Dickinson vs Conn College vs Trinity vs F&M

Hi guys, so after doing some research I am down to these 4 colleges (hope to apply to ED II), but have no chance to visit any of them because of the current situation.

I am thinking of majoring in international relations and economics and after graduation I either want to intern at a big law firm and then work towards law school or hopefully go into Investment Banking, but I’m not sure what I want to do yet.

  • What are the campuses like for each school? What is the vibe like?
  • Which school is best known for internship opportunities and career prospects/outcome? Which school would employers like most?
  • which school is most prestigious (i know it’s not a factor but I just wanted to know)
  • which school is most preppy? I’m coming from a public high school so I’d rather go to a school with a good mix of students. what are the students in each school like?
  • I also love to party and was wondering what the party culture is like in each school
    -if it were you which school would you choose?
    -any other comments would help

Thank you in advance for your help! :slight_smile:

Trinity would likely check all your boxes. It’s more career-minded than the others, defibtely preppier, best known for parties. A
Thet being said, all could lead to the career you want.

Note that it appears the OP would like to avoid a uniformly preppy atmosphere.

Oops, I thought the OP wanted the preppiest college…

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Check out Bucknell! They are great for wall street and law!

Bucknell will probably be a reach if you don’t have high stats though.

@lalaalaaand: Just curious: Where do you live? And are you more interested in urban or rural environment? And how much of an issue is cost (what is your financial aid vs merit aid needs/expectations)?

I live abroad now and I want something in a small town but not too far from big cities like NYC. I need around $10k in aid each year.

I’ll be honest with you, none of those schools are gonna hit that mark very well. Dickinson and F&M are FAR from big cities. Trinity is not in a small town and the area it’s in is not very nice (sketchy with high crime rate). Conn is a nice school but again, it’s like 2.5 hours from NYC. If those are the schools you’re down to for some reason, that’s fine. But being from out of the country you might not understand the situation.
Do yourself a HUGE favor. Look quickly now at Drew University. First school that pops to mind, and is a spot-on match. Drew is beautiful small liberal arts school in very nice (and safe) small town in NJ. It is very close to NYC – in fact you can just ride a train in there walking from the college. Great reputation, and super strong programs for what you are interested in. Also, Drew has a diverse campus and a high percentage of international students. They also give good aid. I know all of this b/c my son’s list a couple of years ago included Drew and it was one of is favorites (no he didn’t choose it; our list also included Dickinson, Conn, Trinity). Also, just so you know, F&M isn’t the best with aid. Also, if you don’t know that much about these schools and are coming from another country, I would NOT advise applying ED to any of them – there is no need; you need to get more info and keep your options open, give yourself time to compare, see the $$, etc.
But in my personal opinion, Drew is your bullseye.
Ursinus College is worth a look too (small town, nice school, good aid, not too far from Philadelphia). I’m sure there are others that would offer what you describe, but I can’t think of them at this moment. I sincerely hope this helps.


Of your schools, my son only looked at Connecticut College. I was very impressed with their internship program, which has a series of steps (write your resume, meet with the career office etc) that “unlocks” a $3,000 stipend. Everyone wants internships, but few schools have this concrete support.


My d looked at all of those and applied to three. Trinity was out early on just due to location. I mean she had a lot of great choices and there was nothing that made it stand out. She spent four years swimming there in hs and knows the area. It’s just not good. Beautiful campus though. She didn’t really want to apply to Conn - we’re instate - but we asked her to apply to one instate school so that was it. There was nothing there that really stood out either. She loved F&M and Dickinson, and Dickinson in the end was in the top three. Both are pretty campuses. We thought the surrounding area of Dickinson was superior. Students at both campuses seemed well rounded, friendly, and down to earth. We felt Dickinson had a more diverse population. I think all are strong schools and could get you where you want to go. I’d probably give the edge to Trinity for most well known/prestigious, Conn coming in second. Trinity it is the most preppy of the four IMO. OTOH it is probably the biggest party school of the four.

You’ll find parties at all these colleges. All will lead to job opportunities.

We visited all of those schools and my D nearly chose Dickinson. None are near a BIG city, though Dickinson is close to Harrisburg, which is a proper city. I guess F and M might be considered closest to a big city, but not really. Understand that at all of these colleges, you will end up spending most of your time on campus. That’s because your friends, food, and bed are there. They will all have a lot of good clubs and activities. You will feel like it’s home.

My daughter liked Dickinson because she felt she fit in best with those students. She liked the vibe better. Dickinson used to be quite preppy, but it’s become a bit more diverse over the years. D was impressed with the study abroad options and just liked how she felt on campus. She felt that she would be able to take a lot of classes that interested her and the Profs she met seemed engaging. Admin were also very helpful. Very friendly students. We all loved the campus itself and the town close to campus. None of those colleges are in amazing towns, btw. All the towns have downsides. The campuses are safe and lovely.

As for the other schools, F&M probably has the most sporty and laid back feel, Trinity is more preppy, also sporty. And I don’t have anything bad to say about Conn, but my D just got no feeling at all there and it wasn’t right for her. Lovely school though, and students seemed happy and I think it’s quite arty. Friendly kids at all of them.


My son visited Dickinson and Conn Coll for athletic recruiting and researched Trinity and F&M but did not visit, so we can share some views.

First, the four schools share a fairly similar vibe, culture, with some variations and distinctions among them, so it sounds reasonable that a student would be choosing among them. I don’t think an employer would see any of those four as a different quality/prestige etc. over the other.

Have you worked through the financial aid/merit aid at each school? F&M only gives need-based aid, no merit, so if a student were not eligible for need based aid, that would likely be unaffordable.

