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Dickinson vs. St. Lawrence

maddie9691maddie9691 Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
So, I've been admitted to both schools. They will both cost about the same amount, and are 7 and 5 hours away respectively. I want to study Neuroscience and minor in either French or Spanish. I'd also like a more liberal or open environment than conservative, and a place that isn't hyper focused on sports or greek life. I also really would like to study abroad. Is there any reason one of the schools stands out over the other?
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Replies to: Dickinson vs. St. Lawrence

  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,768 Senior Member
    Two wonderful schools! My kid looked closely at both as a possible athletic recruit, and we were very impressed with each. There are many similarities between them (apart from geography), so I'd say perhaps the biggest distinction is that Dickinson seems to strongly emphasize study abroad and runs its own programs in a number of countries, including French speaking African countries. Global connection (along with environmental sustainability) is one of Dickinson's most prominent values. We know a handful of Dickinson alum/students, and they all studied abroad. On the other hand -- and perhaps not something of interest to you -- something which St Lawrence offers which isn't really replicated at Dickinson is the Adirondacks semester where students basically live in a camp in the woods.

    I'd say the student body has strong cultural overlap at both schools -- nice, decent, hard working kids, perhaps more middle of the road politically than at some schools known for a more dominant liberal culture but students will be open and accepting at both schools. There is greek life at both, as I recall, around 10-15% at St Lawrence and more like 25% at Dickinson with a higher percentage of female participation than male at Dickinson. Dickinson tends to draw students more from the Mid Atlantic region, St Lawrence more from Boston and New York.

    Congrats on wonderful options!
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    edited February 7
    St. Lawrence University is very involved in & supportive of study abroad programs. And has been a leader in this area for decades. At one point, about a decade ago, St. Lawrence implemented a program involving economics & mandatory study abroad & foreign language proficiency. Not sure if still in place. SLU tends to have a lot of athletes. Used to be almost totally Greek, but that changed & now Greek life is reappearing. But SLU is a rural LAC, so many activities involve drinking.

    Dickinson College certainly has a milder climate. I am/was most familiar with this school before it sold its law school to Penn State.


    I used to criticize SLU for its lack of diversity. St. Lawrence listened to the changing culture in the US, but is still overwhelmingly (78%) white. Dickinson College is more diverse at 66% white. No judgment, just depends upon individual preference.

    If you are a two sport athlete & want to continue playing both in college, then St. Lawrence is worthy of serious consideration.

    Are you considering any other schools ?

    Why did you apply to these two schools ?

    What do you want from your college experience ?

    If you have any interest in Canada, Canadian studies, Montreal or Ottawa, then St. Lawrence offers those opportunities. Most well known for its study abroad program in Kenya, but offers about 20 other foreign locations.

    Also, do you like cold weather ? If so, you're in luck.


    St. Lawrence has a very large, beautiful campus. Dickinson has an attractive campus.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,768 Senior Member
    @Publisher I didn't mean to suggest St L is not supportive of study abroad -- just that, in Dickinson tours, info sessions etc., the two consistent themes are international experience and sustainability so one comes away with a strong sense of the school's commitment. I'm intrigued to learn about Kenya etc. at St L. I recall St L has both NYC and DC semesters, focusing on finance and politics, respectively, which seemed like an appealing option as well. I loved both schools and consider St L a real hidden gem -- when we read the website where St L talked about being a community of "doers," I thought that's my kid's kind of place!

    Dickinson seems to have less economic diversity than St L, according to NTY Times article https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/18/upshot/some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60.html

    For a student prioritizing study abroad, it is worth finding out how financial aid and, if applicable, merit awards, translate to study abroad programs. I remember that, because Dickinson runs so many of its own programs, the finances are simple and merit aid applies to study abroad. It would be important to understand the fine print on financing study abroad at both schools.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    edited February 7
    St. Lawrence's main study abroad locations in order of popularity (students attended) are:

    London
    Kenya
    Denmark
    Italy
    New Zealand

    Austria
    France
    Ireland
    Czech Republic
    Spain

    Australia
    Thailand
    Israel
    Jordan
    Japan

    Trinidad & Tobago
    China
    Costa Rica

    Also has high participation in domestic study away in New York City, Adirondack Semester & Washington DC

    Internships are mostly in New York City, Boston, Wash DC, China & Burlington, Vermont.

    Really surprised that Ottawa & Montreal & Canada are not on SLU's most recent list. Also surprised that Denver, Colorado isn't mentioned.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    @Midwestmomofboys : Skimmed the article & didn't see either school mentioned. Which school has more economic diversity ?
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,768 Senior Member
    @Publisher -- you can type in a school in the article and the data pops up, I have the article bookmarked bc I find the data fascinating.

    Dickinson is #36 on the list of least economically diverse schools, with about 13% in the top 1% and 13% in the bottom 60%.

    St. Lawrence is #126 on the list of least economically diverse, with about 7% in the top 1% and 21% in the bottom 60%. So, fewer "very well off" and more "regular" kids at St L.

  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    edited February 7
    Decades ago, St. Lawrence was a school for upper middle class & upper class prep school kids. Must have changed dramatically. Change that I applaud.

    P.S. I have two friends who have donated recently to SLU. Both donated low seven figure amounts. Both are influential alums who must have helped engineer this wave of diversity.

    Today, Wash & Lee is more like the St. Lawrence of old, then is the new SLU.
  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 4,992 Senior Member
    @Publisher 'Tis interesting reading about SLU now having grown up in the area knowing the old version.

    For the OP, all I can add is Dickinson is a very loved school where I live (in PA). Apparently I don't know SLU accurately enough to compare the two any longer!
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,031 Senior Member
    Dickinson is especially strong in study aboard (my kid picked it partly for that reason — she had a somewhat unusual study abroad goal, and D’son was very willing to work with her).

    My D was not involved with Greek life, and had a great social life. Some of her friends belonged to a service fraternity without a house (so some of that “Greek” count isn’t really what you think of when you think of housing, parties, etc).


  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    Check the Forbes financial rating on each school (both should be financially sound), check the endowments (I suspect both are healthy) and then pick the one that feels right to you.
  • taverngirltaverngirl Registered User Posts: 593 Member
    D was accepted to both. She removed SLU as a contender because we heard many first and second hand accounts of SLU being a big party school. There were a couple of other smaller things, administration was not very responsive, didn't have a great tour. Have you visited both? SLU is really in the middle of nowhere. Global study/engagement is a cornerstone of Dickinson.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    OP: Based on your numbers (34 ACT & 1500 SAT), I suspect that you have received substantial scholarships to both schools.

    Have you visited these schools ?
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,768 Senior Member
    If merit awards at both are part of the picture, read the fine print on what is necessary to keep the awards, also whether the merit awards can be used to pay for study abroad programs.

    I'm assuming the OP has visited both.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    edited February 7
    Not sure that we can assume that as an earlier thread indicated that OP was applying to about 10 schools.


    OP: If Dickinson College is a 5 hour drive & St. Lawrence is a 7 hour drive, then that should be a consideration, in my opinion.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,940 Senior Member
    edited February 7
    I googled merit scholarships for both schools. Both schools have a total annual COA of about $70,000. Her Dickinson College scholarship is just $20,000 per academic year (according to an earlier post). St. Lawrence has several scholarships with higher annual awards ($25,000, $30,000, $35,000 & full tuition and fees = over $55,000 per year).

    Although personal preference, St. Lawrence has the more beautiful campus, while Dickinson College has milder weather.

    Study abroad is equal. Or maybe in SLU's favor.

    I wish OP would return & share her impressions, knowledge & concerns about each school.
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