Alumni admission volunteers help Colgate recruit top students.

It’s such a rewarding moment when a student I met at a college fair or informational interview reaches out to excitedly share that they were accepted to Colgate and that they can’t wait to join the community.

Joe Spina Class of 2014

One of the fundamental values that will shape Colgate’s third century is the recruitment of the best and brightest students from across the world.


As we strive to become the finest undergraduate institution in the nation — the first choice of the most talented students — the Office of Admission is grateful for the dedication of the alumni volunteers who broaden our reach. 

Serving as an alumni ambassador

As an alumni ambassador, you will play a unique role in the recruitment process. Having been a student here, you are able to convey the essence of Colgate: the beauty and scale of the campus, the rigorous academics, the energetic community, and the close-knit student-faculty relationships. 

The Alumni Admission Program (AAP) capitalizes on the enthusiasm of our alumni and creates important connections for prospective students. The chance to talk with a graduate is the chance for prospective students to hear about Colgate in a way that viewbooks cannot express.

AAP members volunteer as representatives at college fairs, by conducting informational interviews, and by helping with area receptions for prospective and accepted students. Members of the AAP serve as primary resources for prospective students. More information about these opportunities is below.

In addition to serving an important role in Colgate’s recruitment efforts, members of the AAP are connected to Colgate in new and exciting ways. For some, it is the opportunity to serve the alumni body in a leadership role; for others it offers occasions to connect with fellow graduates; and for all volunteers, the AAP is a way to learn about developments on Colgate’s campus.

Getting started as an alumni ambassador

If you are interested in becoming an alumni admission volunteer, please fill out a volunteer application form.

Volunteer Application Form


If you have questions or would like additional information, contact Samantha Alexander at 315-228-6401. 

Thank you for helping us to recruit exceptional students and to advance the institution.

College Fairs

As an alumni admission volunteer you will represent Colgate at college fairs in your area. At these fairs, you will use your unique knowledge of the Colgate experience to answer questions and help us excite students and parents about the many opportunities the University offers.

As an alumnus, you are an ideal resource for a prospective student, but it is important to update yourself with current Colgate happenings. To help you prepare, we have divided information on college fair volunteering into three phases: preparation, the fair, and follow-up. 

Most important, beyond preparation, is to be relaxed and enjoy the opportunity to reach out and showcase your alma mater. Your participation will help Colgate stand out among other colleges and universities.

  • Review the package of materials that the Office of Admission will mail to you. Bring this package with you as well as your viewbook, course catalogue, and a table banner.
  • Please arrive at the fair at least 20 minutes before it starts so that you can set up your table and be prepared for early arrivals.
  • Please set the inquiry cards and brochures on the table. Encourage each student to fill out an inquiry card and return it to you in order to be added to our mailing list.
  • There may be quiet moments during the fair as prospective students flow in and out of the event; we ask that you remain at your table for the duration of the event as you never know when a potential Colgate student may walk by.
  • Remember that your goal is to make students and parents feel comfortable and to answer questions to the best of your ability.
  • Many students will be curious about Colgate and others may be more interested in other institutions. As we all know, the college search is a very personal and individualized process and everyone is looking for something different throughout their searches. So don’t worry if you don’t speak to every student who walks through the doors of the fair.
  • Also, keeping the last point in mind, please decline to comment about other institutions. As a representative of Colgate, we’d like you to focus specifically on your undergraduate experience at Colgate as you engage with students and family members.
  • Encourage students to visit the About Colgate page and/or to plan a visit to campus.
  • After the fair, please complete the College Fair Summary as soon as possible and return any completed inquiry cards to the Office of Admission in the envelope provided.
  • Please keep any extra materials as well as the table banner for future events. If you do not wish to keep the extra materials (excluding the table banner), please return them to the Office of Admission at your convenience.

Informational Interviews

For high school seniors, a personal interview can be one of the most influential elements in the college search process. Prospective students value the opportunity to speak with someone having firsthand information about Colgate. 

Each interviewer brings unique experiences to the meeting. You will also be expected to go well beyond your own Colgate experience to best aid students in making informed decisions throughout their college searches.

