Impressions Of
Dickinson College

Academic Experience

Male Political Science C/O 2020

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I don’t think it’s competitive. I’d say it’s more collaborative because people work together. I was assigned group projects in a lot of my classes.

How accessible are your professors?
I’ve never had any of them not be able to meet with me. If I don’t have time to meet during office hours, they will always schedule a time outside of their office hours. Whenever I have an issue, a question, a point of discussion I can definitely meet with my professor.

Female Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Double Major C/O 2019

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
The majority of my coursework is very heavy in reading and writing. For the higher-level classes of my Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies major there can be 150 pages of reading a night. For Psychology, it varies. The early classes are a lot of textbook readings and tests, the Research Methods and statistics classes are very numbers based, and then when you get into the seminars there’s a lot of reading, writing, and a lot of research papers.

How easy was it to get involved in research?
One of the great things about Dickinson is if you put yourself out there at all with professors and are a good student and try hard you can get involved in research. One of my friends got published during our sophomore year in a chemistry journal. It’s really easy to get involved because of the small class sizes and you can get to know your professors. You can walk in their office and say, “Hey, this is really interesting to me. Would you be willing to help me out with this research?” if you know that a professor and their research concentration matches your interests. It’s pretty easy to apply or ask them.

Female Political Science and Women's & Gender Studies C/O 2020

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s collaborative for sure. The majority of my classes in both departments rely on round table style discussion, which I prefer.

Do you feel people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I think the professors do a very good job in trying to stay neutral, but the Dickinson student body is much more liberal minded. Especially in classes where you’re taught controversial issues, you’re going to find a more hostile reaction to extremely conservative viewpoints. Debates have gotten heated in the classroom, but professors do keep themselves neutral and make sure to keep things respectful and from a pedagogical standpoint. Anyone with extremely conservative views probably wouldn’t be 100% comfortable with sharing them in the classroom.

Social Opportunities

Male Political Science C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I like to go to parties, like the very few that we do have. I mostly go to house parties because this past year I wasn’t old enough to go to the bars, but there’s definitely a bar scene. I at least go out Friday and Saturday, and, depending on the week, maybe go out one or two days during the week. Parties are usually at one of the houses that used to belong to a member of my fraternity or somebody on the club basketball team or club soccer team. It’s important to be a member of something because then you will have friends in another group of people.

Female Political Science and Women's & Gender Studies C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I go to a lot of house parties. What usually happens is two organizations – a male organization and a female organization or a co-ed organization and something else – will agree to have a party together at a house. It could be a frat and a sports team, a fraternity and a sorority, or a sorority and a sports team, so it’s not a frat party per se, it’s just a house party.

Female Policy Management and French Double Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
The most active nights are mostly on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; there are usually parties on these nights. The school puts on a lot of school-sponsored events, like they’ll offer food in the dining halls and little parties. Sports teams or sororities organize a lot of the parties. We don’t have that many fraternities. I like social events with girls from my sorority or if one of my clubs is hosting a party. Most of the time, I go to Greek organizations or to clubs that partner with Greek organizations and organize parties.

Campus Culture

Female Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Double Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the overall social scene at Dickinson?
I think it’s fun. On most nights of the week there is something for you to do. I would say it’s a welcoming scene. Because it’s a small school and everyone knows everyone to an extent, you’re going to feel welcome wherever you’re going. You’re never going to walk into a party and not know a single face. I still see new people, so it’s not like high school, but I don’t think you can get lost in the social scene.

How would you describe the student body?
Overall, I think the Dickinson community is very civically engaged. I think the majority of people that go to the school really care about what they’re studying and about the world around them which has been cool. I love being surrounded by people that are pushing me to be better because they are doing cool things with their lives.

Female Political Science and Women's & Gender Studies C/O 2020

How would you describe the social scene?
Greek life, club sports, and varsity sports are the big partiers. We’re the ones who are going to be hosting and attending the larger parties. The music and theater crew also has parties, but they are more so with themselves and they put on shows and stuff. [What’s unique is] all of those groups overlap in regular day to day stuff, so I do theater and music and some of my friends do art and music. I know a bunch of the artists who will sometimes come to our parties or are also on a club sports team.

Do you think people are happy with their choice of Dickinson by the time they graduate?
It depends. From what I’ve heard our retention rate is not the best. [Dickinson’s retention rate in 2016 was 90%.] [In my opinion,] it’s higher in Greek life than the overall college. I think it depends on what you’re looking for. I picked Dickinson mainly because of the education, and I think if you picked Dickinson solely for an extracurricular you might not be as happy on where you ended up. If you don’t make the most of Carlisle and actively try to engage with the community, you probably won’t enjoy your time there because the college is relatively small.