Trinity has the reputation as having the strongest ties to finance of the four schools, though a focused student who does internships etc. will land on their feet coming out of any of the four schools. I agree with @cinnamon1212 that Conn Coll’s funded internship program seemed like a good opportunity.

All four are social campuses, with plenty of traditional college party life. Trinity, Dickinson and F&M have greek life, Conn Coll does not because of its origins as a women’s college (also, Conn Coll does not have football). Trinity has the reputation of more parties, more monied students, but the current President of Trinity has been working to diversify the student body, racially, ethnically and socio-economically. F&M has a neat residential “college” system which seems to build strong community which, as I understand, may have been developed as a means to de-emphasize the influence of greek life on campus.

Dickinson is in a nice town, Carlisle, about 30-45 minutes from Harrisburg, which is the PA capital (though H’burg is hardly big city). There is a street which goes through campus, with campus buildings on both sides, and some parts of campus feel more “mixed in” with the town, particularly the Athletic Center and fine arts facilities. Conn Coll is on a hill, enclosed campus with plenty of Gothic buildings, about 10 min from center of New London. F&M is in Lancaster, which is a nice town, about an hour from Philly. Trinity is in Hartford, the CT capital, a lovely campus, lots of Gothic buildings – it often gets “dinged” for being in a “rough” neighborhood though it depends on your experience – we didn’t find it unsettling as city dwellers but others might.

Dickinson is known for its international focus and strong study abroad programs – every Dickinson student we know has spent a full year abroad, often combining a semester in one program with a semester in a different program.

Take a look at the Common Data Set for each school (a simple online search should pull it up) to see racial/ethnic diversity in student body. It should be in Section B. You can also look in Section H to see what percentage of students receive financial aid and merit aid, to get a feel for economic diversity.

Finally, you didn’t ask but – (and for other posters who know I’m a big Denison supporter, please don’t groan) – you might look at Denison. Charming village of Granville about 25 minutes from Columbus, Ohio, which is a major city and the state capital and which Denison takes full advantage of for internship, career and other programs. Greek life, diverse student body, Financial Econ concentration within Econ major, Global Commerce major (similar to Dickinson’s International Commerce major), and an Organizational Studies concentration which provides consulting type experience. Excellent career services.

Bottom line – among your four schools, you can’t go wrong.


A. If pressed to choose one school of your 4, I would also say Dickinson, for the reasons listed above. Nice town. Excellent school. Strong programs in your area. Lots of international students. Diverse. As far a rankings, prestige, etc, these 4 schools are basically equal.
B. Denison is an excellent suggestion! While Columbus is no NY, Philly, or Boston, it is a fantastic and large city. Might be a little harder to get into, as their acceptance has dipped down to about 29% now.
Good luck! :slight_smile: [and don’t go Early Decision unless you are absolutely in love with one school]

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Thank you so much everyone I really appreciate it, you guys really helped and I will also look into Denison and Drew as well.

I was also recently admitted to the University of Toronto (Trinity College) for arts and science and am currently considering it as well, I just didn’t think I was going to get in. I know it’s a big difference from these 4 colleges but between these 4 and UofT which would you choose?

  • Pros of UofT:
    -Name Recognition/Prestige as number one college in Canada
    -As an international student I can work outside of campus in Canada and the visa after I graduate would be easier to apply to/obtain
    -in the biggest city of Canada so lots of opportunity
    -exchange opportunities to schools like UCL, Oxford/Cambridge and Hong Kong University
    -10K cheaper/year
    Cons of UofT:
    -Really big so not a lot of support and first year lectures are huge
    -Grade deflation/a lot of people drop out so if I want to go to law school my GPA would be lower
    -If I want to go to law school in the US its better to do undergrad there
    -I want to enjoy college life as well and UofT is known for lack of college life/being a commuter school/competitive nature

Prof of LAC’s:
-Easy to change major (I can explore more areas)
-Small class sizes more support
-Easier to get good grades
-College life/residential experience
-In the US so better to transition for US law school

Cons of LAC’s:
-lack name recognition outside of US/Region
-10k more expensive
-limited work opportunity as international students
-study abroad opportunity isn’t as robust
-less diverse

If you have any input please help, thank you so much!

Dickinson, in particular, appears to be notable for its study abroad opportunities:

I think your certainty you want to go to law school and the origin of the 10k difference would be major factors. It’ll be much harder if not impossible to go to law school from a university where a 3.3 is a high GPA and a 2.8 okay but it’ll also be hard to pay for law school if you’re 40k poorer.
As noted Dickinson offers excellent opportunities for study abroad so that should be a non factor.
In the US you can work on campus and you can have internships through CPT so that should be a non factor too.
Finally, if you want to stay and work, Canada is better than the US since they have an easy process for college graduates and a quick path to citizenship for them.


Trinity, Connecticut College and Bucknell each have similar acceptance rates so why would the latter be more difficult for admissions?

What is CPT?

We had multiple visits to Dickinson, F&M, and Washington & Lee.

While is it is a great school W&L didn’t sell itself well and dropped out of contention. The town&gown issues also were a concern.

She had at least 3 visits each to Dickinson and F&M and attended one day of classes at each. She found the students to be more engaged in the classrooms at F&M. She ultimately chose F&M.

While Lancaster isn’t a major city, it has many good features. Amazing restaurants (reviewed in the NYT), rooftop bars, Whole Foods, Target, Wegmans (signs of civilization)…and excellent hospital that’s part of Penn Medicine.

Her cohort of friends from the classes of 2020 and 2021 are in grad programs (law school, social work), working at PennMedicine (not in Lancaster) in medical research, working with consulting firms, nursing school, Teach for America. Only one stayed in the Lancaster area. The others have moved to Boston, NJ, Philadelphia, New York.

Wherever you go, your jobs network will include, not just career services, but also access to alumni and to your friends’ parents.