At Colgate, informational interviews are not evaluative and they are not required for admission. Instead, it is an opportunity for the prospective student to ask questions and learn more detailed information about Colgate. 

We ask that you review our Colgate Frequently Asked Questions so that you will be able to discuss all of the aspects of Colgate: the various departments, events, clubs, and programs — some of which you may not have been involved with during your time on campus. The goal of the interview should be to engage each prospective student in a relaxed conversation about Colgate and help him or her start to understand how Colgate may align with his or her interests.

  • Students who request an alumni interview will be visible in the Alumni Portal for all AAP committee members within a 30-mile radius.  
  • AAP committee members can sign up to interview a student by "claiming" the interview through the portal.
  • When you have claimed the interview, please contact the student immediately. If you are unable to connect with the student, please notify the Office of Admission.
  • Offer to answer the student’s questions by arranging a personal interview. If you are unable to find a common time and place, a phone interview is acceptable.
  • If you agree to meet in person, make sure you choose a mutually agreed upon time and location that will be comfortable for the student.
  • To mark the interview as completed, log into the Alumni Portal, click on the pending interview and complete the interview evaluation form.

Remember, interviews are non-evaluative, so you will not be asked to provide any qualitative comments after your conversation with the prospective student. The interview evaluation form you may be provided serves as a means of providing feedback regarding the interview process itself and any additional AAP training that may be helpful in the future. 

  • We recommend that you pick a public, casual location for the interview such as a coffee shop or a library.
  • Start with questions you know the student can respond to easily. You might explain to the student that you would like to get to know him or her a little better to address particular areas of interest. Questions about the student’s college search, favorite classes, or activities are good starters.
  • Be sensitive to personal differences in people. Topics such as educational and family backgrounds may be sensitive areas for some to discuss. Feel free to inquire about a student’s hometown and high school environment.
  • Allow for relaxed silence.
  • Be flexible. Students will have different expectations of an interview and will have varied levels of preparedness. It is important to remain flexible throughout the interview.
  • Keep the conversation flowing. You must be prepared to change the subject and probe for other interests.
  • During the interview, be sure to stress the things that make Colgate unique — our core curriculum, variety of off-campus options, strong alumni network (YOU.), and the benefits we have as a hybrid between a large research institution and a small liberal arts college.
  • Be proactive. If a student mentions an interest in writing for their high school newspaper, don’t wait for them to ask about the Maroon-News at Colgate — offer up that information. The interview provides you an opportunity to help prospective students see what Colgate has to offer them.
  • Do not tell an applicant what his or her chances are of being admitted. Rather, share the first-year class profile statistics from the past year — average GPA, SAT, ACT — let them decide where they might fall within the range.
  • Do not feel pressured to answer every question. None of us are experts in all aspects of Colgate’s academic and extracurricular offerings; if you do not know the answer to a prospective student’s question, you should tell the student that you don’t know and guide them toward the website or recommend that they call or e-mail the Office of Admission directly.

Our goal for the informational interview is that you facilitate a conversation that flows naturally and leaves the student informed and with a positive impression of Colgate. We encourage you to discuss the student’s high school interests and experiences. 

We are confident that as an alumnus you will be well-equipped to talk about Colgate and share your personal experiences. Just in case, here are some sample questions that staff members use to break the ice and generate an insightful conversation with a student who might not be particularly talkative.

  • What are you looking for in a college?
  • How did you hear about Colgate?
  • What aspects of Colgate seem most appealing?
  • Tell me a little bit about your high school.
  • What do you enjoy most about your high school?
  • What classes are you taking your senior year? Which classes are your favorites?
  • How would your teachers describe you? How would your friends describe you?
  • Do you have a favorite teacher? What makes him or her your favorite?
  • Which extracurricular activities have you been involved with? What are your interests or hobbies?
  • Is there an activity or class that you would like to try in college that you have not participated in during high school?
  • Is studying off campus something you have thought about as part of your college experience? Is there a place you would like to go?
  • What do you consider one of your greatest accomplishments?
  • Tell me about an interesting book you have read recently.
  • What has been one of your most rewarding assignments so far in high school?
  • Follow up questions about interests by asking: What got you interested in ... ? 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions that are frequently asked by prospective students.

