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How to Respond to the 2022-2023 Dartmouth Supplemental Essay Prompts

Dartmouth is an Ivy League institution found along the scenic Connecticut River in Hanover, New Hampshire. Just like other Ivy League institutions, Dartmouth is difficult to be admitted to as their acceptance rate is 9%So, how do you become a part of the 9%? Writing stellar supplemental essays for your Dartmouth application is one way!

To stand out on your application, you need to have stunning responses to the Dartmouth supplemental prompts. The Dartmouth supplemental essays offer the perfect opportunity to display pieces of your personality. This is your chance to prove that you are a better candidate than others by sharing the unique characteristics and interests you possess. 

So what are you waiting for? Read our guide below on how to make your Dartmouth supplemental essay responses flawless! 

The Dartmouth College supplemental essay prompts

Responding to the Dartmouth supplemental essay prompts allows applicants to share their unique characteristics and interests. After all, Dartmouth wants to admit students who are a good fit for their campus and community. Dartmouth requires three supplemental essays, with the third prompt offering five interesting options to choose from. Read our guide below on how to make your Dartmouth supplemental essay responses flawless! 

Essay 1

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? (100 words or fewer) 

Although there are a lot of words included in this question, it is essentially just another “Why us?” question! Therefore, do not overthink this one. 

With the 100 word limit, there is not a lot of room to go on about how amazing Dartmouth is (plus, they already know they are pretty amazing!). Therefore, you should brainstorm around two to three things about Dartmouth that you absolutely love. This can include anything about Dartmouth, such as its beautiful campus and location, any important traditions they have, the academic programs offered, any extracurriculars you are excited for, and much more. 

The key to responding to this prompt is to be specific. Show that you have done your research. Remember, you do not have a lot of words to write your response. Therefore, strive to make it short and sweet but also informative. Mention these two to three specific and detailed pieces and why you are interested in them. 

Be sure to spend time researching Dartmouth and what makes them unique compared to other colleges. Remember, you are applying to an extremely selective college, so you want to make sure you are choosing something that other applicants would not think about. It is all about thinking outside of the box and showing the “true you” through your responses. 

Essay 2

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

Dartmouth receives a lot of applications from students from around the world with impressive applications. Therefore, this is your time to prove how unique you are and how your individuality will flourish while at Dartmouth. Be sure to not restate items from your resume or detail your entire life story. Rather, be as concise as possible while revealing your identity. 

This is a very open ended question, which can be tricky to start. To help brainstorm, think of the following questions: 

  • How would you introduce yourself to a complete stranger? 
  • If you had to make a slideshow about yourself, what would you include? 
  • What are your main interests? 
  • What could you not live without? 
  • How would someone close to you describe you? 

To format this response you can either: 

  • Write as if you were introducing yourself to someone
  • Create a more narrative and story-telling piece of writing
  • Something more creative!

Ultimately, the formatting does not matter as long as you accurately introduce yourself and highlight your uniqueness. Just remember to be authentic and focus on what makes you stand out from everyone else. 

Essay 3

For the third Dartmouth supplemental essay, you’ll choose from a list of five potential prompts. Before making your choice, read through them carefully and determine which prompt most appeals to you. Remember to only select one prompt to answer! 

Option 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?” (200-250 words)

Essentially, this prompt is asking “What do you hope to achieve for the greater good?” or “What do you think your life’s purpose is?” 

This may seem like a daunting question to tackle, but Dartmouth understands that you are young and still figuring life out. Therefore, do not feel like you need to have a concrete answer to this prompt. 

Dolores Huerta is a prominent civil rights activist who dedicated her life to advocating for immigrant rights. Therefore, Dartmouth is looking for someone who is dedicating their time to make a long term positive change in their world and community. 

Try to think of passions you have and what you have done to act on these passions. Have you ever volunteered anywhere? Have you created a business that donates money to charity? Have you created a club at your high school to help those who are less fortunate than you? 

Once you have identified your passions and purpose in life, detail what you want to continue to do to make an impact on this community. 

Option B

What excites you? (200-250 words)

Although this question is short and sweet, it is extremely broad! This means that you can answer this question in a lot of different ways. However, just because the question is broad does not mean your answer should be too. Rather, your answer should be extremely specific and detailed. 

Before you start answering this prompt, you should sit down for a few minutes and list what excites you and makes you happy. Once you have a solid list of things that excite you, select whichever thing you are most passionate about. 

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. In fact, you can write about anything big or small. For example, you can choose to write about how each week a new episode of a TV show makes you excited because you get to watch it with your family. Or you can write about how going for a walk in new trails where you live excites you because you love seeing new nature scenes. You can write about how helping people less fortunate than you makes you excited for your dream job at a nonprofit organization. 

It does not matter what you choose to write about. What matters is how you justify your answer. The “why” is so important. Why does this particular thing excite you? How does it impact your life? Does it connect back to your future goals? 

In addition, do not forget that this essay is for Dartmouth. So, if possible, try to connect what you are excited by back to Dartmouth and its resources. For example, as stated before, maybe going for a walk around your neighborhood makes you happy and excites you because of the new nature scenes you are able to see. You can then connect this back to your excitement to be immersed in the beautiful trees and nature of New Hampshire. You might even want to connect it back to being excited about studying environmental studies at Dartmouth. 

