Essay Scoop: How to Answer the Dartmouth Essays

Empowerly Team
Empowerly Team

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One of the Ivy League schools, Dartmouth College is in Hanover, New Hampshire. It is consistently ranked among the top 15 schools in the country. Here are our thoughts on how to approach the five questions given for the Dartmouth essays, along with our tips for answering each effectively.

Directions: We’d like to know a little more about you. To that end, please choose one of the following questions and write a short response in the space below. A paragraph to a page in length is ideal.

Given those directions, we can dive right into discussing the Dartmouth essays.

1. Every name tells a story. Tell us about your name—any name: first, middle, last, nickname—and its origin.

As you reflect on and investigate your past, you’ll inadvertently have to connect who you are today with events and experiences from the past. You can ask family for information to help kick start your venture but ultimately the journey will be about forming your opinion. What defining moments contribute to who you are?

2. Tell us about an intellectual experience, either directly related to your schoolwork or not, that you found particularly meaningful.

This is the most straightforward of Dartmouth’s prompts and likely the easiest way to integrate school-specific resources (academic programs, professors, courses, clubs, or traditions) with your stated academic goals. Each resource should impart a skill/lesson that, when combined with the overall narrative, should culminate in a tentative plan for your time at the university.

3. When you meet someone for the first time, what do you want them to know about you, but generally don’t tell them?

Defining characteristics, traits, and quirks make up your identity and perhaps they’re not always visible. Reflect on the many facets that contribute to your ‘you-ness’. What are the key components and what makes them significant?

4. Describe the influence your hero has had on your life.

This can be tricky- you want to stay focused on making an impression on the admissions readers based on your actual background, stories, and interests. Talking about how someone else influenced you can lead us as readers to learn more about them and less about you. Write an introduction describing the person and how you worked with them, and the rest of the essay reflecting on their impact on you today. They key is not the person/event, but rather the lessons and realizations you had as a result of the interactions.

5. We believe it is critical that your candidacy reflect the interests, experiences and pursuits that are most important to you. To this end, is there anything else you would like us to know?

If none of the prompts fit the content of what you wish to share, then this prompt enables you to do so without having to adhere to a general theme. Take this as an opportunity to present your background and goals in a manner best conducive to your message.

Final Thoughts

Of course, if you would like to review the basics of essay writing, we recommend downloading our Essays guide and completing some of the exercises. Beyond that, remember that Empowerly loves to help students with writing! You can book a consultation free of charge to learn more about our program.

Good luck!

Questions? Let us know!