Dartmouth Interview: The Process + Qs and As

Dartmouth College
October 30, 2023
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 10/30/23

If you’re preparing for a Dartmouth interview, read on to learn more about how to ace it!

Female student shaking hands with male interviewer

As nerve-wracking as interviews are, they offer a critical opportunity for admissions committees to get to know their applicants better and vice versa. While you may feel like you’re on the hot seat for your Dartmouth College interview, it’s important to note your interview is just as informative for you as it is for your interviewer!

Many colleges offer admission interviews, including Ivy League schools like Dartmouth. You can use your interview to solidify your desire to get into Dartmouth and ask any pressing questions you have!

It’s essential you prepare for your interview and have a good understanding of the points you want to share with your interviewer. To aid you in this, we’ll go over common Dartmouth interview questions and provide you with the best tips on how to answer them!

Who Gets an Interview at Dartmouth?

The Dartmouth interview is optional. Dartmouth tries to interview as many applicants as possible, but because of availability and the vast number of applications they receive each year, it’s impossible for them to interview every applicant.

While interviewing with Dartmouth admissions can offer you another chance to make a great impression on the judges, you will not be disadvantaged if you’re unable to interview. Your other application materials, like your essays or recommendations, will be enough. 

So, if you’re wondering how much Dartmouth interviews matter, the answer is that they’re primarily helpful for you to learn more about the school. 

What Is the Dartmouth Interview Like?

Since students will be interviewed by Dartmouth graduates and not actual committee members, these interviews tend to be more relaxed and conversational. Knowing you’re speaking to someone who was once where you are can be reassuring. It can help you connect with your interviewer and allow for a less stressful interview.

Once you’ve completed your application to Dartmouth, a volunteer alum in your area will reach out to you via email to schedule an in-person interview. If you do not receive an email, it is likely because there are no available interviewers in your area.

You can expect your interview to last around 30 minutes or longer. Some interviews have even lasted well over an hour!

Female student being interviewed

Dartmouth Questions and Answers

While the questions you’ll be asked during your Dartmouth College interview will depend on your interviewer, you can expect to be asked questions similar to the following:

1. Tell Me About Yourself

"who are you" written in scrabble tiles

This first question is arguably the most basic yet common interview question you should prepare for. Your interview is meant to give the committee more insight into what’s on and off your application, so it’s likely they’ll start off with a question like this.

Some interviewers may tailor the question by asking you to speak more about your high school experience, favorite subjects, passions, or other general aspects of your life. The key to answering this question is to keep your response simple, clear, and informative!

Do not begin with a lengthy background of your entire academic career or your childhood aspirations. Focus mainly on pivotal points in your high school career, what led you to apply to Dartmouth, what you hope to achieve with them, how you’ve grown over the last few years, and what your future goals are.

To ensure your answer is personable, you should also focus on aspects of your life that do not revolve around your academics. 

2. Is There a Project, Paper, Lab, etc. That You’re Most Proud of?

Man smiling looking at computer with hands in air

There must be a personal, academic, or professional achievement you had in high school that you’re proud of. If you’re having a hard time figuring it out, ask your friends and family for suggestions! There is likely at least one accomplishment that sticks out to them.

This accomplishment does not have to be grand but should be meaningful to you! If you choose a genuine accomplishment, you’re more likely to be enthusiastic and excited about it, which is what your interviewer will look for!

Explain the project, what you learned, and why it makes you so proud. While it’s difficult to know when to stop talking about an important achievement, try to keep your answer concise! Do not ramble; let the interviewer ask more specific questions if they feel the need to. 

3. What Activities Are You Involved In: Which Are the Most Important to You and Why?

student volunteers holding boxes

If you couldn’t already tell, you’ll be asked several questions about what’s important to you. This is to gauge your values and see if your principles align with Dartmouth’s. 

For instance, diversity has always been a guiding principle for Dartmouth. In fact, they were amongst the first colleges to accept and graduate Indigenous students and those of African descent. 

Research Dartmouth’s other values and explain how the extracurriculars you sought were motivated by similar ideals.

