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Rediscovering Dickinson

The student presidential fellows who will be conducting alumni interviews this summer pose with Dickinson College President Margee Ensign.

The 2019 student presidential fellows pose with Dickinson College President Margee Ensign.

Discovery Initiative Highlights High Alumni Opinions on Dickinson

Nearly 30 students hit the road last summer to interview more than 850 alumni around the world as part of the college’s new Student Discovery Initiative. The purpose was to find out what alums think of their Dickinson experiences, how Dickinson has shaped their lives and how the college is doing today.

The results are now in, with thousands of data points from alumni spanning seven decades and 19 states, and it’s clear that Dickinsonians have some good things to say about their alma mater:

  • 90% reported being “highly appreciative” of their time at Dickinson as students.
  • 91% said they would recommend Dickinson to a friend, family member or loved one.
  • Nearly 70% indicated that they felt the college is making a positive impact on the world.

Participants also indicated some concern with the rising cost of higher education. Roughly 27% of alumni mentioned the cost of education and tuition at Dickinson, and 93% of those respondents felt negatively about the cost. However, 65% off the alumni who mentioned scholarships and financial aid noted that they felt positive about the college’s efforts in those areas.

One message that also came through clearly, though it was not measured quantitatively, was that Dickinsonians value the liberal-arts approach to higher education. Many mentioned the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and critical thinking skills they gained from Dickinson, noting how these qualities have positively impacted their careers and personal development.

As one respondent put it, “The liberal-arts education was the most valuable part of my experience. It gives me mental agility. I combined a lot of interests and it taught me well-rounded skills, especially how to work with people.”

Read more from the spring 2020 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

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Published May 12, 2020