First-Year FAQ

Photograph of Benjamin Rush statue in the FallQ: Will I survive the college admissions process?
A: Absolutely. You're in for an amazing four years, but before you decide where to apply, make sure you've done your homework. How do you learn and interact? That's the first question to answer. Then make sure that the colleges to which you apply match your particular style. If you do that, then you will have conquered the process. Enjoy your school year, and please let any of us at Dickinson know how we can help you.

Q: When are admissions and financial aid deadlines?
A: For admissions and financial-aid deadlines, please refer to our deadlines calendar.

Q. Is there a difference in competitiveness between Early Decision, Early Action and Regular Decision?
A: Early Decision (ED) allows applicants who know that Dickinson is their first choice to enter the admission process early, enjoying a review process focused on the student’s individual merits rather than the strengths of the larger pool. Early Action (EA) allows applicants to learn of their admission earlier than they would in Regular Decision (RD), maintaining the opportunity to entertain offers from other colleges through the May 1 Candidate Reply Date.

Q. What is the difference between applying Early Decision I and Early Decision II?
A: Aside from the fact that the application deadline for ED I is Nov. 15 and the deadline for ED II is Jan. 15 there is no difference between the programs. The size of the applicant pools in both programs is much smaller than Early Action and Regular Decision, allowing you to be evaluated for admission based on your own merits rather than in competition with other applicants.

Q: How do I apply?
A: We encourage students to apply online using the Common Application.

Q: What documents are required for admission consideration?
A: The following items are required:

  • a completed Common Application
  • official secondary school transcript(s) which lists all courses and grades (9th-12th). Grades from the senior year (whether first quarter, first trimester or mid-year, some indication of success in senior-year courses) is required before decision release. 
  • high school counselor recommendation
  • Academic teacher recommendations (one required, two recommended)
  • official SAT1 or ACT test results (All U.S. citizens and permanent residents may choose to be non-submitters.)
  • nonrefundable $65 application fee by check or money order sent with the Fee Agreement Form, If you prefer to pay the application fee with a credit card, please call Admissions at 800-644-1773 or at 717-245-1231.
  • Early Decision candidates also submit a signed Early Decision Agreement Form

Q: May I provide additional materials in support of my application?
A: We value and encourage your submission of additional material in support of your application. All candidates are welcome to supplement the required application information with any additional material they feel will assist the Admissions Committee in making a final decision. Note that arts materials should be submitted through SlideRoom (via the Common Application). Additional information for musicians interested in submitting materials and/or auditioning is available on our Music Department's page for prospective students.

Q: Is an interview required for admission, and if I interview, when must I do so?
A: Interviewing can help us get to know you and learn more about your personal experiences, goals and aspirations for college; however, participating in an interview is not required for admission to Dickinson. If you decide to interview, in addition to offering interviews on campus, Dickinson provides off-campus interviews with trained alumni and parent volunteers. Please schedule your interview well in advance of your application deadline.

Q: What is Dickinson’s policy regarding standardized test score submission?
A: Dickinson's long-standing test-optional policy provides you with a choice regarding the submission of standardized test scores. At Dickinson, submitting SAT1 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. If you choose not to submit test scores, you must indicate so on the Dickinson members page of the Common Application. Test score submission is required for international students applying for admission.

Q: What code should I use to send my standardized test results to Dickinson College?
A: The following codes should be used:

  • SAT – 2186
  • TOEFL – 2186
  • ACT – 3550

Q: What should I do if I am applying for need-based financial aid?
A: Applicants interested in applying for need-based financial aid must submit the CSS PROFILE form to the College Scholarship Service by the appropriate admissions deadline. The Federal FAFSA must also be filed after January 1. Estimate previous year's income data if federal income tax forms have not yet been prepared. It is important to meet published deadlines, as financial aid from Dickinson College is awarded on a funds-available basis. Dickinson's CSS PROFILE code number is 2186, and our FAFSA code number is 003253. Dickinson College has contracted with the College Board to collect tax returns through their IDOC service. You will receive detailed instructions from the College Board in February. Learn more on the financial-aid page.

Q: Is a separate application required for merit scholarships?
A: No. The John Dickinson, Benjamin Rush and John Montgomery scholarship programs are open to all applicants for admissions whether or not they are need-based aid candidates. Competitive applicants will be top performing students in a rigorous curriculum who achieve superior test scores and demonstrate a high level of engagement outside the classroom. For additional information about scholarships and selection guidelines, please review our scholarship page.

Q: How will I know if Dickinson has received my application and all of the required documents?
A: Please be sure to provide the Office of Admissions with a valid e-mail address and watch your e-mail account for important information. When we begin to process your application we will send you an e-mail listing your username and password along with a Web site address. By logging in to this site you can track your application status online.

Q: When will I hear my decision?
A: Decisions will be mailed for Early Decision I and II approximately one month after the deadlines. For Early Action and Regular Decision, decisions will be mailed almost two months after the application deadlines. Need-based financial aid and merit scholarship recipients will also be notified at the time they receive their acceptance letters. We have recently added the ability to view decisions online and we will send you an e-mail that lists your username and password and the Web site address. The online decisions will be made available on the same date we mail the decision letters.

Q: What can I do to increase my chances of being admitted to Dickinson?
A: Primary consideration for admission is always given to your academic and extracurricular achievement in high school, as Dickinson seeks to enroll a bright and talented first-year class. However, one of the best ways you can make yourself stand out in an applicant pool, other things being equal, is to make contact with your regional admissions counselor. Your regional admissions counselor is most familiar with high schools in your area and can be an advocate for you during the admissions process. Make an effort to visit, e-mail, call or write your regional admissions counselor.