We're glad that you are interested in applying to Dickinson College, and we'd like to do everything we can to make the admissions process easy to navigate. Is Dickinson the right "fit" for you? We encourage you to explore our Web site to learn more about the college in order to answer that question. If the answer is "yes," then this page contains the following valuable information that will help you with your application.

Admissions Overview

Dickinson students have strong academic credentials and enthusiasm for engaging the world. They are not passive learners; they do not rest with simple answers to complex questions. They understand that a quality liberal-arts education is the foundation for a lifetime of productive civic engagement. As a community, Dickinson is committed to recruiting the most socially, ethnically, geographically and economically diverse student body possible.

The Office of Admissions believes that the best predictor for academic success in college is high grades earned in solid academic courses from an accredited secondary school. This record offers the clearest signals of high motivation, good study habits, strong self-discipline and intellectual curiosity. Because Dickinsonians are engaged citizens and leaders in society, the admission committee also looks at engagement in outside activities-the talents, interests and leadership potential you have demonstrated through school and community activities, as well as your ability to articulate your fit with Dickinson's distinctive character.

High School Preparation

The minimum requirement for entrance to Dickinson is the satisfactory completion of a secondary-school program of at least 16 units, including four units of English, two (preferably three) units of one foreign language, three units of natural science (at least two with labs), two units of social science and three units of college-preparatory mathematics. The remaining units should be within these academic areas. Most applicants to Dickinson offer more than the minimal requirements.

Degree Requirements

The college has established requirements for the degree that each student must meet in order to graduate from Dickinson College. It is incumbent on prospective students to familiarize themselves with these requirements when considering whether to apply or enroll at Dickinson. Degree requirements, including foreign language, are fundamental to the College's mission. Because they are fundamental to Dickinson's view of a liberal arts education, they will not be waived for any student.

Test-Optional Policy

Dickinson's long-standing test-optional policy provides you with a choice regarding the submission of standardized test scores. While many colleges and universities have only recently joined the test-optional movement, Dickinson has made the submission of SAT or ACT scores optional for admission since 1996. 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. Standardized test-score submission is required for all international students applying for admission.

Choosing an Application Plan

Recognizing that each student is different, works at a different pace and has a different level of interest in Dickinson, we offer three programs for admission-Early Decision (ED) allows you to declare Dickinson as your first choice and enter the admission process early, enjoying a review process focused on your individual merits rather than the strengths of the larger pool. Early Action (EA) allows you to learn of your admission earlier than you would in Regular Decision (RD), maintaining the opportunity to entertain offers from other colleges through the May 1 Candidates' Reply Date.

Early Decision (ED)
Deadlines: November 15 (ED I) or January 15 (ED II)

An ED application is encouraged if you know that Dickinson is your first choice. Following are a few things you should know about ED:

  • Due to the smaller size of the applicant pool, you will be evaluated based upon your own merits rather than in competition with many other applicants.
  • Your very strong interest in Dickinson is taken into consideration when rendering a decision.
  • You will learn early in your college planning if you have been admitted to Dickinson.
  • If you are not accepted but are deferred, you will be reconsidered on an equal basis with regular applicants for admission and ultimately may be admitted. However, the Admissions Committee may deny an application for admission if it is determined that additional information from the senior year would not affect a final decision.
  • You must submit all information required for admission as well as the signed Early Decision Agreement form.

Early Decision is a binding commitment. If admitted, you agree to withdraw all other applications and submit your enrollment deposit within three weeks of notification. Learn more about Early Decision.

Early Action (EA)
Deadline: December 1

Well-qualified applicants can benefit from applying EA by learning admission decisions and financial-aid status early and having extra time to make a decision. The Admissions Committee may defer an application to the Regular Decision pool if it wishes to review in the context of the full applicant pool. Application for admission also may be denied if it is determined that additional information from the senior year would not affect a final decision.

Regular Decision
Deadline: January 15

Regular Decision is our largest pool. Candidates are admitted under Regular Decision based on how competitive they are within the overall applicant pool as well as their demonstration of fit with Dickinson.

Applying for Financial Aid

Applications for need-based financial aid are due at the same time a candidate applies for admission consideration. All first-year students who demonstrate financial need and meet financial-aid application deadlines are offered packages designed to make attendance at Dickinson financially feasible. To apply for assistance, submission of the CSS PROFILE and the FAFSA is required. 

For additional information, watch this video on how to apply for financial aid. 


Merit scholarship consideration does not require a separate application. 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 demonstrate a high level of engagement outside the classroom and may also achieve superior standardized test scores.  

Special Admissions Opportunities

Through the Public Service Fellowship (including service as a Global Citizen Year Fellow), Community College Partnership and Yellow Ribbon Program, Dickinson offers a number of unique opportunities.

Additional Resources