Davidson College- The Book List

Why does Davidson College require a book list? Do they expect some specific number of books or types of books from the applicant?

I heard an admissions rep from Davidson say they don’t have anything specific they are expecting but it gives them another lens on the student. He said sometimes they get lists that are very focused on one subject and other times they get more wide-ranging lists. It’s just another way to get to know the applicant. Don’t overthink it, is my recommendation.

In addition to books she read for school (which I seem to recall she had to indicate as such), when my daughter applied her list was pretty wide-ranging and included everything from celebrity memoirs and mysteries to books about human biology and global health. The latter are related to her academic interests.

Hope this helps!

I also heard that it gives another glimpse into what the applicant is interested in. My son was not a voracious reader & outside of school, didn’t read any fiction in the last year. But his Davidson app reflected that he read about 8 non-fiction books, all about statistics/econ (typically sports analytics), which happened to dovetail nicely into his ComApp essay about wanting to be a GM of a professional sports team. He also noted on the list that he’s read every issue of Sports Illustrated over the past 6 years or so, as that also paints a picture of what he likes to read.

Another thing I think Davidson is looking for is students who can handle the reading load. My son at Davidson reads a lot more for his coursework than my son at Cornell. While this could be major dependent, I’m thinking about courses that both had to take (freshman English/writing) or are similar electives for both of them (like history/poli sci). The small college, liberal arts education consists of a ton of reading & writing & I think that Davidson is looking for students who will thrive in that environment.