Colgate vs Colby: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a male student smiling to the camera

Colgate vs Colby: Which College is Right for You?

If you’re trying to decide between Colgate University and Colby College for your undergraduate studies, you may be wondering how to choose between two excellent institutions. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at Colgate vs Colby and compare them in various categories to help you make your decision. From campus size to faculty quality, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Colgate and Colby.

Location and Campus Size: Colgate vs Colby

The first thing that may come to mind when comparing colleges is location and campus size. Colby College is located in Waterville, Maine, while Colgate University is situated in Hamilton, New York. Both colleges offer beautiful campuses, but Colby’s is slightly larger at 714 acres compared to Colgate’s 553 acres. In terms of distance from major cities, Colgate is closer to Syracuse, New York, while Colby is closer to Portland, Maine. Some students prefer the rural setting of Colby, while others may prefer the slightly more urban location of Colgate.

a building in colby college

Another factor to consider when comparing colleges is the climate of the location. Colby College experiences cold winters with an average temperature of 20°F in January, while Colgate University has slightly milder winters with an average temperature of 25°F in January. However, both colleges have beautiful fall foliage and pleasant summers with temperatures in the mid-70s°F. It’s important to consider your personal preferences for weather when choosing a college.

Academic Offerings: Colgate vs Colby

When it comes to academic offerings, both Colgate and Colby are known for their excellent liberal arts programs. However, there are some differences in their specific programs. Colgate University offers over 55 majors and 40 minors, including programs in economics, international relations, and environmental studies. Colby College offers over 50 majors, with offerings in neuroscience, American studies, and environmental policy. Colby also offers an engineering dual-degree program with Dartmouth College. Both colleges have a low student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring personalized attention and close relationships with professors.

Additionally, both Colgate and Colby offer a variety of study abroad programs for students to enhance their academic experience. Colgate has partnerships with over 100 programs in more than 50 countries, including programs in Australia, China, and Spain. Colby offers its own study abroad programs in locations such as Spain, France, and Japan, as well as partnerships with other institutions for additional options. These programs allow students to gain a global perspective and immerse themselves in different cultures while earning academic credit.

Student Life: Colgate vs Colby

While both Colgate and Colby offer a traditional college experience, there are some differences in student life. Colgate has a larger student body, with around 3,100 undergraduate students, while Colby has around 2,200 undergraduate students. Colgate also has a higher Greek life presence, with around a third of students participating in fraternities or sororities. Colby is known for its strong outdoor culture, with over 80% of students participating in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and rafting. Both colleges offer a wide variety of clubs and extracurricular activities for students.

Additionally, Colgate and Colby have different approaches to their dining options. Colgate has a more traditional dining hall setup, with several dining halls on campus that offer a variety of meal options. Colby, on the other hand, has a unique dining program called “Colby Eats,” which emphasizes sustainability and local sourcing. Students can choose from a variety of dining options, including food trucks, pop-up restaurants, and a student-run organic garden. This innovative approach to dining has earned Colby recognition as one of the top colleges for food in the country.

Admission Requirements: Colgate vs Colby

When applying to Colgate or Colby, there are some differences in admission requirements. Colgate has an acceptance rate of around 12%, while Colby’s acceptance rate is around 8%. Both colleges require standardized test scores (SAT or ACT), transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation. However, Colby does not require an application fee, while Colgate does. Both colleges are need-blind and meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for admitted students.

It is important to note that Colgate and Colby have different approaches to evaluating extracurricular activities. Colgate values depth of involvement in a few activities, while Colby values breadth of involvement in multiple activities. Additionally, Colby offers an optional interview for applicants, while Colgate does not.

Both colleges also have unique academic programs. Colgate offers a liberal arts education with a focus on critical thinking and writing, while Colby offers a more interdisciplinary approach with a focus on global engagement. Colby also has a unique January term, where students can take intensive courses or participate in internships or research projects.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Colgate vs Colby

Speaking of financial aid, it’s important to consider the cost of attendance when comparing Colgate and Colby. According to their websites, Colgate’s tuition and fees for the academic year are $67,024, while Colby’s tuition and fees are $66,600. However, it’s important to note that both colleges offer generous financial aid packages and scholarships to admitted students. The majority of students at both colleges receive some form of financial aid, and the average financial aid package at both colleges is around $64,355 and $70,197 per year.

A glass of money for education

Additionally, both Colgate and Colby offer work-study programs to help students offset the cost of attendance. These programs allow students to work part-time on campus and earn money to put toward their education expenses. Students can work in a variety of positions, such as in the library, dining hall, or as research assistant for a professor.

It’s also worth noting that both colleges have resources available to help students navigate the financial aid process. They have financial aid counselors who can answer questions and provide guidance on filling out the FAFSA and other financial aid forms. They also offer workshops and seminars on financial literacy and budgeting to help students manage their finances while in college and beyond.

Notable Alumni: Colgate vs Colby

Another aspect to consider when comparing colleges is their notable alumni. Colgate’s alumni include journalists, comedians, and NFL quarterback alumni including the former governor of Maine, and writer. While alumni may not be the deciding factor in your college decision, it’s always interesting to see which successful individuals have graduated from each college.

It’s worth noting that many colleges have notable alumni who have made significant contributions to society in various fields. boasts a long list of notable alumni, including eight U.S. presidents, 158 Nobel laureates, and 14 Turing Award winners. Similarly has produced numerous successful entrepreneurs, such as the co-founders of Google, and the founders of SpaceX and Tesla.

However, it’s important to remember that the success of a college’s alumni does not necessarily reflect the quality of education that the college provides. While attending a college with a prestigious reputation and successful alumni may open doors to certain opportunities, it’s ultimately up to the individual student to make the most of their education and pursue their own path to success.

