Dickinson College or Colgate University?

I am kind of having a crisis right now, I can’t decide between Dickinson College and Colgate University. I plan to major in Environmental Science or Environmental Biology and minor in Chinese. I also have an interest in Astronomy, Portuguese, and linguistics. If anyone has any knowledge about both or either schools, I would be very grateful if you could share your opinion. Thanks!

Dickinson Pros

  • Very nice campus
  • Very nice surrounding area
  • Smaller - around 2300 students
  • Very good scholarship
  • Greek life seems less dominant
  • Has Portuguese
  • Has a Farm
  • Based on conversations with students, the workload doesn’t seem too hard.

Colgate Pros

  • Extremely Beautiful Campus.
  • Beautiful Surrounding area with easy access to outdoors.
  • Much more well-known and higher ranked.
  • I have the impression that career services are stronger but I am not sure.
  • Has hiking/cross country trails next to campus + outdoor education program.

Dickinson Cons

  • Not as well known
  • Tour was a little disorganized.

Colgate Cons

  • Possibly too much Greek life.
  • Workload is harder + grade deflation.

Dickinson seems to match your academic interests especially well:

I recommend that you continue to consider Colgate’s overall attributes, however, including those related to future prospects:

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I don’t know Colgate at all but I did have one child apply to Dickinson, attracted in part for the high number of foreign languages offered for a LAC of its size - I think there were 12-13 at the time. Also the Environmental Sciences + working farm was a plus. It sounds like you are concerned about prestige, name recognition, workload, weather and Greek life. Colgate wins on prestige but you suspect that Dickinson might be a better fit for your personality and might offer better work/life balance. Is there a significant cost difference between the two?

p.s. There previously was an active poster on this forum named @intparent who had a child who went to Dickinson. You can search for her posts. She reported that career services were excellent, and its reach extended to Philadelphia and Washington DC. Dickinson also offers a semester “abroad” in Washington DC, if that is of interest.


Have you been able to visit either school?

Dickinson is a neat little school in Carlisle. It’s not urban but the town has a main street with little shops that seem to cater to the school. They have an ice festival in February that’s interesting (pre-Covid). Are you taking a car? Carlisle is close to Harrisburg and only 2 hours from Philly or DC.

Colgate has a much better reputation and for good reason - strong academics, strong alumni network, and beautiful campus. challenge yourself and think big - go to Colgate.

As Merc81 reported, Dickinson was an early leader in committing to sustainability, climate science, and environmental protection. Their commitment has been so strong that 15 years later, it permeates everything they do. Most impressive is that they practice what they preach. It’s who they are, it’s what they do.

Colgate got into this a little later, but like Dickinson, they too achieved carbon neutrality this year. They have gotten on board with a handful of environment majors, each with a different emphasis.

If it were me, I’d choose Dickinson. But it’s you, so visit each campus, contact admissions and have them set you up with phone or zoom calls with current students and/or professors to answer your questions. See where you feel most comfortable. You really can’t go wrong with either choice.

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A bad tour won’t really impact you as a student (you could become a tour guide and make sure the tours are better now on :wink: )
Culturally Dickinson sounds like a better fit for you and while it’s not as famous as Colgate, it’s well known on the east coast and is far from an easy walk in the park academically.