Pre-Orientation Programs

Jump-start your Colgate experience.

Participate in a Pre-Orientation program

Make friends and get acquainted with the Colgate community prior to Orientation. Select from nine pre-orientation programs offered in the weeks leading up to your first semester, providing you the chance to connect with classmates and create memories.

Our pre-orientation programs provide opportunities to:

  • work closely with a campus organization
  • gain valuable leadership skills
  • interact with upper-level student leaders
  • meet students with similar interests
  • get involved early on campus
  • have fun

Optional Pre-Orientation Programs

Wilderness Adventure

Each August, around 25% of first-year students start their Colgate careers with a Wilderness Adventure. For over 30 years, students have spent a week before orientation backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, rock climbing, or mountain biking in the famous Adirondack Park — which is larger than most of the country’s national parks and conveniently just a couple of hours north of Colgate. Whether you have lots of outdoor experience or have never been camping before, we have a trip that is just right for you.

Learn more about Wilderness Adventure

General Programs

2023 pre-orientation dates will be announced soon.

Gain real-world broadcast radio and podcasting experience with the largest student-run organization at Colgate, WRCU FM 90.1. Come discuss your favorite musicians and podcasters and pick up skills in audio production and storytelling all while exploring our extensive music library. Join this pre-orientation to explore Colgate’s campus, the local music scene, and the broader Hamilton community. WRCU Pre-Orientation DJs and podcasters are guaranteed a show slot on the official programming schedule once the semester begins.

No prior experience necessary.

Contact Information: Office of the Dean of the College,, 315-228-7368.

Make friends through community outreach and service, and learn about the local community in which you will live for the next four years. The Village and Town of Hamilton, Madison County, the Mohawk Valley, and the central New York (CNY) region will be your home for four years. Become a community member and engaged citizen — serving with and learning from local residents and nonprofit agencies in the Hamilton and Utica communities.

Through service and reflection on its definition, purpose, and efficacy, this pre-orientation invites you to begin your time at Colgate enacting and thinking about the public good.  Learn how to connect individual acts of service to long-term social change - join a group of students on a service journey and see what answers you find. 

Contact information: Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE) Jeremy T. Wattles ’05, Director, 315-228-6879

Build community and familiarize yourself with campus resources that will help you thrive at Colgate. This program provides Questbridge Scholars and first-generation students early access to opportunities to network with faculty and staff, get acquainted with key University offices, hear from upper-level students and bond with fellow first-year students.  Join this pre-orientation and make the most of your Colgate experience right out of the ‘Gate! 

Contact information: First@Colgate, 

Questbridge Scholars, RaJhai Spencer, Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising,

The Student Activities Association (SAA) is the main event-planning organization on Colgate’s campus. Every year, the SAA plans a number of events that are designed to be fun ways for all students to relax. Whether it’s creating a haunted house in the tunnels under campus, bringing local vendors to campus for the Taste of Hamilton tradition, or planning exciting weekend events, there are many opportunities for everyone to get involved. Design your very own event for the start of the semester, explore campus, make friends, and have a good time!

No prior event planning experience necessary.

Contact information: Office of the Dean of the College,, 315-228-7368.

This pre-orientation is a unique opportunity to participate in the production of the country’s oldest college weekly newspaper and learn about campus through the eyes of the people who report on current events, culture and sports. Students will learn about every aspect of the print cycle, from investigating, writing, editing and layout with Adobe InDesign. Students interested in photography, social media, and graphic design will have the chance to work with the Colgate Maroon News’ photo editor and multimedia manager and learn how the MN keeps the community informed with its digital presence.

No previous experience in writing, editing, or photography is needed — just a willingness to learn and try new things.

Contact information: Office of the Dean of the College,, 315-228-7368.

Take advantage of this pre-orientation and establish early connections! The Men of Color Success Network pre-orientation program assists incoming self-identified men of color build connections with faculty, staff and peers through participation in workshops, a trip, community service, and networking activities. Participants will learn about campus resources, opportunities for involvement, explore their leadership identity and establish a sense of community, belonging and support to aid in their transition to Colgate University. Join us for a fun and engaging experience from the moment you step on campus!

Contact information: Office of the Dean of the College, Dorsey Spencer Jr., Ph.D., Dean of Students,

Create a foundation of knowledge with other social justice oriented students and learn about the tools and resources available to get you started on this meaningful journey on campus! Students will learn about techniques and approaches to be a part of the solution, while at the same time, build a micro-learning community, meaningful connections with other students, and be informed about resources in order to change minds and awareness of Colgate campus and its culture. Social Justice and Cultural Resilience pre-orientation will provide tool kits to foster a respectful, inclusive, well connected, and equitable environment where everyone can thrive. Additionally, students will make connections with faculty, staff, and student organizations’ leaders.

Contact information: The Africana Latin Asian Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center,, 315-228-7330

Combine your passion for music with the camaraderie of the Colgate Raider Pep Band. All levels of musicians are welcome! You’ll learn the pep band repertoire and the tailgate, pregame, and halftime routines. There will also be activities to help connect you with new friends and introduce you to life at Colgate. 

Contact information: Office of the Dean of the College,, 315-228-7368.

Each August, more than 25% of first-year students start their Colgate careers with a Wilderness Adventure. For over 30 years, these trips have taken place in the Adirondack State Park, which, at six million acres, is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon national parks combined. We hope you’ll be able to experience one of our backpacking, canoeing, combo (half backpack, half canoe), sea kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, conservation, or sampler trips in the Adirondack State Park. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or have never been camping before — besides a range of activities, trips also come in a variety of difficulty levels — we have a trip that is just the right level of challenge for you. 

No previous wilderness experience is needed for any of our trips, just a willingness to have fun, learn, and meet new people.

Contact information:, 315-228-6499

Wilderness Adventure

Required Programs

The following groups have required pre-orientation programs specialized for them:

Join the international orientation team for a week filled with sun, fun activities, and community building as we immerse you in American culture and prepare you for your journey ahead. Dual citizens, students on non-F visas, and folks who grew up in international locations are also welcome to attend International Student Orientation, please contact the Office of International Student Services,, +1-315-228-6131

All international students are required to maintain valid F-1 status in order to attend Colgate University. During International Student Orientation, we will be completing the initial immigration registration as well as discussing topics specific to the international student experience.


Office of International Student Services,, +1-315-228-6131

For over 100 years, Colgate students and graduates have explored the world through scholarship, research, and discovery. All Alumni Memorial Scholars (AMS) of the Class of 2026 begin their Colgate experience participating in a pre-orientation program. Fostering community and a shared commitment for the pursuit of knowledge, the AMS pre-orientation program is designed to introduce participants to the active scholarship and types of scholarly support found across Colgate’s campus. Learn about the unique resources and opportunities available to the AMS community while getting to know your fellow scholars.

Contact Information: Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty,