Dickinson College
Carlisle, PA, USA

Reviews

Dickinson College
3.90 Average Rating

Morgan from Schuylkill Haven, PA

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Dickinson is a top-quality liberal arts institution that works to provide each student with as many opportunities as they possibly can. Academically, Dickinson is top of the line, and despite its size, it boasts huge number of wonderful opportunities for involvement and engagement of just about anything. What makes Dickinson a great college is its genuine strive to work with the students and for the students, the hallmark of a great undergraduate liberal arts college.
Tips for prospective students
Explore EVERYTHING. Join clubs you wouldn't usually join. Take weird classes that are outside of your comfort zone to fulfill graduation requirements. Get to know your professors. Explore the world though internships and study abroad opportunities. You can do it all at Dickinson, so why not do it all?
Academic Rigor
Dickinson plays host to world renowned faculty, and as a student, you have full access to learning opportunities that larger schools are not able to offer. They will push you to think outside of your comfort zone. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Additionally, you are required to take classes in a variety of subjects to graduate, which allows you to explore academics that will impress and push you in ways though which you would not have imagined. This is a key asset to attending a liberal arts college, and employers really value the well-roundedness of applicants from colleges like Dickinson.
Dorm Life
The dorms are really nice. Rooms are a decent size, common rooms are awesome, and community life is what you make of it. I live in Drayer, and I am extremely comfortable.
Food and Dining
The food here is extremely hit or miss. The meal plan system is weird, which consequently gives you limited location options for eating. The cafeteria is a social hotspot, so most students eat there regularly. Most would say that the food relatively hit or miss, but I'd say it's usually pretty good. Across the hallway is the Snar, which offers sandwiches, a salad bar, and quick eats. The Quarry, the student-established coffee shop on campus, recently changed its entire menu, causing slow service and subpar sandwiches, but they have great wings and solid meal exchanges. There's also two juice bars. I'm satisfied with the dining options, but they could definitely be much better.
What to do for fun
Club events are frequent and fun, but the greatest activities are MOB events. They offer semester concerts, fattening food events, movie days/nights, and so much more. I'm a music major, so I'm partial to the music department's concerts and recitals. I don't participate in nightlife much, but I hear that it's good, not great. There are also a bunch of restaurants and nice bars downtown (meaning literally right down the street), as well as a movie theater, Walmart, froyo, and Panera within walking distance, plus a shopping center two miles away. Some students also take advantage of recreational shuttles.
Bang for the buck
Yes, it's expensive, but Dickinson's Financial Aid office is fantastic. They truly recognize the individual need of each student and work extremely hard to give every accepted student the opportunity to attend the college. Absolutely the bang for your buck.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The Student Senate-funded Take A Dickinsonian To Lunch program is odd, but really neat. Students can take a faculty or staff member to a nearby restaurant for lunch FREE OF CHARGE. It's a great opportunity for students and faculty to connect.
Great for these types of students
Curious, genuinely intelligent, willing to push themselves, liberal and/or open minded, motivated, independent, well-rounded, interested in diversity and culture.
Clubs and Activities
SO. MANY. CLUBS. And if you can't find one you like, you can start one though the Dickinson Student Senate! If you don't think there's something for you, you need to try harder. There's so much to do here!
Greek Life
It's here, but it's a small part of campus life. People who take advantage of it absolutely love it, but nobody judges you if it's not your thing.
Campus Safety
The campus safety at Dickinson is fantastic. Carlisle is a safe town, but that doesn't stop the campus from having a quality safety department. In addition to the traditional blue light service, DPS provides Safe Walk at night and the Safety Shuttle to transport you to anywhere you need to go in Carlisle between 9pm and 3am. The officers respond quickly when summoned and genuinely care about the students at Dickinson. I feel extremely safe on campus.
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Dickinson Student

