Colby vs Wesleyan: A Side-by-Side Comparison

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two students talking to a teacher in a library.

Colby vs Wesleyan: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Are you trying to decide between Colby vs Wesleyan for your undergraduate studies? It can be challenging to know which institution is the best fit for you. In this side-by-side comparison, we will take a deep dive into all areas of the colleges to help you make an informed decision.

Colby vs Wesleyan: Location and Campus

Location can play a significant role in deciding which college to attend. Colby is located in Waterville, Maine, a quaint town with a population of fewer than 20,000 people. The campus sits on over 700 acres of land, including a large lake and hiking trails, giving students ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Wesleyan is situated in Middletown, Connecticut, a town of around 50,000 people. The campus is smaller than Colby’s, taking up 360 acres, but it is located just a few blocks from the center of town. This proximity provides students with easy access to several shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.

Another important aspect of Colby’s location is its proximity to several ski resorts. Students can take advantage of the nearby mountains during the winter months, with Sugarloaf and Sunday River just a short drive away. Additionally, the town of Waterville has a vibrant arts scene, with several galleries and theaters showcasing local talent.

Student Body: Demographics and Enrollment Size Between Colby vs Wesleyan

Colby has a student body of approximately 2000 students, with a relatively even split of genders and a diverse representation of races and nationalities. The college boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio, allowing for more personalized attention in the classroom.

A large crowd of students walking in the school campus.

Wesleyan’s student body is slightly larger, with just over 3000 undergraduates. Like Colby, the school prides itself on its diversity, with over 50 percent of students identifying as students of color.

In addition to its diverse student body, Colby College also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. From sports teams to music groups to community service organizations, there is something for everyone to participate in outside of the classroom.

Similarly, Wesleyan University has a strong commitment to social justice and activism. The school has a long history of student-led protests and movements, and offers numerous opportunities for students to engage in advocacy work both on and off campus.

Academic Offerings: Majors, Minors, and Programs

Both institutions offer rigorous academic programs, with Colby offering 58 majors and Wesleyan offering 47. Colby is well-known for its biology, environmental science, economics, and government programs, while Wesleyan is renowned for its film studies, music, psychology, and sociology departments.

Furthermore, both institutions offer several unique interdisciplinary programs and research opportunities, including study abroad programs and partnerships with renowned institutions such as the National Institutes of Health and the United Nations.

In addition to their traditional academic offerings, both Colby and Wesleyan have recently expanded their programs to include more courses and majors in emerging fields such as data science, artificial intelligence, and sustainability. Colby has also introduced a new program in global studies, which allows students to explore the complexities of globalization and its impact on societies around the world.

Wesleyan, on the other hand, has launched a new initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, with a focus on supporting underrepresented groups in science and technology.

Colby vs Wesleyan: Faculty and Teaching Quality

Both Colby and Wesleyan have highly skilled faculty members who are passionate about teaching and learning. Professors at both schools are easily approachable and eager to mentor and challenge their students.

Colby’s faculty boasts a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring that students receive personalized attention when it comes to their academic needs. Similarly, Wesleyan’s faculty members foster a challenging academic environment and dedicate themselves to preparing students for the future.

Additionally, both Colby and Wesleyan offer opportunities for students to engage in research and collaborate with faculty members on various projects. Colby’s faculty members are actively involved in research and often invite students to participate in their projects, providing valuable hands-on experience. Similarly, Wesleyan’s faculty members encourage students to explore their interests and engage in research, leading to numerous publications and presentations at national conferences.

Colby vs Wesleyan: Research Opportunities

Both colleges provide students with ample opportunities to conduct research, whether working independently or in collaboration with professors. Colby’s Jan Plan program is particularly notable, allowing first-year students to participate in off-campus research or internships during the month of January.

Wesleyan also places a significant emphasis on research, particularly in science fields. Students have access to well-equipped research facilities, including the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center for math and science education and the Druckenmiller Neuroscience Institute.

two chemists working inside the laboratory

Furthermore, both colleges offer research grants and fellowships to support students’ research endeavors. Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement provides funding for research projects related to public policy and social issues. Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center offers research fellowships to students interested in data analysis and statistics.

In addition, both colleges encourage interdisciplinary research, allowing students to explore connections between different fields of study. Colby’s Environmental Studies Program, for example, brings together students and faculty from various departments to study environmental issues from multiple perspectives. Wesleyan’s College of Integrative Sciences promotes interdisciplinary research in areas such as neuroscience, environmental science, and molecular biology.

