Unpacking the Peer Recommendation
While opening up my Dartmouth application portal and reviewing the application materials checklist, I learned about the peer recommendation that Dartmouth gives us a chance to add into our application. While optional, I thought of the peer recommendation as a great way to provide a unique perspective for the Admissions Team to get to know another layer of ourselves through the eyes of our peers—who can be defined as your friend, sibling, teammate, classmate, or anyone else close to you (without a supervisory role) that you feel can strengthen your testimony of character. Some questions that can be helpful for your peer recommender include: How are you outside the classroom? Or what qualities do you possess as a peer in and/or outside of the classroom? What can your peer say about the qualities you possess? What is a memory (or memories) of you that can highlight your candidacy? What is it that your peer can add that can portray/showcase your personality truest to your character?
When deciding who I was going to ask to write my peer recommendation, I took into consideration who would have a raw vision of me that I felt was most true to myself and who I was. The question that I kept in my mind when thinking about who I wanted to ask to write my peer rec was "who can I trust enough to write my recommendation without needing to see it before they submit it?" I ended up asking one of my close friends from the Dartmouth Bound fly-in program; although I had never met her in person due to the pandemic making the program virtual, I felt that she would provide the best testimony to my character and the most to say given that I always felt a sense of comfort confiding in her and the extra layer of vulnerability she provided in our friendship, which made her a great choice in asking to be my recommender.
Two of the biggest questions that may come up by your peer recommender are about the length and structure. There is no official length or word count to how long the peer rec should be, nor is there a specific structure on how the recommender is to go about it; it's an abstract recommendation that can present your strengths and attributes to the College through the vision of you by your peer—trust them and their writing! I did not ask to see my recommendation before my friend submitted it because there should be enough confidence that your recommender will write a beautiful recommendation for the Admissions Team, taking away something positive about your character that can strengthen your application in this holistic review process.
As the regular decision deadline is approaching, I hope this can help any future Dartmouth '27s who are thinking about submitting a peer recommendation, or have already asked a peer who is currently writing one for them. Best of luck and we can't wait to welcome you to the woods!