Just accepted, and it's very appealing, but D worries that the social life will be quiet and there's

not enough to do. She wants lots of activity, school spirit, fun, social peers who are also serious students. She wants to go to parties and to tailgate, and not be bored. Can someone like her be happy socially at Dickinson? She’s very academically oriented, but she definitely wants the quintessential college experience. Thank you!

What other kids of schools did she apply to? I think I read that she applied to Penn State. Did she apply to any other LACs? Trying to figure out what you’re comparing Dickinson to. And I’m looking forward to hearing answers from those who know Dickinson. S19 accepted too but has not visited.

Ironic reading this post because last year my sister was torn between Dickinson and Ohio State. She chose Ohio State for all the reasons you stated and hates it and is looking to transfer after one semester. Dickinson would have been a better choice for her academically as well as socially as she is introverted and lost in a big school.

@citymama9 I’m pinging @intparent because her elder daughter attended Dickinson and she may be able to answer your questions, even though it’s been some years since her child graduated.

I just read in the Hidden Ivies book that Dickinson social life is a little slow unless you’re an athlete. The book is a bit old though. I’m planning on looking through their website and see what kinds of clubs there are and what kind of entertainment is available through the school. I have noticed that weekend activities definitely differ from LAC to LAC. Some have lots of speakers, concerts, plays, etc., and some don’t have as many.

And I did notice on Instagram that,when asked what their favorite part of their Dickinson experience was, one student said it was the time he studied abroad. Hm. Not sure how to take that.

@jnkam24 Your sister should reach out to Dickinson if she hasn’t yet; some schools keep the applications of those they admitted and make it very easy to do the transfer app.

Regarding social life — my D is pretty extroverted. She was really busy socially after a few months with clubs, friends, department activities, part time campus job in the writing center, etc. She went to parties sometimes, although that isn’t a huge thing for her — she said there were a lot of parties, she just wasn’t that into it. She spent junior year off campus (1 semester abroad, 1 semester on their Washington DC Semester program, which is different and IMHO better than that offered by most other colleges). But I don’t think she would say that was the best part of her 4 years, she liked it all.

I think Dickinson has more “school spirit” than a lot of LACs. They aren’t cynical about it like some schools I could name. But I doubt they tailgate. (I went to
Michigan, so I understand perfectly what you mean). It wasn’t a big thing for my D or her friends to attend sporting events. I think their students are pretty “sporty” in terms of playing intermurals, working out, etc. But if it is truly important to have football Saturdays that the whole campus turns out for, D’son isn’t really that place. But a general comment is that you could give up a lot just to have 6 or so Saturdays a year with home games to allow that to be a driver in the decision.

My kid did find it to be a place where she could get a serious education (she graduated Phi Beta Kappa) and still have a lot of fun. I just saw a bunch of her friends from there this fall (D married her D’son boyfriend 10 years after they met freshman year at D’son). They are a great group of young, articulate, intelligent, well employed late 20-somethings now.

Question. Did you guys research colleges for “fit”? I would have thought that these questions would have been better asked before applying. A quick look at College Niche students surveys tells a lot about a college. For example, 61% say its “Privileged” and 15% says “Boring”. In addition their ratings for students life, campus, location get a “C”. There is probably some truth to these ratings?

I think students can have some conflicts within their own criteria. My kids did, and they didn’t fully resolve them until accepted student visits. (Example: other kid applied to only 1 more STEM focused school out of the 8 she applied to, and ended up attending it). Also, my kids found that no school had exactly 100% of everything they wanted. You try to get close in your application list, then make a final decision after acceptances are received and you hopefully can make a final visit to your top 2-3 schools.

And… except for “boring”, those categories have little to do with the OP’s question.

@intparent OP said " Can someone like her be happy socially at Dickinson?" This relates to rating for “Student Life” (grade C+).

She also said her student was looking for the “quintessential college experience” which is not just academics, small student body, with good professors. She’s also looking for a fun, socially active, tailgating, parties etc. which Dickinson may not be as strong in these areas?

@citymama9 S14 toured Dickinson and we liked it, but it’s not much larger than my kids’ high school so didn’t stay on list. They do have DIII football and rivalries with F&M & Gettysburg, but not sure how exciting that tailgating would be.