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
All of my professors have been more than helpful when it comes to spending extra time with their students. This extra personal time out of class has aided me in gaining a greater understanding of the material we cover in class and in our readings. After a year at Dickinson, I have gained more confidence in my writing skills and I am better able to express myself through writing, which is one of the most important and useful skills to have after graduating from Dickinson.
Am enjoying being here
I have met some of the most interesting and amazing people at Dickinson. I enjoy going to the different speakers that are on campus almost every week as they are usually very interesting and the topics usually relate to classes that are being offered. Even just grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend at the Quarry turn out to be the most memorable experiences because each person brings something fun and interesting to a conversation that could last for hours.
Bang for the buck
Dickinson is a private school, so it is going to be on the expensive side. The college provides need based financial aid, merit scholarships, and grants to deserving students and many students take full advantage of these opportunities. The higher cost of the education can be seen, though, in the small class sizes and student to teacher ratio.
Tips for prospective students
Visiting Dickinson is the best way to tell if it is the best college for you. Talking with students and asking questions about different internships and classes can really help you determine if you would fit in. Keep an open mind and don't automatically eliminate Dickinson because of its small size.
Great for these types of students
Students who can appreciate the history of their school and the fact that being a Dickinsonian means that you will challenge ideas and think creatively as an active citizen of the global community. Students who want to their professors to know their names and their strengths (as well as weaknesses). Students who want a place where students work hard as well as know how to let loose and have a good time in various ways. Students who don't mind that there is a physical education requirement. Students who will research who Benjamin Rush is after reading this sentence.
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Current Student

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Great people, staff and students, who will go out of their way to make you feel at home. Great programs. And again, the people here are phenomenal.
Tips for prospective students
Put a lot of thought into your personal statement. It really does play a big factor in getting into the school. Don't write it like a regular school essay. Maybe make it almost a narrative.
Be willing to take advantage of study abroad. Most students do and it would be a shame to miss out on the great opportunity. It's a bit harder for science majors like myself, but still doable. In England and Australia we have programs specifically for science majors.
Put yourself out there. There are great opportunities that people will offer you to join in on right away, don't turn them down. Don't try to be too cool for floor events or campus activities. They're a great way to meet people and everyone goes, even upperclassmen because hey, there's usually food.
Academic Rigor
It's a fairly high ranked school, so don't expect it to be easy. That's not to say there aren't easy classes. Because it's a liberal arts school, a lot of professors try to get you to think of things in a different way, which can be harder because you're not in that mindset. Also: GO TO CLASS. Really, it makes a difference.
Dorm Life
Great. I got lucky and was placed into the most recently redone Residence Hall, Adams, and don't even get me started on the bathrooms... Everyone lives on campus except a select few upperclassmen and the dorms are all nice. Floor community is a big thing, plenty of them having their own group chats and going to events together. Also a great system if you are having roommate problems. Don't suffer in silence, talk to your RA. Though typically housing assignments work out.
Food and Dining
I'm not personally a big fan of the mealplan here. It's all or nothing, with you buying one of three plans that are all the same price, but with varying ways of getting food, or not having one at all. (There is also a reduced price apartment plan, but you have to request that specially and only if you live in an apartment.) This adds quite a lot to your bill, but the food is good.

There are four main option to eat on campus with your mealplan: The dining hall, which has it's great days, it's good days, and it's bad days (also home of the Kove which is open Sunday-Thursday with Kosher and vegan food); the Quarry, which has sandwiches, pastries, full coffee bar, pizza, etc; and the Underground (& Juice Box), which has fresh squeezed juice that actually makes a good meal because of all the things you can add, and fresh sushi which is made here and distributed to the other food locations on campus (the Juice Box makes juice as well as smoothies and is located in the fitness center). Lastly, there's the Snar (officially titled Union Station), which has a grill and cooks burgers, breakfast sandwiches, regular sandwiches, and a bunch of other things you'd expect from a grill, there's also a salad bar there and soup.

MEALPLANS: Here's a basic rundown.
You have two main options: Any 20 or Flex. Any 20 gives you 20 meals a week (Sunday we as a campus embrace brunch), and each meal is a designated 'meal exchange.' For example, at the Underground, you can get a large juice as one swipe (one meal exchange), and the Quarry you can get a sandwich with a drink and a fruit (fruit or wings I think?), and the Snar a burger, etc. You can pretty much get everything everywhere, except for sushi.

On Flex, you have three ways to buy food: Flex points, Declining Balance, or Dining Dollars. With Dining Dollars and Declining Balance you get 10% off the food you buy (so they're good to buy sushi with because it's a bit more expensive), but with Flex points, you use meal exchang...
What to do for fun
Go to the movies, campus events, JOIN CLUBS, hang out with friends.
Bang for the buck
So much is included in tuition, even though it is pricey. Study abroad doesn't cost any extra, printing is free, laundry is almost free (you're allotted a certain amount of free loads) and the list goes on. That being said, this school is expensive, to the point that I seriously considered transferring, but I love it here so much. The people and the classes are great and it is exactly what I want in a campus.

