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Considering Dartmouth’s writing supplement is required, we want you to be best equipped with all of the tips and tricks that you can gather to make your answers great. Read below for our advice on answering Dartmouth’s 2022 supplemental essays:

Dartmouth’s writing supplement requires that applicants write brief responses to three supplemental essay prompts as follows:

1. Required of all applicants. Please respond in 100 words or fewer:

Dartmouth celebrates the ways in which its profound sense of place informs its profound sense of purpose. As you seek admission to Dartmouth’s Class of 2027, what aspects of the College’s academic program, community, or campus environment attract your interest? In short, Why Dartmouth? Please respond in 100 words or fewer.

Dartmouth understands that your aspirations and interests may change over four years, but they still want to hear how the college will ultimately benefit you (and what you can bring to the college). Don’t shy away from lofty goals and outcomes, but also be specific in describing how you plan to get there and – most importantly – how Dartmouth will help. 

2. Required of all applicants. Please respond in 200-250 words:

 “Be yourself,” Oscar Wilde advised. “Everyone else is taken.” Introduce yourself in 200-250 words.

Reflect upon who you are and what you want Dartmouth admissions officers to know about you. Do you have a story to tell? What was your upbringing like? Perhaps you want to talk about your family unit, or relay a story that exemplifies your character or a challenge you’ve faced (and then overcome). Or maybe there is a specific tradition in your family that has shaped who you are, or a specific experience interacting with your peers, or a mentor, or perhaps customers at the shop where you work. 

Everyone is unique. Let Dartmouth know more about you!

3. Required of all applicants. Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 200-250 words:

A: Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta recommended a life of purpose. “We must use our lives to make the world a better place to live, not just to acquire things,” she said. “That is what we are put on the earth for.” In what ways do you hope to make—or are you making—an impact?

If you have made an impact on others while in high school, describe that impact. What did you do? How did you help others? What did you learn about yourself in the process? What did others gain from your contributions? 

Your “impact” doesn’t need to be grand! It can be small and simple – like babysitting, or teaching a younger sibling math, or cleaning up a town park, for example. For this essay question, it’s important to extrapolate from your past experiences and think bigger: How will you make a difference in the world when you graduate from Dartmouth? Consider the impact you hope to make in your chosen future career. Maybe you will become an entrepreneur or a community leader or you’ll go into politics. Or maybe you will invent something, or become a teacher, documentary filmmaker, physician, judge or journalist. Whatever your potential profession, you’ll certainly have the opportunity to make a positive impact on others’ lives.

Even if you don’t know exactly what you will do someday, that’s okay – provide the admissions committee with some insight into where you possibly see yourself someday.

B: What excites you?

This is a big question. Here Dartmouth is hoping to learn more about your passion and curiosity. The admissions officers will be able to tell if you’re pandering, so be as truthful as possible here. If you’re genuinely excited about something academic or school-related, great, but don’t force it if you find your true passions lie outside of the classroom.

C: In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba, Class of 2014, reflects on constructing a windmill from recycled materials to power the electrical appliances in his family’s Malawian house: “If you want to make it, all you have to do is try.” What drives you to create and what do you hope to make or have you made?

For more creative minds, this question might be for you. It’s very much open-ended, so be careful not to let your answer wander off in many different directions. Answers here could refer to an aspect of your own personal identity or upbringing.

D: Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel of Dartmouth’s Class of 1925, wrote, “Think and wonder. Wonder and think.” What do you wonder and think about?

This question helps reveal a student’s intellectual vitality and affords you an opportunity to go deep into what makes your brain happy. What are you curious about? What makes you think twice? When you dream about your future (or about the world around you), what do you envision? How do you hope to apply this to your time at Dartmouth?

E: “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” wrote James Baldwin. How does this quote apply to your life experiences?

How did you face a challenge head-on? How did you overcome that challenge? (Did you overcome it? Or is it still a hurdle for you to overcome?) 

If you choose to answer this question, you’ll need to be specific! This cannot be a general challenge that faces others, but instead it must be something that you have faced personally. Dartmouth wants to hear more about your resilience and how you’ve adapted. Did you become a stronger and better individual because of what you’ve faced?

About the author
Amanda San Román

Amanda earned a BA in rhetoric from Bates College, where she was a Senior Admissions Fellow, responsible for interviewing applicants and leading information sessions. She continues to conduct alumni interviews both in-person and virtually. Amanda manages communication and partnership efforts for AcceptU by facilitating webinars, events, email marketing and technology management.

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