Tell me about Dickinson College

I was looking through the Wikipedia page of “Hidden Ivies” when I saw Dickinson. At this point, all I knew about Dickinson was that it was one of the LAC’s of PA— along with BU, Laf, F&M, Bryn Mawr, Swatty, Haverford, Allegheny, Ursinus, GBurg, and more.

Now- I took the time to do some research. Dickinson (D’son?) looks like a charming LAC in a charming town. It definitely looks attractive; however, I do have a few questions about it.

  1. How does it stand with it’s academic quality? Does it deserve the “Hidden Ivy” title? I have a few ivy-leaguers in my family, and while I made it clear that I probably wouldn’t go to an ivy for undergrad (cough nor do I have a real chance at getting into one cough), I’m sure they’ll be watching for me for grad school.

  2. How is the CS program? Not everyone does CS at LAC’s, so how does it stand?

  3. Job prospects and grad schools— how well does the Dickinson name stand with employers? Grad schools? If I graduate with a BA in CS, will I be able to get a good job?

  4. General “prestige” factor: It seems that Dickinson is getting more and more competitive every year, however, a lot of T20 seekers at my high school are using it as a safety. Of course, if you have a 4.8 and a 1590 a 40% admit rate shouldn’t be rocket science, but for me, it’s a a match school— so how respected is the school? Compared to UConn? Compared to Fordham? Gettysburg + F&M? Compared to a T20? Is it a top LAC?

  5. World Languages— there is a solid chance I might not take the 4th year of language in high school- especially if I pursue the CS route, I might need to take other classes to really show a commitment/interest/strength in CS. Considering that Dickinson is renowned for their international studies, should I keep a 4th year of language for a good chance at admission?

  6. Financial Aid— does Dickinson give good aid? I will eventually have to run the NPC, but I can tell you right now that my parents and I aren’t able to contribute $65K a year— more like $35-40K.

  7. Outdoor opportunities— I am an outdoorsy person. Seems like Dickinson is a solid location for outdoorsy activities, but does nearby skiing hold up? Or will I have to keep my skiing to the winter breaks?

  8. Last but not least, student body. Is everybody friendly? Diverse? Is it WASP-y? Preppy? Welcoming/accepting?

Thank you everybody. Dickinson truly seems like a charming school— I just needed some clarification on admissions, departments, the name, and the students. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.


I can answer a few of these as my D20 visited and applied to Dickinson last year.

  1. I’m not sure it’s a”hidden ivy” but it is a great school with a good reputation. Kids that do well there seem to have no problem getting into good grad schools.

2 & 3) no idea

  1. I would consider G-burg and F & M as peer schools. Fordham is probably more well known and Conn College seemed more academic to us the Dickinson when we toured. I think Conn being a NESCAC school gives it a little more prestige.

  2. My D was accepted with 2 years of HS Spanish (but she started in 8th grade so it was considered level 3) and 2 years of Latin (jr & sr year but she was only up to level 2). I wouldn’t worry about not taking a 4th year. She was also accepted in Fordham, American, Gettysburg and several other schools, some of which recommended 4 years of a language.

  3. Are u looking for FA or merit? We don’t qualify for aid but my D received about 20k in merit $$. She had a 3.75 UW, 2 AP’s, and 6 honors classes.

  4. Don’t think PA is really known for their skiing but there are some “mountains” there where you could do it.

  5. student body seemed pretty diverse to us when we toured.

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I’m in my first year at Dickinson and absolutely love it, even though I’m learning remotely. I came back to college confidential for fun and saw your post. To answer your questions:

  1. I feel like it's hard to compare Dickinson to an Ivy because it is such a different type of school, however the quality of academics has been superb and very rigorous. The professors are truly top notch in their fields, too.
  2. Cannot speak for the CS program as I am not studying this
  3. Dickinson has a huge emphasis on offering an education without an expiration date. I've already met with the career center and am working on getting an internship for next summer. Again, I cannot speak for the CS program specifically but I will say that the school really emphasizes the value of a Dickinson degree to employers.
  4. Dickinson is definitely on par with F&M and Gettysburg (I looked at both schools). It's also consistently ranked in top 50 National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News, and the college likes to brag about how it is one of the best liberal arts schools in the country.
  5. I would recommend taking another year of foreign language because proficiency in a foreign language is a graduation requirement at Dickinson (I fulfilled this credit through a high school AP test score). From an admissions standpoint, I think it would be good to take another year of language but not necessary if you already have other strong academic credentials, especially if you apply ED.
  6. I'm from a family that needed aid but had too high of an income to qualify for very much, but I ended up receiving 25k in merit aid. This was a huge factor in my decision to attend Dickinson.
  7. Cannot speak for this as I don't ski. However, there is an active college outdoors club called the outing club. I'd encourage you to check out their social media.
  8. I fell in love with the school for its extremely friendly, warm community. Domestic diversity is pretty good and there is a large international student population, but it still is a PWI and could always be better. There are a lot of different types of people though and it's really cool having people with so many unique interests.

Hope this helps!