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Application Information

We're glad that you're 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 website 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. This requirement can be met with an official secondary school transcript or GED (must include a completion date).

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

We have been test optional since 1994, although we briefly suspended all standardized-test submission for a period during the COVID-19 pandemic. View our Test-Optional FAQ for additional information.

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 two 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. Regular Decision (RD) is our largest pool and candidates are admitted ubased on how competitive they are within the overall applicant pool as well as their demonstration of fit with Dickinson.

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.

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. 


Most merit scholarship consideration does not require a separate application. 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 Global Citizen Year Fellowship, community college partnerships and the Yellow Ribbon program, Dickinson offers a number of unique opportunities.

Additional Resources