Outreach to Students and Parents

The following is a framework for your outreach. We trust you will find it useful and we welcome your questions.

Contact with Prospects (students who have yet to apply)

  1. It is recommended the first contact be via e-mail. Identify yourself as a member of the Dickinson Admissions Volunteer Society (DAVS) and describe your affiliation with the college: alum (include your graduation year) or parent (include your child's graduation year).
  2. Offer a brief description of your Dickinson experience, what you have done since and what you are doing now. Parents, do the same but referencing your child's experience.
  3. Encourage prospects to:
    - explore their opportunities at Dickinson (provide main Web page)
    - visit campus if they have not already done so (provide visit Web page)
    - submit an application – provide Apply Web page
    - contact you or their regional counselor with questions
  4. Be a resource for the student and his/her parent(s), answering questions or conducting an interview if they have not already had one. If anybody takes you up on your interview offer, please let us know in advance of your meeting and we will make the appropriate notation in the student’s file. 
  5. Be sure to “claim” any student you select from a list in myDAVS as one of “My Students.” To claim the student, check the box and click the “Claim Student” button at the bottom of the Detailed Information page that appears when you select a student name from a list.

FAQs from Prospects

“What is the average high-school grade point average for admits?” There are many different grading scales at many different high schools. Rather than looking for a particular GPA, the admissions committee is generally looking for mostly A’s and B’s in a challenging curriculum.

“What is Dickinson’s policy regarding standardized test score submission?” At Dickinson, submitting SAT or ACT scores is optional for admission. This policy was designed for students who have demonstrated academic excellence in the classroom and who do not believe their standardized test scores accurately reflect their abilities. Test score submission is, however, required for international applicants.

“What percentage of the class gets financial aid?” 63 percent of the class of 2016 received grant aid and/or scholarship assistance from the college. All admitted students who demonstrated financial need and who met application deadlines received aid. The total need-based package for domestic grant recipients averaged $35,910 (grants, loans and work study). The average institutional grant for first-year students was $24,704 (need-based and merit).

“How do I apply for financial aid?” Students applying for need-based aid must submit both the CSS Profile and the FAFSA.

“Does Dickinson offer merit aid and how do I apply for merit scholarships?” Yes, the following scholarships are all renewable for four years: John Dickinson, $20,000 per year; Benjamin Rush, $15,000 per year; John Montgomery, $10,000 per year. There is no separate application for Dickinson’s merit awards. More information is available at Dickinson’s financial planning Web page under “scholarships.”

“Do I need an interview?” Although recommended, interviews are not required for admission. To schedule either an on- or off-campus interview, call the admissions office at 800-644-1773. Typically, we begin taking off-campus interview requests in late August.

Contact with Admitted or Enrolled Students or Parents

The purpose of your contact with parents and students is to offer congratulations and answer questions. You are not expected to know answers to every question. If you are uncertain about an answer, please refer the student/parent to the regional counselor responsible for their area—this is a terrific opportunity for staff members to follow up with the family. Regional counselor and financial-aid staff member contact information is listed at the end of this guide.

  1. When initiating contact with admitted or enrolled students or parents, we recommend a phone call first, which may be followed up with an e-mail if you are unable to reach the person. The phone call is more personal and is a welcome change from the many e-mails families receive from colleges. It invites a more meaningful dialogue.
  2. When you contact a student or parent, first explain your affiliation with Dickinson—member of the Dickinson Admissions Volunteer Society—living in (city/town), etc., and extend congratulations on the student’s admission to Dickinson.
  3. When speaking with a parent, you may suggest that the spouse is welcome to join the conversation.
  4. Ask what questions the parents or student have about Dickinson. Dates and descriptions of on-campus visit programs are listed near the end of this document for your convenience in providing this information to families. Please encourage visits/re-visits to campus, noting that visiting campus is a great way to help determine the student’s “fit” with Dickinson.

FAQs from Admitted and Enrolled Students or Parents

If you are asked about:

Directions to campus: Provide as much information as possible about traveling to Carlisle. Refer them to the college’s Web site for directions  and where to stay. During the school year, Dickinson shuttles are available to nearby airports and train stations

Academic advising for students: All first-year students participate in a First-Year Seminar (FYS) introducing them to Dickinson as an interdisciplinary “community of inquiry.” In addition, the FYS professor serves as the student’s initial academic advisor. All Dickinson first-year students arrive on campus for Orientation knowing which seminar they will join.

Once the student declares a major—as early as the end of the first year and by the end of sophomore year—s/he will have an advisor from her/his chosen department(s).

Pre-professional advising is provided in the following areas: business, engineering, health/medicine and law.

Majors/programs of interest at Dickinson: All majors at Dickinson are strong, though some are more popular than others. Typically, about 78-80 percent of each senior class graduates with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and 20-22 percent graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree. (Given that there are more departments in the social sciences and arts/humanities, the number of science majors is strong.)

For the class of 2012, the 10 most popular majors were international business & management/political science (tie), economics, English, psychology, biology, international studies, history, sociology, neuroscience/Spanish (tie). 

