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How to get into Dartmouth College

How to get into Dartmouth College

For Undergraduate (UG) and Masters (MS) degrees

Dartmouth is a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, northeastern United States. Established in 1769, it is the ninth oldest institution of higher education in the US, which grew from being a college that taught Christian theology and the English way of life to Native Americans, to a secularized educational institution of national prominence at the turn of the 20th century.

The university has been associated with three Nobel Prize winners, ten billionaires, top political leaders, scholars, Olympic athletes, literary and sports figures, and CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 corporations.

It was ranked 10th in Forbes’s “America’s Top Colleges 2019” and 12th in both US News’ “Best Colleges 2020: National Rankings” and THE/WSJ’s “US College Rankings 2020.”

It stood 94th in THE’s World University Rankings 2020, 207th in QS World University Rankings 2020, and 214th in US News and World’s Best Global University Rankings 2020.

Undergraduate admissions


Choice of study areas

Dartmouth has six main areas of study: arts and performing arts; engineering; humanities; interdisciplinary; physical and life sciences; and social sciences. To mention only a few majors under each area: Arts and performing arts majors include art history, film and media studies, music, theatre, and studio art. Engineering majors: engineering sciences, engineering physics, and materials science. Humanities majors: Asian and Middle Eastern languages and literature, classics, English, and French and Italian. Interdisciplinary majors: linguistics, Native American studies, and quantitative social science. Physical and life sciences majors: biological sciences, chemistry, physics and astronomy, and mathematics. Social sciences majors: anthropology, economics, history, government, and neuroscience.

How to apply

The Dartmouth early-admission application process for international students starts in August, and if you are applying for first-year admissions, you should use the Common App by adding Dartmouth to the My Colleges section. Your past education level decides your eligibility. You can opt for early decision or regular decision. (For admission tips and student experiences, visit

Early decision timeline

According to the early-decision timeline (check the Dartmouth website), applications go live on August 1; applications, financial aid application materials, and application fee are due on November 1; last date for testing is early November; response to (option) alumni interview (virtual/in-person) invitation is expected in mid-November; and grades from senior school year by late November.

By mid-December, early-decision and tentative final award notifications will be out. Late December is the time for intent to enroll, and January to February the time for mid-year report. Early-decision deferred applicants can file brief updates of achievements, scores, or recommendation letters.

Admission notification for deferred early-decision applicants comes on or before April 1, and May 1 is the deadline for recently admitted early-decision applicants. June is the time for submission of final secondary school report and transcript and is also the deadline for requesting a gap year.

Regular decision timeline

The regular-decision timeline (check the Dartmouth website) gives August as the month when the application process goes live; December is the last date for testing; January 2 is the time for regular-decision applications and application fee; January-February is when mid-year report is due and response to (optional) alumni interview (in-personal or virtual) is given; February 1 is the deadline for aid application materials; admission notification is released on or before April 1; May 1 is the date for intent to enroll; June for final secondary school report and transcript; and June 1 the deadline to request for a gap year.

International applicants interested in Questbridge programs should apply directly through that organization’s website after checking their eligibility on Dartmouth’s website. Transfer applicants should use the transfer application and follow the transfer timeline.

Application requirements

Application requirements for international applicants include the application fee (the first year application fee is $80), Common App, Dartmouth Writing Supplement (the questions try to find out whether you and Dartmouth might be a good fit for each other), secondary school report, transcript, school profile, and counselor evaluation, two teacher evaluations, and SAT or ACT. International applicants need to submit TOEFL / IELTS scores unless the first/primary language of instruction at your current secondary or post-secondary school is English.

The requirements include a strongly recommended peer recommendation, which is a support for your candidacy for anyone you consider to be a peer, and two SAT subject tests from English, maths, science, history, and languages.

Check your application

If you have applied online using Common App, you will receive an acknowledgement mail as soon as Dartmouth starts downloading your material, which is usually in September. You can update your application and see the status of your aid application.

What Dartmouth looks for

Dartmouth assesses international student applications in the same way as domestic applications. The parameters go beyond grades and test scores to context, national curriculum, availability of extracurriculars, and access to standardized tests.

