How to Write Dartmouth's Essays (with Dartmouth Essay Examples)

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Kate Sliunkova

AdmitYogi, Stanford MBA & MA in Education

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14 min read

How to Write Dartmouth's Essays (with Dartmouth Essay Examples)

Intro:

When it comes to college applications, writing an exceptional essay can be the key to standing out from the crowd. And for those aiming to join Dartmouth College, mastering the art of crafting compelling essays is crucial. But what exactly distinguishes a Dartmouth essay from the rest? In this article, we will delve into the insider tips and strategies for acing each of Dartmouth's essay prompts, accompanied by inspiring examples from successful applicants. Whether you're at the initial stages of brainstorming or adding the finishing touches to your essays, continue reading for expert guidance on how to captivate the admissions committee at one of the most esteemed institutions in the world. Prepare to unlock the secrets to making your Dartmouth application shine.

Dartmouth's Essay Prompts:

Dartmouth University requires its students to write three supplemental essays.

  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? Please respond in 100 words or fewer."

  2. "'Be yourself,' Oscar Wilde advised. 'Everyone else is taken.' Introduce yourself in 200-250 words."

  3. Choose one of the following prompts:

    • "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?"

    • "What excites you?"

    • "In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba '14 reflects on constructing a windmill from recycled materials to power 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?"

    • "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?"

    • "'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 to Write Dartmouth's Essays:

How to Approach Dartmouth's "Why Dartmouth" Essay

The Prompt: "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."

When approaching the Dartmouth essay prompt that asks why you are interested in the College's academic program, community, or campus environment, it's crucial to demonstrate your genuine enthusiasm and understanding of Dartmouth's unique characteristics. Remember, you only have 100 words or fewer to make your case, so it's important to be concise and impactful. Here are a few tips to guide you:

  1. Research and specificity: Take the time to research Dartmouth's academic programs, campus community, and environment. Identify unique aspects that resonate with you. Whether it's the interdisciplinary approach, the tight-knit community, or the stunning natural surroundings, be sure to highlight the elements that truly attract your interest. Be specific!
  2. Personal connection: Connect your own aspirations, interests, or experiences to Dartmouth's offerings. How do you envision yourself thriving academically or contributing to the community? Share personal anecdotes or examples that demonstrate your alignment with Dartmouth's values and opportunities.
  3. Show, don't tell: Use vivid and concise language to paint a clear picture of why Dartmouth stands out to you. Instead of making general statements, provide concrete examples or specific details that illustrate why Dartmouth is the perfect fit for your academic and personal growth.

Remember, brevity is key in this response, so choose your words wisely. Craft a compelling and authentic answer that showcases your passion for Dartmouth and conveys your potential contributions to the college community.

Here's a great example of the "Why Dartmouth" essay from Ellie, who got into Yale and Dartmouth.

"Hidden below Hanover sits Base Camp, a Nepalese restaurant and home of the spiciest, most delicious noodles I’ve ever had. At Dartmouth, I’ll spend my time as I did during that meal: with a fire in my gut and a smile on my face. Under the instruction of Dr. Katie Hixon, I will continue my fascination with tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Biomedical Engineering for Global Health is the perfect class for me to pursue my passion of the intersection of science and social work. No matter what, I’ll work with passion, smiling ear-to-ear."

How to Approach Dartmouth's "Introduce Yourself" Essay

The Prompt: "'Be yourself,' Oscar Wilde advised. 'Everyone else is taken.' Introduce yourself in 200-250 words."

When approaching the Dartmouth essay prompt that asks you to introduce yourself, think of it as an invitation to paint a vibrant portrait of your true self. Embrace your quirks, passions, and idiosyncrasies that make you who you are. Instead of presenting a generic laundry list of achievements, focus on sharing the experiences and interests that ignite a fire within you. Whether it's the adrenaline rush of scaling mountains or the magic of capturing moments through your camera lens, reveal the unique facets of your personality that set you apart from the crowd.

