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The Basics

Dartmouth Admissions Basics

  • Our process considers the entirety of each application.
  • We require the Common Application or Coalition Application and a brief writing supplement.
  • We recommend a peer recommendation from a friend, classmate, family member, or another person whom the applicant regards as a peer. (Teachers, employers, coaches, community leaders, etc. are generally not regarded as peers by our applicants.)
  • We require either the ACT or SAT.
  • We recommend 2 SAT subject tests.
  • We practice need-blind admission for all U.S. citizens, permanent residents, eligible non-citizens, and undocumented students in the U.S.
  • We have no set requirements for high school courses completed. We look for students who have taken the most challenging curriculum available to them.

Dates, forms, and more specifics can be found on our Apply to Dartmouth page.

Dartmouth Financial Aid Basics

  • Financial Aid is completely need-based.
  • We meet 100% of every admitted student’s demonstrated need for all four years, regardless of citizenship.
  • Families earning $100,000 per year or less, and possessing typical assets, will receive free tuition and financial aid packages without loans.

Dates, forms, and more specifics can be found on our Apply for Financial Aid page.

 

FAQs for Counselors & Advisors

The Dartmouth Admissions Office has collected questions from teachers, guidance counselors, and community advisors. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. Contact us any time with additional questions.

Q. Does Dartmouth require applicants to complete specific courses while in high school?
No, Dartmouth has no specific subject requirements for prospective students. We do, however, encourage students to undertake the strongest course of study available at their secondary schools.

Most applicants to Dartmouth present strong secondary school transcripts that include the following courses:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of mathematics (often through calculus, if available)
  • 4 years of social science
  • 4 years of laboratory science
  • 4 years of a foreign language 

Policies and course offerings will vary from one school to the next. The Admissions Committee takes the context of the school curriculum into consideration when reviewing an application. The school profile is an important source of information regarding your school’s curriculum. In most cases, unusual curricular choices are best highlighted including a concise explanation in the Counselor Recommendation. If you feel that your curriculum needs further explanation, we encourage counselors to contact our office.

Q. Should a student continue courses in every subject throughout all four years, or try new things?
It depends. We encourage students to pursue coursework that excites and challenges them, and to take the most challenging courses available to them. Generally, our applicants pursue all five core areas of study for all four years of high school. There are exceptions, however. For example, because of scheduling conflicts a student may have to choose between a fourth year of a foreign language and an advanced math course they’ve been looking forward to in their senior year. It makes sense for the student to consider which of the two courses will enable them to grow in ways that are most meaningful to them. When students raise specific course-related questions with us, we encourage them to speak with their counselors to get the best advice within the context of their own school.

Q. Does a candidate have to take four years of a language to be admitted to Dartmouth?
Dartmouth does not have any set academic requirements. We certainly look to see that a student is taking a challenging and appropriate curriculum to succeed at Dartmouth. When we receive an application, we review the student’s high school profile very carefully to understand what curriculum is offered at that particular high school.

Q. How important are the applicant’s grades when being considered for admission?
A student’s grades are important and are looked at in the application process in several main ways:

  1. Predictive ability of grades.
    A top secondary school GPA is an indicator that a candidate is likely to do well in college. However, this is only part of the way we look at a student's GPA in the application process.
  2. Grade trends.
    We look at grade trends that will help us understand a student's academic trajectory in his or her secondary school. We use the rest of the application to try to fill in WHY the trend looks the way it does. If a student has a particular reason for, say, a dip in grades in junior year, please advise the student that they should let us know about it in the Additional Information section of the Common Application or Coalition Application.
  3. Rigor of curriculum.
    Our Admissions Committee will also look at the candidate’s curriculum within the context of what is available at their school. Typically, our applicants pursue the most rigorous coursework available to them, particularly in their areas greatest interest.

Q. Is there a minimum high school grade point average required for admission to Dartmouth?
No, each application is reviewed carefully and holistically, regardless of the student's cumulative grade point average. That said, admission to Dartmouth is highly selective and most students who apply for admission have been very successful students.