Colby vs Wesleyan: Campus Facilities and Amenities

Both Colby and Wesleyan’s campuses have state-of-the-art facilities, including technology centers, study spaces, and fitness centers. Colby’s Alfond Athletic Center even includes an ice rink and a golf course.

On the other hand, Wesleyan students have access to the Freeman Athletic Center, which features an Olympic-style pool and an indoor track. The school also boasts an impressive performing arts center and ample outdoor spaces for leisure and recreation.

Additionally, Colby College has recently invested in a new science center, which includes cutting-edge laboratories and research facilities. The center also features a planetarium and an observatory, providing students with unique opportunities to explore the universe.

Meanwhile, Wesleyan University has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmentalism. The school has implemented numerous green initiatives, such as a bike-sharing program and a student-run organic farm. Wesleyan also has a LEED-certified building, the College of the Environment, which houses classrooms, offices, and research spaces for students interested in environmental studies.

Student Life: Extracurricular Activities and Organizations

Student life at Colby and Wesleyan is vibrant and active. Both schools offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including over 100 student-run organizations at Colby and over 300 at Wesleyan.

Furthermore, both colleges encourage community engagement and offer opportunities for volunteer work and social activism. Colby’s Center for Civic Engagement coordinates various programs, including building affordable housing and interning at local nonprofits. Wesleyan’s Office of Community Service provides students with similar opportunities, including disaster relief work and leadership training.

Additionally, both Colby and Wesleyan have strong athletic programs, with a variety of sports teams and facilities available for students to participate in. Colby has 32 varsity teams and Wesleyan has 29, with options ranging from basketball to crew to ultimate frisbee. Both schools also have fitness centers and recreational spaces for students to use.

Housing Options: On-campus and Off-campus

Both institutions provide a variety of on-campus housing options for students, including traditional dormitory-style living, apartment-style housing, and housing for students with families. Wesleyan’s residence halls also include themed communities for students with shared interests.

Young woman unpacking in her dorm room.

Off-campus housing is limited at Colby due to the location of the school, but students can find housing options in the nearby town of Waterville. In contrast, Wesleyan has more options for off-campus housing, with several apartments and houses available in the surrounding area.

It is important to note that while off-campus housing may offer more independence and privacy, it can also come with additional responsibilities and expenses such as rent, utilities, and transportation. Students should carefully consider their options and budget before deciding on off-campus housing.

Colby vs Wesleyan: Campus Safety and Security Measures

Both institutions prioritize the safety and well-being of their students. Colby’s Department of Campus Safety provides 24/7 coverage, including an escort service for students traveling on campus after dark. They also offer self-defense classes and emergency response training.

Wesleyan similarly provides a safe environment for its students, with 24/7 campus safety and emergency medical services. Additionally, the school’s emergency notification system provides alerts via text messages and emails to keep students informed about any potential hazards.

Colby College has implemented several measures to ensure the safety of its students, including a comprehensive emergency response plan that involves collaboration with local law enforcement agencies. The college also has a network of emergency blue light phones located throughout the campus, which students can use to quickly contact campus safety in case of an emergency.

Wesleyan University has a dedicated team of campus safety officers who are trained to respond to a wide range of emergencies, including medical emergencies, fires, and natural disasters. The university also has a robust system of security cameras installed throughout the campus, which are monitored 24/7 to ensure the safety of students and staff.

Colby vs Wesleyan: Tuition and Financial Aid Options for Students

Both schools are private institutions with similar tuition rates, with Colby being slightly more expensive than Wesleyan. However, both institutions provide generous financial aid packages to their students, with nearly half of Colby’s student body receiving need-based scholarships or grants.

Wesleyan also provides strong financial aid packages, including merit scholarships, need-based grants, and work-study programs. The school also prides itself on being need-blind during the admissions process, meaning that the student’s ability to pay does not affect their chance of being admitted.

Additionally, both Colby and Wesleyan offer various resources and programs to help students navigate the financial aid process. This includes financial aid workshops, one-on-one counseling sessions, and online resources to help students understand their options and make informed decisions about their finances.

Furthermore, both schools have partnerships with outside organizations and foundations to provide additional financial support to students. For example, Colby has partnerships with organizations such as the Davis United World College Scholars Program and the Posse Foundation, while Wesleyan has partnerships with organizations such as QuestBridge and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Colby vs Wesleyan: Career Services and Alumni Network

Both colleges provide exceptional resources for students to pursue their career goals and connect with alumni. Colby’s DavisConnects program helps students navigate their postgraduate plans, including internships, service opportunities, and job applications. Additionally, many of Colby’s alumni hold leadership positions in various industries, providing a rich network for students to connect with.

