Pre-Orientation Programs

Colgate offers several optional summer Pre-Orientation programs prior to Colgate’s regular Arrival Day.

Colgate University is proud to offer a variety of Pre-Orientation programs for incoming students who are a part of the Class of 2024. Join your fellow classmates, as well as members of the upper classes, to learn about different student organizations and make new friends.

Whether it’s enjoying the outdoors through Wilderness Adventure, or writing an article for the first newspaper of the year with the Colgate Maroon news, our Pre-Orientation programs will give you a chance to dive right into student life at Colgate!

Application Period

We look forward to welcoming the class of 2024 to campus in August!  To reserve a spot for one of our Pre-Orientation programs, please complete the registration forms below by Monday, June 1, 2020. Limited space is available and reservations will be honored on a first come, first serve basis.

Registration for Wilderness Adventure Registration for all other Pre-Orientation Programs

Please note there are several required Pre-Orientation programs for our international students, transfer students, and undergraduate scholars. (If you fall into one of these categories, you may still participate in Session 1 of our Wilderness Adventure, Saturday, August 8–Thursday, August 13.)

If you have any questions regarding Pre-Orientation programs, please email

Available Programs

Each August, more than 25% of first-year students arrive on campus early to have an adventure, make friends, and learn about Colgate from current student leaders. Living and traveling with a small group of six to ten students and two or three highly trained leaders, you’ll work together to hike, paddle, climb, or bike through stunning New York wilderness. 

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

The fee for Wilderness Adventure is $475. Financial aid is available. 

Physical Education Credit

Wilderness Adventure earns you one physical education credit. Note: two credits are required for graduation.


WA features a number of activities including:

  • backpacking
  • canoeing
  • sea kayaking
  • rock climbing
  • mountain biking
  • basecamp trips offer a range of day activities and a few more amenities
  • ADK conservation is a collaborative trip between Outdoor Education and the Office of Sustainability

Wilderness Adventure trips take place in the Adirondack State Park, which, at six million acres, is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon national parks combined. Whether you’ve never been camping before or are an experienced backpacker, we have a trip for you. Besides a range of activities, trips also come in a variety of difficulty levels, so you can choose the level of challenge right for you. After a day on campus, the groups spend four days adventuring in the Adirondacks and then return to Hamilton on the last day for a closing campfire and group celebration.

Students choose trips based on activity and difficulty. All trips are designed to be within the ability of most students, but are rated according to relative difficulty (level 2+ and 3 trips provide a good challenge and hike on some of the tallest peaks in New York).

After a day on campus, trips spend four days traveling on a set itinerary and then return to Colgate on the last day for a closing campfire and group celebration. Groups carry all they need for the week, cook their own meals, and pitch their own tents.

Session 2020 Dates About
Session 1 August 8–August 13 Six-day program including arrival and move-in day, a four-day trip, and a final day to wrap up and say “see you later” to your new friends. Note: Housing on campus is not available in the period between the end of session I and the start of Orientation.
Session 2 August 18–August 23 Six-day program including arrival and move-in day, a four-day trip, and a final day to wrap up. Note: Students will be back on campus early on the last day, in plenty of time to attend the start of Orientation that afternoon.

Join the staff of the Colgate Maroon-News (MN) for the Journalism and Digital Media Pre-Orientation program. 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, and editing, to layout with Adobe InDesign. Students interested in photography, social media, or graphic design will have the chance to work with the photo editor and multimedia manager to learn how the MN keeps the community informed with its digital presence. 

The Journalism and Digital Media program culminates in the publication of the Pre-Orientation edition of the Colgate Maroon-News

Prior experience is helpful, but not necessary. 

Dates: Thursday, August 20–Sunday, August 23

Questions? Email

This Pre-Orientation program is free of charge for all incoming Colgate students.

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 an event for Colgate’s Spring Party Weekend, 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.

Dates: Thursday, August 20–Sunday, August 23

Questions? Email

This Pre-Orientation program is free of charge for all incoming Colgate students.

Gain real-world broadcast radio experience with the largest student-run organization at Colgate, WRCU FM 90.1. Come discuss your favorite artists, go on field trips to explore central New York’s music scene, and learn about the importance of WRCU in the Colgate and broader Hamilton community. You’ll also get a chance to collaborate with the people behind Colgate’s popular concert venue, The Mat, and discover the exciting ins and outs of music event planning.

No prior broadcasting experience necessary.

Dates: Thursday, August 20–Sunday, August 23

Questions? Email

This Pre-Orientation program is free of charge for all incoming Colgate students.

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’s plenty of time for new friends to socialize, eat, and relax. There will also be activities, such as outdoor games, a trip to the Glendening Boathouse, and the end-of-camp barbecue. 

All levels of musical experience are welcome.

Dates: Thursday, August 20–Sunday, August 23

Questions? Email

This Pre-Orientation program is free of charge for all incoming Colgate students.

Make friends through service and community engagement, while learning about the 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.

Depending on interest, there will be a second outreach opportunity focused on civic engagement. You can participate in nonpartisan efforts to boost voter education and engagement, such as voter registration drives, and learn about the voting process in a presidential election year. This group will be working in partnership with the student-led group Colgate Vote Project.  

Dates: Thursday, August 20–Sunday, August 23

Contact: Jeremy Wattles,, 315-228-6879 

The fee for Outreach and Civic Engagement is $125. Financial aid is available.

Examples of Volunteer Work

  • Clearing of park trails
  • Helping to prepare meals at soup kitchen
  • Playing with children at community center
  • Helping at an organic farm, play games at a senior center

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 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. 

Dates: Wednesday, August 19–Sunday, August 23

Contact: 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) and Benton Scholars of the Class of 2024 begin their Colgate experience participating in the Undergraduate Scholars Pre-Orientation program. Fostering community and a shared commitment for the pursuit of knowledge, the Undergraduate Scholars 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 and Benton communities. Join your fellow scholars on a fascinating and fun-filled Pre-Orientation adventure.  

Dates: Thursday, August 20–Sunday, August 23

Contact: Michael Sciola,


Students who transfer to Colgate University strengthen the fabric of our community with their diverse backgrounds, dynamic personalities, and intellectual curiosity. The experiences they’ve had elsewhere provide texture to the class. The Transfer Student Program exists to integrate each and every transfer student into Colgate. We welcome your individual explorations of the Colgate community and will help you to discover the spaces, resources, and support systems you need to foster your intellectual interests and personal growth. 

Our dedicated Link Staff leaders assist transfer students to form a tight-knit community of student peers who inspire each other in embracing the new experiences that support sustainable success in life at Colgate and beyond.

Date: Saturday, August 22

Contact: Aurelius Henderson,, 315-228-7368

For general questions about the new student experience, contact:

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