Great experience so far for D at Dickinson!

I wanted to balance out this thread with a positive review of Dickinson. My D is a first year and so far has really benefited from what a small liberal arts college can offer. She says the campus environment is very positive and supportive across the board–her sports team, her prospective major department, her professors, her advisors. Upperclassmen in the clubs and team have embraced and included her. Everyone she has encountered has been helpful, informative and encouraging, not to mention universally friendly and plain NICE. She is not Miss Popularity, but rather a bit socially awkward, so this really means something.

Also, D has received a number of emails from deans and professors inviting her to various events and programs. While these are not individual messages, they also aren’t campus-wide mass mailings. They’re targeted. For example, she is taking a foreign language and received an email from a different prof in the department that was sent to maybe 15 students total, inviting them to apply for winter break research jobs involving that language. She enthusiastically applied. I doubt she would have done so without the personal invitation because she would not have thought herself qualified enough as a first year. And it may be that she isn’t sufficiently qualified, but it was positive message to her anyway. Her own language professor arranged for a tutor for his class, free of charge, for anyone who wanted to take advantage. D did and benefited. Similarly, she received an email from a professor in her major department encouraging her to apply for a specific summer program affiliated with the college. She just applied to that too, after successfully obtaining two recommendations from current professors who have only just met her. I know the one gentleman submitted the rec the very next day! Furthermore, she was recommended for participation in networking receptions and lectures as part of the “Early Excellence” program for high-achieving first years. Some of these lecture have related to her academic interests, and some have not but this invitation spurred her to attend anyway. In summary, D will not fall through the cracks at Dickinson!

Academically, I have heard not one complaint yet. She likes all her professors and truly enjoys each of her classes and is looking forward to the ones for which she registered for the spring semester. The workload seems appropriate and reasonable but definitely not a fifth year of high school either. Despite being a reserved person, I know she has gone to office hours without anxiety about the one-on-one encounters with these lofty adults. She feels her professors are very approachable.

Career-wise, she went to a resume-review session and received great tips on improving her resume. She made the recommended changes, and uploaded it to the college’s job search website because she was applying to Dickinson’s externship program that takes place over winter break. Immediately after she uploaded it, she was given new feedback about a few minor spacing issues etc. The administration is truly dedicated.

I could go on, but that’s enough for now!

Really glad to hear Dickinson is working out so well for her! :slight_smile:

Great feedback, thank you!

That’s fantastic :slight_smile: Dickinson was in my D’s top three choices, we both really liked it when we visited. I’m glad its all you hoped it would be and more. My D has had a very similar experience at her college, including first year research which was totally unexpected.

She just found out yesterday she got the externship she had applied for! So happy about the opportunities she is getting at Dickinson.

It’s always good to hear that CCers’ kids are happy at their colleges, NEPatsGirl! I am glad for your D.

Greetings! I don’t usually post here but I read this thread on our D’s college and felt I should include our perspective as parents of a first year undergrad.

I would agree 100% with “TheGFG” who posted very positive reviews of Dickinson College. We feel similarly about our D’s wonderful experience there so far. She initially chose the Pennsylvania college after considering other offers from universities she also liked, mostly because she was interested in the combined Neuroscience/Psychology Program. But she also expressed good feelings about the friendly, welcoming vibe of her fellow students on campus when visiting there last spring.

Truly, Dickinson College is an impressive higher ed institution with so much to offer its undergrads – including this year, one of the most diverse incoming classes they’ve ever had (Dickinson College Class of 2021)! Wow, the students are absolutely right too when they report that it is a “gorgeous” campus of limestone, Georgian style buildings in a quad that border the cute and pretty safe town of Carlisle, PA.

Dickinson students are intellectually gifted & curious, passionate about and involved in their campus, progressive & socially aware, caring and very thoughtful young women & men who are not at all pretentious. What also impressed us about Dickinson when we visited our daughter during Family & Friends Weekend was the new president. President Ensign had been instrumental in the founding of an American university in Africa, prior to coming to Dickinson, and also risked her own life to help girls escape the clutches of Boko Haram … talk about a wonderful role model for students!

Suffice it to say, Dickinson is turning out to be a thousand times better than any of the other highly-ranked liberal arts colleges/universities our D could have attended. We would recommend this impressive LAC to anyone interested in a strong academic environment coupled with a very supportive campus community. Keep up the awesome work, Dickinson!!!

@TheGFG and @lovesoldbooks, thank you for these reports! D and I fell in love with Dickinson when we toured last spring. It’s a financial reach for us so not likely she’ll end up there, but she wants to pursue it because it’s her dream school. I really appreciate all the info you shared about your daughters’ experiences. It sounds wonderful.

Did you run the net price calculator? They claim to meet 96% of need, and also they do give merit aid. (But I can see that for a family that has a hard time meeting their EFC this could still be an issue). Good luck, I hope it works out for her!

