This One Character Trait Could Get You into Dartmouth’s Business School

The Tuck School of Business is changing how they evaluate applicants -- and which personality traits can predict success.

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This summer, top American universities have announced that they are looking to admit students who have more than just excellent grades and top test scores. Stanford and Harvard’s MBA programs were two of the first schools to announce that they are now putting an emphasis on the character of applicants. And now, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has joined the movement.

While the business world can be intense, and many put the individual before the group, Dartmouth’s business program puts an emphasis on teamwork and thoughtful interactions. Dartmouth’s executive director of admissions and financial aid, Luke Anthony Peña, said, “Tuck is a distinctly collaborative community so being able to challenge others tactfully and thoughtfully is important.” For this reason, Dartmouth is taking the character of the current student body and formalizing it for future applicants. Dartmouth is looking to admit students who are smart, nice, accomplished and aware.

Dartmouth hopes that by making this change in their acceptance criteria that they will continue to cultivate and grow the positive culture that distinguishes Tuck from certain other business schools. In order to start looking for this specific criteria, Tuck has changed their essay prompts on the application to help the admissions officers recognize traits such as kindness. New questions such as, “Tuck students are nice, and invest generously in one another’s success. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed,” will help those who are genuinely kind shine in their applications.

Peña is hoping that these new questions, as well as making their process more transparent, will reduce the stress and anxiety that is often associated with applying to universities. This new trend of focusing on the applicant as a whole, and emphasizing the importance of kindness and character is a great step forward for universities. 

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