Female Policy Management and French Double Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene at Dickinson?
It is exclusive and it’s hard to be not affiliated with any organizations that have an active social life. It is exclusive in the sense that you have to belong to an organization, a sports team, a group, or Greek life to have a good social life because people do affiliate with their organizations. In terms of parties, this can determine your social life. Outside of the parties, people have friends that are across different organizations, but for party purposes, social life is dominated by organizations.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
It’s the liberal arts environment, so we’re always talking about social issues and there are demonstrations and protests. The school is cognizant of that. When the [travel ban] announcement came out from Washington D.C., the school made it a point to say that all of our students are welcome here and we never want you to feel unsafe. I am used to a larger demographic of diversity. Dickinson is trying hard to have a more diverse student population. [The Class of 2022 is 65% White and 21% domestic students of color.]

Carlisle, PA

Pros of

  • “You are in a scenic area for hiking. The Outing Club has a lot of activities in Carlisle.”
  • “You have a community feeling. There are not many chain restaurants or stores. Most stores are locally owned and it’s fun to get to know the owners and the people that work there. I know people that always go to certain cafes and the owners know them by name and their drink orders.”
  • “It’s two hours away from D.C., which I really like, and Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. It’s really central to a few bigger cities. I’ve gone to D.C. a handful of times.”
  • “You are close to Harrisburg. This is easy for students who need to fly in because it’s only 30-minutes from Carlisle and you can get a student to drive or an Uber or taxi to campus.”

Cons of

  • “There is pollution. The air quality is not fantastic. It’s not so bad that you notice it, but Dickinson students are aware of it.”
  • “It’s in a part of Pennsylvania that people refer to as ‘Pennsyltucky.’ So, there are sometimes [people catcalling and stuff] that I’m not used to. Also, depending on your political views, Pennsylvania can be a little bit more conservative.”
  • “I tend to feel isolated and like I’m in the middle of nowhere.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Double Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew before about Dickinson when you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew when they would get rid of off-campus housing. I don’t think it would have influenced my decision at all, but I do wish they had been clearer that off-campus housing would not be an option my senior year. It kind of sucks, I was anticipating living in a house with my friends off campus. A lot of students were pretty upset by that.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Goodyear Gallery. It looks so ugly from the outside, but inside there is an incredible art studio. It’s a pretty awesome artistic space that I have used and a lot of my friends have used. We also have a really great staff, like the people in the dining hall, and I don’t think the tours necessarily show you the community.

Female Political Science and Women's & Gender Studies C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Dickinson before entering as a freshman?
Probably that the food isn’t that great. That’s definitely something that may have given me pause because the cafeteria is not a good time. I also wish I knew that they were planning on getting rid of off campus housing during the time I was going to be there.

What’s something that a prospective LGBT student may want to know?
Even though Dickinson doesn’t have a lot of LGBT people, it’s very accepting of LGBT people and there are a lot of resources. There’s a whole center that’s dedicated for LGBT students. There are also events to meet other people who are LGBT, so you know that you are part of a community.

Female Policy Management and French Double Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew before about Dickinson when you entered as a freshman?
I wish I had known that I should join as many clubs as possible during freshman year without overdoing it. I was really hesitant to join clubs. It can be intimidating to join clubs and you can be worried about what the club says about your image, instead of doing something that you like. My experience would have been better if I had joined a club earlier. I would recommend to push yourself to join some clubs that you like. Don’t overload it because your academic work is also important, but joining a club is also important.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Dickinson College

To Attend

  • “I love the students. It’s a small campus and, because of that, you have more accountability for your actions. It’s hard to be anonymous on campus, which can be good or bad, but I like that. I like the close-knit community.”
  • “Dickinson’s academics are really impressive and it’s an up and coming liberal arts school. I’ve never had a class with more than 20 people. You can get a lot of one on one time with professors.”
  • “The sororities are great and worth investing your time in. I got a lot out of it. At Dickinson specifically, sororities don’t have to be your life and you can be involved in other things. It allowed me to have leadership roles, ways to make friends, and positive memories.”

To Not Attend

  • “There aren’t many options for dining because it is a small school.”
  • “Sometimes it feels too small. You can’t walk across the street without seeing somebody you know. You can’t be anonymous if you want to be.” [There are about 2,300 students.]
  • “If you don’t want all on-campus housing, don’t go.”
  • “There’s sort of a white preppy vibe that dominates campus and that can be alienating to people.” [Socioeconomically, 40% of students come from the top 5%. 21% of students are domestic students of color.]
Notice: Dickinson College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Dickinson College.

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