Class of 2028 Draws Record Number of Applicants

News subtitle

Nearly 20% qualify to attend Dartmouth without a parental financial contribution.   

Early decision students
These early decision students are among the incoming undergraduates in the Class of 2028. Regular decision applicants were notified Thursday evening.

Having completed its review of a record 31,657 applications for the undergraduate Class of 2028, Dartmouth extended offers of admission to 1,685 students, many of whom will benefit from expanded financial aid.

The overall admission rate of 5.3%, a record low, is nearly a percentage point below the 6.2% rate of selectivity for the Class of 2027. Applications to Dartmouth rose by 10% from last year.

Students who applied for admission in this year’s regular decision round received their decisions through the Admissions Office’s digital portal on Thursday evening.

Those offered admission will be in the first incoming class eligible for a new middle-income affordability initiative—announced on Monday by President Sian Leah Beilock—that will enable Dartmouth to nearly double its current annual income threshold for a “zero parent contribution,” from $65,000 to $125,000 for families of AB undergraduates with typical assets. That threshold is the most generous of any college or university in the nation. 

Coupled with the existing low-income threshold for a parent contribution of zero, which had been adopted last year, an estimated 19.3% of those offered admission for the Class of 2028 qualify to attend Dartmouth without financial assistance from their parents. Additionally, nearly 1-in-2 accepted applicants will qualify for a need-based scholarship. 

At the time of decision release, the average aid award is $69,152, an all-time high. The full cost of tuition, housing, meals, and fees for a Dartmouth undergraduate education in the 2024-25 academic year is $87,768, and this year’s average scholarship covers 79% of that cost. 

Lee Coffin, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid, says that he and his admissions colleagues were struck by the “remarkable depth of quality” in the record pool of this year’s applicants. “The pool was bigger, and it was also holistically deeper,” he says.

People walking in the Baker-Berry Library
Prospective students and their parents take an Admissions tour on Thursday through Baker-Berry Library. (Photo by Katie Lenhart)

“Accepted students demonstrate a striking degree of alignment with our institutional strengths and priorities,” he says. “They express strong interests in sustainability, in dialogue and, more broadly, in using their intellect to make a difference. It comes through loudly and clearly.”

“When we asked them, ‘Why Dartmouth?’ ” he adds, “many cited specific faculty, as well as their courses and research. There was a strong and palpable pull toward our community, with students from around the world telling us they were drawn to Hanover not just for its natural beauty but its profound sense of place and purpose.”

What else do we know about those offered spots in the incoming first-year class?

They live in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, as well as 68 other nations. Continuing a recent trend, 55% live in the Southern or Western regions of the United States or outside the U.S.

California once again leads all U.S. states, with 12% of all acceptances. The United Kingdom, Canada, India, South Korea, and Turkey comprise the five largest international cohorts in the accepted class.

When ranked, 95% are in the top 10% percent of their high school graduating class, and more than a quarter are projected to graduate as their valedictorian or salutatorian.

Also of note: 17% are in the first generation in their families to attend a college or university; 57% attend a public high school; and 15% live in a rural environment, a record figure that follows the rollout this year of a recruitment initiative targeting students from rural communities. 

But, Coffin notes, those figures only hint at the lives and sensibilities, to say nothing of the sense of self, of those invited to enroll at Dartmouth this fall. The Class of 2028 is the first admitted to Dartmouth since the U.S. Supreme Court imposed limits on the consideration of race as a factor in college and university admissions. As a result, Coffin and his colleagues are prohibited at this stage of the process from identifying and tallying the accepted applicants by racial or ethnic background.

The Court did permit institutions to continue the practice of holistic admissions, in which students’ personal narratives—including their reflections on their accomplishments and experiences within the classroom and far beyond it, as well as their values and priorities—are taken into account.

“They’re smart and curious, and they’re kind,” Coffin says of this year’s admitted applicants. “They’re collaborative and creative.”

“We look for students who can animate a small class in Dartmouth Hall with dialogue, and who can help people think about lessons and issues in new and nuanced ways,” he adds. “And, ultimately, we look for students who can enhance and contribute to the community we are building here in Hanover.”

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