Skip To Content Skip To Menu Skip To Footer

Admitted Student FAQ

Congratulations on your acceptance to Dickinson! Now that you’re in, we know you have a lot of questions about what to expect. Following a few standard questions about how to connect, we’ve compiled the questions and answers from our first Admitted Student Virtual Q&A—so these are questions posed by you and answered by our students! 

Have a question we didn’t answer? Let us know and we’ll get right back to you! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any way for me to talk with other admitted students?

Yes! Join us on campus for one of several visit opportunities, where you can connect with other admitted students as well as current students. Visit programs will also be available virtually and regionally. Check your Applicant Portal for details and to register!

What if I have a question for the staff in admissions or financial aid?

We’re here for you! Find your counselor in Admissions and Financial Aid on our directory pages. Email us any time and let us know if you want to find a time to connect voice-to-voice.

And if my parents have questions?

We’re happy to answer their questions, too. Again, your own counselor in Admissions and Financial Aid can be reached via email. Encourage your parents to join the Dickinson College Parents & Guardians Facebook, too.

If I can’t visit, are there other ways to get to know the campus?

Check your Applicant Portal for all the on-campus and virtual-visit options! We have great virtual-visit page, including a 360-degree virtual tour and lots of videos and photo galleries so you can explore Dickinson anytime, from anywhere. If you wish to talk with someone else or see other things, just let your admissions counselor know! 

How do I check the status of my application?

After submitting your Common Application to Dickinson, you received an email with login information to access the Applicant Portal. The portal includes:

  • the status of your application and materials received/processed
  • your contact information
  • instructions for uploading additional materials to your application file
  • your decision letter
  • information on upcoming events and deadlines

Note that to view your decision letter, you need to click on "View Updates" both the first time you log in and when you return to view your decision letter again.

More information is available on the Track your Application page.

Is there an official class social media account I should follow?

For students: Follow the @dickinsonclassof2028 account on Instagram and @DickinsonAdmit account on Twitter for updates on all things #dson2028. Check out our social media page to find links to our other accounts, and more!

For parents: Join the Dickinson College Parents & Guardians Facebook group to connect with other parents and members of the admissions staff!

Admitted Student Virtual Q&A

Since we know that there are things you want to hear directly from our students about, we compiled the questions and answers from our first Admitted Student Virtual Q&A, organized by topic:


Was it difficult to adjust to college life? 

When you first arrive on campus you will take part in Orientation and that will help introduce you to a group of fellow first-years. Orientation not only allows you to meet fellow students, it also helps you engage in the greater Carlisle area through events like a Day of Service (doing community service throughout Carlisle). Once Orientation is finished you will feel much more comfortable navigating the campus as well as the town and will recognize a bunch of familiar faces from your Orientation group. There is an Activities Fair before classes start as well that includes every club and organization on campus, so new students can easily find different activities that match their interests! In addition to transitioning socially into college, all students must take a First Year Seminar (a semester-long course) which will prepare students to write at a college level. This relieved a lot of the pressure about transition from high school to college level courses.


How did you decide on your current major?

Talking to an advisor over the summer helped me clarify what my academic interests were but I came to Dickinson not knowing what I wanted to major in. I signed up for an array of classes that explored different aspects of my academic interests and quickly settled on my primary major (international studies). Later in the year, I spoke to a language professor who encouraged me to see how many credits I had from high school testing. With the credit I received for the IB French exam I decided it would be worth it to challenge myself and go for a second major in French. The First Year Seminar helped me discover an interest in a department I likely wouldn’t have explored otherwise, and I chose my minor solely because of that class. 

When will we choose classes and get an advisor?

Every member of the first-year class will have an advising appointment over the summer with the Advising, Internships & Career Center. During this phone conference, you will discuss your interests, possible majors and career goals. Shortly after the appointment, you will have access to request courses for your fall semester. One of the classes you will select is a First-Year Seminar. This is a course required for all first-year students with the goal of helping student transition to college-level writing. There are around 40 first-year seminars with varying topics from the Death Penalty to Parthenon Marbles. The professor teaching your first-year seminar is your advisor until you declare your major. Once you declare your major, you select a professor within that department to be your advisor.

How do AP credits transfer? Do they replace certain classes?

Credits from AP and IB tests are determined based on the scores you receive. Dickinson has a super helpful page set up where the guidelines for credit/placement for AP tests are located. Certain scores will allow you to receive credit on your transcript, and they can also lead to automatic placement into a higher-level course. 

How hard is it to do well at Dickinson? 

It is no secret that Dickinson is a selective institution with high academic expectations. With that being said, how well each student does is entirely dependent on them and the courses they take. Obviously, a 100-level class is easier than a 400-level class. Students may have harder or easier semesters depending on the combination of classes they take based on level and what their strengths are. Another important aspect to note is that college is a time when students get to shape their academic journey around subjects that interest them. While writing a lab report is tedious for some people, most science majors enjoy writing about their experiments, making it not seem like “work.” In the end, all Dickinson students are given equal resources and opportunities to reach their full potential.

