October 10, 2019

Dartmouth College Essay 1

Dartmouth College

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 2024, what aspects of the College’s program, community or campus environment attract your interest?

Why would they phrase the question this way? It seems to be marked with both pride and… mild defensiveness?! “Yes, we know that people prefer OTHER schools to Dartmouth for understandable reasons but WE LIKE IT HERE!” Something about that idea, that everyone there is really INTO it (for whatever reasons) seems to be a part of what makes Dartmouth tick. So, when you’re identifying aspects of Dartmouth that attract you, there are two ways to NAIL it:

  • Option 1 – Find things that other candidates might find UNAPPEALING (who, because of these things, might prefer ANOTHER Ivy League school), and explain why – in contrast – you’re actually EXCITED by them…
  • Option 2 – Find things that only exist at Dartmouth, and nowhere else. Or things whose VERSIONS at Dartmouth are unique somehow, and therefore (because of reasons X Y and Z) snap into place with YOUR needs and wants… better, and therefore, whereas others might choose another Ivy because of these quirks, you’re eyeing Dartmouth BECAUSE of them.

See the difference here? Between either of these two options and simply trying to identify “thing about Dartmouth that attract you”? If you’re not careful, and you take that question at face value, you’ll end up identifying stuff that’s ultimately common to many Ivys, and your UNUSUAL connection to Dartmouth won’t be as apparent.

100 words is a paragraph, so if you take a stab at either of those options, you should be well on your way to a decent first draft.

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