Following are answers to the most frequently asked questions by international applicants, including information about our admissions process, scholarships and financial aid.
Prior to Applying
What is a liberal-arts college?
A liberal-arts education equips students with a varied skill set that will enable them to excel in any number of opportunities. They will learn how to think, how to write, how to collaborate, how to communicate, how to thrive. These skills are in demand by today’s employers, as cited in Forbes, U.S. News, Fast Company and other publications.
Here, students are encouraged to be actively engaged with the wider world and challenged to think differently and act boldly. Dickinsonians are guided by a core set of tenets—to be decisive, useful, curious and unafraid to take risks. We produce critical thinkers who see how everything is connected, graduates forever ready to make a difference. This is how we’ve taught successful graduates of all kinds—from lawyers to researchers to writers to CEOs. Dickinson’s brand of liberal-arts has been around since 1783 for one reason—it works.
Who is considered an “international applicant?”
If you are a citizen of a country other than the United States, or are a DACA student, you should follow the guidelines for international students. If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad, a U.S. dual citizen or a permanent resident, you should follow the domestic student guidelines.
How diverse is the student population at Dickinson?
Dickinson is a community committed to diversity and inclusion, with more than 2,300 full-time students representing 38 states and territories, plus Washington, D.C., and 49 foreign countries. Among the current population, 21% are domestic students of color and 14% are international.
How does Dickinson support international students?
The college's guiding philosophy with respect to international students has always been one of integration. Dickinson strives to integrate international students into the campus community to the maximum extent possible.
The Center for Global Study & Engagement (CGSE) assists new students upon arrival and provides orientation sessions that are designed with international student needs in mind. If you are unsure where to find a particular service on campus or how to navigate through student requirements, CGSE can provide direction and explain which offices and departments are relevant to your question or problem. Throughout the year, their staff will send messages to you about academic events, information sessions, important deadlines and international student issues, such as Winter Break housing and tax requirements.
All international students will get a chance to meet one-on-one with International Student Services during your first semester on campus. We are here to make your first-year experience the best it can be and connect you with the right people to make that happen for you. During your first semester, there will also be extended Orientation workshops that you will attend, as well as many CGSE-hosted and all-college events, lectures and activities.
What clubs and organizations does Dickinson offer?
With more than 120 student groups, Division III athletics and many other ways to get involved at Dickinson, you’ll find your passion and people here. A few popular clubs and organizations for international students include Arabic Club, Asian and Asian-American Collective, Chinese Students & Scholars Association and WIND (We Introduce Nations to Dickinson). Explore these opportunities for engagement and more here.
Application and Admissions Process
Does Dickinson offer application fee waivers?
You can find an application fee waiver form here. It will need to be filled out by your counselor or other school official and returned to the Office of Admissions.
International students should check the "Other Request" box in the Economic Need section and explain their financial barrier(s) to paying the application fee on the lines provided.
Does my transcript need to be translated to English? Do my grades also need to be translated?
Yes, official secondary school transcript(s) need to be translated into English listing all courses and grades. Grades from your senior year (whether first quarter, first trimester or midyear) indicating success in senior-year courses are required before decision release.
I submitted my materials, but my applicant profile still shows those items missing. What should I do?
Items may take a few days to a few weeks to show on your Applicant Portal as complete due to the high volume of materials we are receiving at this time. Please do not send documents to us again unless we request more information.
Note: It is very important that personal information is not sent via email because it is not secure. While we will accept what you have already sent to us via email, in the future all personal information should be uploaded to the Application Portal. School materials (e.g., transcript or school report) can be sent via a secure document-sharing system. Information may also be faxed to our secure line at +1-717-245-1442
How can I submit my missing items?
Application materials should be uploaded to the Application Portal. School materials (e.g., transcript or school report) can be sent via a secure document-sharing system. Information may also be faxed to our secure line at +1-717-245-1442.
Does Dickinson offer interviews?
Interviews are not required for admission but are available to prospective international students. Interviews should be scheduled and conducted before the application deadline.
Is an interview required for admission?
No, an interview is not a required component of our application. See the International Student Application Checklist.
How can I submit an art, music or dance portfolio?
Students who wish to submit supplementary art, music or theatre materials must do so through SlideRoom as part of the Common Application. Additional information for students interested in submitting materials and/or auditioning is available online for music (and the Music Scholars Award), art and theatre & dance.
Note: Dickinson does not offer SlideRoom fee waivers.
When will I receive access to my Applicant Portal?
Applicants typically receive portal credentials via email within a few days after submitting the Common Application to Dickinson.
Note: Students who apply in August will receive their credentials in mid-September.
What do I do if I cannot open/access my Applicant Portal?
Students who cannot open or access their applicant portal should contact the admissions office at email@example.com. Please provide your name as it appears on your application and a detailed description of your issue.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Does Dickinson offer scholarships or financial aid to international students?
Yes! Dickinson is proud to offer an array of scholarships and financial aid for international students. For more information, click here.
Please be aware that the amount of available financial aid is very limited, and students will be expected to contribute to their educational expenses. We do not offer financial aid or scholarships to cover 100% of the educational costs.
Does Dickinson offer full financial aid?
No, the amount of available financial aid is very limited, and students will be expected to contribute to their educational expenses. We do not offer financial aid or scholarships to cover 100% of the educational costs.
Does Dickinson offer a CSS Profile fee waiver?
No, we are unable to offer international students a CSS Profile fee waiver. International students who are unable to afford submitting the CSS Profile should email firstname.lastname@example.org for an alternative method for applying for need-based financial aid.
What is income verification?
When filing the Certification of Finances or the CSS Profile, applicants may need to provide proof of parental income. This can be a letter from their employer or a copy of tax or payroll records.