The admission facts and enrolled class profile give an idea of what students have the best chance of making it to Dartmouth: For the undergraduate class of 2023, Dartmouth received 23,650 applications, from which 1,875 were accepted for an acceptance rate of 7.9 percent. The percentage of enrolled early-decision admissions was 47.

Total number of students: 1,193; men: 606; women 582; genderqueer/non-binary: 5. Students in the top decile: 94 percent.

Standardized testing: SAT critical reading EBRW (evidence-based reading and writing); mean: 732; median: 750; mid 50 percent range: 710-770; SAT math: mean: 754; median: 780; mid 50 percent range: 730-790; ACT: mean: 33; mid 50 percent range: 32-35.

Secondary school attendance: public school: 57 percent; independent schools: 31 percent; religious schools: 13 percent; total number of schools represented: 932.

Demographic profile: US citizen: 90 percent; first generation in college: 15 percent; legacy: 12 percent; foreign citizen: 10 percent (from 53 countries).

Cost of attendance

The direct costs of attendance for UG programs in 2019-2020 were tuition: $55,605; fees: $1,599; housing: $9,879; and food: $6,494. The indirect costs were books ($1,005) and miscellaneous ($2,040). The total annual cost was $76,623. First-year students paid an orientation fee of $434, which brought their total cost to $77,057. Additionally, medical plan cost $3,248 and basic computer package $1,450 in 2019-2020. Students have to incur travel cost.

Financial assistance

Dartmouth scholarships are all need-based (“cost of attendance” minus “family contribution” gives you “need”), with no provision for other types as such academic merit. The university meets all of the demonstrated of all financial-aid applicants.

Grants and scholarships and work-study and student employment are available. As many as 52 percent of the students received financial aid; and 15 percent were classified as Pell-eligible, and 18 percent as low-income households.

The average need-based grant was $55,572, and the total scholarships offered was $29.7 million. Student loans, parent loans for UG students (PLUS), and private educational loans are other types of financial assistance available.

Graduate admissions

Dartmouth’s Frank J. Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies supports 1,000 graduate students, doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral schools in 35 programs or, in other words, all graduate students except MD students of the Geisel School of Medicine and MBA students at the Tuck School of Business. The Guarini School awards all MA, MS, and PhD degrees at Dartmouth.

Graduate students at the Guarini School can choose from 27 master’s and doctoral programs in humanities and health, natural, physical, and computer sciences as well as interdisciplinary degree programs and programs at the university’s professional schools.

Master’s programs include computer science, comparative literature, engineering, earth sciences, physics and astronomy, and physics and astronomy, to name only a few. Doctoral programs range from chemistry to quantitative biomedical sciences.

Besides Guarini, Dartmouth also runs programs at the Geisel School of Medicine, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business (read What Dartmouth Tuck looks for).

The Geisel School is US’s fourth-oldest medical school and runs 18 clinical and basic sciences departments. The Thayer School is also one of the oldest engineering schools in the US and features a single unified department of engineering sciences. The Tuck School, established in 1900, specializes in its full-time MBA and also offers executive education and other non-degree programs.

How to apply

Applications should generally include the completed online application, undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Application requirements depend on the program and can be obtained from the relevant department. There are no language requirements for master’s and PhD students.

Tuition, funding

Dartmouth operates on a quarterly schedule, and students usually enroll for three quarters each year. Online sources put the tuition fee for graduate school at around $56,000 per year for the academic year 2019-2020 and an additional $18,500 for other expenses.

The Guarini School’s funding includes scholarships, fellowships, research assistantships, and loans. The assistance is intended to attract well-qualified students. Funding depends on the availability of funds and the student’s academic progress.

Tips to get into Dartmouth

  • Apply early to increase your chances
  • Give yourself adequate time to complete your application
  • Put in some good effort into answering the writing supplement prompts
  • Ensure that you do well in your school academics
  • Mention your social-service activities and value to your community
  • Highlight your skills through your extracurriculars

Also read:
Q&A with Brown University Computer Science Professor
Ivy league vs Oxbridge
How I got into an Ivy League university as an older student
The dark side of attending Ivy League programs
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24