Athletics and Sports Programs: Colgate vs Colby

If you’re interested in sports and athletics, Colgate and Colby both have excellent programs. Colgate offers 25 varsity sports, including football, soccer, and ice hockey. Colby offers 32 varsity sports, including alpine skiing, crew, and water polo. Both colleges have an emphasis on teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship.

View of a man playing hockey.

In addition to varsity sports, both Colgate and Colby offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students to participate in. These programs allow students to stay active and involved in sports, even if they are not at a varsity level. Intramural sports include basketball, volleyball, and flag football, while club sports range from ultimate frisbee to equestrian.

Furthermore, both colleges have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including fitness centers, swimming pools, and outdoor fields. These facilities are available to all students, regardless of their athletic ability or participation in sports programs. They provide a space for students to exercise, relieve stress, and socialize with their peers.

Diversity and Inclusion: Colgate vs Colby

Diversity and inclusion are important factors to consider when choosing a college. Colgate and Colby both have a commitment to creating diverse and inclusive communities. Colgate offers various diversity and inclusion programs, including an LGBTQ+ community center and a first-generation student program. Colby has a diversity and inclusion office and offers various resources for multicultural students and international students.

Additionally, both Colgate and Colby have active student organizations that promote diversity and inclusion on campus. These organizations host events and discussions that encourage students to learn about and celebrate different cultures and identities. Colgate has a Black Student Union, Asian Student Union, and Latin American Student Organization, among others. Colby has a Multicultural Student Association, International Club, and Queer Coalition, among others. These organizations provide a supportive community for students from diverse backgrounds and help to foster a more inclusive campus environment.

Student Support Services: Colgate vs Colby

When it comes to support services, both Colgate and Colby offer various resources for students. Colgate has a center for student success and career services, as well as a counseling center and a health center. Colby offers a writing center, a tutoring and learning center, and a career center. Both colleges have a strong commitment to ensuring the success and well-being of their students.

In addition to the support services mentioned above, both Colgate and Colby also have robust extracurricular programs. Colgate has over 200 student organizations, including clubs for community service, cultural interests, and sports. Colby has a similar range of clubs and organizations, including a student-run radio station and a campus newspaper. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop leadership skills, and build connections with their peers.

Campus Safety and Security: Colgate vs Colby

Another important factor to consider is campus safety and security. According to Niche, both Colgate and Colby receive an A+ rating for campus safety. Both colleges have their own campus safety departments and offer various resources for emergency situations.

Colgate University has a comprehensive safety program that includes a 24/7 campus safety department, emergency blue light phones, and a safety escort service. The university also has a student-run organization called Haven that provides support and resources for survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

24/7 Emergency service in campus

Similarly, Colby College has a campus safety department that operates 24/7 and offers services such as safety escorts, emergency response, and crime prevention education. The college also has a program called Green Dot, which trains students, faculty, and staff to recognize and intervene in situations of power-based personal violence.

Faculty and Staff 

Lastly, it’s important to consider the quality of faculty and staff at each college. Both Colgate and Colby have highly qualified faculty members who are committed to teaching and research. Both colleges offer opportunities for undergraduate research and close relationships with professors.

However, there are some differences in the faculty and staff at Colgate and Colby. Colgate has a larger faculty-to-student ratio, which means that students may have more opportunities to work closely with professors. Colby, on the other hand, has a smaller faculty-to-student ratio, which may mean that students have more personalized attention from their professors. Additionally, Colby has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching and research, which means that students may have the opportunity to work with faculty members from a variety of academic departments.

Extracurricular Activities

Besides the academic offerings and student life, both Colgate and Colby offer an array of extracurricular activities and other experiences outside the classroom. From clubs and organizations to study abroad opportunities, each college has its own distinct offerings. This is an important factor to consider for students who want to maximize their college experience and explore new passions.

At Colgate, students can participate in a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking, through the Outdoor Education program. The university also has a strong commitment to community service, with opportunities for students to volunteer locally and globally through the COVE (Colgate Outreach Volunteer Experience) program. At Colby, students can take advantage of the college’s location in Maine by participating in outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding, as well as exploring the nearby lakes and mountains. The college also has a strong arts community, with opportunities to participate in theater productions, music ensembles, and art exhibitions.

Career Services and Job Placement

For many students, finding a job after graduation is a top priority. Both Colby and Colgate offer extensive career services to assist students in finding internships, jobs, and other professional opportunities. According to their websites, Colgate’s career services team helps students secure employment or admission to graduate school within six months of graduation, and Colby has a 92% placement rate within a year of graduation.

Job opportunities for graduate students

Additionally, both schools have strong alumni networks that provide valuable connections and resources for students seeking employment. Colby’s Career Center offers a program called “Colby Connect” which connects students with alumni mentors in their desired field. Colgate’s alumni network is also extensive, with over 30,000 alumni worldwide who are eager to help current students succeed in their careers.


After considering all the factors outlined above, you may still be unsure which college is right for you. Ultimately, the choice between Colgate and Colby will depend on your personal preferences, academic interests, and future goals. We hope this article has helped shed some light on the similarities and differences between these two outstanding institutions. Good luck with your college decision, and remember that either way, you’ll be getting a top-notch education at Colgate or Colby.

It’s important to note that both Colgate and Colby have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and opportunities after graduation. Additionally, both schools offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs, allowing students to explore their interests and passions outside of the classroom.

Ultimately, the decision between Colgate and Colby should be based on your individual needs and preferences. Consider factors such as location, campus culture, and available resources when making your decision. No matter which school you choose, you’ll be embarking on an exciting journey of personal and academic growth.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.