If money is a problem, Dickinson is great about scholarships. Do to an awkward family situation, it appeared that I didn't need as much aid as I do, and that was the reasoning for the expense causing me to think about leaving, but that is not the norm. Financial aid is great here. Also it's really easy to get a job on campus. The pay isn't great as freshman, but you're practically guaranteed a job which is good.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Don't step on the seal.
Great for these types of students
Adventurous
Greek Life
There, but not a huge part of campus.
Campus Safety
Programs available so you don't need to be alone out at night. Safe ride will pick you up anywhere on campus or in the campus area (goes as far as to drive you to Walmart or the movie theater), also Safe walk will just walk with you to wherever you need to go. There have been some occurrences that I've heard of, but I feel safe on campus.
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Gabriel from Voorhees, NJ

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
This institution has tremendous staff members. The physics, biology, mathematics, and music programs are the top ones that I have seen and they are simply stellar. I am not only learning a lot about Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, but I am taking violin lessons and playing in the orchestra, so I am learning about music as well. I am not getting a simple generic education. I am learning and understanding more than I ever did in my 12 previous years of education.
Am enjoying being here
Yes Dickinson is in the borough of Carlisle, but there are a good amount of activities to engage in. Greek life is not overly prevalent. I am meeting some really good people here and am building very close relationships to my peers and my professors. I mean, I had crepes with President Bill Durden. That just doesn't happen at large schools.
Bang for the buck
This school is very expensive. Although I feel that I am getting a fantastic education, Dickinson College should not cost the same as an ivy league school. That being said, I did receive a very nice financial aid package and I know for a fact that others did as well, so I am not complaining.
Tips for prospective students
FILL OUT YOUR FAFSA! To address Dickinson, come in open-minded and do not be concerned with making friends off the bat. The orientation program is excellent and you will be taking classes and living with other students, so focus on school and the friends will follow. Also, don't be afraid to eat in the cafeteria alone or with complete strangers. I guarantee you that you will meet at least one interesting person that you otherwise would never have.
Great for these types of students
This school is great for students looking to get variety in their education, from the lab sciences, to performance studies. Also, if you learn best by being engaged, than go to a small school like this one.
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a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Dickinson College is a small, liberal arts school. It has a small community feeling, but it certainly doesn't feel like high school like I was worried about before coming here. While it does have a very diverse mix of students, most students tend to be preppy, sporty, and liberal.
Tips for prospective students
Go on an overnight. I host prospective students, and I really wish I would have done one before coming here. It really gives a prospective students a good day in the life feel for what Dickinson will be like, and it also offers a good opportunity to 1) stand out to admissions and 2) ask questions you may not have thought of before or were too embarrassed to ask in front of your parents.
Academic Rigor
Depends on the class, but as you gain seniority, classes get increasingly more difficult (as expected). While some 100 level classes are really easy, there are also a lot of very difficult 100 levels. The professor has a big part in it. Overall, expect a lot of reading and expect to improve your writing skills! That said, I've actually enjoyed going to most of my classes, unlike high school where classes were deadly boring.
Dorm Life
Dorms are really nice, especially if you live in Adams or Dreyer. The Quads are smaller, but still nice. Things are generally kept clean. There's a pretty good sense of community, and the RA's are overall really helpful and chill.
Food and Dining
Most days food is pretty good. The worst part about it is that it just gets boring. We don't have a food service, we have chefs, so the food isn't gross, mass-produced in a factory. Also we have a soup chef that used to a White House soup chef!
What to do for fun
Going out to parties is pretty big on the weekends, but if you're not into that, there's always something going on at the social hall, such as a movie or theme night. Usually there's also a group of people always watching a movie in the common room of the dorms as well.
Bang for the buck
SO expensive ($60,000) but I love the school, so it's worth it to me.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Thanksgiving and Christmas Feasts, Allison Hall is a desanctified church, Old West is one of the main academic buildings that students enter during orientation freshman year and exit during graduation senior year-this is the only time people walk up and down the steps of Old West. Students do not step on the college seal (it's bad luck).
Great for these types of students
Preppy, athletic, LGBTQ, Eco-Friendly
Clubs and Activities
Tons of options, and very easy to create your own.
Greek Life
About 20% do it. It's not a huge thing on campus, but if you're in it, it runs your life. Frats run a lot of parties but most people can get in them.
Campus Safety
Blue lights are everywhere, there are crossing guards, and DPS is always patrolling. Very Safe.
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Emma from Newville, PA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A highly selective, diverse college. Everyone's needs and input are accomodated and highly valued. The ntimate community supports personal growth and academics.
Tips for prospective students
Think of the one thing that is going to give you an edge. Also, establish a personal relationship with your professor. The more interested they are in you as a person, the more dedicated to your personal growth and academic achievement they will be.
Academic Rigor
This is a highly selective school for a reason. The academic rigor is at its highest here and so is the workload. Come prepared to buckle down and learn!
Dorm Life
A variety of housing options are available. The typical two person/one room, suites with four persons/two rooms/and a common room, single rooms, and apartments are available. The dorms are largely in large, old stone buildings that lend a nostalgic recollection to the rich history of the college (est. 1773), but have all the modern conveniences we are used to.
Food and Dining
The food services here are sublime. The cuisine is varied, all dietary needs accomodated, and the quality of food is off the charts. Fresh fruit is ALWAYS available and healthy options presented and encouraged. This is NOT typical cafeteria food but runs more along the lines of something you'd find in a dining room on a top of the line cruise.