4. What Would Your Teachers or Friends Tell Us About You?

two male students smiling

It’s easy to brag about yourself, but putting yourself in other people's shoes and seeing how they view you can be more challenging. While you want to remain realistic when providing your teachers’ and friends’ perspectives, you also want to highlight some of your best aspects!

Use your teachers’ perspective to emphasize your best academic traits and your friends’ perspectives to discuss your personal traits and accomplishments. Think about what kind of student, friend, and overall person you are.

You may even want to get some input from your teachers or friends to create the most genuine response to this question!

5. When You Envision Your Ideal College Experience, What Does It Look Like?

students holding letters spelling out "Dartmouth"

Source: Dartmouth College

There’s a reason you chose Dartmouth College, and the committee wants to know why. What drew you to this college in particular? 

Think about the type of community you hope to join; Dartmouth has smaller class sizes, so you could mention that your ideal college experience allows you to form deep connections with your mentors within a tight-knit, challenging academic environment. 

Again, use Dartmouth’s values to guide your answer. You should also mention unique aspects of Dartmouth that you’re looking forward to. Perhaps it’s a program, experience, or the campus itself since it’s frequently ranked as one of the most beautiful campuses in America!

Interview Tips for Dartmouth College

Hopefully, you feel a little more prepared for your Dartmouth interview now that you know the types of questions you can expect to be asked. To ease some more of your stress, here are some Dartmouth-approved tips for a successful interview:

  • If you’re invited to interview, respond promptly to show your eagerness and interest in learning more about the college
  • Arrive on time and dress appropriately; formal attire is not necessary, but you should still dress to impress
  • Print out a brief resume or activity sheet that can help your interviewer with the interview process
  • Prepare for your interview by going over the listed questions and other common college interview questions
  • Remain calm and confident; take time to reflect and answer questions that you feel unprepared for
  • Send a thank-you email a day or two after your interview
  • Ask questions at the end of your interview 

Dartmouth places extra emphasis on the final point. You should prepare several questions to ask your interviewer so that they can gain a better idea of your interests and thought process. Insightful questions can also demonstrate your enthusiasm to join Dartmouth!

FAQs: Interviewing at Dartmouth

While we’ve covered the basics of how to prepare for your Dartmouth interview, you may still have some unanswered questions! You can find your answers to these questions below.

1. Does Dartmouth Do Interviews? 

Yes, Dartmouth offers optional interviews with alumni. 

2. Does Getting an Interview at Dartmouth Mean Anything?

Dartmouth aims to interview as many applicants as possible, so getting an interview simply means there was an alum member available in your area. The interview is not part of the admissions process and is not meant to act as the final stage of the admissions cycle. 

3. How Long Are Interviews with Dartmouth?

You can expect your interview to last at least 30 minutes. Do not be discouraged if your interview is shorter or longer than this timeframe! It simply means the interviewer gathered enough information to end the interview or wants to learn more about you. 

4. How Much Do Interviews Matter?

Considering interviewers are limited, they do not have a significant impact on Dartmouth’s application process. While they can help the committee make a more informed decision on your candidacy, if you have an otherwise solid application, your interview will not make or break their decision. 

5. What If I Don’t Receive an Interview Invitation?

If you don’t receive an invitation to interview with Dartmouth, it means there was no Dartmouth grad available in your area. Your application will still be considered the same as anyone else's. 

6. How Do I Prepare for a College Interview?

The best way to prepare for your interview is to do your research, brainstorm ideas for the questions shared in this guide, and make a note of any major accomplishments or experiences you want to share in your interview. By knowing what you want to highlight, you can easily incorporate these ideas into your answers!

7. How Many Dartmouth Applicants Get Interviews? 

Dartmouth tries to interview as many applicants as possible, so the number of interviews may vary each year depending on the number of applicants and available alumni. However, they are unable to interview every applicant.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let your interview nerves prevent you from making a good impression on the Dartmouth admission committee! By preparing in advance, taking the time to learn more about Dartmouth, and presenting your best self, you’ll have a smooth, productive, and perhaps even enjoyable interview!

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