Dickinson College vs. Kenyon College

Just asking for overall thoughts and what not. I have heard the Kenyon College is quite an artsy school and I’m not totally sure that is what I would be into as someone who likes sports and what not. The academic offerings and campus at both schools seem amazing; however, I have seen that Kenyon is ranked higher. Again, just overall thoughts and feelings.

I think you should research Kenyon further. Though it does offer superb programs in fine and visual arts, its academic range and general atmosphere differ from a more identifiably “artsy” school such as, say, Sarah Lawrence. With respect to athletics, Kenyon fields a variety of teams, and competes nationally in, in particular, swimming. For general use, you would have access to the highly appealing Kenyon Athletic Center.

While Kenyon is known for its theater and writing programs, there will be plenty of “sporty” kids there. Dickinson is known for its environmental sustainability and international focus. Both schools have greek life in the 25% range so, a presence but not overwhelming. Bigger differences would include (1) size of student body – 1800 at Kenyon vs. about 2400 Dickinson; (2) location, picture perfect but very (very) small village of Gambier vs. charming but larger town of Carlisle with a campus that feels more “busy” because there is a road that divides two sides of campus; and (3) economic background of students, as Kenyon has almost 20% of its students from the top 1% economically. We know students from both, and they have all loved their experiences and gone on to successful careers.

Thank you for you reply. Knowing that Kenyon is situated in a very remote part of Ohio, I worry that there won’t be many opportunities for community service and what not. From research, Kenyon College has a farm and I most definitely would plan on working there (also Dickinson has a farm as well). I worry that I will find myself bored. I like to be very active, especially in recreational sports and activities.

Also my parents are urging that I go to Dickinson College because it more so fits with my styles. However, in the fall, I tried to get recruited to Vassar College for sports, and from what I have read, to an extent, both Vassar and Kenyon have diverse, artsy students. Just some thoughts.

I’ve visited Kenyon and it is the best school in Ohio. Apart from the location, I think it will be a awesome experience from you. They also have a greater career link and a good alumni network. Kenyon is the place to be

We visited Kenyon (my alma mater) and Dickinson last fall, and our D is very interested in community service. In addition to the farm at Kenyon they have a local school that is essentially on campus, where our tour guide taught weekly as part of a class. The nearby town of Mount Vernon also has a number of community organizations where students volunteer. (Even back in the day I had friends who volunteered with a women’s shelter and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.) When we visited Dickinson they mentioned a similar range of volunteer opportunities, so there’s no shortage at either school.

The schools seem to be more alike than different, with of artsy kids and sporty kids, and plenty who are both! I’d say the biggest difference is campus environment, as Kenyon is both smaller and more isolated. Our D – and I – find Kenyon’s campus and village charming, while some might find it stifling. We weren’t as drawn to the more expansive Dickinson campus, but that’s a personal preference. Both schools have a great sense of community, though I’d say neither has the “rah rah” feel of a larger, athletics-focused school.

Thank you very much for your input. As any nervous senior, I’m worried that I’m not going to fit in at Kenyon. Let me give you little info about me. I come from a privileged public school. There are groups that are the sporty-preppy kids and then there are groups that appreciate the arts and theater. My small friend group lies in the middle of the spectrum, but leaning towards the sporty preppy. In terms of political activism, I have not really explored much for myself. To a very minimal extent, I hope to find some type of political belonging. I know that Kenyon has a heavy literature culture (from reviews), but to be honest I don’t read too much and I plan on studying Economics. I like to spend my time doin service, rec sports, church on Sundays, etc. I really only find myself reading if required by a class. But in quarantine, I’ve been so bored I actually have been reading lol. I also don’t don’t go to high school parties.

if I may, where did your daughter end up attending?

She is a junior so still deciding. Are you a current senior or a junior deciding where to apply? It is so hard to assess fit without being able to be on campus, but from what you describe, you will likely find many students with similar interests. Writing is a big part of the culture and reputation, but there are many students who never take an English class!

Like most liberal arts schools, there are so many clubs on campus at both schools that you’ll have no trouble finding ways to try out sports, activism, arts, religion, service, etc. If you’re a senior making a final decision I’d recommend reaching out to the school(s) to ask to speak with a current student (and possibly a faculty member) in the econ department. The schools understand what a strange time this is, and I am guessing they would be happy to make that kind of connection for you.

@EverythingBloo: Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina is still accepting applications & has financial aid available.

Since you lean conservative, attend church on Sundays, volunteer, and are into athletics, Furman University (about 2,700 undergrads) may be the perfect fit for you. Plus, in my opinion, there is just something magical about attending school in the South.

P.S. Ranked among the top 50 LACs. Furman offers merit scholarship money as well as need based financial aid. Might be the school for you as you “don’t go to high school parties” which hints that both of your current options may not be as good as a fit for you. (Furman has parties, but they tend to be more restrained & polite than a typical college party.)

Furman students are athletic with high participation in intramural & club sports for this DI school.

Furman is big on volunteering in community agencies,

@EverythingBloo, approximately 30% of students at Kenyon participate in varsity athletics or intramurals, so I have no doubt you could find your tribe. On the other hand, they’re both great schools, so if your heart is leaning toward Dickinson I’d take that into account. I don’t think you could make a bad choice between these two schools.

@EverythingBloo: 30% participation in varsity athletics or intramurals is a bit low for a school with just 1600 or 1700 students.

At Furman University the participation level is in the range of 65% to 70% with about 2.700 students. Plus, better weather. Gorgeous campus.

OP: Based on your posted self description, you are a very strong match for Furman University and a weak match for the other two schools. (I prefer not to elaborate, but feel free to PM me if you need further explanation or have any questions.)

What sport or sports did you play ?

As a self-described sporty-preppy individual who leans conservative & attends church on Sundays, wants strong academics, and enjoys volunteering, Furman University appears to be your near perfect match school.

(I have no relation to Furman University, nor do I have any interest other than addressing OP’s concerns to the best of my ability. But, I am familiar with all three schools discussed in this thread.)

P.S. Cautionary Advice: Make sure that you deposit at whichever of your current schools is affordable & preferable to you at this time. Also, I am not certain which school is best for econ majors.

Consider this analysis when comparing economics departments: https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.uslacecon.html.

As the OP writes more about preferences and priorities, Dickinson sounds to me, at least, like the better fit. Dickinson kids are “all around nice,” active, engaged. I’m guessing, without any data, that there may be more churchgoers at Dickinson than Kenyon. It is also about 500-600 students larger so more room to find like-minded students.

Kenyon student body feels more “urbane” or “sophisticated,” perhaps because the student body leans much wealthier than Dickinson. Walking into the coffee shop at Kenyon feels like walking into some hip coffee place in Brooklyn, with understated wealth reflected in clothing and accessories, and students hyper focused on the latest cutting edge book or article. Of course, that doesn’t describe every student at Kenyon, just the vibe.