What are the science classes like? 

Generally, science classes have a lecture and lab component, but this can look different from one department to another. Science lectures can be three 50-minute classes each week, or two 75-minute classes. Lab sections range between 2 and 4 hours; it depends on the department and the class. Introductory level classes tend to be larger than classes taken later in the major, but lectures are capped at 35 students and labs are capped at 20 students. 

What is the relationship with faculty like? 

The relationship between faculty and students is an integral part of what makes a students’ academic and personal experience at Dickinson so positive and impactful. Because our classes are so small (an average of 15 or less in a class), professors always learn students’ names and are able to establish relationships inside and outside of the classroom. Professors are required to hold office hours throughout the week, but they are also always willing to meet with students outside of those designated hours to talk about anything from class assignment to the state of our union to their favorite TV shows. On a more personal note, my advisor knows how interested I am in mass incarceration and American prisons so she invited me (completely out of the blue) to meet Piper Kerman, the author of Orange is the New Black, when Piper came to speak on campus. I had this awesome opportunity because my advisor remembered my interest in prisons and thought that event would be a good opportunity to talk to an influential author about her experience (it was, in fact, fantastic!). 

Should you major AND minor?

Don’t worry about this at all yet... you have until second semester sophomore year to declare a major and until senior year for a minor! Take your first year to explore your interests and closely related areas (for example if you’re interested in international studies, look at international business, economics, political science and sociology as well!) Academics at Dickinson are interdisciplinary, and you’ll find it easy to major and minor, double major or even double major and minor if you choose to. But just a major is fine too! 


What are the options for first-year housing?

There are essentially three options for first-year housing: double rooms, single rooms, and triple rooms. While most first-year students will live in a double room (meaning two people will share one room), you might have the option to request a single or triple room. There is also the small chance that a student may be place in a triple room without requesting it. First-year students will live in one our “Quads” buildings, including Baird-McClintock Hall, Davidson-Wilson Hall among others, or on Morgan Field in Adams Hall or Drayer Hall. 

Any helpful tips when packing for next year?

Do not worry about packing throw pillows and a first aid kit! We are located just a few miles away from a Target, Walmart, CVS, and Bed, Bath & Beyond so besides packing your clothes, shoes, bedding, some room decorations (if you want) and some toiletries to get you through the first week or so, everything else can be purchased once you arrive on campus. We also have a Bed, Bath & Beyond pop-up shop during move-in that sells things such as rugs, mirrors, and shower caddies so that you don’t even have to leave campus to make your purchases. For those traveling from another state, Bed, Bath, & Beyond also has a great service where you can select items you want at a store located in your home town and have them ready to be picked up in our local Bed, Bath & Beyond (this was great for purchasing a mattress pad, pillow, and a few other larger items). 

How did you find a roommate? (BW)

There are two ways for incoming first-year students to find a roommate:  

  1. The roommate preference survey 
  2. Mutually requesting a roommate by name 

While both can be great options for your first year at Dickinson, most first-year students elect to utilize the survey. Asking questions such as what time you usually go to sleep, if you like to have friends over the room often, and if you are a neat or messy person works out great! It’s much less popular but you can also choose to find someone on Facebook or at an accepted students' event.

Are you allowed to have a car on campus in your first year?

First-year students are not permitted to have a car on campus unless they are a member of an approved club/team that requires off-campus meetings. 

What is the process for choosing housing?

As a first-year student, you are placed in one of the first-year residence halls by the Residence Life & Housing staff. The majority of students are paired with a roommate based on the results of a survey created to better understand personality and habits. Some students request to live with members of their class they’ve met through Facebook or a sports team. During the summer, you will receive an email from Residence Life and Housing making you aware of your roommate assignment and your residence hall and room placement. Every year after your first year, you select housing for the next year through a lottery process based on seniority during the spring semester.

Can you tell me more about special-interest housing?

We have a wide variety of special-interest housing ranging from Greek houses to the Social Justice House to the Outing Club House to the Arts Collective. Here is a link to all of our current special-interest housing options. Students can live in special-interest housing starting their sophomore year, and rather than taking part in our usual housing lottery, students apply to live in a particular house and will either be given a spot or not. It is a great way to meet students from all class years who share a similar interest to you! 

What are the different meal plan options? 

There are essentially two different meal plans at Dickinson: Any 20 and Flex. Any 20 involved having a set number of 20 meal swipes every week. Students can use all 20 meal swipes in one day (if they wish), or space them out appropriately. It comes out to having three meals a day, except on Sunday. This is often not an issue because the dining hall serves brunch Sunday morning/afternoon. At the end of each week, the 20 swipes reset. Any 20 works at all dining locations. For example, one meal swipe is “all you can eat” in the dining hall while it is equivalent to a sandwich, fruit and drink for at the Quarry.  