I’m sure you saw this, but the adjoining town is charming, but small. Does your D plan to study abroad? That can help. Dickinson has a high retention/graduation rate indicating the kids who attend are happy.

I believe I saw you post on Penn State thread - my D19 was accepted there as well. It would be hard to top that for rah-rah action!

What is your D’s gut telling her?

@homerdog I’ll pm you

@socaldad2002 LOL, I am the queen of research. All you have to do is see all my posts. Besides CC, I have read Fiske, Princeton Review, Hidden Ivies, looked at the student review sights. D applied, because she had a lot of big schools on her list, so thought she needed some smaller school in case that was what she wanted, and Dickinson has a major that interested her. Once you get that acceptance you want to make sure you make an informed decision.

Everyone else, thank you so much for your insights.

@houndmom My D’s gut today is telling her that Dickinson might be too small for her and Penn State might be too big, but to my disappointment, she would pick PSU over Dickinson.

My daughter’s Dickinson experience was during a summer program, so very much NOT indicative of what a student will experience and hopefully a few more will weigh in for you. I will say that the size of Carlisle was an issue for my daughter. She is NOT a city girl and has grown up in a semi-rural area about 15 minutes from a “city” of 100,000. Carlisle is tiny and really not close to anything else. It helped my daughter articulate a minimum size of school and town after being there for a few weeks. I’m sure it was exacerbated by the students being gone, but frankly Dickinson holds a few different size-able summer programs and cumulative they are practically as big as their enrollment.

ETA she did say the food was great.

@citymama: Not sure to which schools your daughter applied, but maybe Wake Forest University in North Carolina might be of interest. Boston College also. Clemson University is another. Lots of school spirit. WFU & BC have top notch academics.

@Publisher she applied to Wake Forest :wink:

My kid was so busy on campus during the school year that the size of Carlisle wasn’t a problem. I honestly think most students overestimate how much time they will spend off campus no matter where they go, Also, most campuses are much quieter in the summer, so that isn’t a good comparison. I think except for the tailgating/big sports, the OP’s D would find what she wants at D’son. But if she wants a big school, then that is what she wants, and she should attend one. :slight_smile:

i would try to ask those questions of a current student. Everyone has a different experience. Did you visit the campus? The football season is over but maybe find out if there is a good time to visit besides accepted student day. Y husband and I met at Dickinson, and I’m thrilled that my son just got accepted!
Hard to compare the excitient of penn state athletics vs Dickinson but she’ll be able to get to a game from her dorm in under 5 minutes- probably not quite the same at a big school.

My son is currently a student and has been happy with Carlisle. He initially wanted to be “in the middle of nowhere”, but has found the cute little town to be great for going out with friends. There are a lot of little restaurants/diners for the kids to go to. He doesn’t do the bar scene so I don’t know what that is like. There is a movie theater and walmart/target etc close by. There are a bunch of parks for hiking, and an outdoor club that takes outings as well. He has found his “people” and has been very happy there. And as you will find with any college, where he has found it lacking he has gone out to make his own opportunities - either off campus, or by going to the administration to see what can be brought to campus.

And yes - the food really is good. Surprisingly good, which can make a big difference in a kid’s overall happiness. If I remember correctly I don’t think the football team is very good but it is still supported, but if it is a big sports/tailgating experience that your kid is looking for then there is no comparison between D’son and a huge D1 football/basketball school. An overnight visit might be a good idea if they don’t know if it will be too quiet for them.

It’s not a quiet school - lots of entertainment on campus, plus movie theater/restaurants in Carlisle. However it does not have the big football/basketball tailgating experience. Personally I wouldn’t choose a college based on 6 weekends a year but I’m not a huge football fan, so class size, faculty attention, career center, etc., matter to me more :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone. I think Dickinson would be a good fit for my D, but as of now she thinks it’s not the school for her. Penn State is still on the list, but she thinks that’s too big for her. My guess is she will go somewhere in between. I don’t think she cares that much about football. She just wants lots of energy and liveliness, but not on a huge scale.