First members of the Class of 2027 report few COVID-19 interruptions in admissions process
Students admitted in the most competitive early decision cycle in College history engaged in both virtual and in-person admissions resources.
On Dec. 16, 578 out of a record-high 3,009 early decision applicants were admitted to the Class of 2027, marking a 19% acceptance rate — the lowest in the College’s ED history.. The newly accepted students — joined by the 47 who matched with Dartmouth through the QuestBridge program earlier this month — are the third class to undergo the college admissions process since the start of COVID-19.
The Classes of 2025 and 2026 navigated fully virtual and semi-virtual admissions cycles, respectively. While members of the Class of 2027 said the pandemic still impacted their application process — through factors such as the College’s test-optional admissions policy or reduced extracurricular opportunities in high school — many noted a more typical experience than the previous two years’.
Lydia Cramer ’27, an admitted student from Raymond, New Hampshire, said that her class’ admission cycle was affected “a little” by COVID-19. She added that, compared to pre-pandemic admissions cycles, COVID-19 affected the ability of students to tour campuses in person, do extracurricular activities and take standardized tests like the SAT.
“But in comparison to previous years where people aren’t able to get on campus and they’re not able to retake the SAT without traveling super far, I would say that it was more of a return to the normal than in the past,” Cramer said.
Maria Alice Hebling ’27, an admitted student from Valinhos, Brazil, said that the presence of vaccines helped to create a “calmer experience” than previous admissions cycles allowed for, while Tiana Duong ’27, a QuestBridge finalist who matched with Dartmouth from Duluth, Georgia, said applicants to the Class of 2027 were more accustomed to changes to the college admissions process brought about by COVID-19.
Luke Montalbano ’27, an admitted student from Vancouver, Canada, said that the pandemic still caused challenges as an international student. Due to school closures in Canada, Montalbano had to fly to Las Vegas to take the SAT, but said that the inconvenience was the “only thing that really was lingering from the pandemic.” Montalbano added that he was even able to tour the College before applying, which cemented Dartmouth as “the perfect fit” for him.
“When I visited Dartmouth, it was perfect to the T,” Montalbano said. “Everything about it was beautiful. The students were excited, happy, willing to engage. The facilities were, for the most part, renovated, new, in a great condition … It’s one thing to see a college through photos, but it’s totally different to see it in person.”
Lynda Rios ’27, an admitted student from Godwin, North Carolina, said that she toured Dartmouth through a summer program for low-income students accessing college and agreed that her campus tour “really drew [her] in” to Dartmouth and encouraged her to apply ED.
“Everything was paid for [on the program], or I would’ve never been able to actually tour Dartmouth … I didn’t even consider it until I was there,” Rios said. “Just walking around the campus, I could really envision myself as a student and then I even got to eat at the dining hall… It was just a perfect experience.”
In addition to tours, many students took advantage of virtual resources implemented before and during the pandemic. Montalbano said he utilized the Dartmouth Admissions website and attended a virtual tour before visiting, while Duong and Hebling both said that they used social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to learn about the lives of current and former students.
Hebling, who said she has not visited campus, added that she also used campus publications, to help make her decision. While Cramer said she was able to tour, she added that the Dartmouth admissions blog “definitely had an impact” on her decision to apply.
Regardless of how each student learned about the College, all expressed excitement about the next four years.
Bella Reyes ’27, a QuestBridge finalist who matched with Dartmouth from La Mirada, California, said she “fell in love with the small community aspect” of the College and looks forward to “getting out of the city.”
“The schools I visited, just from the [Los Angeles] area, are just really big and a little overwhelming,” Reyes said. “I’m really excited to be in a small school area.”
“I’m definitely really excited,” Trevor Bingham ’27, an admitted student from Chandler, Arizona said. “My dad and I coordinated a trip earlier this year, in October, to visit a bunch of colleges on the East Coast. We went to 12 colleges in a week, and the results of that trip was really [that] Dartmouth was the place that definitely felt right.”
Students also expressed gratitude for receiving admission during the most competitive cycle to date — the number of ED applicants has increased by 45% over the past three years, according to The Dartmouth, reaching a record-high this year. Hebling said she feels “honored” to be a member of the Class of 2027 “despite the competitiveness.”
As the admitted students wait for the fall, many said they are looking forward to getting to know their classmates. Reyes said she has already connected with other QuestBridge matches, while Cramer added that she has started to talk to peers through social media.
“It’s been really cool to talk to people about their journey to Dartmouth, where they’re from,” she said. “I’ve already talked to people from South Korea and Canada, which has been super cool. I’m just so excited to get on campus and meet more amazing people.”