Why Dickinson: Expect to be asked about the cost of Dickinson and the value of a Dickinson education. Besides sharing your own and/or your child’s experience at the college and beyond, here are statements/information to help convey the value:

  • This generation is expected to change careers four or more times, so it is more important than ever that students be broadly educated to understand how to identify challenges and solve problems across multiple disciplines. Universities have a hard time imparting these critical and relational thinking skills to students because they are either being taught by young graduate students with little experience or by faculty members with narrow research specialties who rarely cross disciplinary boundaries. (There are some exceptions, of course, but an accurate generalization.)
    At undergraduate colleges like Dickinson, faculty members are constantly working with colleagues in different departments to create new ways of teaching the skills students will require in order to compete in a 21st-century global economy. This is where preparation for the not-yet-existing jobs will happen for our students.
  • Because of a low faculty-to-student ratio and our distinctive global centers and interdisciplinary team-taught programs, Dickinson spends more on educating undergraduates than most private universities and even more than many other liberal-arts colleges.
  • Our legacy from our founder, Dr. Benjamin Rush, to provide a useful education—not “knowledge for knowledge’s sake”—focuses the student experience on preparation for positions of leadership and real influence.
    Be sure that they are aware of the college’s extraordinary commitment to global education and internationalism. Beyond the remarkable study-abroad opportunities—which include more than 40 programs on six continents in 24 countries—all students, no matter their major or choice to study abroad, are affected by the college’s global focus. About 40 percent of Dickinson faculty members have directed study-abroad programs, and all faculty actively seek ways to bring a global perspective to the material they teach.
  • Dickinson is a national leader in sustainability education. The Center for Sustainability Education is directed by Neil Leary (who is one of a number of people who shared the Nobel Prize with Al Gore) and was started with the help of a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Leary is leading a new curricular initiative to make study of the environment a defining characteristic of a Dickinson education and to link classroom learning with co-curricular programs, greening of campus operations and civic engagement, both globally and locally. The center works with all members of the college community to create learning opportunities that advance the knowledge and skills necessary to the creation of a just and sustainable world. For fall ’11, the college offered an exciting new interdisciplinary semester, Global Climate Change Africa Mosaic, culminating with students’ attendance at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa.
  • Dickinson has launched the most extensive campus-enhancement effort in its history. Six construction projects aimed at expanding and improving facilities for academics, athletics and student life are under way. More information is available at the Facilities Enhancements page.

Campus Housing: Housing is guaranteed for four years. All first-year students live in residence halls. After the first year, special-interest housing options are available, including the Archaeology and Anthropology House, The Center for Sustainable Living (Treehouse), Classics House, The Site (formerly Dance Theatre House), The Globetrotters Literature, Film and Creative Writing House. Global Community, Music Society, ROTC, Russian House, Feminist Collective, Romance Languages, Spectrum, Social Justice, Wellness Living and Greek organizations. Typically, approximately 150 seniors live off campus.

Campus Safety: The college’s Department of Public Safety works 24/7 to safeguard and serve the students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus. Safety measures include emergency-alert poles in key locations to allow quick access to Public Safety; building access allowed only with the swipe of a valid Dickinson ID (at all times in residence halls and during evening for most campus buildings); Red Alert system for severe weather and other emergency notification and safe ride/safe walk program.

The Town of Carlisle: Within walking distance of campus, downtown Carlisle offers unique gift, antique, clothing, book and art shops; a variety of restaurants, from casual eateries to contemporary cafes and pizza joints; a historic theatre; and multicultural and arts festivals.

Student Activities: The programs supported by the Office of Campus Life build on the concepts presented in the classroom and seek connections among people, ideas and disciplines and also help students develop a lifelong affiliation with Dickinson and other students. Campus Life provides diverse and challenging opportunities that enhance the educational experience and support students in their development as citizens, scholars and leaders within the college. Dickinson has more than 130 recognized student organizations.

Visit (or Re-visit) Opportunities

Presidents’ Day Preview – Mon., Feb. 17, for students admitted Early Action
Decision Dickinson: Class of 2018 – Thurs., Feb. 27, for enrolled students only
Decision Dickinson: Class of 2018 – Sat., April 12, for any admitted student

Made-to-Order (MTO) Programs – April 2, April 9 and April 16 (first three Wednesdays)
Geared toward accepted students who want an individualized, in-depth look at the college, these programs are for students who would like to attend classes, meet with an academic department and thoroughly explore campus on a personal level. Online registration continues until noon the Monday prior to each program.

Day Visits – Mon., Jan. 27 through Fri., April 25 (No Day Visits during spring break March 7 to 17)
A day visit gives accepted students the opportunity to experience life as a Dickinson student for the day. Each day-visit itinerary is customized for the student. Typically, the visit will include (but is not limited to) attending classes in an area of academic interest and lunch in the Dining Hall with a current Dickinson student. Optional requests may include a campus tour or meeting with a faculty member or athletic coach. To register, call the admissions office at 800-644-1773.