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Dartmouth Bound Pre-College Program - Our Honest Review On Whether It's Worth It

As a high schooler, it is important to expose yourself to at least a few pre-college programs to expose yourself to the field and hopefully the college of your choice. These programs not only give you a taste of college life, they also help you learn the ins and outs of crafting a noteworthy college application and demonstrate your commitment to higher education. Simply attending such a program can enhance your profile thanks to the experiences and the skills you get to learn. Today’s blog post dives into one such opportunity: the Dartmouth Bound Pre-College Program.

What is Dartmouth Bound?

Dartmouth Bound is a free pre-college summer program designed to introduce rising seniors to the college experience from a unique perspective, particularly targeting students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. The program focuses on college admissions, financial aid processes, and offers a glimpse into Dartmouth's community and resources. It includes workshops, campus tours, and interactions with faculty and current students, providing a comprehensive understanding of what it's like to be a Dartmouth student.

Dartmouth College, founded in 1769, attempts to place a strong emphasis on undergraduate education at its picturesque campus in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dartmouth is a member of the Ivy League and has produced several distinguished alumni.

Is it prestigious?

Dartmouth Bound is an interesting opportunity to have an immersive college admissions experience. You will learn much about the college admissions process and gain valuable insights into how to approach it yourself, while also identifying other potential opportunities to make the journey easier. While it is not prestigious in and of itself, it does provide a beneficial experience, exponentially so if you’re from an underrepresented background.

Who is eligible for Dartmouth Bound?

Dartmouth has tried to make the program as accessible as possible, and the eligibility criteria are accordingly minimal. You simply must be:

  • A rising high school senior.

  • If you’re from a historically underrepresented background, you are especially encouraged to apply.

  • Currently living and attending a high school in the U.S.

How does the application process work?

To apply for Dartmouth Bound, you’re going to need:

  • The online application form.

  • Your unofficial high school transcript.

  • Your latest resume.

While the application for 2024 is not yet active, the application deadline for the 2023 iteration was May 23.

Note that there is no application fee! Dartmouth covers travel, housing, and meals for selected students.

How is Dartmouth Bound structured?

The program takes place over a three-day period, which was July 16-19 in 2023. It offers a blend of academic and practical experiences. You will be staying in Dartmouth residence halls for the duration of the program. Here’s what you can expect from the program:

  1. Individualized admissions guidance: The admissions officers will provide an in-depth explanation of Dartmouth's own review process for college applications. They’ll offer valuable tips on how to effectively complete college applications, and help you understand the selection criteria.

  2. Academic and research opportunities: The program's faculty members create a classroom-like setting to demonstrate how they conduct undergraduate courses and research at Dartmouth, showing you the academic rigor and relevance of the college's curriculum.

  3. Campus experience: You’ll get a comprehensive tour of Dartmouth's campus, led by current students. This is a great opportunity to hear firsthand experiences from the students at Dartmouth, which will help you make your decision on whether to pursue your higher studies there.

  4. A financial aid process overview: An extremely important part for many, financial aid officers will explain the application process for financial aid, discussing how individual family circumstances are considered. Just like the campus experience, this will help you make an informed financial decision.

Considering Pros and Cons


  1. You’ll get a fairly comprehensive look at college life, both from the perspective of the professors as well as the students.

  2. You’ll receive a lot of guidance on the admissions process and financial aid. Whether you join Dartmouth or not, this information will be valuable wherever you end up applying.

  3. The program makes some amazing networking opportunities available with Dartmouth's community, from the students to the staff to the professors. And again, this is something that can be useful to you anywhere you go.

  4. It is an all-expense-covered program, which means you have very little to lose attending it.


  1. It’s a short-duration program of only a few days, which means your exposure and learning are unfortunately limited.

  2. There’s no real boost to your profile nor academically rigorous learning that can help your application stand out through attending this program.

  3. While the information is valuable, the program provides no guarantee to help you get through Dartmouth’s admissions process. It’s quite competitive as well, so make sure to have a Plan B ready!

Wrapping Up

The Dartmouth Bound Pre-College Program is a useful opportunity, especially if you’re an underrepresented student aiming for an Ivy League education. It's worth pursuing for its comprehensive insight into college life, personalized guidance, and the prestige of being associated with Dartmouth College. Dartmouth Bound is definitely worth considering if you want to understand college admissions in-depth and maximize your own chances.

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in various research, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: Dartmouth University logo


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