Flex meal plans are made up of flex points, dining dollars and declining balance. Flex points are generally used for entrance to the dining hall or for getting a set meal at another dining location (sandwich, fruit and drink). Dining dollars are generally used for items not included in a “set meal” such as sushi, specialty chips, smoothies, etc. Some of these items (like sushi) cannot be purchased through the Any 20 plan. Declining balance is used for purchasing items from the Dickinson Bookstore and/or the Devil’s Den such as school supplies or toiletries. These items also cannot be purchased through the Any 20 plan. Flex has three options: flexboard I, flexboard II, and apartment housing flex. The three plans differ solely on the amount of flex points, dining dollars and declining balance a student gets each semester. 


What’s the influence of Greek life on campus?

Only about 20% of students participate in Greek life, so while it is a great opportunity for students interested in philanthropy and sisterhood/brotherhood, Greek life does not dictate the social scene on campus. In addition, members of Greek life are always encouraged to participate in other clubs and organizations that meet their interests and allow members to choose their level of commitment to their organization. If someone is interested in joining a Greek organization, recruitment begins in the spring semester of your first year, allowing students to meet other people and join other clubs rather than rushing students into the recruitment process right away.

What is social life like for people not planning on joining a fraternity/sorority?

Your social life is largely up to you and your preferences, so there really is ample opportunity for every student to build relationships regardless of what they choose to participate in. There isn’t a feeling of pressure to join Greek life simply to have a social life. With recruitment happening during the spring semester everyone has an equal playing field when it comes to making friends and finding things to do when you get to campus. 

What is the social life like on nights and weekends?

You will always have things to do! On any given weekend there will be a cappella concerts, sporting events, theatre/dance performances, improv shows, lectures, trivia nights, movie showings, karaoke nights, late-night food bars, and tons of offerings like roller skating and laser tag at the local sports emporium, headliner concerts (we’ve recently had Aminé, Steve Aoki, the Chainsmokers and DRAM), and other fun events through MOB, our student programming board. This is of course on top of the countless social events hosted by clubs and organizations on any given weekend. 

What role does music play in student life?

Music plays a huge role at Dickinson! Academically speaking, there is a music major and minor. The music major had four tracks: musical studies, performance, history/theory, musical studies and composition. Outside of academics, there is the college choir, the jazz ensemble, the chamber ensemble and the community orchestra. You do not need to be a part of the music program to participate in these groups! There are also guitar, piano, vocal, etc. classes that students can take for credit, or students can take lessons not for credit. Throughout the year, there are a variety of concerts on campus put on by both students and outside performers.  


What role does Carlisle play in your experience?

I volunteer at a local elementary school in Carlisle as a big sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Even though it is just a few minutes away from campus, I enjoy the reprieve of having a different part of Carlisle that I know very well. I also know that educational studies students have had opportunities to shadow teachers at this elementary school, which is an incredible opportunity for future teachers.  

Even though people may assume that Dickinson is its own little bubble within Carlisle, students are actually very engaged with the community. We have about 14 volunteer programs that operate within the greater Carlisle area and students are always encouraged to explore the town surrounding our campus through service. In addition, it is so significant that Dickinson is located right inside of Carlisle because we as students have easy access to local restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and even thrift stores. I think that being a Dickinsonian also means that you are inherently a Carlislian because the two interact with each other constantly. 


What is your favorite leisure activity in Carlisle?

Eating food! Carlisle has dozens of fantastic restaurants ranging from Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine to Belgian and beyond. I love being able to walk into town and get a coffee and a snack or go to dinner with friends every once in a while. 


Is it easy to study abroad? 

It is extremely easy and accessible to study abroad at Dickinson, especially when going through a Dickinson program. Academic advisors are there from day one to help students organize their courses so that studying abroad is possible. The majority of students will spend one semester of their junior year abroad; however, a good number of students opt to do the whole year or do a summer program. Many STEM and athletic students are able to go abroad through the diverse programs that are offered and the experiences that are offered within the country. As a STEM major, I was able to go to Bologna, Italy, for a semester and focus on my Italian minor entirely and immerse myself in the culture. I believe that this was only possible through the support and flexibility of Dickinson. An important thing to note is that all financial aid transfers to Dickinson and Dickinson-partner programs and there are also opportunities to apply for scholarships for specific programs. 


What differentiates Dickinson from other schools?

I think that the relationships between faculty and students is so unique on Dickinson’s campus because I have never encountered a professor from any department that is not willing to help a student. Whether it is requesting information about internships or just trying to pass a class, faculty make it known that they are always a resource to students. I have professors that I took a class with one time my first year at Dickinson and three years later they still remember my name and my interests. Having friends at other colleges, both large and small, I know that this is not the case for every school and I feel incredibly lucky to be at a college that has professors that can become lifelong mentors and allies. 

Members of our community are genuinely interested in the well-being and interests of each other. Activism is a big part of Dickinson’s culture. Everyone is passionate about something and we help each other discover that and foster it.