What to do for fun
Get out and make friends! In this comparatively small town, it may seem that there is little to do for fun. When you've got a great and diverse group of friends, you can always find things to do, ways to network, and share expenses to venture out further from Carlisle.
Bang for the buck
The education you are going to get here is phenomenal. The professors, guest speakers, etc. are top rate and conduct cutting edge research and partner or guest teach at other prestigious schools such as Harvard, Oxford, etc. The reason I gave it only 4 stars, however, is the amount of money one pours into books and tuition only to use the books minimally or have finance extra hidden fees for many classes.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There is a long-standing, healthy competition with another DIII college in the area; Franklin & Marshal. this often leads to things such as Dickinson's signature red lawn chairs turning up in odd places and equally harmless tricks being schemed and carried out on Franklin and Marshal.
Great for these types of students
This is a great choice for students who are high achievers, focused, dedicated, and self-educators.
Clubs and Activities
Dickinson prides itself on its diversity and this is GREATLY reflected in the wide range of clubs, both student and faculty led. Desire to start an additional club is encouraged and made accessible to all students.
Greek Life
There are many Greek life groups on the campus ranging from social to academic core values. These must be sanctioned by the school, but there is a relatively accessible process to gain approval.
Campus Safety
Dickinson strongly encourages and regularly reminds students to never go alone anywhere, especially at night. Dorms are close together and centralized to all educational buildings, including the library. Emergency Dial posts are located throughout the campus and the Dickinson Department of Public Safety offers free pick up and transportation for any student.
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Jessica from Inglewood, CA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Dickinson is probably one of the best schools that prepares you for the world. It's curriculum is based on creating well rounded students that are being prepared for the real world. The campus is inviting and the calm atmosphere is a great place for a great academic, social, and growing experience.
Tips for prospective students
The school is very inviting and as you walk the campus grounds, any student walking will be willing to answer your questions about the school. There are a wide variety of majors on campus but students always have directions or information to say on topics that don't relate to them. The campus overall is small but very inviting with the town's people walking around along with college students.
Academic Rigor
Dickinson allows students to take part in classes that go beyond their concentration. They encourage students to take a variety of classes their first two years of college in order for them to really have a sense of their world around them. The classes are hard but very interesting in all aspects and the intro classes give a great overview of what topics are about. This way, you are able to know a little bit about a broad number of topics.
Dorm Life
Each dorm community has it's own vibe. The school's RAs and Community advisors do a great job of promoting and finding people who are passionate about creating a safe space and safe community within the dorms. As a student who is more than 2,000 miles away from home, my time here so far has gone smoothly thanks to the great relationships that I've created with people in my dorm.
Food and Dining
For a small liberal arts school, the food here is average. It does a great job of making banquets for the holidays and making people look forward to them. There is a small variety of places to go eat on campus, but the overall cafeteria always has various foods to eat and try for all types of people who have distinct eating preferences.
What to do for fun
The night life on Dickinson's campus is very lively. There are organizational boards that also do a great job of creating a lively scene for students so they're not so bored on campus. The school gives a hefty amount of money to these boards to bring mainstream artists, entertainers, and festive events that students can attend.
Clubs and Activities
For a liberal arts school, the schools offers a various number of sports and clubs n campus. You can't really go through Dickinson and not be involved in a club. There's always people joining clubs and gaining interest for them and thinking of ways to make them better.
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JR from PA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
There are a wide variety of classes that span an array of academic areas. Each class is of global standards with professors that are knowledgeable in their respective subjects. The classes can be challenging, comparable to the Ivies, and offer an intergrated classroom experience.
Am enjoying being here
You will probably find yourself conversating with several other students at random places on campus. Too often though, people can tend to be cliquey and zoned. If you're not a generically social person, the social climate may be somewhat difficult in terms of adaptation, but it doesn't mean that it's impossible to have a decent time, especially with many opportunities to gather with other people.
Bang for the buck
If you get pretty good financial aid, this school is definitely worth it. If you don't, then you might find it to be a bit expensive. The tuition and activities fees are probably the best value at the college, offering top-notch education and events that require no additional payment. A concern might be the residential costs, but they may vary depending on your living situation.
Tips for prospective students
When you enter, don't expect to get too close to people too quickly. You will probably be hanging out with a group of students the first few days that you'll barely even speak to again. Different professors have vastly different expectations of the student body. Find one that is right for you and stick with him or her. Don't be afraid of a lower GPA than you anticipated, a lot could have factored into it.
Great for these types of students
This school is great for students who wish to be introduced to the world of new languages. People from around the world attend Dickinson despite it's student population. If you're looking for a small class size that has the potential for education, Dickinson will be great for you. There are plenty of activities and events on campus to attend for the party-goers and those who don't really go to parties. Students who want to have a more personal relationship with well-qualified professors (not assistants) should definitely take a look at Dickinson.
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Marcus from Bronx, NY

