Colby vs UC Davis: Which University is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young woman using a laptop in a bench.

Colby vs UC Davis: Which University is Right for You?

If you’re planning on attending university in the US, you may be considering Colby College and UC Davis. Both universities offer a wealth of academic and extracurricular opportunities, but choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll compare Colby vs UC Davis and contrast these two excellent universities to help you make an informed decision about where to study.

Location and Campus Atmosphere: A Key Factor in Choosing a University

One of the most crucial considerations when selecting a university is location. Colby College and UC Davis are both located in very different parts of the US.

Colby College is situated in Waterville, Maine, and the campus is spread over 714 acres of woodland. The campus itself is stunningly beautiful, with Gothic architecture, green lawns, and surrounded by forests. However, it’s also remote, and the nearest city, Portland, is an hour’s drive away. This isolation may be appealing to some students who want to focus solely on their studies, while others may prefer a more cosmopolitan environment.

UC Davis, on the other hand, is located in Davis, California, a college town situated between Sacramento and San Francisco. The campus is spread over a vast area of 5,300 acres and is both peaceful and lively. Davis offers a wide variety of dining options, nightlife, and cultural events, providing an excellent combination of work and play.

Another important factor to consider when choosing a university is the campus atmosphere. Colby College has a tight-knit community, with a small student body of around 2,200 students. This creates a close and supportive environment, where students can easily get to know their peers and professors. In contrast, UC Davis has a much larger student body of over 39,000 students, which can make it more challenging to form close relationships. However, UC Davis has a diverse student population, with students from all over the world, which can provide a unique and enriching experience.

Academic Programs: Colby vs. UC Davis

The quality and variety of academic programs are crucial considerations when choosing a university.

Colby College offers 58 majors in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and interdisciplinary studies. Colby is known for its strong programs in biology, chemistry, environmental science, and foreign languages. The college also offers excellent study abroad programs, with students participating in language immersion programs, humanitarian projects, and research projects around the world.

UC Davis, on the other hand, is known for its extensive programs in agriculture, veterinary medicine, engineering, and environmental science. UC Davis is consistently ranked in the top 50 universities in the US, and its research program is globally renowned.

Group of medical students smiling for the camera.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in business, then the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business is an excellent choice. Wharton is one of the top business schools in the world, and its undergraduate program is highly competitive. The school offers a wide range of majors, including finance, marketing, management, and accounting. Wharton also has a strong alumni network, with graduates working in top companies around the world.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the arts, then the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is an excellent choice. RISD is one of the top art schools in the US, and its undergraduate program is highly selective. The school offers majors in a wide range of art and design disciplines, including painting, sculpture, graphic design, and industrial design. RISD also has a strong focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, with students working on projects that combine art, design, and technology.

Size and Student Population: Colby vs. UC Davis

The size of a university can have a significant impact on the quality of the education experience.

Colby College has a small student population of around 2,200 students. This means that students get individual attention from faculty and staff, and the campus is tight-knit and supportive. However, the downside is that there may be fewer extracurricular activities and less diversity on campus.

UC Davis, on the other hand, has a massive student population of over 39,000. This means there are countless opportunities for extracurricular activities and the chance to meet many different people from diverse backgrounds. However, larger universities can be overwhelming, and students may feel like they are lost in the crowd.

Another benefit of attending a small university is the opportunity for more hands-on learning experiences. With smaller class sizes, students have more opportunities to participate in discussions and ask questions, leading to a deeper understanding of the material. Additionally, small universities often have close relationships with local businesses and organizations, providing students with internship and job opportunities.

On the other hand, larger universities often have more resources and funding for research and academic programs. This can lead to more cutting-edge research opportunities and access to state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, larger universities may have more diverse course offerings and specialized programs, allowing students to tailor their education to their specific interests and career goals.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Colby vs. UC Davis

Attending university can be an expensive proposition, and tuition and financial aid are major factors in deciding which university to attend.

Colby College’s tuition is around $66,000 per year, which is expensive, but the college offers a robust financial aid program. Around 60% of students receive financial aid, and the college is committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students.

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UC Davis’s tuition is lower than Colby’s, at around $15,000 per year for California residents, and around $46,000 for non-residents. UC Davis also offers an excellent financial aid program, and around 75% of students receive aid.

It’s important to note that financial aid isn’t just limited to scholarships and grants. Many universities also offer work-study programs, which allow students to work part-time on campus to help cover their expenses. Additionally, some universities offer loan programs, which can be a helpful option for students who need additional financial assistance. It’s important to research and understand all of the financial aid options available to you when deciding on a university.

Campus Life and Extracurricular Activities: Colby vs. UC Davis

Extracurricular activities are an essential aspect of university life, and both Colby College and UC Davis offer a fantastic range of activities and clubs.

Colby College has over 100 clubs and organizations, including athletic teams, performing arts groups, and volunteer organizations. The college also has an excellent outdoor program, offering students the chance to explore Maine’s natural beauty with camping, hiking, and skiing.

UC Davis has over 800 clubs and organizations, catering to every possible interest. The university is also home to one of the largest student-run farmers’ markets in the US, providing students with hands-on experience in entrepreneurship, leadership, and sustainability.

Getting involved in extracurricular activities can have a significant impact on your college experience. It can help you make new friends, develop new skills, and even boost your resume. Both Colby College and UC Davis offer opportunities for students to get involved in research, internships, and community service projects. These experiences can help you gain valuable experience and make a positive impact on the world around you.

Dining Options and Meal Plans: Colby vs. UC Davis

Dining options are another crucial consideration when choosing a university, as students need to be well-fed and healthy to succeed academically.

Colby College offers several dining options, including a traditional dining hall with three meals a day, a cafe, and snack bars. The college is committed to using local and seasonal produce in its food, and the dining hall caters to various dietary needs, including vegan and gluten-free options.

Meal Plan

UC Davis also has several dining options, including various cafes and food trucks. The university is also committed to sustainable and ethical food practices, and the dining halls serve organic, local, and Fair Trade ingredients.

In addition to the dining options mentioned above, many universities also offer meal plans for students. These meal plans can be a convenient and cost-effective way for students to ensure they have access to healthy and nutritious food throughout the day. At Colby College, students can choose from several meal plan options, including a traditional meal plan with three meals a day or a flex plan that allows students to use their meal credits at various dining locations on campus.

Similarly, UC Davis offers several meal plan options, including a traditional meal plan with three meals a day or a flex plan that allows students to use their meal credits at various dining locations on campus. The university also offers a meal plan specifically for students with dietary restrictions, ensuring that all students have access to healthy and delicious food options.

Housing Options: Colby vs. UC Davis

Student housing is an essential consideration when choosing a university, as students need a comfortable and safe place to sleep and study.

Colby College offers various housing options, including traditional dormitories, on-campus apartments, and off-campus housing. The college also offers themed housing, such as the Women’s and Gender Studies Living Community and the Environmental Studies and Science House.

Young woman holding her phone while sitting on her dorm room.

UC Davis also offers various housing options, including traditional dormitories and apartments. The university is also known for its eco-housing program, where students can live in sustainable, environmentally friendly housing projects.

Additionally, Colby College offers housing options for students with specific needs, such as disability accommodations and gender-inclusive housing. The college also has a program called “Colby Cares About Kids,” where students can live in designated housing and mentor local children in the community.

UC Davis also offers unique housing options, such as the “Global Village,” where students can live with others who share their interest in international cultures and languages. The university also has a program called “Aggie Hosts,” where local families can host international students and provide them with a home away from home.

Athletics and Sports Teams: Which University Offers the Best Athletic Programs?

For many students, sports are an essential part of the university experience.

Colby College is a Division III school, offering athletics in football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and several other sports. The college is also home to several intramural sports teams and a superb outdoor recreation program.

UC Davis is a Division I school, offering athletics in football, basketball, baseball, and soccer, among other sports. The school is known for its excellent equestrian team and track and field program.

Another university that offers a great athletic program is the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide is a Division I school that has won numerous national championships in football, gymnastics, and softball. The university also has a strong basketball program and a highly competitive swimming and diving team.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a smaller school with a strong athletic program, consider Williams College. This Division III school has a highly competitive athletic program, with strong teams in sports such as cross country, swimming, and tennis. The college also has a unique program called “Winter Study,” which allows students to take a month-long course in January and participate in a variety of outdoor activities, including skiing and snowboarding.

Career Services and Job Opportunities: Preparing for Life After Graduation at Colby College or UC Davis

Attending university is an investment in your future, and students need support and guidance to succeed in their chosen careers.

Colby College offers a fantastic career services program, providing students with resume and cover letter assistance, internship and job search support, and networking opportunities with alumni. The college also offers a range of career-specific events and workshops.

UC Davis also offers excellent career services, including career counseling, resume and cover letter reviews, and job search support. The university also has a thriving internship program, providing students with hands-on experience in their chosen fields and helping them build professional connections.

It is important to note that both Colby College and UC Davis have strong alumni networks that can be incredibly helpful in securing job opportunities after graduation. Alumni often provide mentorship, job leads, and networking opportunities for current students and recent graduates. Additionally, both universities have partnerships with local and national companies, providing students with access to a wide range of job opportunities.

Faculty and Staff: Understanding the Quality of Teaching at Each University

University faculty and staff are essential to a student’s academic experience, and both Colby College and UC Davis have exceptional faculty members.

Colby College has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, ensuring that students receive individual attention and mentorship from their professors. The college also boasts a world-class faculty, with a 93% retention rate and numerous awards and accolades for teaching and research.

Three students talking to a teacher while on a hallway.

UC Davis also has a fantastic faculty, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 21:1. The university is known for its research excellence, with many faculty members working on cutting-edge projects across various fields.

Furthermore, Colby College has a unique program called the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences (CAPS), which provides additional support and resources for underrepresented students pursuing STEM fields. This program includes mentorship, research opportunities, and academic support to ensure that all students have the tools they need to succeed.

Similarly, UC Davis has a program called the First-Year Aggie Connections (FYAC), which pairs incoming students with faculty and staff mentors to help them navigate their first year of college. This program has been shown to increase student retention and success, as students feel more connected to the university community and have access to personalized support.

Safety on Campus: A Comparative Analysis of Crime Rates at Colby College and UC Davis

Student safety is a crucial consideration when choosing a university, and both Colby College and UC Davis have excellent security and safety measures in place.

Colby College is an incredibly safe campus, with very low crime rates. Campus security is always present, and there are many resources available for students who may need assistance or support.

UC Davis is also a safe campus, with a low crime rate attributed to the university’s excellent security measures. The campus is patrolled by police officers at all times, and there are many resources available for students who may need assistance.

Despite the low crime rates at both universities, there have been instances of theft and vandalism reported on both campuses. It is important for students to take precautions and be aware of their surroundings, especially when walking alone at night.

Both Colby College and UC Davis have implemented safety programs and initiatives to educate students on how to stay safe on campus. These programs include self-defense classes, emergency response training, and safety escorts for students who feel unsafe walking alone at night.

Student Support Services: Finding the Resources You Need to Succeed in College

University life can be challenging, and it’s essential to have resources and support available to help students navigate the stresses and difficulties of college.

Colby College offers a wealth of student support services, including counseling and psychological services, academic support, health services, and disability services. The college is committed to ensuring that all students have the resources they need to succeed in their academic and personal goals.

UC Davis also offers excellent student support services, including counseling and psychological services, academic advising, career services, and health services. The university is committed to providing students with a supportive and inclusive environment where they can thrive.

In addition to these services, many colleges and universities also offer peer mentoring programs. These programs connect students with upperclassmen who can provide guidance and support as they navigate college life. Peer mentors can offer advice on everything from study habits to social activities, and can be a valuable resource for students who are feeling overwhelmed or unsure.

Another important resource for students is the campus library. Libraries offer access to a wide range of academic resources, including books, journals, and databases. Librarians can also provide research assistance and help students develop their information literacy skills, which are essential for success in college and beyond.

Student Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: A Look into How Both Universities Celebrate Diversity on Campus

Diversity and inclusion are essential values in the modern world, and it’s essential to choose a university that celebrates these values.

Colby College is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, with initiatives such as the multicultural center, LGBTQ+ services, and the Center for Small Town Jewish Life. The college also has a robust program for International students, providing support and resources for students from around the world.

Group of students raising their hands.

UC Davis is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion through initiatives such as the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Women’s Resources and Research Center. The university also has an excellent program to support undocumented students, providing them with resources and opportunities to succeed.

At Colby College, students can also participate in various clubs and organizations that celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. For example, the African-American Alliance, Asian Society, and Latin American Student Association are just a few of the many groups that students can join. These organizations provide a space for students to connect with others who share similar experiences and backgrounds.

Similarly, UC Davis has a wide range of student organizations that promote diversity and inclusion. The Black Student Union, Queer Student Union, and Muslim Student Association are just a few examples of the many groups available to students. These organizations provide a sense of community and support for students who may feel marginalized or underrepresented on campus.

Research Opportunities and Facilities: Accessing Cutting-Edge Technology at Colby College or UC Davis

Research is a crucial aspect of university education, and both Colby College and UC Davis provide students with access to cutting-edge technology and facilities.

Colby College has a robust research program, providing students with opportunities to explore various fields of study. The college also has numerous research centers and programs, including the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement and the Oak Institute for Human Rights.

UC Davis is known for its research excellence, and students have access to some of the best research facilities and laboratories in the world. From the UC Davis Genome Center to the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, UC Davis is at the forefront of many groundbreaking research projects.


Choosing between Colby College and UC Davis can be a challenging decision, but both universities offer exceptional academic and extracurricular opportunities. From location and campus atmosphere to research opportunities and facilities, each university has its strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, the decision comes down to individual preferences and priorities, but we hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision about where to study.

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