In particular, consider highlighting pivotal moments that have shaped your worldview. Perhaps it was a transformative trip that exposed you to different cultures or an unexpected encounter that sparked a deep curiosity within you. Dive into these formative experiences and explore how they have influenced your aspirations, values, and sense of purpose. Then, showcase how these experiences tie into your broader desire for intellectual growth, collaborative learning, or making a positive difference in the world.

Here's an awesome example of Dartmouth's "Introduce Yourself" essay from Sophie. Beyond Dartmouth, Sophie's profile also includes the stats, essays, and awards that got her into Yale, Columbia, Cornell, and Brown.

"My orchestra in Boston is like a flock of flying geese, circling back whenever someone makes a mistake and moving toward our shared destination. With the conductor at the forefront of the V, we are one hundred independent geese paying rapt attention to each other so we can fly together harmoniously. Every Saturday when I see New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall with its tall glass windows, I walk faster in anticipation to join my flock inside as if I were coming home. Before rehearsal and during breaks we chat and laugh about topics ranging from Tchaikovsky to chai tea. Our strong connections arise from communicating in a language deeper than words during rehearsal. When we play, our charged moments of eye contact to coordinate entrances and the smiles we give to each other when we finish a solo are magical.

In one of my flute solos I remember crafting my interpretation in the moment. The freedom made me feel like a flying bird, yet I was in a comforting flock supporting my interpretation. I realized orchestra provides a rare balance between freedom and support. If we have too much freedom, it is hard to synchronize the parts, but if we conform exactly to everyone else, the music feels restricted and lifeless. This balance is why I feel so emotionally connected to orchestra, willing to spend seven hours traveling every Saturday to go to rehearsal. I am a free-thinking explorer, whether in my academic interests, political beliefs, artistic preferences, or any other area of my life. Yet I always look for a nurturing community to belong to, whether it is an orchestra, study group, volunteer group, or college. When I find a community with this rare balance, the excitement drives me to push boundaries and bring others with me."

Strategies for Dartmouth's Final Supplemental Essay

There are so many essay prompts for Dartmouth's final supplemental essay. To ensure you know how to approach each potential option, we recommend you check out our page with a full list of supplemental essay examples from Dartmouth!

Writing Dartmouth's "Dolores Huerta" essay.

The Prompt: "Approaching 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?"

When tackling the prompt about making an impact, draw inspiration from Dolores Huerta's powerful words and reflect on how you aspire to contribute to the world. Share your vision for creating positive change, whether it's through activism, community service, or pursuing a career that addresses pressing issues. Be specific about the causes or areas you are passionate about, and provide examples of how you have already started making a difference. Discuss any projects, initiatives, or organizations you are involved in and highlight the impact they have had. Additionally, explore your long-term goals and how you envision utilizing your skills, knowledge, and resources to bring about meaningful change on a larger scale. Convey your genuine commitment to making the world a better place, demonstrating your determination to leave a lasting and positive impact on society.

Writing Dartmouth's "What Excites You" essay.

The Prompt: "What excites you?"

When tackling the Dartmouth essay prompt that asks "What excites you?", it's an opportunity to showcase your passions, interests, and what truly ignites your enthusiasm. Dig deep and reflect on the activities, subjects, or experiences that bring you joy and fuel your curiosity. It could be a particular field of study, a hobby, a social cause, or an extracurricular pursuit. Be specific and provide examples that demonstrate your genuine excitement. Explain why these interests captivate you and how they have influenced your personal growth or worldview. Moreover, consider sharing any experiences where your excitement led you to take action, such as participating in research, leading a club, or engaging in community service. Use this essay as a platform to convey your authentic enthusiasm and showcase your motivation to pursue these exciting passions further. Ultimately, let your genuine excitement shine through your words and demonstrate how it aligns with Dartmouth's dynamic academic environment and vibrant community.

Writing Dartmouth's "William Kamkwamba" essay.

The Prompt: "In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba '14 reflects on constructing a windmill from recycled materials to power 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?"

