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 2023. Join your fellow classmates, as well as members of the upper classes, to learn about different student organization 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

The application process for class of 2023 Pre-Orientation programs is now closed. Applications were due June 30th. 

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

Available Programs

Each August, more than 25% of incoming students participate in Wilderness Adventure to make friends, learn about Colgate, and have an absolute blast! Living and traveling with a small group of new students and two or three highly trained leaders, you will 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.

Physical Education Credit

Wilderness Adventure earns you one physical education credit. Note: two credits 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

Most trips take place in the Adirondack Park, a six million acre state park that is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Parks combined. 

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.


  • Start college with a group of great new friends and upperclass mentors.
  • Practice outdoor skills under the guidance of experienced student leaders.
  • Try something new, and maybe a little bit challenging — just like college.
  • Learn about classes, dorms, food, clubs, activities, and more from your leaders.
  • Jumpstart your entrance into community living and active citizenship.
  • Discover the Adirondack Park and Central New York — your new home.
Session 2019 Dates About
Session I August 10–August 15 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 II August 20–August 25 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 oldest college weekly newspaper in America, the Maroon-News, to put together a special issue just for your incoming class! Our program teaches participants how to write a news story, conduct an interview and layout an edition for print, all with the help of our friendly and experienced student staff.

We welcome anyone with an interest in writing, editing, layout, photography, business, online design, or videography.

Prior experience is helpful, but not necessary. 

Application closed on June 30th, 2019.

Dates: August 22–24


Spend three days with the Colgate Activities Board (CAB), the university’s primary event planning committee. CAB events are student initiated, from idea conception to event execution.

You’ll work with other first years and returning members to plan one of the first events of the semester. We'll teach you how to book a space, the food, and the entertainment, create a theme, and publicize around campus! You’ll learn how to make things happen on Colgate’s campus and get a sneak peek at all of the upcoming events in the semester. 

No prior event planning experience necessary.

Application closed on June 30th, 2019.

Dates: August 22–24


The WRCU Pre-Orientation program aims to introduce incoming students of all experience levels to the inner workings of the University’s very own student-run radio station. Participants will be trained to use the radio station’s equipment, explore the station and its music collection, and meet other new and returning students interested in becoming a radio DJ. All participants are guaranteed a show during the Fall 2019 broadcasting schedule.

The WRCU Pre-Orientation program is free of charge for all accepted incoming Colgate students.

Application closed on June 30th, 2019.

Dates: August 22–24


Problems need solutions: let’s find them! Spend your first days at Colgate immersed in a fun and dynamic program in design thinking. Meet creative, like-minded people and make new friends while working with current Colgate students and faculty to learn this innovative method for solving real-world problems. The skills you’ll gain will transfer to your college life and beyond. Brought to you by Colgate’s Thought Into Action entrepreneurship program and the Innovation Fellows.

Dates: August 22-25


Apply: Design Thinking Pre-Orientation Program

Get psyched for Raider athletics, make new friends, and learn long lasting traditions with this three-day band camp. Students spend the days working on new music, getting oriented to the Colgate campus, and getting to know their bandmates. 

All levels of musical experience are welcome.

Application closed on June 30th, 2019.

Dates: August 22–24


Want to indulge your theatrical side? Want to play with scenes and monologues? This one-of-a-kind experience offers workshops in stage movement, directing, dance, writing, improvisational comedy, technical theatre, and more.

Whether theatre is your thing, or if you want to try something completely different, Masque & Triangle’s program is for you. 

No prior theater experience necessary.

Application closed on June 30th, 2019.

Dates: August 22–24


Get ready to make new friends and get to know your new home. During Outreach, you will have the opportunity to work with local non-profit organizations doing important work in the Hamilton and Utica communities while meeting students that have similar interests as you.

There is plenty of time in the evenings to build friendships and settle into your new home before Orientation gets going while you get a head start on feeling at home off campus. Students find this experience fun and rewarding. As one past Outreacher put it, "I really enjoyed the opportunity to start Orientation with new friends who were like me after we had already started to contribute to our new community."


  • August 21: Registration, move-in and welcome events
  • August 22: Day of volunteering in Utica, dinner with community organizations, group activities
  • August 23: Day of volunteering in Hamilton, dinner with Colgate families, group activities
  • August 24: Day of volunteering around Hamilton, dinner and closing activities

Examples of Volunteer Work

  • Park trail clearing
  • Helping to prepare meals at soup kitchen
  • Playing with children at community center
  • Helping at an organic farm, play games at a senior center


  • Learn about the local community and give back right from the start
  • Build friendships with like-minded students and settle in at a slower pace
  • Learn about ways to get involved in volunteering

Dates: August 21–24


Additional Outreach information