High School Seminars

Each year since 1959, Colgate has given area high school students a taste of the college experience. Faculty and administrators teach four sessions, meeting for three classes each, during the academic year.

The university’s mission is to provide a demanding, expansive educational experience to a select group of diverse, talented, intellectually sophisticated students who are capable of challenging themselves, their peers, and their teachers in a setting that brings together living and learning.

The mission of the High School Seminar Program is use Colgate’s resources to benefit the region by introducing area high school students to college-level topics that are not available at their schools and to encourage college attendance by providing them with the opportunity to experience a taste of life on a college campus.

Daily schedule

Arrival: Buses unload students at Merrill House at approximately 3:45 p.m.

Classes begin: 4:00 p.m.

Dinner break: 5:00 to 5:45 p.m.

Classes resume: 5:50 until 6:30 p.m.

Departure: 6:30 p.m. Students board buses at campus safety office

High School Seminar dates for Fall 2022 are:

  • Wednesday, September 28th
  • Wednesday, October 5th
  • Wednesday, October 12th
  • Back-up Date: Wednesday, October 19th

Please email highschoolseminar@colgate.edu with any questions.

Current Course Descriptions

Julia Sparks, Asst. Director of Sustainability; Program Coordinator, Environmental Studies

Food plays and important role in our personal, societal and planetary health. This class will explore how food access, production, waste, new technology, cultural values, and nutrition play a role in creating a sustainable future. We will also examine the role that current agricultural threats, such as climate change, play in global food security. Students will also have the opportunity to visit the Community Garden where fresh, organic produce is grown for on-campus dining, for the Hamilton Food Cupboard, and for the Colgate community. Participate in this interactive seminar to get a better understanding of the relationships among people, the planet, and food. 

Cory Duclos, Director of the Keck Center for Language Study

In this seminar we will explore different ways to learn about the Spanish-speaking world through culture and literature. This course will be of interest to students interested in studying Spanish, but no previous language experience is necessary. The course will help students understand how a study of culture is a necessary part of learning a new language. We will also read together works of poetry, short stories, and portions of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote.

Lyosha Gorshkov, Director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives 

This seminar is designed to introduce high school students to the concepts of gender identity, gender expression and sexuality through the lenses of diversity. During the seminar we will discuss how gender and gender identity are perceived in the U.S. today. We will also be focused on LGBTQIA+ issues as a part of a discourse on sexuality and identity. We will learn about binary and non-binary systems, and take a closer look at how to be a bystander and ally. 

Esther Rosbrook, Director of the ALANA Cultural Center

We all have difficult conversations, no matter how confident or competent we are. And too often, no matter what we try, things don't go well. Should you say what you're thinking and risk starting a fight? Swallow your views and feel like a doormat? Or should you let "them" have it? But - what if you're wrong? This seminar provides a way out of this dilemma; it highlights ways to handle even the most challenging conversations more effectively and with less anxiety. In this seminar, participants will explore different case studies, practice the critical strategies for creating meaningful conversation, how to discuss what matters most, practice patience and active listening, and finally, develop their own meaningful communication styles. Upon completing the seminar, participants will have: a greater understanding of the science of meaningful conversation or dialogue; skillset to handle tough conversations, topics, or ideas; and a perspective that envisions difficult conversations as a celebration of views or contents. 


Robin Bridson, Professional Development and Training Coordinator

Take raw data and make it useful! Learn to sort and filter data, summarize information, create tables, and charts. This is a very useful tool for students and gives them an edge both in school and the workforce. Students will use Excel, and will also discuss how they can use other programs, such as Tableau, R, and many more.

Michelle Passono, Assistant Director at Haven and The Network:(Julia Sicklick, Amelia Showers)

This 3-part course will bring in age appropriate media examples and activities to explore healthy relationships. Together, we will work to define healthy and unhealthy relationships, understand consent, and imagine what a culture of consent looks like. We will work to validate one another’s feelings and experiences, as well as establish practices and tools for healthy relationships.