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Our Featured College:   Colgate University
Nestled among the rolling hills of upstate New York, Colgate University enjoys a reputation as one of the nation's elite small colleges. Colgate's 2,700 undergraduates bask in the beauty of rural America in the bucolic, if somewhat isolated, setting of Hamilton, NY (about an hour southeast of Syracuse, five hours northwest of Manhattan).

Colgate, although a university in name, has only a handful of graduate students. The college's 52 undergraduate majors cover the traditional liberal arts plus a little more, ranging from hardcore sciences (astrogeophysics, neuroscience) to turbulent humanities ("peace and conflict studies"). Science programs have received special attention in recent years with the 2007 addition of the 121,000-square-foot Ho Science Center, which houses the new Picker Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Sciences and Mathematics. In addition, five of Colgate's majors have an environmental flavor (including Environmental Biology and Environmental Economics). Colgate's core curriculum requirement is relatively painless: Students must complete four core courses by the end of the sophomore year. There are also distribution requirements of two courses each in humanities, social science, and math/science.

Colgate's roots reach to its Baptist-seminary beginnings in 1823. Soapmaker William Colgate was one of the school's founding fathers and his family remained involved throughout the 19th century--hence the name change in 1890.

First-year students are assigned one of six residence halls. Optional "interest housing" choices for freshmen include Healthy Living, Leadership, and the Harlem Renaissance Center (African-American culture). Upperclassmen live in dorms, residence halls, Greek houses, apartments and townhouse complexes on campus. Colgate requires students to live on campus; off-campus housing in the local community is an option only for seniors who participate in Colgate's formal lottery program (250 slots are available). Students can choose from a variety of meal plans, ranging from 10 to 20 meals per week.


Colgate offers two dozen Division I varsity sports; teams match up against a variety of regional rivals, including Fordham, Princeton, and Syracuse. Colgate also offers most of the standard intramural sports, such as flag football, basketball, and soccer, and more than two dozen club sports including cricket, curling, fencing, figure skating, several forms of martial arts, and, of course, that ubiquitous standby, Ultimate Frisbee.

Other Extracurriculars

Colgate's Center for Leadership and Student Involvement helps to co-ordinate the college's arts organizations and clubs, which number over two dozen and include choral, dance, theatre, and music groups. Greek life is a big deal at Colgate; although there are only six fraternities and three sororities, about 30% of undergraduates are members. Greek rush week is in the early fall, and membership is permitted for sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a GPA of 2.0 or higher.


Getting into Colgate is tough: Of the 7,800 students who applied for admission last year, only 29% were admitted. SAT scores for the middle 50% of the freshman class run 650 to 740 for critical reading and 670 to 750 for math. On the ACT, the median 50% achieved composite scores between 31 and 33. The average high-school GPA for incoming freshmen was 3.75. Top performance in a rigorous high-school curriculum is key to a Colgate admit; extracurricular activities and application essays are also critical factors. Interviews are not required.

Find Out More

Interested in Colgate? You can find out more at the university's web site: