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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Students accepted to the Class of 2028 react to financial aid developments and test-encouraged admissions

A record 31,657 students — the last round accepted under Dartmouth’s test-optional policy — applied in a year that saw significant increases in Dartmouth financial aid offerings.

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On March 28, the College admitted 1,005 students to the Class of 2028 through regular decision admissions. The new admits join the 606 students accepted through early decision and the 74 who matched with Dartmouth in December through QuestBridge, a national access program for high-achieving, low-income students.

The Class of 2028 faced a changing admissions and financial aid landscape. According to past reporting by The Dartmouth, the Class of 2028 is the last class to apply and be accepted under a test-optional admissions policy. However, applicants were “encourage[d]” to submit test scores — a distinction that was not made for the previous test-optional classes.

Elif Sude Yanik ’28, a student from Istanbul who was admitted through regular decision, said the test-optional policy and test-encouraged stance did not influence her decision to submit her test score. She said standardized testing was a valuable part of her application as an international student. 

“I think standardized testing is an important part of an application regardless of what the school wants or to what extent they encourage the submission of it because [it is sometimes difficult] for the admissions office to understand the scope, the gist of the region,” Yanik said.

Yanik explained that because schools in Turkey are not standardized, test scores provide a standardized measure of academic and English-speaking ability for international students applying to schools in the United States.

“As competition increases and many more students want to leave the country and therefore apply to [schools in the United States], it’s very important to see a standardized version of the performance for the students,” Yanik said.

Kyriakos Papasavas ’28, an admitted student from West Hartford, Connecticut, said he believes his test scores played a “big role” in his regular-decision acceptance. Papasavas said that he was “happy” to learn that the College reinstated the testing requirement. 

“It’s a really good initiative that Dartmouth was the first Ivy that said, ‘We’re not going to wait for everyone else to [reinstate the testing requirement],’” Papasavas said.

According to past reporting by The Dartmouth, the College announced a $150 million scholarship bequest on March 25 that will remove the parent tuition contribution for any undergraduate student with a family income less than $125,000, doubling the current $65,000 threshold. 

While Papasavas said that his decision to commit to Dartmouth was not affected by the bequest, he still believes it is a “plus factor” for students considering Dartmouth. 

“It shows the College is committed to trying to help as many people attend university as possible,” Papasavas said. 

Owen Kalmbach, a student admitted through regular decision who is still deciding between colleges, said that Dartmouth’s financial aid is “comparable” to the in-state tuition options in his home state of California. 

“I’m not making decisions like, ‘I just could never afford Dartmouth’ or, ‘Dartmouth is a full-ride,’” Kalmbach said. “It’s, ‘Okay, Dartmouth is comparable to a [University of California] education,’ so let me take the price out and let me now look at qualities like the student body or student-faculty ratios. It’s really been beneficial to kind of have that price variable be removed.”

According to past reporting by The Dartmouth, the College also announced a universal need-blind admissions policy for international applicants in 2022. Seungyeon Jung ’28, an admitted student from Seoul, South Korea, said this policy informed her decision to apply to Dartmouth. 

“One of the hooks that Dartmouth provided was that it would still provide international students with financial aid,” Jung said. “Other universities often don’t provide international students with the same amount of financial aid, but Dartmouth did, so it was one of the reasons that I chose Dartmouth for early decision.”  

Yanik added that Dartmouth was one of her “top choices” because it is need-blind for international students. 

The newly admitted students learned about the College from a variety of in-person and virtual resources, including virtual information sessions with admissions office staff and virtual campus tours presented by current students through Zoom. Jung said she learned about the College from the Dartmouth website. 

“I also looked at YouTube videos [of Dartmouth alumni] telling people about their experiences at Dartmouth, how Dartmouth has changed their lives and its benefits compared to other universities,” Jung said. 

Kalmbach — who is interested in theater — said that he was “pushed” to apply to Dartmouth after he received an issue of the 3D Magazine from the admissions office that focused on Dartmouth’s theater programs. 

Yanik said she learned about Dartmouth from upperclassmen from her high school who later attended Dartmouth. 

“Hearing [about] Dartmouth from them was the best resource,” Yanik said. “During my process, I also researched the school, the website, the location [and] the faculty that I want to partake [in research with], but the advice I got from … the students from my school … was marvelous.”

Admitted students said they are excited to participate in various activities in the fall. Jung, for example, said she is looking forward to experimenting with the D-Plan to find the subject that she is the “most interested in” studying.

“I can access job markets when [terms are] not very tight, and I can also get a rest from the D-Plan and go to other countries,” Jung said.

Yanik said she is excited for the opportunity to “live independently” in the United States and find a similar “sense of community” that she found at her high school.

“Living without constraints, not only financially — which is magnificent by itself — but also socially, ideologically [and] academically, doing what I love and loving what I do: I think that Dartmouth offers that very well,” Yanik said. 

Papasavas said he is looking forward to “meeting all of the other admitted students” and “forming [a] tight-knit community.”

“I know admissions … has a very difficult job to do, and I bet they did a really good job of finding the right students regardless,” Papasavas said. “It’s going to be an amazing community.”