Admission and Aid

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Colgate received 8,394 applications for the Class of 2020. Of those students who applied, 2,410 were admitted. The acceptance rate was approximately 28.7%.

First-year class profile

Colgate at a glance

The average GPA for the Class of 2020 was a 3.80 out of an unweighted 4.00 scale.

Colgate has two rounds of Early Decision. Applications for Early Decision I must be submitted by November 15. Candidates who apply by November 15 will receive notification of Colgate's decision by December 15. Candidates may apply for Early Decision Option II by January 15 and will be considered on a rolling basis. Students who applied under Regular Decision may convert their application to Early Decision II by filing a completed ED agreement form prior to March 1.

Interviews are not required and are non-evaluative. They are, however, a chance to discuss a student's personal fit with Colgate.

The middle 50% on the SAT for the Class of 2020 was 660-750 for the critical reading section and 670-770 for the math section. The middle 50% on the ACT for the Class of 2020 was 31-34.

Colgate is committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need for admitted students during all four years. The average financial aid package awarded to students totals $53,441, which includes a Colgate grant, a student loan, and a campus job. Forty-two percent of the Class of 2023 receives financial aid.

Colgate awards aid based on financial need, not academic merit.

The top majors range from one class year to another. In the natural sciences, biology, psychology, and chemistry are popular fields of study. In the humanities, English and art and art history are popular fields. In the social sciences, history, economics, political science, international relations, and sociology are popular fields.

Approximately 2/3 of Colgate students study off campus during their Colgate career. Colgate sponsors 23 different one-semester off-campus study groups that are designed and run by Colgate professors. Additionally, Colgate offers shorter off-campus study opportunities called extended studies. Extended study trips begin during either the fall or spring semester with a course that transfers into a travel opportunity in the winter or summer for a few weeks to the location studied in that semester course.

Colgate's Core curriculum includes one class that focuses on studying the texts that shaped thought throughout the ancient world, one class studying the challenges of modernity, one class studying a contemporary scientific issue, and one class studying a particular community or identity. These four courses can be taken in any order during the first two years and normally one is taken each semester. The fifth component includes a global engagement course, which students can complete through many different departmental courses, such as a language course or a history course.

The opportunity to do independent research as an undergraduate is one of the characteristics that sets Colgate apart. Faculty across disciplines work with undergraduate students on research projects, sometimes as early as the first year. By the time they are seniors, it is not unusual for motivated students to have presented their work at conferences or even to have co-authored papers in academic journals.

The distribution requirements consist of six courses. Students choose two courses from each division: natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences, and humanities.

About 20 percent of Colgate students will have a double major and about 40 percent will choose to have a minor; however, even students who do choose to double major or minor still have time to take elective classes and study abroad.

The first-year seminar (FSEM) is a small, discussion-based class that is capped at 18 students. The classes span various subjects and students can choose from more than 50 courses. FSEM professors serve as advisers until students declare their major. The students in each FSEM belong to the same orientation group prior to the beginning of school. The leader of the orientation group communicates with all students and the FSEM professor throughout the first year at Colgate, ensuring a smooth transition.

This cooperative plan option allows a student to combine three years of education in the liberal arts at Colgate with two years of engineering training at a cooperative institution (the 3-2 plan). Colgate has cooperative agreements with Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Washington University. Students who complete this program will obtain a bachelor’s degree from both institutions. Students can also continue on their engineering path for a master of science (MS) degree from the engineering school with as little as one additional year of study.

The pre-law program assists students and alumni with all pre-law related coursework, graduate school requirements, internships, and networking opportunities. For the 2014–2015 year, our students had 100 percent acceptance rate into graduate law programs, which far exceeds the national average.

Colgate credit can be granted to first-year students who achieve a 4 or a 5 on the Advanced Placement Exam. The amount of credit and/or placement appropriate to the academic development of the student is determined by each specific academic department. This detailed list provides students with some specific guidelines for common exams.

Colgate only awards Bachelor of Arts degrees, but Colgate has a pre-med pre-professional program where students can get an adviser to help with a four-year plan for classes and extracurricular activities to help them prepare for medical school. For experiential learning, students can engage in undergraduate research at Colgate in the sciences either over the summer or during the academic year. Additionally, Colgate is the only undergraduate program that provides internships for students at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The acceptance into medical school is well above the national average, varying between 65 and 80 percent.