Q. If a mostly A student suddenly gets a C in math in 10th grade is she or he doomed?
The errant C on a student's transcript, in and of itself, does not preclude admission. In any case, we read each student's transcript and school profile closely and determine to what extent the student has challenged him/herself given what is available. It is our holistic understanding of the candidacy and how it fits within the context of our applicant pool that determines the outcome.

Q. Is there minimum test score on the SAT or ACT required for admission to Dartmouth?
No, we review each application carefully, regardless of the standardized testing results. Testing is one of a number of factors we include in our review of an application. See the testing statistics of our most recently admitted class. 

Q. What SAT Subject Tests should applicants take? Does it matter?
Applicants are encouraged to take exams in the subjects they enjoy most. Generally, they tend to do best in these subject, and this will help us understand their areas of greatest strength. Students interested in studying specific subject areas at Dartmouth do not need to take any specific subject tests. Some subject test scores may help with placement at Dartmouth and give students a head start on a desired concentration, but they will also have the opportunity to take placement exams during orientation. Read more about how we use testing in our review of an application.

Q. Does Dartmouth grant credit for AP, A-Level, IB, or CLEP examinations?
Dartmouth will grant course credit on entrance for AP or IB examinations, as well as offering exemptions and placement in some subject areas. Credit on entrance appears on the Dartmouth transcript, however it does not count towards the 35 course credits required to graduate. For more information about pre-matriculation credits please visit the  Office of the Registrar website.

Q. Is it important for students to pursue the same activities for all for years or is it okay for them to stop some activities and start new ones later in high school?
We are interested in learning about the activities that are truly meaningful to the applicant. These may be activities that the applicant has been doing for many years, or they may be activities that are relatively new endeavors. We often see activities that students have been doing throughout high school, and generally this makes sense within a student’s areas of greatest interest, commitment, and accomplishment. However, longevity does not necessarily equal importance and there are many cases where an applicant discovers an area of interest later in their high school career that turns out to be their most meaningful pursuit.

Q. How do you evaluate music/art supplements?
Applicants with a truly extraordinary talent in the performing or visual arts may submit supplementary materials for review. An outstanding arts submission neither guarantees admission, nor does it commit a student to participate in the arts at Dartmouth if admitted. Conversely, students who wish to participate in the arts at Dartmouth are not required to submit an Arts Supplement. It is an optional component of the application.

Q. Should prospective athletic recruits send in their athletic "highlights" video?
Student-athletes with a keen interest in a particular sport are encouraged to contact the coach at Dartmouth directly. The Dartmouth Admissions Office does not review athletic videos or athletic portfolios. The coaches for individual sports can be reached via the Dartmouth Athletics website.

Q. Do admissions officers check a student's Facebook profile?
Since anything published online is public information, we reserve the right to use public information regarding an applicant’s candidacy to make admissions decisions. However, the Dartmouth Admissions Office does not actively "research" candidates online, unless there are circumstances that require us to validate or confirm a student's candidacy. (For example, we might confirm awards granted in a particular science fair, in order to get a sense of a student's accomplishments at the local, regional, state, or national level.) Sometimes the web can be a helpful tool in understanding the context or community of a particular applicant. Students should represent themselves in an appropriate and mature manner. We're not trying to use the web as a "spy" tool. However, social media sites ARE a representation of oneself, and students should want to put their best foot forward.

Q. Should an applicant attend an information session locally, if they have already attended one on campus?
Each year, our Admissions Office will travel to dozens of cities in the U.S. and around the world to speak about the Dartmouth experience. These Information Sessions will be posted on our website as the fall and spring travel seasons progress, and they are open to the public. Typically, the information session in your city will highlight Dartmouth’s quintessential New England community, the strengths of our academic program, our students and faculty and some of the projects in which they’re engaged, student life, and the admissions and financial aid processes. If a student has already visited campus, the information session might be somewhat repetitive, but chances are they will learn something new.

Q. If an applicant graduated from high school ten years ago, can he or she still apply?
Yes! While most Dartmouth students enroll directly after high school, a number of students at the College have spent anywhere from a year to several decades or more out of school before attending. The experiences they're able to share and the perspectives they bring add to the diversity of our community.

We have more questions and answers for prospective students on our FAQs page. Your students might also like to read our general Application Advice page.