How Hard Is It to Get Into Dartmouth

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Dartmouth Green with trees beginning to show fall colors and a blue sky with puffy white clouds.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Dartmouth

For tens of thousands of high school students across the world, their dream scenario is to apply to one of the eight Ivy League schools and get in As an undergraduate student.

These eight schools make up some of the most prestigious and competitive colleges and universities in the entire world and can offer incredible educations and communities to help young minds grow and succeed.

One of the schools in the Ivy League is Dartmouth College, and if you are interested in attending Dartmouth, then there’s little doubt that you are asking the question, “How hard is it to get into Dartmouth?”

When it comes to getting to the bottom of this very important question, it is important to know that there are many different factors and variables that differ from student to student and from year to year.

The Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College.

With that being said, getting the important information related to that question can be a major tool for any student who is looking to beat the odds of the school’s acceptance rate and figure out ways to get into Dartmouth College.

At AdmissionSight, we pride ourselves on our ability to help the students that we work with every application cycle get into the schools of their dreams.

It’s why we are so proud of the fact that 75 percent of the students that we’ve worked with end up getting into either an Ivy League school or a top ten university or college elsewhere in the United States. With that track record, we feel confident that we have the tools and information necessary to help students beat even the most restrictive acceptance rates.

So, whether you are sure that Dartmouth is your number one choice for schools that you want to attend, or if you are simply looking to get more information about how hard it is to get into some of the top schools in the United States, then you have absolutely come to the right place.

Let’s get started on answering the question of how hard it is to get into Dartmouth.

Dartmouth’s admission requirements

When it comes to getting into Dartmouth, the most important place that any high school student can start when it comes to gathering information about what their chances are of getting into Dartmouth are the admissions requirements that applying students face.

In this day and age, there are very few actual requirements that students must meet in order to apply to even the most prestigious schools. The reason for this is because admissions officers at colleges and universities all over the country recognize that high school students are often at the mercy of the schools that they attend in terms of what courses are available to them and how difficult their curriculum can be.

Filling out an application form for college admission.

However, there are certainly admissions expectations that high school students will want to meet if they want to feel good about their chances of getting into Dartmouth.

Take a look at the basic breakdown below to get an idea of what kind of courses students should be taking during their four years of high school:

  • 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)

Moreover, high school students are encouraged to take electives that deal with art and creativity along with the aforementioned courses. While schools love to see that students have specialized in one academic subject or another, there is also a lot of value put on students who are well rounded and who can manage and explore many different passions that they have.

What is arguably the most important aspect of academic expectations facing high school students that want to attend Dartmouth is the expectation that students are taking as many advanced courses as possible throughout high school.

This refers particularly to both AP and IB courses. The most important reason why admissions officers at schools like Dartmouth look for these kinds of classes on a high school student’s transcript is because these classes are modeled after typical introductory courses at the undergraduate level.

This refers to both the difficulty of the class itself, as well as the way in which assignments, projects and exams are structured.

If a high school student is able to take many advanced courses throughout their high school years and earn great grades in those courses, then admissions officers at schools like Dartmouth will feel that much more confident that that student will be able to succeed at the college.

Average GPA and standardized tests scores for students at Dartmouth

For years, the two most important aspects of any high school student’s application to any college or university has been both their grade point average in high school and the scores that they were able to achieve on one of the two major standardized test options.

Things have changed quite drastically regarding standardized tests in recent years (we’ll get to that in a little later), but the GPA that a student earns during their years of high school remains the most important factor of any college application.

Student's taking exam.

One great way to determine how good your chances of getting into Dartmouth are is to take a look at your own GPA and compare it to the average GPA of high school students that end up getting accepted to the school.

The average grade point average for students that get into Dartmouth is a very 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 want to be at the top of your high school’s class.

On top of this, you are going to want to make sure that you start earning as many grades as possible from your very first semester in your freshman year to your last semester in your senior year.

Pacing yourself in terms of course load and difficulty of your curriculum is a major factor to keep in mind so that you can manage a balance of taking advanced courses while also not burning yourself out.

When it comes to the SAT and ACT, the two standardized test options for students within the United States, the average scores that students earn who then go on to get into Dartmouth are similarly impressive.

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 1450 and the 75th percentile score is 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.

One very important thing to keep in mind about standardized testing in the United States right now is that many schools across the country have adopted a test-optional policy in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Though many schools are expected to adopt A standardized testing requirement for students who want to apply sometime in the future, it appears as though this test-optional policy will remain in effect until the pandemic comes to an end.

With that being said, students who are looking for ways to get into Dartmouth College may want to consider taking either the SAT or ACT despite the school’s current test-optional policy. The reason for this is quite simple: standardized tests have always offered admissions officers more information on a student’s academic preparedness for undergraduate education.