Wesleyan’s comprehensive career services program includes personalized counseling, job and internship databases, and interview preparation resources. Like Colby, Wesleyan has an extensive alumni network, with graduates working in prominent positions in various fields across the globe.

Colby’s DavisConnects program also offers students the opportunity to participate in immersive experiences, such as research projects, fellowships, and study abroad programs. These experiences not only enhance students’ resumes but also provide valuable skills and knowledge that can be applied to their future careers.

a female looking at the camera smiling

Wesleyan’s career services program also includes a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The university offers resources and support for students interested in starting their own businesses, including access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities with successful entrepreneurs.

Athletics: Sports Teams, Facilities, and Fanbase

Both colleges prioritize athletics and provide students with numerous opportunities to participate in sports. Colby is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), offering 32 sports teams, including ice hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. The school’s athletic facilities are top-notch, with a new sports center and a $10 million field house on campus.

Similarly, Wesleyan is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), providing students with 29 varsity sports teams. The school’s athletic facilities include a new main athletic complex, a boathouse for crew, and an outdoor track.

Both colleges have a strong fanbase that supports their sports teams. Colby’s ice hockey team, in particular, has a dedicated following and regularly sells out games. The school also hosts annual events such as the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) rivalry games, which draw large crowds. Wesleyan’s football team also has a passionate fanbase, with students and alumni coming together to cheer on the team during home games. The school’s basketball team has also seen recent success, with a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2019.

Sustainability Initiatives on Both Campus

Both Colby and Wesleyan are committed to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. Colby’s Environmental Studies program is nationally recognized, and the school has committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2025. The campus features several LEED-certified buildings, a biomass plant, and a solar field.

Wesleyan similarly prioritizes environmental sustainability, receiving a gold rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) in 2020. The school’s sustainability initiatives include a solar power station, a bike-share program, and sustainable dining options.

In addition to these initiatives, Colby has implemented a composting program that diverts food waste from the landfill and turns it into nutrient-rich soil for the campus gardens. The school also encourages sustainable transportation by providing free shuttle services to nearby towns and offering bike rentals to students.

At Wesleyan, students can participate in the Green Fund, which provides funding for sustainability projects proposed by students, faculty, and staff. The school also has a sustainability office that works to promote sustainable practices and reduce waste on campus.

Campus Diversity and Inclusion Efforts at Colby vs Wesleyan

Both institutions have made significant efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. Colby’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers several programs aimed at creating a welcoming and accepting environment for all students, including support for first-generation students and students of color. The school is also a member of several national organizations dedicated to promoting diversity in higher education.

Wesleyan’s commitment to diversity is also reflected in its mission statement, which affirms the school’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable community. The school offers several programs aimed at promoting diversity, including a First-Generation Program and the Wesleyan Posse Foundation Scholarship program.

In addition to these programs, both schools have also taken steps to diversify their faculty and staff. Colby has implemented a Faculty Diversity Initiative, which aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups among faculty members. Wesleyan has also made efforts to diversify its faculty, with a goal of increasing the number of faculty members from underrepresented groups by 15% over the next five years.

Admissions Requirements for Colby vs Wesleyan

Both colleges have competitive admissions processes, with acceptance rates hovering around 16 percent. Colby requires students to submit standardized test scores and complete an interview with an admissions officer, while Wesleyan offers a test-optional policy and encourages students to submit supplemental materials, such as essays and creative work.

the word admission flashed unto a laptop screen

Overall, both institutions prioritize a well-rounded student who demonstrates academic excellence, leadership potential, and a commitment to community engagement.

It is important to note that Colby and Wesleyan also consider factors beyond academics and extracurricular activities in their admissions decisions. Both colleges take into account a student’s background, experiences, and personal qualities, such as resilience and adaptability. Additionally, Colby and Wesleyan have a holistic approach to admissions, meaning they review each application in its entirety and do not rely solely on test scores or grades.


When it comes to choosing between Colby and Wesleyan, both schools offer excellent academic programs, vibrant student life, and exceptional resources for students. Ultimately, your decision may come down to personal preferences, such as location, campus culture, and academic interests. We hope this side-by-side comparison has provided you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision about your undergraduate education.

It is worth noting that both Colby and Wesleyan have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable career connections and opportunities. Colby has a particularly strong network in the Northeast, while Wesleyan’s alumni are well-represented in the arts and entertainment industries.

Additionally, both schools have a commitment to community service and social justice. Colby has a robust community engagement program that connects students with local organizations, while Wesleyan has a long history of activism and advocacy on campus and beyond.

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