First-Year FAQ

Q: Will I survive the college admissions process?

A: Absolutely! A strong college search begins with self-reflection and, despite the many challenges that come with the COVID-19 pandemic, these are questions you can explore from home. Ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • How do I learn and interact? How important will interaction with classmates and professors be for me?
  • Do I envision doing research in college? What about internships? And study abroad?
  • Do I prefer more urban, suburban or rural locations; north, south, east, west?
  • Which of these factors are most important to me?

The answers to these questions will help you to frame your college search and find colleges best for YOU.

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

A: We have great virtual-visit options, ranging from Admitted Student Q&A sessions led by staff and students to Specialty Q&As with coaches, students and faculty. And we have a 360-degree virtual tour and lots of videos and photo galleries there, too. If you wish to talk with someone else or see other things, just let your regional counselor know! 

Q: When are admissions and financial aid deadlines?

A: For admissions and financial aid deadlines, please refer to our deadlines calendar.

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Q. Is there a difference in competitiveness between Early Decision 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.

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 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)
  • 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 the Office of Admissions at 800-644-1773 or at 717-245-1231.
  • ED candidates also submit a signed Early Decision Agreement Form

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Q: My transcript may look different for the spring of 2020. How will different grading  or performance be viewed?

A: As schools shift to online instruction, we know that they are also revisiting how your work will be assessed and graded. Whatever approach your school takes—whether maintaining their usual approach, moving to a new grading system or changing to pass/fail or credit/no credit—know that we are going to trust the process. Know, too, that we understand that this challenging time is demanding new and different things from you. Your application to Dickinson will not be negatively impacted if you have appropriately followed your school’s process for completing your graduation requirements.

Q: Will I get credit for IB or AP work for which I didn’t have the usual testing opportunities in the spring of 2020?

A: Our policies for awarding credit for International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Exams remain largely unchanged and we will accommodate the change in testing in the spring of 2020.

Q: What should I do about the activities I wasn’t able to participate in at school during the spring of 2020?

A: We absolutely understand that your extracurricular and leadership opportunities may have been impacted this spring by school closings. We are so sorry that you’ve missed opportunities and will not view this part of your application negatively..

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: Interviews are not required but can help us get to know you and learn more about your personal experiences, goals and aspirations for college. We offer online interviews while visits to campus aren’t possible, and anytime for students at too great a distance from campus to meet with us in person. If you decide to interview, you'll find information on in-person and virtual options on our visit options page.

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Q: I hoped to take a standardized test in the spring of 2020 but it was canceled. How will this impact my application?

A: Canceled test administrations have caused stress, but Dickinson has been test optional for almost 25 years and moved to test blind/free this year. We are very confident that we can assess your readiness for college through the other elements of your application and without standardized-test scores.

Q: What is Dickinson’s policy regarding standardized test score submission?

In September 2020, Dickinson became one of the first liberal-arts colleges in the U.S. to move to a test-blind admissions process for this year. By declaring that we are test blind, the admissions committee will not factor testing scores into a decision about enrollment, even if scores are submitted. While we have been test optional since 1994, we believe we need to go further to alleviate student concerns so that they will avoid crowded testing centers and make decisions for the health and safety of their families. View our Test-Blind FAQ for additional information.

Q: What should I do if I am applying for need-based financial aid?

A: Applicants interested in applying for need-based financial aid from Dickinson 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 to access federal and state funds. 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: While a separate application is required for the Presidential Scholarship, no separate application is required and all candidates for admission will be considered for all other scholarship programs: the Provost, 1783, John Dickinson or Benjamin Rush scholarships. Dickinson's scholarships are open to all applicants for admission whether or not they are need-based aid candidates. Competitive applicants will be top performing students in a rigorous curriculum who 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 with your username and password for accessing your Application Status Page. By logging in to this site you can track your application status online. This is also where you’ll ultimately receive your admission decision.

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 Regular Decision, decisions will be mailed about two months after the application deadline. Need-based financial aid and merit scholarship recipients will also be notified at the time they receive their acceptance letters. We will send you an e-mail when your decision is available to be viewed online.

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. So make an effort to email, call or write your regional admissions counselor.