background image

The Ultimate Guide to Acing the Dartmouth College Supplemental Essays 2021/22

16 NOV 2021

Dartmouth College just released their supplementary essay prompts! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’re here to help. This blog will guide you through Dartmouth’s supplemental essay prompts, how to brainstorm ideas, and how to write the most effective and inspiring supplemental essays.

Dartmouth requires short responses to two prompts. Everyone must answer the first prompt and then choose one of the six additional prompts to answer. Your response to the first prompt must be fewer than 100 words. The response for the second prompt must be 250-300 words.

How to Stand Out in Your Dartmouth University Supplemental Essays for 2021

Dartmouth ventures away from the traditional supplemental essay questions and dives deeper into who you are as a person. The second prompt options allow you to get creative and give the admissions committee a peek into what makes you unique. Use these creative prompts to enhance your application and show them something about yourself that you can’t show in any other part of the application.

How Crimson Can Help You Stand Out

Crimson believes every student’s story is unique. That’s why our advisors take a personal approach when helping students with their supplemental essays for college. By getting to know each student first, they can help them craft their essays based on their dreams, aspirations, goals, and any aspect of their story that’s unique.

Check out the video below to follow Sathya’s journey from Crimson to Dartmouth College!

How Crimson Student Sathya Got Into Dartmouth

Need help with your Supplemental Essays? Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admission consulting company. Our expert admission strategist can help you narrow down your ideas and word choice to help you craft the perfect essay prompt response. Get your essay reviewed today!

What are the Dartmouth Essay Prompts for 21/22?

Prompt 1

Please respond in 100 words or fewer: While arguing a Dartmouth-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818, Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, delivered this memorable line: “It is, sir,…a small college, and yet there are those who love it!” As you seek admission to the Class of 2026, what aspects of the College’s program, community, or campus environment attract your interest?

Prompt 2

Please choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250-300 words:

  1. The Hawaiian word mo’olelo is often translated as “story” but it can also refer to history, legend, genealogy, and tradition. Use one of these translations to introduce yourself.
  2. What excites you?
  3. 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?
  4. Curiosity is a guiding element of Toni Morrison’s talent as a writer. “I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost...magnificent, when I write,” she says. Celebrate your curiosity.
  5. “Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away,” observed Frida Kahlo. Apply Kahlo’s perspective to your own life.
  6. In the aftermath of World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloane Dickey, Class of 1929, proclaimed, “The world’s troubles are your troubles…and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” Which of the world’s “troubles” inspires you to act? How might your course of study at Dartmouth prepare you to address it?

How to Answer Prompt 1

While arguing a Dartmouth-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818, Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, uttered this memorable line: “It is, Sir…a small college. And yet, there are those who love it!” As you seek admission to the Class of 2024, what aspects of the College’s program, community, or campus environment attract your interest? (100 words or fewer)

The first prompt is plain and simple. Why do you want to attend Dartmouth? What’s unusual, however, is you only have 100 words to answer the question. Intro-Body-Conclusion paragraph format won’t work for this response. There’s just no room. Editing (more than once) is critical so you can weed out superfluous words. Every word and every sentiment counts. Read your essay drafts out loud, and see if you can answer this prompt in just a few memorable sentences.

How to approach Prompt 1

The prompt is short, and it’s tempting just to list everything about Dartmouth that appeals to you. Instead, focus on the one or two aspects of the school that drew you to apply in the first place. Maybe you love their liberal arts philosophy or the unique Dartmouth Plan for undergraduate study. Whatever it is, stay specific. Do your research and think about how you see the next four years. Also, think about how you prepared for college and the passions you hope to continue pursuing in college. Admissions officers read thousands of essays. Don’t write a generic essay you can use for any university! Invest time in answering the prompt specifically for the Dartmouth application. It will show in your vocabulary, the tone of your prose, and the flow of your sentences.

Honesty is critical. If Dartmouth’s location or beautiful forest setting is a genuine trait you love, then include it! Essay readers want to see the person behind the numbers. Will you be that student skateboarding down the sidewalk on your way to the Hopkins Center? Or are you the person laughing at dinner with your new friends from Stats class? Use your imagination and build the story for them.

You won’t be able to encompass all you know or love about Dartmouth in only 100 words. Admissions officers know this. It’s more about how well you express yourself—through humor, sincerity, or persuasion—than showing off your knowledge.

How to Answer Prompt 2

The variety in these prompts means you can build your responses in several different ways. But first, here’s some general advice to keep in mind.

Pay attention to the length. Avoid traditional paragraphs because 250-300 is not many words. Thematically, these prompts are all asking for you to step away from “college talk” and move into your imagination. These prompts pull the emotional strings. Dartmouth is asking you to do some self-introspection and think about inspiring personal experiences or world events.

The essay isn’t the place to bring up the detailed points of a World History lecture but consider, instead, how what you’ve explored in your life contributes to the person you are today. You won’t be able to write the next Great American Novel, so don’t worry about not saying everything you want to say and thinking more about your prose. And, of course, proofread.

Helpful Tips & Examples for the Darmouth Supplemental Essay Prompt 2 Options

The Hawaiian word mo’olelo is often translated as “story” but it can also refer to history, legend, genealogy, and tradition. Use one of these translations to introduce yourself.

What do you want Dartmouth to know about you and your background? While family bonds feel like a natural fit here, be creative in exploring what traditions bind you together. You can also be creative and open about what family means to you. You can talk about your biological family, but you can also talk about your chosen family or spiritual family. Where do you come from in broader terms? What people, places, stories, and histories make up you? If you enjoy introspective writing, you may want to choose this prompt.

What excites you?

This is a chance for you to be honest and specific. Don’t write about what you “should” excite you. Reflect on what really motivates you. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What gives you energy? What does an ideal day look like for you?

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?

This prompt pushes you to examine your creative pursuits. What do you want to put out into the world? What motivates you? What makes your creation important or necessary? Your topic doesn’t necessarily have to be tangible. Maybe it’s a type of relationship or feeling. Be specific. Articulate what motivates you and why it matters.

Curiosity is a guiding element of Toni Morrison’s talent as a writer. “I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost...magnificent, when I write,” she says. Celebrate your curiosity.

Celebrate your curiosity! What do you wonder about? What keeps you up at night? If you have a personal passion or hobby throughout your life, consider answering this prompt. As an alternative option, consider the surprises in your life. Where does your curiosity lead you? How have you grown and changed through following it? If you’ve experienced daunting experiences in your life, you’ll do well on this prompt.

“Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away,” observed Frida Kahlo. Apply Kahlo’s perspective to your own life.

How have you interacted with change or personally changed? How might you continue to change in the future? Do you struggle with change or find joy in it? How do you make sense and find meaning in a life that’s constantly evolving? If you love to be introspective and reflect on your life experiences, choose this prompt!

In the aftermath of World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloane Dickey, Class of 1929, proclaimed, “The world’s troubles are your troubles…and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” Which of the world’s “troubles” inspires you to act? How might your course of study at Dartmouth prepare you to address it?

If your passions lie in social activist work or you have political ambitions, this prompt is perfect for you. Think about the social issues that drive you. How might your education help you address them? What drives your motivation to address the challenges in society? Maybe there’s a specific avenue for social change that feels most authentic to you. Talk about that. Social change comes in all shapes and forms. How do you want to change the world for the better, and how can a Dartmouth education help you achieve this goal?

Final Thoughts

Dartmouth doesn’t shy away from creative supplemental essay prompts. Choose the prompt that resonates best with you. If a powerful story comes to mind immediately after reading the prompt, that’s probably the one you should choose to answer. Remember, you don’t need to write an entire essay. There isn’t room to do that. Get to the point quickly. You don’t have any words to waste!

Dartmouth wants to get to know you better. Be authentic to your personality. If you’re unsure if the essay sounds like you, have someone close to you read it and tell you if it sounds like you. While grammar and spelling are important, showcasing the unique qualities that make you perfect for Dartmouth are equally important.

Need help with your supplemental essays? Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admission consulting company. Our expert admission strategist can help you narrow down your ideas and word choice to help you craft the perfect essay prompt response. Get your essay reviewed today!

Want Help Gaining Admission to Top Universities?

Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admissions consulting company specializing in helping students gain entry to top universities.