@intparent, thank you. Yes, we ran the NPC. We are in that group who couldn’t meet the EFC. I just wrote a long post, in fact, in the parents forum, in hopes of identifying schools that might be more affordable. But Dickinson is still in the running, just because it was so high on both of our lists. And I don’t want to be the one to rule it out, if there is any hope at all.

@TheGFG and @lovesoldbooks

Thanks for your detailed reviews. I have heard that Dickinson is very good at getting students practical experience in the form of internships, jobs, research opportunities, etc. and it is helpful to see how that had played out in practice.

My D applied and visited after being accepted. She ended up choosing a different LAC, but she appreciated what Dickinson had to offer.

We found that Dickinson was really good about helping our D find a way to afford to attend this excellent college, especially since it was one of her top choices! So don’t give up on this LAC, due to family contribution estimates. And encourage your D to reach out, research aid programs & remain in communication with Dickinson’s Admissions & Financial Aid offices because they have a lot of resources & are approachable and very understanding of family situations. Your D has made a great pick with Dickinson & we’ll keep our fingers crossed for you folks!!!

Actually, I think Dickinson College now meets at least 99% of demonstrated need (almost 100 percent)!

We ran our financial data through the net price calculators of 20 different schools which met D’s criteria, including our state flagship. Dickinson was the third least expensive despite not claiming to meet 100% of need. Haverford was the best deal for us, but only by $2000 per year. However just as examples, Bryn Mawr was a $4000 higher and Wesleyan was $6000 more per year. Sure you can pay less elsewhere but you will likely have to sacrifice quality and academic ranking.

TheGFG, thank you for your insightful and detailed post. I saw in your post you mentioned your daughters sports team. My daughter is being recruited for one of the teams, and I wanted to get your perspective on the support the school gives to its athletes and how she has been able to balance the workload (if she plays a Fall sport). We visited the school in the Spring and were very impressed. It looks like it his her first choice and she will be submitting her application this week.

A thanks to all the posters. It s very helpful to us parents gaining the knowledge of your and your students experiences.

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DS really loved this one after an Admitted Students Day. Every time he was on csmpus, everyone was super friendly. He didn’t end up there, but this is a great choice. All the kids we know who have gone here have really enjoyed their experience.

@TheGFG I can’t resist asking which college came between Dickinson and Haverford. My D is also looking at colleges in Pa but I’ve felt the need to exclude some CSS Profile colleges, like Dickinson, because of how they use home equity in calculating need.

MACmiracle, one other PA school, Franklin & Marshall, also came out slightly cheaper based on the NPC. However, once we received our actual package, the difference in FA was even less.

As for athletics, it seems to us that Dickinson offers a Division 1 sports atmosphere even though they’re Division III. By this I mean the school is serious enough about their teams to properly publicize them, fund them (kids/parents pay nothing, unlike at some LAC’s) and to provide top notch facilities. Dickinson offered a pre-application FA pre-read for recruits, which was very helpful and not given at D’s other Div. III options. Also, her coach actually cares about winning and works very hard at his job. You’d think that goes without saying but it doesn’t based on what we experienced when speaking with other coaches. Some LAC’s we visited exuded this vibe that sports were a necessary evil that they had to tolerate, so they were just going to go through the motions of fielding teams but their heart wasn’t in it. Also, many schools had worse facilities than D’s high school, which means playing for them would have been a bit disappointing and demoralizing. (For example, one school had no bleachers for spectators nor a decent indoor practice area for bad weather days.) After all, these kids devote so much time to their sports that they deserve adequate equipment and practice space. I know there are families who are looking for less athletic intensity than at a Div. 1 school. If you want that, Dickinson may not be the right college depending on the sport. D’s team, at least, seriously means business. My older D competed for a very high level Div. 1 team in the same sport, and I do not see that much difference other than natural ability level, how far away they travel, and less free gear.

Infosec, when I asked D about this topic of support for athletes, she said she feels that athletes, or at least her team, are appreciated at Dickinson. The college president has shown up to their meets, for example. To my knowledge the athletes do not receive special tutoring or preferential course registration, or have mandatory study halls or anything like that. The students certainly have to put out academically just the same as everyone else. D’s team has a leadership council which works hard to maintain a healthy, positive, and inclusive social atmosphere for the team. As I mentioned above, D has felt accepted and welcomed.

I hope this helps.

@lovesoldbooks and @TheGFG thanks for all the great info on the aid and the way Dickinson worked with you to try to make it work. That’s a huge help to us and gives me some hope. Even though we haven’t felt optimistic about the cost, D loves it too much to rule it out without pursuing it to the end. And though she knows it’s not likely she’ll attend, I’ve supported her pursuing it because you just never know. I’d prefer to let the system work itself out, rather than be the one to rule it out for her.

TheGFG, thank you for your response and for passing along your daughters insight. It is very helpful.

My daughter just got her EA application in. I am getting all the FA info in. We were also impressed during our visit with the facilities and with Dickinson’s commitment to Athletics. It appears to be her top choice, We will see how the dollars play out. Thank you again.

Just a question is your daughter a swimmer? Also what is her major?
Dickinson is one of my Ds top choices.