What bank statements do I need to provide?
When filing the Certification of Finances, applicants may need to provide accompanying bank statements. This is a recent bank statement that indicates a minimum balance of the contribution listed for year one on the Certification of Finances form.
How does the “work study” program work?
The college employs students in various capacities campuswide. Students are responsible for finding and applying for campus jobs. A work-study award does not guarantee employment. It is the policy of Dickinson College that all first-year students desiring employment will work their primary job in Dining Services . First-year students may choose to work a second job on campus, but they must work a minimum of two regularly scheduled shifts per week in Dining Services as their primary job.
English Proficiency Requirement
Even though Dickinson does not require the SAT/ACT test, do I still have to submit proof of English proficiency?
Yes, proof of your English proficiency is still required as part of our admissions process.
Students who are from a country that is English speaking or have been attending an English medium high school for three years or more may request a waiver of the English language testing requirement by emailing email@example.com.
What English proficiency tests does Dickinson accept, and what are the minimum scores?
Please see the International Student Application Checklist for accepted tests and minimum scores required.
How do I request an English proficiency waiver?
Students who have attended an English medium high school for three years or more may request a waiver of the English language testing requirement by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whom do I contact with questions about my visa?
The Center for Global Study & Engagement coordinates information regarding visa issuance, arrival and Orientation information.
Does Dickinson offer airport pickup?
The Center for Global Study & Engagement coordinates free airport (Harrisburg International Airport) and train station pickup (Harrisburg Amtrak) for first-year international students. You will receive communication from their office in the summer prior to your arrival.
Is housing guaranteed for all four years?
Yes! Housing is guaranteed for all four years.
As a residential college, Dickinson has a four-year residency requirement, meaning that all full-time enrolled first-year, sophomore, junior and senior students are required to live in college housing and participate in a college meal plan.
What are the most popular majors for international students?
Dickinson offers 46 majors, with biochemistry & molecular biology, computer science, data analytics, quantitative economics, engineering (3+2), international business & management, music and psychology being among the most popular choices for international students.
Is it possible to double major?
Yes, approximately 25% of Dickinson students double or triple major! A few recent examples of international student major combinations include studio art and political science, women’s, gender & sexuality studies and Chinese, educational studies and psychology, computer science & mathematics, art history and economics and quantitative economics and music.
How does the credit system work at Dickinson?
Each course, unless otherwise noted in the course description, is equivalent to four semester hours.
A typical schedule is four courses each semester (the equivalent of 16 credit hours); a student who carries at least three courses (the equivalent of 12 credit hours) is considered full time.
After successfully completing the first semester, students may register twice for a semester load of five course credits during their Dickinson career; registration for a fifth course may be completed only during the add/drop period.
Does Dickinson offer support for international students to find internships?
Absolutely! Internships provide students with opportunities to apply their useful liberal-arts education beyond campus. Dickinson guarantees that 100% of students who want an internship will have one. Plus, you’re not limited to just the United States—recent graduates have interned in more than 35 countries.
Approximately 95% of students complete an internship or externship, research project or a service learning or field experience course. Finding an internship is coordinated through the Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development. Click here to read about students’ internship experiences.
Does Dickinson provide funding for internships?
Dickinson students have the opportunity to apply for a grant to assist in completing an unpaid or low-paid summer internship. This is a competitive process; not all applications will be awarded a grant. If awarded a grant, it may not be in the full amount requested. Preferential consideration is given to first-time applicants completing unpaid/low-paid experiences.
Is it difficult for international students to socialize on campus due to cultural differences?
No! The college's guiding philosophy with respect to international visitors has always been one of integration. Dickinson strives to integrate international scholars into the campus community to the maximum extent possible, but it does so while recognizing that certain types of support are necessary and appropriate to help them manage the transition to academic and social life at the college.
Dickinson students represent approximately 50 foreign countries, and 14% of the student body is international. The Dickinson campus radiates a diversity of ideas, worldviews, cultures and approaches. Students and scholars from different backgrounds and experiences come together in Carlisle to form a truly global community.
What resources are there to help international students maintain their religious/spiritual life?
Dickinson offers a growing community of religiously diverse students, staff and faculty. Directed by the Center for Spirituality & Social Justice, the campus' religious diversity includes a number of student groups and local communities for individuals to continue to practice as well as explore other traditions. In addition, the center provides opportunities for spiritually curious students to consider a number of practices that are often unexplored in a Western landscape. For more information, visit the Center for Spirituality & Social Justice website.
Does Dickinson offer meal options for special religious needs or dietary restrictions?
For those with special dietary needs, we have separated the top 8 allergens from one of our salad bars. We also have a self-serve gluten-free area separated from the rest of our meal areas to make it easier to select foods on your own. We even offer dairy-free frozen desserts for all our guests in this area.
The KOVE (KOsher & VEgan) serves certified kosher foods. The operation is certified kosher by Dickinson's full-time rabbi. Vegan entrées add another dimension to the KOVE and are prepared without animal products.
As a part of our meal plan, in collaboration with Center for Spirituality & Social Justice, we offer a yearly Ramadan meal program during observance. This includes a wide variety of Halal meals, snacks, beverages and desserts.
What are some recommended banks/mobile phone services for international students?
AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are the largest mobile carriers and have stores in Carlisle. You can buy an inexpensive phone and minutes at Walmart for pre-paid services. There are also options for making a long-term contract with companies, but you may not be eligible when you first arrive because you have no “credit history” in the U.S.
Is Carlisle a safe town?
Yes! Carlisle is a safe, picturesque college town located 20 minutes away Pennsylvania’s capital city, Harrisburg, and is approximately two hours from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Carlisle is proud to have recently been ranked #20 Safest College Towns in America by Safewise.