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 seven 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

Available Programs

The 2021 pre-orientation programs, excluding Wilderness Adventure and the required pre-orientation programs, will be held Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21. Wilderness Adventure will be held Tuesday, August 17 – Saturday, August 21

Pre-Orientation Registration

Wilderness Adventure Registration


Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

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 us 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 our official programming schedule.

No prior experience necessary.

Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

Make friends through community outreach and service, and learn about your local community. The Village of Hamilton, Madison County, 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.

Please note: a three day program depends on health and safety guidelines, and COVID-19 restrictions loosening. We may have to shorten this program, restrict the number of locations we visit, and/or convert it to a virtual experience only. If so, we will communicate with you as soon as possible, and will adjust fees, or provide a refund.

Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

Build community and familiarize yourself with campus resources that will help you thrive at Colgate. This program provides OUS Scholars, 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 us and make the most of your Colgate experience right out of the gate!

Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Colgate Activities Board is the main event-planning organization on Colgate’s campus. Every year, they plan 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 our 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.

Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

This 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, to layout with Adobe InDesign. Students interested in photography, social media, and graphic design will have the chance to work with our photo editor and multimedia manager to 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.

Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

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 tailgate, pre-game and halftime routines. There will also be activities to help connect you with new friends and introduce you to life at Colgate.

Tuesday, August 17 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

Adventure [ ad-ven-cher ]

1. Daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm
2. An undertaking of unknown outcome


Each August, more than 25% of first-year students start their Colgate careers with a Wilderness Adventure. For over 30 years, those 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.

In 2020, “Wilderness” Adventure went virtual and became an experience unlike anything we had ever considered. Though our days of hiking, paddling, climbing, and camping hadn’t exactly prepared us well for Zoom calls and chat rooms, we nonetheless found plenty of adventure along the way.

Though we weren’t in the wilderness last year, we still had a great time, and accomplished the goals of every Wilderness Adventure, to make friends, gain skills, try something new, learn about Colgate, and become a member of the Colgate community. In 2021, 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.

If trips aren’t possible this August, we’re already working hard on alternate plans, be they on-campus, day-trips, virtual, something else, or all of the above. Our goal and ambition remains to provide incoming students with an adventurous start to their Colgate experience.

“To anyone considering WA, just do it! I was expecting an outdoor adventure that was the trip of a lifetime, and that didn't happen... but I was still SO pleased with my group, the people I met, and the activities we did! One thing I've learned is that Colgate will always take care of you, and the people at Colgate will always look for the best ways to help you achieve your goals and to help you feel at home.”
-Virtual Wilderness Adventure 2020 participant

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

Wilderness Adventure

Required Programs

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

Monday, August 16 – Saturday, August 21, 2021

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 J-1 visas, and folks who grew up in international locations are also welcome to attend International Student Orientation.

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 200 years, Colgate students and graduates have explored the world through scholarship, research, and discovery. All Alumni Memorial Scholars (AMS) 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 very best Colgate has to offer. Learn about the unique resources and opportunities available to the AMS community. Join your fellow scholars on a fascinating and fun-filled pre-orientation adventure.


Doug Chiarello,

For general questions about the new student experience, contact:

Associate Dean for First and Second-Year Experience and Community Development