What is the Average ACT Score at Dartmouth?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Three students posing for the camera are holding books.

What is the Average ACT Score at Dartmouth?

For students who have the goal of getting into a top college or university, there is no doubt that getting a great score on a standardized test has played a huge role for many years. In the United States, the two tests that students have had the option of taking are either the SAT or the ACT.

For students who want to get into Dartmouth College, many have asked the question, “What is the average Act score at Dartmouth?” Though the importance of the ACT and the SAT have changed dramatically in recent years (we’ll get to this in more detail in a little while), tons of students continues to take one of the two standardized tests in the United States with the hopes that a high score will help them beat the odds and get into one of the most competitive and prestigious schools in the world.

Dartmouth College campus

When it comes to Dartmouth, it most definitely is that! Dartmouth is one of the eight schools in the influential and historical Ivy League. Though Dartmouth may be considered one of the easier Ivy League schools to get into, it is still – without a doubt – one of the hardest schools to get into in the United States. It also offers one of the very best educations. In fact, Dartmouth’s style of education undergraduate and graduate students may be the most unique in the Ivy League.

That is because Dartmouth is, in many ways, a liberal arts college. That means that the course sizes are smaller and that teachers take an even more direct role in their students’ academic journeys. For many students, this is the preferred style of learning.

So, if Dartmouth is your top choice for undergrad programs, there’s definitely a lot of value in your figuring out the Dartmouth average ACT scores. Knowing the average will give you a great target to reach for when you start preparing for the ACT yourself! And if you’re also interested in learning about Dartmouth requirements, the Dartmouth College acceptance rate, then you have definitely come to the right place.

At AdmissionSight, we make it our top priority to help the high school students that we work with get into the schools of their dreams. For many of our students, that means getting into schools like Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford or other top 10 schools in the United States. That is why we are so proud of our track record of getting 75 percent of the students that we work with end up getting into Ivy League schools or other top-10 schools across the United States.

So, let’s get started on breaking down the most important information any student that is interested in getting into Dartmouth needs to know about the ACT and the score that they will want to target in order to increase their chances of getting in.

Let’s get started!

What is the average ACT score at Dartmouth?

Just like the rest of the Ivy League, the Dartmouth acceptance rate is incredibly low. That is especially true when you are comparing the Dartmouth acceptance rate to the average acceptance rate at schools across the United States.

In fact, believe it or not, the average acceptance rates at schools across the United States is approximately 70.1 percent! Dartmouth could not be further from that average. In the 2021 application cycle, for students who were applying to be part of the 2025 graduating class at Dartmouth, a total of 28,357 individuals applied. Of those students, just 1,749 students were accepted in total.

Front building of Dartmouth College surrounded by trees

That is good for an overall acceptance rate of 6.17 percent. It marked a major drop off from the previous application cycle, when 8.79 percent of students that applied to Dartmouth got in. In fact, 2021 marked a very difficult year for students to get into top schools across the board. Not only were application pools larger than normal, but many of the top schools had fewer spots to fill as a large number of students who were accepted in 2020 opted to defer enrollment until 2021.

But what is important about knowing some basic facts regarding the Dartmouth acceptance rate? Essentially, knowing how few students end up getting in compared to how many apply may help you understand just how important every aspect of your application to Dartmouth is. When it comes to the Dartmouth requirements, students need to make sure to have the best grade point average possible, the best standardized test score possible, impressive extracurriculars, great letters of recommendation and so much more.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s first actually break down the Dartmouth average ACT score.

The average ACT score at Dartmouth is an impressive 34 out of the perfect score of 36. The 25th percentile ACT score for students that apply to the school is a 32, while the 75th percentile score for students that apply is a 35. These scores alone should give you a really good idea of just how impressive students need to be to get into this school. Truly, students typically need to be at the very top of their graduating class in terms of performance to really ensure their spot at Dartmouth or similar schools.

However, when it comes to discussing standardized tests and their role in the current admissions process, our admissions consultants at AdmissionSight want to make sure that anyone reading this has the whole story. As you may or may not already know, the entire process of taking standardized tests in the United States and sending in scores as part of an undergraduate application is totally optional at the moment. This movement began largely as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as students were not able to safely take group exams like the SAT or ACT.

While the test optional policy is expected to change at some time in the future, the simple fact is that at present, students are not required to submit either an SAT or ACT score in order to apply to Dartmouth.

Right now, Dartmouth has this message posted on its site to make clear where it stands for any students interested in applying to the school:

“Dartmouth College is test optional for the Class of 2026.

“Testing is not the ultimate factor in evaluating an application. We look at every applicant in the context of available opportunities and efforts. Testing, in conjunction with your academic record and recommendations, help us better understand your academic preparation.

“If you submit multiple scores from the SAT or ACT, we will accept superscored testing, i.e. your highest section scores in either test, regardless of the test dates.”

So, while the test optional policy is still in effect at the moment, there is no guarantee that it will remain optional in the coming years. If you are applying to schools in the next year or two, you are probably safe to assume that the test optional policy will still be in effect. If you are applying anytime after that, you are going to want to see how the next couple of years play out to see if standardized tests will remain optional. No matter which camp you are, you’ll want to be sure that you are keeping up to date with the test policies at all of the schools that you plan on applying to.

With all this considered, there are some compelling reasons to still take the ACT even though it is currently optional at Dartmouth. To start off, consider the fact that even though the vast majority of schools in the United States have adopted a standardized test optional policy for the time being, just under 1.3 million students still elected to take the ACT in 2021. An additional approximate 1 million took the SAT in that year.