The Dartmouth essay prompt referencing William Kamkwamba's inspiring story in "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" invites you to delve into your personal drive to create and the impact you aspire to make. Reflect on the motivations that fuel your desire to bring ideas to life. Explore the sense of curiosity, passion, or purpose that compels you to innovate and create something meaningful. Discuss the areas where you have already exercised your creative abilities, whether it's in the realm of art, science, entrepreneurship, or any other domain. Share specific examples of projects or initiatives you have undertaken and the impact they have had on others or on your own growth. Additionally, articulate your aspirations for the future and the creations you envision making. Whether it's a technological invention, a work of art, a social initiative, or a solution to a pressing problem, explain how you aim to contribute to the world through your creative endeavors. Convey your determination to embrace challenges, learn from setbacks, and persist in the pursuit of your creative visions. By showcasing your unique drive to create and make a difference, you can demonstrate your potential to contribute to the vibrant community at Dartmouth and beyond.

Writing Dartmouth's "Dr. Seuss" essay.

The Prompt: "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?"

When contemplating the prompt inspired by Dr. Seuss's words, "Think and wonder. Wonder and think," you have the opportunity to explore the topics that ignite your curiosity and engage your thinking. Reflect on the areas of knowledge, ideas, or phenomena that captivate your mind. What subjects, concepts, or mysteries do you find yourself pondering? It could be scientific phenomena, philosophical questions, social issues, artistic expressions, or anything else that sparks your intellectual curiosity. Dive deep into your wonderings and share the thoughts that occupy your mind. Discuss why these topics are important to you and how they have shaped your perspective or influenced your personal growth. Furthermore, consider how your wonderings and thoughts have led you to take action, whether through research, discussions, creative projects, or community engagement. Explain how your curiosity fuels your desire to seek knowledge, challenge assumptions, and explore new frontiers. By sharing your genuine wonderings and thoughtful reflections, you can provide insight into your intellectual curiosity and demonstrate your potential to contribute to the academic community at Dartmouth and beyond.

How to Write Dartmouth's James Baldwin Essay

The Prompt: "'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?"

This prompt forces deep reflection on the application of this wisdom to your own life experiences. Consider moments when you confronted challenges, obstacles, or difficult truths. Reflect on how facing these situations influenced your growth, perspective, and ability to effect change. Share personal anecdotes that demonstrate your willingness to confront difficult realities and take action. Discuss how this quote has shaped your approach to personal development, relationships, or societal issues. Acknowledge that while not everything can be changed, the act of facing and acknowledging the truth is a catalyst for transformation. Highlight instances where you have embraced this mindset, whether it's initiating tough conversations, advocating for justice, or pursuing personal growth despite adversity. Ultimately, by illustrating how you have applied Baldwin's quote to your life experiences, you can showcase your resilience, introspection, and commitment to effecting positive change in yourself and the world around you.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the essay prompts from Dartmouth University provide a platform for you to express your passions, values, and aspirations. Crafting standout essays that capture the attention of the admissions committee requires genuine introspection and thoughtful reflection. Here at AdmitYogi, we understand the significance of these essays and aim to provide valuable resources to enhance your application process. We offer a vast collection of successful college essays, including examples from Dartmouth students and admitted students at other prestigious institutions like the Ivy League, MIT, and Stanford.

By exploring these examples, you can gain insight into effective storytelling, personal expression, and impactful writing techniques. Reading these essays not only serves as a source of inspiration but also allows you to grasp the nuances of successful applications. We believe that learning from the experiences of others who have navigated the college admissions journey can be instrumental in shaping your own unique approach.

Remember, Dartmouth values authenticity and a genuine connection with their applicants. Utilize the prompts as opportunities to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations. Whether you are discussing your passions, reflecting on your personal growth, or sharing your commitment to making a difference, strive to convey your true self in a compelling and engaging manner. The road to Dartmouth and other esteemed institutions is filled with opportunities for growth and self-discovery. Embrace the challenge, trust in your abilities, and confidently present your unique voice and experiences. Good luck!

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