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Dickinson College is a place immersed in history. At Dickinson one will find that a change in ones previous schedule is necessary. Dickinson is a wonderful Liberal Arts Institution where all the students are challenged in many different ways.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure you read, write, love learning and practice study strategies!
Academic Rigor
This is a place where academics come first. If you came to party, turn your head the other way. Dickinson is special in that the professors want you to speak with them and want to help you learn and think critically and analytically about the content in any particular course. It is not only about working hard, it is learning to work differently that will ensure ones success here at Dickinson College.
Dorm Life
Get to know your dorm mates early!
Food and Dining
The food is wonderful, The staff know what they are doing!
What to do for fun
Join any club and/or class that interests you. Friends and activities will follow!
Bang for the buck
Work hard! Play harder!
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Rachel from Pittsford, NY

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Dickinson is a unique college that stresses personal responsibility, sustainability on a small and large scale, and a global education. It allows for a diverse educational opportunity as well as giving students a great, small-town campus and a community. It definitely has its own flair and keeps students coming back for more.
Tips for prospective students
Go on a tour! Make sure you get to know yourself as well as the campus and philosophy before you make your final decision. It is a wonderful school but definitely is one with a particular philosophy that should be shared by you as a student.
Academic Rigor
I felt prepared for the academics coming from a rigorous high school in Pittsford, NY. You will definitely be challenged and will experience many different types of teaching styles, from lecture to discussion- based to hands-on learning, depending on the area of study, all of which will challenge you in different ways. The professors are extremely knowledgeable in their area of study many of whom have written recent works.
Dorm Life
The dorms are more than fair for a small school. They also improve with each year, as well as allowing for a diverse type of living community- from special interest housing to regular dorms to off- campus living as well.
Food and Dining
The dining services offer flexible options for on the go students- from grab n' go to cafes and snack bars to give you a variety. The cafeteria is also on the whole pretty good for the cost.
What to do for fun
There is plenty to do around Carlisle and around the Harrisburg area. I have already spent a year at Dickinson and feel that I have tons left to explore in the small town. There are shuttles that take students to Harrisburg every weekend- to shop, to go to concerts, etc. Also, Phili, Pittsburg, NY, and Washington, D.C. are all less than three hours away. On campus there are always daily events and weekend events that usually are all going on at the same time, causing some difficult choices.
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