Why are students still taking these exams even though they are not required, you might ask? If you remember just how competitive Dartmouth and similarly prestigious schools are, the answer becomes quite evident. Essentially, students who are looking to get into any top schools in terms of prestigiousness and selectiveness need to do everything in their power to convince the admissions officers at the schools that they are applying to that they have what it takes to thrive at the country’s most challenging programs.

While a great grade point average, a high school curriculum filled with advanced courses, impressive extracurriculars and achievements, great letters of recommendation and inspiring personal essays go a very long way, they – quite simply – are not always enough. A student who has all that and a fantastic ACT score is more likely to get into a school like Dartmouth than a student who lacks a great ACT score. So while students who are not taking standardized tests are not hurting their chances of getting in, a very real argument can be made that students who are taking the exam are helping themselves, even if it is slightly!

How to improve your chances of getting in Dartmouth

Now that you have a solid understanding of what ACT score you are going to want to earn to improve your chances of getting into Dartmouth, you are probably curious about the ways in which you can improve your chances of getting into the highly competitive school.

a male student staring at his laptop's screen and seems to be thinking

Here are some tips that any student curious about what it takes to get into Dartmouth or any Ivy League school should absolutely keep in mind when they start preparing their applications.

Make sure your GPA is near the top of your class

This should probably go without saying, but getting fantastic grades throughout high school is going to be the single most important factor when it comes to what schools any student will or will not be able to get into.

In fact, the average grade point average for high school students that get into Dartmouth is an incredibly competitive 4.11. That means that a lot of students that are applying to – and getting into – Dartmouth are earning straight A grades throughout high school. Not only that, but the fact that the average GPA is well over the perfect unweighted GPA of 4.0 means that a lot of students are taking lots of advanced courses throughout high school as well.

View of a woman using a laptop while sitting next to a table.

For these reasons, students need to be sure that they are taking as many advanced courses – such as AP and IB courses – as they are able to. Most high schools allow students to start taking advanced courses in the first semester of their sophomore year. Planning out your curriculum to make sure that it is filled with advanced courses, while also not overloading yourself, is a great way to ensure success at the high school level.

Still, while a low GPA can absolutely keep a student out of schools like Dartmouth and other top 10 programs, good – and even truly great – grades are never enough on their own. So make sure that while your academic record is a top priority during your high school years, it is not your only priority.

Apply via Early Decision

Another important tip that students should be aware of if they plan on applying to Dartmouth is to apply via the school’s Early Decision admissions option. However, students who want to apply to Dartmouth in this way need to be sure that Dartmouth is their number one option.

Essentially, applying to Dartmouth Early Decision offers students the chance to send in their application early, hear back about their admissions early, and send a strong signal to the school that Dartmouth is their top choice. The majority of schools that offer an early admissions option have a much higher acceptance rate for students that take advantage of it.

The same can absolutely be said about Dartmouth, and in last year’s application cycle year students who applied to Dartmouth via early admissions or accepted by a rate of 22.2 percent. That alone should prove to you just how impactful this decision can be.

Remember, because Dartmouth’s Early Decision admissions option is a binding one, students who want to apply this way need to make sure that Dartmouth is their top option. The reason for this is because if a student applies via early admissions at Dartmouth and ends up getting in, that student will have to withdraw all the other applications that they have out at other schools and enroll at Dartmouth. So, if Dartmouth is not your top option, you will want to consider other options.

Make sure you are developing the best personal essays possible

For a final tip to help you get into Dartmouth, you must be fully aware of just how important the personal essay section is to a student’s chances of getting into top schools these days. Personal essays have always been considered highly crucial by admissions committees all over the country, because they allow admissions officers to learn about an applying student as a person on a more unique and individual level.

Two people talking in a table.

These days, with standardized tests operating as an optional part of the application process, personal essays have become even more important. The top reasons why these essays are so crucial is because they:

  • Help the school’s admissions officers to get to know who the applying student is on a more personal level
  • Allow the student to show off their creative side and their writing ability
  • Give the student a chance to dive more deeply into their history, their passions, their goals and more

So, making sure that you are giving yourself enough time to really focus on the personal essay section of your application is going to absolutely yield the best results. This does not only mean giving yourself enough time to write the essays, but it also means approaching them in the right way. Keeping these following factors in mind when you begin the writing process will help you come up with topics and answers that will impress the admissions officers at Dartmouth.

  • What are the requirements?
  • Talk to peers, teacher, or your admissions consultant
  • Organize your thoughts before you start crafting your answers
  • Ask yourself why you should be accepted
  • Address and gaps or discrepancies that might be on your resume
  • Have a peer, teacher, or your admissions consultant review and edit your work
  • Seek notes and feedback to improve before you submit your application

Will you get into Dartmouth College?

Getting into Dartmouth is an incredibly challenging task, and there is no doubt that students who deserve to get in sometimes, sadly, are not offered a spot at the school. That is why working as hard as possible to make yourself the best candidate possible is crucial. For many students, that may mean taking the ACT and earning a fantastic score even while the standardized test optional policy is in effect.

But that is not the only thing a student can do to improve their chances, as you now know!

If you are determined to attend Dartmouth and want to learn more about how you can improve your chances of getting into Dartmouth, contact AdmissionSight today to schedule a free consultation.



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