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Should I submit a peer recommendation as part of my application to Dartmouth?

A: Image of Gabriel Gilbert '23; he is wearing a black aloha shirt with a red leaf pattern that runs from his shoulder down the left half of his shirt.

Short answer: yes. Long answer: absolutely, totally, certainly, most definitely, resoundingly yes. And here's why.

Here at Dartmouth, we practice holistic admissions. What that means is simply that there isn't one recipe or right combination of factors that can seal your admission to Dartmouth. Rather, it's a dynamic blend of everything that constitutes you as an applicant, from your track record of academic achievement, to your extracurricular commitments, to anything and everything that you include in your application. All of those factors are evaluated according to your own contexts, and no two applications are the same!

But how does that relate to the peer recommendation? If you remind yourself that Dartmouth practices holistic admissions, then the peer recommendation is another piece to you that you can share with us. Your personal application materials might tell us a lot about what you love to study or how amazing you are at U.S. history or calculus, your counselor recommendation will tell us about you and your work in your school community, and your teacher recommendations will tell us about how you are as a student. But how often do you get to share what you're like as a friend, a classmate, and a peer? This is your chance!

Submitting a peer recommendation is a really unique and different way to demonstrate another side to yourself, from the perspective of someone close to you or someone you trust to present their perspective of you in a truly unique way (read more about the peer rec here). You can ask whoever you trust to share that side of you, but definitely recognize and take advantage of the unique perspectives a peer has as opposed to a teacher or counselor.

The peer recommendation is definitely something unique to Dartmouth—I didn't submit a peer recommendation to any other school—but I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to do so. For me, I asked a good friend of mine that had shared so, so many classes with me since freshman year, from STEM classes to English classes to a ton of different social studies classes. I didn't ask my best friend, but someone that got to see me through that lens and could share details about how I asked questions in class, or where I devoted all my time when I wasn't doing homework, or what it was like to have to listen to me rant on the way to class—it's the little things. But just like imagery in any good writing, letting your admissions officer see through the eyes of someone close to you is just another way to illustrate the truest version of you. 

If you're thinking about applying to Dartmouth, I know you're not required to submit the peer rec, and I understand that asking your BFF to endorse you can be a tall order sometimes, but I promise you that it truly is just another way that Dartmouth is as holistic as possible. Take advantage of it! I hope this helps!

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