At Colgate, students can pursue a major or minor in educational studies, or participate in the Teacher Preparation Program to become certified in the State of New York for the elementary or secondary level. Colgate also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching program for the secondary level. Courses in the Department of Educational Studies are social justice oriented and take a look at personal schooling the United States as well as global education and initiatives. For an educational studies major, students must take nine courses in the department that include topics such as American schooling, race in education, and special education. Off-campus study opportunities are also available for education students, such as the South Korea study group. Students can supplement their academic work in the classroom with opportunities to tutor in surrounding schools and gather observation hours in classes during the school week.

There is a pre-architecture program located within the University’s Department of Art and Art History. Students within this area of interest study architectural history along with architectural design. Colgate offers 10 courses related to the study of architecture.

Popular Majors

Quick Links: Departments and programs | Majors and minors

To major with an emphasis in creative writing, students take about six English literature classes and are required to take at least three workshop classes. The workshop classes are entirely writing based, and students bring in their original work for sharing to get feedback from others in the class. Also worth noting includes Colgate's Living Writers course in which students focus and read the works of 10 well-known contemporary writers from different genres. Students spend each week reading and then discussing each writer's work and then at the end of the week, Colgate will bring the author to campus, where they will sit in on the class and talk to students as well as do public readings open to the entire Colgate community.

The computer science curriculum is a mix of theory, hardware, software, algorithms, and operating systems. Elective courses include Artificial Intelligence, Networking, Software Engineering for the Cloud and Databases. The program has gained popularity in recent years, and students gain internships and job opportunities with the help of the department.

Economics is one of the most popular majors at Colgate. Students can major/minor in either economics, mathematical economics, or environmental economics. Our faculty specialize in a range of topics, from labor markets to international economics. Research opportunities within the economics department may include a year-long honors program, summer research, or a required senior seminar, and several Colgate students are published along with their professors. The London economics study group travels to London where they spend an entire semester learning about the British economy, and conduct internships with non-profits, banks, businesses, etc. Colgate also offers semester-long approved programs and extended study programs in Bangladesh and Denmark for economics majors.

Students at Colgate have the option to major or minor in the English department, and as a major they can focus on literature, creative writing, or theater. English majors must take nine courses in the department that span 200, 300, and 400 levels. There is a common introductory course called Major British Writers, and English students must also take a 400-level seminar during their junior or senior year. The major also requires certain courses to focus on pre- and post-1800 eras of literature in order for students to study a wide range of texts. Highlights of the program include the Living Writers course where authors of novels assigned in the class come to speak to students at Colgate, as well as the study abroad component where English students can travel abroad to London for a semester.

history major at Colgate consists of nine courses (two of which must be taken in global topics, and at least one in American and one in European history). One highlight of the department is the London Study Group, which takes 15 students and is led by a Colgate professor. Students take classes with the Colgate professor, as well as with professors from the University of London. Student apartments are centrally located next to the British Museum. One of the most important components to this study group is the thesis, where students have the opportunity to do research at the British National Archives and at other museums in the city. History majors are not required to write theses, but all students will write extended research papers (25–40 pages) in seminar courses, which are often converted into theses.

International Relations is an interdisciplinary major, and students in this program have an extended language requirement. They also must take a history class and two economic classes, as well as multiple political science and typical international relations classes. The program emphasizes and helps instill a global and multi-faceted view of politics and the interaction of states and political entities. The International Relations/Political Science study group takes place in Geneva, Switzerland with a homestay in France and an internship component. International relations majors may also participate in the Washington D.C. study group, which also includes an internship.

Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary major at Colgate. Classes range from chemistry, biology, and psychology to neuroscience. Within the department, students choose to focus on behavioral or cellular neuroscience. In terms of research, the professors are working on various projects and look to students for help. If students are interested in majoring in neuroscience and pursuing a career in the health sciences, some neuroscience students will also participate in an off-campus study program at the National Institutes of Health. Colgate is the only university in the country that has a partnership with the NIH where students can assist top researchers with their work.

