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 four 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

August 16-20, 2023
Make friends through community outreach and service, and learn about the local community in which you will live for the next four years. You will travel off campus in small groups with upper-level student leaders and mentors, immersing yourself in community settings for four days. Serve with and learn from local residents and nonprofit agencies in the village and town of Hamilton, Madison County, the city of Utica, the Mohawk Valley, and the central New York (CNY) region.

Through service and reflection on its definition, purpose, and efficacy, this experience invites you to begin your time at Colgate acting on and thinking about engaged citizenship and 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, 315-228-6880

August 16–20, 2023
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 program and make the most of your Colgate experience right out of the ’gate!

Contact information:
Questbridge Scholars, RaJhai Spencer, Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising,

August 16-20, 2023
In this experiential pre-orientation trip, you will have the opportunity to take a deep dive into sustainability in New York’s North Country on a three-day excursion from the Tug Hill Plateau to the expansive Adirondack Park. After a primer in sustainability at Colgate in the on-campus Community Garden, our outings will take us to the state’s largest wind farm, on a hike in the Adirondack High Peaks, and to a working sustainable farm. Connect with other incoming students as we bond over personal climate experiences, hike in unique habitats, eat sustainable foods, and practice zero-waste habits.

All are welcome, whether you consider yourself a novice in sustainability or a long-time sustainability champion. After returning to campus, you will start off on a more sustainable path with a crew of like- minded friends as you embark on your first year at Colgate.

Contact information: Julia Sparks, Assistant Director of Sustainability,

Session 1:August 5–10, 2023
Session 2: August 15–20, 2023

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 2027 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,