As many students are taking advantage of the test-optional policy by not taking either the SAT or ACT, students who do take one of the standardized tests may simply be giving themselves an advantage by offering more proof that they have what it takes to succeed at a top college or university.

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.”

This is known as “superscoring” and can offer students the chance to earn a much higher score on their super-scored test compared to the individual tests that they take. With that in mind, students are not encouraged to take either the SAT or ACT more than a few times. If a student takes the exam too many times, it may reflect poorly upon their overall application.

How Dartmouth compares to other Ivies

Though this breakdown is specifically related to answering the question, “How hard is it to get into Dartmouth,” chances are good that you are similarly interested in how Dartmouth College compares to the other Ivy League schools in terms of overall difficulty to get in.

Though Dartmouth is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and competitive schools in the entire United States, it is actually thought of as one of the easier Ivy League programs to get into. This should not be thought of as a poor reflection on Dartmouth, but rather a reflection on just how selective and competitive the Ivy League truly is.

A big tree with the Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College on the background.

First, let’s take a look at Dartmouth’s acceptance rate from the most recent application cycle.

In 2021, 20,034 total students applied to Dartmouth via regular decision, and just 2,092 students were accepted. That was good for an acceptance rate of 10.4 percent which was the lowest admissions rate for the school since 2013.

As for students who applied to Dartmouth via early decision in 2021, 1,999 total students applied, and 555 students were accepted. That marked an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent! It’s a pretty incredible boost.

To get an idea of how these acceptance rates compare to those of the seven other Ivy League schools, take a look at the table below:

Table with information about different universities.As you can see, Dartmouth remains one of the most realistic schools to apply to for students who are interested and getting into the Ivy League. However just because it is an easier school to get into than programs like Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton, does not mean that it is easy to get into at all.

Any student determined to get into Dartmouth will still need to make sure that they are taking every single day of their high school experience seriously in order to earn top grades, achieve impressive accomplishments outside of the classroom, and make a marked and positive impact on their community at large.

How to improve your chances of getting into Dartmouth

While your grades are going to serve as the primary factor when it comes to getting into Dartmouth, there are many more variables that you can keep in mind and control in terms of ways to get into Dartmouth. Let’s break down some of the best ways to improve your chances of getting into Dartmouth together.

Invest your time in impressive extracurriculars

One important way in which admissions officers determine whether or not a student would be the right fit for a college or university is by taking a look at how that student spent his or her time outside of the classroom. This refers primarily to extracurricular activities that students can get involved in.

Back in the day, it used to be presumed that students who showed a wide array of interests by getting involved in many different groups and activities offered themselves the best chance of getting into a school like Dartmouth. These days, students are actually recommended to fine-tune their list of interests and focus primarily on just a handful of extracurricular activities.

Truthfully, what you actually get involved in matters less than how deeply you get involved in these different activities. Follow your passions and your interests, and make a point to try and earn roles of impact and leadership within those groups. That will reflect best upon you when you start talking about your extracurriculars in your application to Dartmouth.

Apply via early decision

As previously mentioned, students who applied to Dartmouth via early decision enjoyed a far more favorable acceptance rate than the students who applied via a regular decision. With that being said, it is very important for students to know the specific rules regarding Dartmouth’s early decision application option.

Most importantly, the early decision application at Dartmouth is binding. That means that if a student applies through this option and ends up getting into Dartmouth, they will then be required to withdraw their applications to other schools and enroll at Dartmouth.

For this reason, students should not apply to Dartmouth via early decision unless they know that Dartmouth is their number one choice above all other schools that they plan on applying to. If Dartmouth is your top choice and you are interested in learning how to get into Dartmouth, this is without a doubt one of the best ways to improve your chances.

Craft fantastic personal essays

Now that the standardized test portion of a student application is optional at schools like Dartmouth, admissions officers all over the country have started to focus primarily on personal essays as another key indicator of whether or not a student has what it takes to succeed at any given school.

Dartmouth requires all applicants to complete and submit a number of personal essays as part of their application. This responsibility should not be taken lightly. Students need to make sure that they are giving themselves the time necessary to answer these essay questions in the best way possible. Spending solid time on coming up with your answers is going to set you up for success.

The same can be said for giving yourself the time necessary to review, edit and improve your essays before sending them in. Having someone, such as a peer, student, teacher, or admissions consultant, review your essays is another great way to ensure that you are sending in the best representation of yourself possible.

We’ll teach you how to get into Stanford

There is no single way to guarantee that you will be getting into Dartmouth. However, there are certain steps you can utilize to improve your chances. At AdmissionSight, we make it our job to give every student that we work with the tools and knowledge necessary to maximize their chances of getting into a top school. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today for a free consultation.



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