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6 JULY 2023
The Dartmouth Admissions Office has collected questions from teachers, 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?
An applicant is expected to have pursued the most demanding curriculum offered by the high school(s) attended. In schools that follow a US-based curriculum, five "major" subjects are required through the senior year. A student is admitted to Dartmouth College without a major designation but there are specific recommendations for students planning a course of study in STEM disciplines.
We recommend a course of study that includes a minimum of:
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:
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 a minimum test score on the SAT or ACT required for admission to Dartmouth?
Dartmouth College is test optional for applicants to the Class of 2028. If a student has taken standardized testing, we encourage the student to submit scores regardless of how they may compare to scores on historical Dartmouth class profiles.
We review each application carefully, regardless of the standardized testing results. Testing is not the ultimate factor in evaluating an application. Testing, in conjunction with a student's academic record and recommendations, helps us better understand their academic preparation.
We strongly advise students to focus on the many holistic elements of the application that showcase academic excellence and their personal narrative. Dartmouth has practiced holistic admissions review for more than a century, and that ancient ideal of the whole person continues to guide our application review process for candidacies with and without ACT or SAT scores.
Q. Does Dartmouth accept SAT Subject Test, AP, or IB exams for review in the application process?
Yes. The SAT Subject Tests, IB, and AP are all examples of optional testing that some candidates choose to share when available. Not submitting these scores will not prevent a candidacy from receiving a full review by the Admissions Committee.
Q. If English is not a student's first language, are they required to submit an English language proficiency test?
If a student's language is not English and their secondary school curriculum has not been delivered in English for at least two years, we require them to submit an English proficiency exam score from the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or Cambridge English exam.
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 four 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.
LISTEN TO ALL EPISODES OF ADMISSIONS BEAT
In the first of a two-part conversation about the academic data that populates an application, Yale's Jeremiah Quinlan and Emily Roper-Doten from Clark join host Lee Coffin to discuss the high school transcript as "the foundational element" of an application. The trio reflects on an admission officer's assessment of curriculum, grades, and "patterns" as key metrics of academic merit, and they offer "a way of understanding the numbers and letters that dance around a college application, what they mean, and how we use them."
Data Dive, Part 1: The High School Transcript
A transcript is available for this episode.