What to Expect During Your Dartmouth College Interview

Thursday, June 29, 2023

grad school interview

Dartmouth, like many colleges and universities, invites applicants to interview. However, these interviews are not conducted by the admissions committee but alumni volunteers. The college does not offer campus interviews. 

If you’re invited to an interview, it’s perfectly normal to be nervous. Being prepared can help boost your confidence, so keep reading to learn what to expect and for tips on acing the interview. 

Why Is the Dartmouth Interview Important? 

The interview is an opportunity for you to ask questions and get a firsthand account of what being a Dartmouth student and alum is like. Unlike some admissions interviews, these alumni interviews are optional — not having an interview won’t affect your chance to get into Dartmouth College. However, the interview report is reviewed in addition to your application materials, so it’s an opportunity to share more about yourself and your academic, career, and life goals.   

Who Gets an Interview at Dartmouth? 

Dartmouth does not offer alumni interviews to all applicants. The contact information for every applicant is sent to Dartmouth alumni volunteers, and it is up to them to email interview invitations. This process is dependent on the availability of alumni volunteers and geographic location for in-person interviews. 

Early Decision applicants will be interviewed around November. Students who apply Regular Decision typically interview between December and mid-February. 

How Long Does a Dartmouth Interview Last? 

According to the Dartmouth Admissions Ambassador Program, these interviews should be relatively short. Expect your interview with the alumni ambassador to last 30-45 minutes, including time for you to ask questions at the end.   

Tips on How to Ace the Dartmouth Interview 

If you are chosen for an interview, you will receive the invitation by email. Interviewers will contact you using the email address you provided in your application, so check your account frequently. These invitations are sometimes routed to your spam folder. Keep an eye out there as well! If you receive an interview invitation, respond promptly. 

Focus on making a good impression. Arrive on time for your interview and bring a copy of your resume — this is optional, but it can be helpful for your interviewer. And don’t forget to silence or turn off your smartphone! These additional interview tips will help you put your best foot forward. 

Research the School 

If you’re interested in attending Dartmouth, you likely have already done your research. However, it is a good idea to refresh your memory before the interview. Look over the website and any other materials you have. Jot down some thoughtful questions to ask and be prepared to give specific reasons why Dartmouth interests you.  

Practice Answering Common Questions 

Mock interviews are a great way to prepare for the actual interview. Find a trusted adult or a good friend to “interview” you so you can practice your responses. This can help alleviate your nervousness and give you more confidence going into the interview.   

Dress Appropriately 

Dress to impress. This is an informal interview, so there is no need to wear business attire. However, you should still look neat and well-groomed, even for a video interview. Choose an outfit that complies with an admissions interview etiquette, that is simple and classic, and make sure it is clean and unwrinkled.      

Be Authentic 

Be yourself! It’s fine to be candid and spontaneous during your interview. You don’t want your responses to come off as scripted or over-rehearsed. You’re not expected to be perfect. Allow your personality to shine through and express your enthusiasm for the college and the subjects and activities that interest you.  

Highlight Key Achievements 

It’s important to highlight your achievements during the interview, but that can sometimes be a long list! Only highlight the academic and personal achievements you feel are the most significant for you and explain how they have impacted your life.  

Emphasize How You Are a Great Fit for the School 

The interview is not a mandatory part of the admissions process, but it’s still important for you to emphasize how and why you are a great fit for Dartmouth. This is another reason to do your research ahead of time. You can talk about student clubs and activities that align with your interests and how your academic background has prepared you for a specific program of study. 

Sample Dartmouth Interview Questions and Answers 

It’s difficult to know what questions to expect ahead of time. However, Dartmouth does list the types of questions you might expect during your interview. Here are a few examples.  

Tell Me About Your School: Courses, Teachers, Favorite Subject, Worst Subject? 

If you’re asked a question like this, keep it positive. Mention teachers that have been a positive influence on you. Explain what you enjoy about studying your favorite subjects and, if applicable, how that has led to your choice of college major. It’s even ok to talk about a subject you don’t do well in and any steps you’re taking to improve that area.    

What Are Your Future Plans: College, Major, Career? 

This is your opportunity to discuss the department and programs at Dartmouth that are of interest to you and what you hope to get out of them. If you’re undecided on a specific career, it’s fine to mention that. Instead, mention some career options that interest you and how your education at Dartmouth can prepare you for them.   

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

Extracurricular activities demonstrate your dedication and commitment and show how you can make an impact on the campus community. They are also great for showcasing your leadership skills whether you were a team captain or organized a community service event.  

When You Envision Your Ideal College Experience, What Does That Look Like?  

Focus on what you want to get out of your college experience in terms of academic goals and skills development. It’s also fine to mention some of the social aspects you hope to experience, but your interviewer is more interested in hearing what you hope to achieve in your coursework and extracurriculars.   

What to Expect During the Dartmouth Interview 

Interview Format 

Depending on the availability and geographic location of the alumni volunteer, you may be invited to an in-person interview. Otherwise, expect a phone or virtual interview.  

Types of Interview Questions 

Expect the interview questions to be open-ended, requiring more than one-word answers. They will likely be similar to the sample questions mentioned above.  

Interviewer’s Role 

The alumni volunteers serve as university representatives. Their role in interviewing you is to get a feel for who you are and how you will fit into the campus community as well as to make you feel good about choosing Dartmouth.     

Post-interview Process: What to Do After the Dartmouth Interview? 

It’s professional and courteous to send your interviewer a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview. This shows you appreciate that they took time out of their day to meet with you. It also further demonstrates your interest in Dartmouth and your commitment to making connections with people who are associated with the school. If you’re not sure how to write a thank you note, this is a good opportunity to practice since you will likely write more of them down the line.  

Dartmouth is likely just one of several colleges on your balanced list, which can make the college application cycle stressful and confusing. IvyWise counselors are available to help you navigate this process successfully. Contact us to schedule an Initial Consultation

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