This essay can be a good place to tie in a passion to your intended major to give the Dartmouth admissions officers an idea of how your major connects to your interests. 

Option 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 already made? (200-250 words)

Do not worry – you need not have created a working windmill to be able to answer this prompt! However, it is important that you are someone who is driven to create. Therefore, if you do not think that that sounds like you – do not  choose this prompt! 

This question has two parts that you should address in your response. The first piece asks you to share what drives you to create. Essentially, what motivates you? Are you self-driven? What are you passionate about? 

The second part of this question straightforwardly asks what you hope to make or have you already made. Try to think of a time where you were innovative and created something. This does not need to be a physical object, but rather can be a club, app, or something else along those lines. Dartmouth is looking for applicants who made their ideas a reality! 

If you have not physically created something tangible, do not worry. You can also write about any entrepreneurial ideas you have that you want to put into motion. For example, if you have an idea for a way to reduce carbon emissions – write about it! Maybe you do not have the money and resources to take this idea to fruition right now, but it is critical to show Dartmouth that you are thinking critically and creatively about solutions to issues. 

Once you have written about something you have created or want to create, be sure to connect it back to what drives you. For example, let’s say you created an American Sign Language (ASL) club in high school because your best friend is deaf and there were not a lot of resources available for her. You should then connect this back to how you were driven to create this club because helping those who are less fortunate motivates you every day.

Take this prompt as an opportunity to reflect on what motivations you have and the thought process that goes into your creative endeavors. Do not just spend the entire essay detailing what your creation is! 

You can even connect back to how Dartmouth can help you improve upon your creation or even make your idea a reality. Remember, you want to prove to Dartmouth that not only will they be valuable to you, but you are valuable to them! Therefore, personalize your essay to describe specific resources you would take advantage of as a Dartmouth student. 

Option D

Dr. Suess, aka Theodor Geisel of Dartmouth’s Class of 1925, wrote, “Think and wonder. Wonder and think.” What do you wonder and think about? (200-250 words) 

This prompt is the perfect opportunity for applicants who find themselves constantly asking questions and wanting to learn more about anything and everything. Try to think of the last time you went down an internet rabbit hole researching or bombarding someone with a million questions about a particular subject. What was it and why did this topic interest you? 

The great thing about this particular prompt is that there are no restrictions! You can talk about literally anything that you think and wonder about. Ultimately, you want to discuss something that truly fascinates you and makes you “nerd” out! 

Some examples of topics you could discuss are: 

  • Time travel
  • A bucket list trip
  • Going to space
  • How Bluetooth works

The possibilities are endless! Do not feel like you need to make up a dramatic narrative in order to impress Dartmouth. Rather, just be true to yourself and write from your heart. This will show Dartmouth how you spend time wondering and what truly interests you. 

Option 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? (200-250 words) 

Ultimately, this prompt is asking you to explain an experience in your life in which you had to overcome a challenge or obstacle. The first part of the prompt, “Nothing can be changed until it is faced” emphasizes that nothing around you will change unless you face it head on. Therefore, choose a time in which you faced adversity. 

First, you should explain the context surrounding this time:

  • When faced with adversity, what happened? 
  • How did you face the challenge? 
  • Did meaningful change occur? 
  • What did you learn?

Next, you should provide a detailed narrative on what you were feeling during this time. Finally, detail how you overcame this challenge and what you have learned from this experience. Include information about how it has helped shape you into who you are today and how it will continue to influence your perspective as you grow. When selecting an event, try to avoid trivial and cliche challenges such as bad breakups or try out rejections unless particularly relevant.

Final thoughts on responding to the Dartmouth supplemental essays

After reading our guide for responding to the Dartmouth supplemental essays, it is time to write your responses! 

Be sure you are outlining and brainstorming prior to writing your responses. Remember, this is Dartmouth you are applying to! You want to ensure that every piece of your essay responses are well-thought out. Do not repeat yourself, and be sure to evenly distribute bits of personality and interests throughout your responses. 

You are more than equipped to answer the Dartmouth supplemental essay questions! Good luck during the writing process! 

Next steps after applying to Dartmouth

When you are finished writing your Dartmouth supplemental essays – it is time to submit your application!

Now, you should have celebrated your accomplishment of submitting your Dartmouth application! Well done!  Be sure to check: 

  • Email 
  • Dartmouth portal
  • Any Dartmouth social media accounts

For any updates to your application status! Once again best of luck to you! 

Additional resources

Now that you are done with the Dartmouth supplemental essays, double check that your Coalition Application and Common Application essays are perfect! Also, make sure you check out our guide on how many schools to apply to

Have you completed the ACT or SAT? If you are wondering about whether or not to send your SAT/ACT scores to test optional schools, check out our guide!

Most importantly, check out our free scholarship search tool to help you finance your education. Best of luck in the college admissions process, and remember that Scholarships360 is here to help you! 

Additional supplemental essay guides