Return to Normalcy and Ramped-Up Diversity in Class of 2019 Admissions Numbers

McNutt Hall, home of Dartmouth's Department of Admissions

McNutt Hall, home of Dartmouth’s Department of Admissions

On March 31, Dartmouth’s Department of Admissions announced that it had offered spots in the Class of 2019 to 2,120 applicants. These admitted students were selected from a pool of 20,504, representing a 10.3% acceptance rate.

The rate is down from 11.5% for the Class of 2018, which was then a surprising uptick compared to previous years. While the year-to-year shifts are too small to indicate any significant cause, commentators who attributed last year’s high acceptance rate to the cloud of negative press surrounding the College can point to the improvement as an indication of Dartmouth’s ongoing PR recovery.

Despite the unexpected and unprecedented 68% yield for the Class of 2018, the Admissions Office is expecting about 1,120 out of 2,120 or 53% of admitted students to matriculate in the fall, which would fit closer to the general trend over the past decade. In 2013 for example, Dartmouth’s yield for the Class of 2017 was 47%, the lowest in the Ivy League according to U.S. News & World Report.

The demographic breakdown of the admitted student pool points to the College’s still-increasing commitment to diversity; “students of color” comprise a record 49.8% of the group and nearly one out of every twelve hails from abroad. On top of nationality and ethnicity, the admitted students come from a broader range of hometowns within the United States, and more of them than ever are first generation college students.

While Dartmouth broadens the scope of representation on its campus, the year-over-year increase in diversity in every category may also have the effect of setting an increasingly high bar for the College’s most common type of applicant. As Dartblog’s Joe Asch ‘79 wrote of last year’s statistics, “one had to surmise that white American high school seniors, whose parents went to college, but not to Dartmouth, and who are not athletes, have a tough time getting into the College,” and the figures he was referring to described an admitted-students cohort less diverse than this year’s. It remains to be seen if the drive toward diversity will eventually taper off as Dartmouth’s demographic makeup draws nearer to reflecting the country’s, or whether heightening competition for distinguishing factors and a positive image among elite schools will bind Dartmouth to push the trend ever further in coming years.