about learning. You might choose to write about a favorite book, a research project you’ve undertaken, or a topic you’ve explored in depth outside of school. The goal is to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and commitment to learning.

View of college students studying in a room with a table.

Personal Experiences

Personal narratives can be highly effective in college essays. You might choose to write about a significant event in your life, a challenge you’ve overcome, or an experience that has shaped your identity. The key is to not just describe the event but also to reflect on its significance and what it has taught you about yourself.

Community Engagement

Dartmouth is a close-knit community, and the admissions committee is interested in students who will contribute to this community. You might choose to write about your involvement in a community service project, a leadership role you’ve held, or a group or organization that has been important to you. The goal is to demonstrate your commitment to the community and your ability to contribute in a meaningful way.

Career Aspirations

Dartmouth is also interested in your plans. You might choose to write about your career aspirations, why you’re interested in these goals, and how Dartmouth can help you achieve them. This can demonstrate your forward-thinking mindset and your fit with Dartmouth’s offerings.

Diversity and Perspective

Dartmouth values diversity and seeks to admit students who will bring a wide range of perspectives to campus. You might choose to write about your cultural background, a unique perspective you hold, or an experience that has shaped your worldview. The goal is to demonstrate your ability to contribute to a diverse and vibrant community.

Moreso, the best topic for your application essay allows you to share something meaningful about yourself that isn’t apparent from the rest of your application. It’s also important to answer the prompt fully and to reflect on your experiences, not just describe them.

What is the word limit for the Dartmouth application essay?

How long should the Dartmouth application essay be? The word limit for the application essay varies depending on the prompt. For the 2022-2023 application cycle, the main supplemental essay has a word limit of 100-250 words, while the shorter responses should be 50-100 words each. It’s essential to stay within these limits to show that you can express your thoughts concisely and respect guidelines.

An open laptop placed on top of a table near a window.

What are some successful Dartmouth application essay examples?

What are some examples of successful Dartmouth application essays? While we can’t share actual essays from successful Dartmouth applicants, we can certainly discuss the qualities that make an application essay successful. Here are some elements to consider:


Authenticity is key to a successful application essay. Admissions officers want to hear your unique voice and perspective. The essay should reflect who you are as an individual, not what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.


A successful essay often includes a level of self-reflection. This means going beyond simply describing an event or experience. Reflect on how the experience affected you, what you learned from it, and how it has shaped your goals and values.

Clear and Engaging Writing

Your essay should be well-written and engaging. It should have a clear structure, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The writing should be clear and concise, with a strong narrative that keeps the reader engaged.

Answering the Prompt

It’s important to fully and directly answer the essay prompt. Admissions officers craft these prompts to help them learn specific things about you, so make sure your essay addresses all parts of the prompt.

Demonstrating Interest in Dartmouth

Successful Dartmouth essays often demonstrate a clear and specific interest in the school. This could be through mentioning specific programs, professors, or opportunities at Dartmouth that align with your interests and goals.

Showing Growth and Potential

Finally, successful essays often show a sense of growth and potential. This could be through discussing challenges you’ve overcome, improvements you’ve made, or goals you’re working towards. Admissions officers are not just interested in who you are now, but also in who you could become at Dartmouth.

What are the evaluation criteria for the Dartmouth application essay?

What are the standards for evaluating the Dartmouth application essay? When evaluating application essays, Dartmouth College, like many other institutions, uses a holistic approach. This means they consider the essay in the context of the entire application, including your academic record, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and more.

However, there are several key criteria that the admissions committee specifically looks for in the essay:


The content of your essay is crucial. It should fully and directly answer the prompt provided. The essay should provide insight into your personality, values, and experiences that isn’t available from the rest of your application.


A well-structured essay is easier to read and understand. Your essay should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Each paragraph should have a clear main idea, and these ideas should flow logically from one to the next.

Writing Quality

The quality of your writing is also important. Your essay should be well-written, with clear sentence structure, correct grammar and punctuation, and appropriate word choice. It should also be free of spelling errors and typos.


Admissions officers read thousands of essays, so originality can help your essay stand out. This doesn’t mean you need to have had unique or extraordinary experiences, but rather that you present your experiences in a way that is uniquely yours.


A good essay doesn’t just describe experiences but also reflects on them. This means discussing not just what happened, but also what you learned, how you changed, or how the experience affected your goals and values.

Remember, these are just general guidelines. The evaluation process can be highly subjective, and different admissions officers might place different weights on these criteria. The most important thing is to write an essay that is true to you and that you’re proud of.

In conclusion, crafting a compelling Dartmouth application essay is a journey of self-discovery and an opportunity to showcase your unique story. With the right guidance and support from AdmissionSight, you can navigate this process with confidence and clarity. Together, we can illuminate your path toward a successful application and a brighter future at Dartmouth College. Contact us so that we can help you better!



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