Dickinson Sees a Record Breaking Number of Applications for the Class of 2026

Dickinson College saw a record number of applicants this year for the incoming class of 2026, dropping Dickinson’s acceptance rate from 49% during the 2021 application cycle to 35%. Cathy Davenport, Dean of Admissions, believes there are many contributing factors to this large applicant pool. She credits Dickinson’s enrollment team, who used strategies introduced during the pandemic and practices used before the COVID-19 pandemic to stay engaged with prospective students and show them everything that Dickinson College has to offer.

In 2020, the pandemic forced Dickinson’s enrollment team to develop a new form of virtual programming to connect with potential applicants, such as Zoom information sessions covering a variety of topics and livestreamed tours led by student tour guides. The admissions team continued hosting these events even as prospective students were allowed to visit campus in-person again. On-campus visits also brought back in-person information sessions, student-led tours, and recruitment visits with coaches that prospective students and their families can experience. Davenport also stressed the importance of personalized messaging and the involvement of the enrollment team, who are there to assist the families and prospective students at every step of the journey. 

According to Davenport, Dickinson’s admissions team also works closely with the Marketing and Communications department “so that Dickinson’s name is more broadly known – capturing and communicating the Dickinson brand, the Dickinson experience and the strong outcomes of a Dickinson education in everything from print and electronic communications to photography and videos and on social media platforms.” Though this process is time-intensive, she believes it may have contributed to the growth in applications and hopes that by continuing these practices in the future, the applicant pools will continue to be robust moving forward.

Davenport explains that, contrary to common perceptions, the class of 2026 will not have many gap year students, with only 15 students entering after a gap year in comparison to the 51 gap year students in the class of 2025. She expects that the college will meet the class of 2026’s enrollment goal of 600 students. Current students may have noticed an increase in campus tours the past few weeks, which Davenport notes that “while many are newly accepted members of the class of 2026, the majority of visitors over the past two weeks have been high school juniors who are taking advantage of their spring breaks to begin the college search process.”

Luka Dubnick ‘23, a member of the Liberty Cap society of tour guides, believes that the on-campus admissions events are a wonderful way to show prospective students the true Dickinson experience. He expressed his excitement for Accepted Students Day on April 8th and April 9th, which occurs during Dickinson’s annual Red and White Day that celebrates Dickinson Athletics. Dubnick believes that the combination of these events will allow accepted and admitted students to have “a more authentic Dickinson experience” and the chance to be immersed in the Dickinson community.”