The Psychology major is composed of 10 courses and exposes students to cognitive, social, personality, and clinical psychology, as well as neuroscience. Due to the creative and caring professors, undergraduate students are able to get involved with top research early in their time at Colgate with professors in varied specialties.

The Department of Theater offers courses ranging from stagecraft to basic and advanced acting or directing, costume design, performance, and a Children's Theater workshop. Courses such as Global Theater and Playwriting are available as well,  and students are able to either major or minor. The program is small, which allows students and faculty to connect and collaborate.

Colgate strives to be a diverse community with the interests and outlets that are representative of not only our nation, but also the world. 27.1 percent of the Class of 2020 identify themselves as coming from multicultural backgrounds and 10 percent of the Class of 2020 are international students coming from 27 different countries.

Over their four years, students choose among a wide set of living arrangements, including traditional residence halls, suites, college theme houses, college-owned fully furnished apartments and townhouses, and fraternities and sororities. Housing is guaranteed all four years at Colgate and students are required to live in campus housing for their first three years. Most seniors live in campus housing, but about 200 seniors are allowed to live off-campus (often in the town in Hamilton).

At Colgate, there are 25 Division I sports teams, which compete at the highest athletic levels. Having DI sports is unique for a small liberal arts school and helps generate school pride. 

In addition to varsity teams, Colgate has more than 40 different club sports teams that provide highly competitive, non-varsity outlets for student-athletes. Practice times and days as well as the number of competitions and travel schedule vary from sport to sport.

Colgate also has intramural sports teams that require less of a commitment. Students on intramural teams will only compete against other Colgate students in friendly tournaments and games.

Fraternities and sororities at Colgate are inclusive and students can be as involved as they want to be. Colgate has a delayed recruitment process for fraternities and sororities, so students have their entire first year on campus without any direct participation, and in sophomore year they can decide whether or not they would like to join an organization. Colgate has five fraternities and three sororities, and 40 percent of eligible students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are involved with these various organizations.

Colgate has an Outdoor Education program (OE) that allows students to take advantage of beautiful upstate New York. OE offers trips and classes (depending on the season) in whitewater kayaking, hiking, canoeing, paddleboarding, caving, skiing, snowshoeing, and ice climbing. The program also rents out equipment for camping or cross country skiing.

The number 13: The University was originally founded as The Baptist Education Society of the State of New York by 13 men who each offered $13 and 13 prayers. The society's original constitution contained 13 articles. Our address is 13 Oak Drive, and we are located in the zip code 13346 (the first two digits are 13, and the last three digits add up to 13).

Colgate Day: Every Friday the 13th, also known as Colgate Day, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families around the world don their Colgate regalia and celebrate the University and its community.

Torchlight: First-year students are led up Colgate’s hill to Founders' Day Convocation activities by faculty in full academic regalia and the members of Konosioni, the University’s senior honor society, who carry torches. Four years later, on the night before commencement, students process back down the hill in their gowns, all with torches. The students sing the Alma Mater, then toss their torches into a bonfire, and celebrate their last night together as an undergraduate class.

Dance at Colgate is one of the most popular activities on campus. Each semester, students host Dancefest, a performance showcase that brings together all of the 20-plus dance groups for one night each semester. Dance groups include students of all levels in ballet, ballroom, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, and countless other styles. At this time, Colgate does not have an academic dance program, but the University hired its first full-time dance professor for the 2014–2015 school year.

The University Theater Department and a variety of student-run options allow students to engage in both drama and musical theater at Colgate. Masque & Triangle is the main student theater group on campus, and is completely student run. Different performances require varying commitment, including one-night events as well as a full-length semester production. Between University Theater and the student theater groups, including Experimental Theater and Charred Goosebeak (the improvisational comedy group on campus), all students are welcome to to become involved in theater at Colgate.

Thought Into Action – Entrepreneurship at Colgate creates opportunities for students to explore and create through entrepreneurial initiatives that are supported by alumni and parents, which span across for profit, social entrepreneurship, and campus enrichment. Through the student incubator, Entrepreneur Weekend, and a variety of other initiatives, Colgate students interested in creating their own business are provided support and invaluable experience to be successful in managing and promoting their endeavors.