This Is Colby College

February 18, 2023
By AdmissionSight

This Is Colby College

This Is Colby College

Established in 1813, Colby College is a private institution. It has a total enrollment of 2,261 undergraduates (fall 2021), a rural setting, and a campus size of 714 acres. A 4-1-4-based academic calendar is utilized. 24th among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the 2022–2023 edition of Best Colleges is Colby College. Tuition and fees amount to $63,520.

Colby offers over fifty majors across over twenty academic departments. Biology, economics, English, history, global studies, government, and psychology are the most popular majors. Students can do an internship, independent study, or focused coursework during the four-week Colby special term.

There was a research project in Colby regarding the history of Jews in Maine, and there was even an internship at the Department of Justice. Colby has its own programs in Dijon, France, Salamanca, Spain, and St. Petersburg, Russia, where more than two-thirds of its students study abroad. Notable alumni include television personality Billy Bush and President Obama’s counselor, Pete Rouse.

Where is Colby College?

Where is Colby College anyway? Well, the institution’s exact address is 4000 Mayflower Hill Dr., Waterville, ME 04901, USA.

front view of a building in Colby College

To further visualize: Colby College is located in the Maine city of Waterville. The campus of Colby College, which contains the 128-acre wildlife refuge Perkins Arboretum, is a State Wildlife Management Area. For environmental studies, the school also owns a nearby bog preserve and lakefront property.

On campus, there are roughly one hundred student-run clubs and organizations, ranging from the Colby Ballroom Dance Club to the Society Organized Against Racism. More than one-third of students are members of the Mules, Colby’s varsity intercollegiate sports teams. Club and intramural sports are also popular. The majority of Colby students reside in one of the 26 coed, mixed-class residence halls.

What is Colby College known for?

Now let’s dive into what Colby College is known for. The institution is one of the oldest private colleges in the United States and was founded in 1813.  Colby takes pride in its undergraduate research opportunities. Every January, students complete a “Jan Plan,” an exploratory term that allows them to concentrate on one subject or experience.

This can range from learning the art of fly fishing in California to studying and performing West African music. Although students are only required to complete three Jan Plans, many choose to complete a fourth term because the experience is so rewarding.

On campus, Colby’s 2,000 undergraduates praise the close relationships they are able to develop with professors, some of whom even invite students to home-cooked meals. Economics, natural resources conservation and research, and political science are the top fields of study.

With its on-campus arboretum and nature trails, the campus has an idyllic, New England feels. However, its location in central Maine is somewhat out of the way, with Portland, the closest major city, 90 minutes to the south. While the total cost of tuition, room, board, and activities is nearly $80,000 per year, grants and scholarships reduce the average annual cost to under $20,000; low-income students can expect to have nearly all of their costs covered.

How to get into Colby College?

Now the important question: “How to get into Colby College?” Well, Colby may not be as well-known as other schools with single-digit acceptance rates (e.g., Harvard, Yale, etc.), but make no mistake: this small liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine, is among the nation’s finest. Colby has been test-optional since the 1960s and evaluates each application holistically.

If you intend to join the nearly 17,000 Colby College applicants for the next admissions cycle, you should consider the following information:

  1. If Colby College is your top choice, you should strongly consider submitting an ED application.
  2. Colby will superscore all exams, including the ACT, and will accept and include section retake results in the superscore.
  3. This institution does not conduct interviews with applicants.
  4. Without interviews, the importance of your counselor and teacher recommendations will be paramount. Visit our blog for advice on requesting high school recommendation letters.
  5. Colby College does not take “demonstrated interest” into account, so you will not be evaluated based on whether or not you visited the campus, contacted an admissions officer, etc.
  6. Keep your grades up throughout your senior year of high school, as you will be required to submit a Mid-Year Report in late February.
  7. Colby is an unusual liberal arts institution in that it does not require supplemental essays or short answer questions.
  8. Colby accepts the Common Application or Coalition Application.

How Colby College rates applicants

Colby College considers the following four admissions criteria “very important” when evaluating each applicant: high school course load, GPA, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and character/personal qualities. Class rank, the Common Application essay, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, and race/ethnicity are the five “important” factors.

Directly from Colby’s admissions office:

  • “Admission is highly selective, and evaluation is based on a holistic, contextual assessment of the candidate’s application.”
  • “To ensure a common educational base, a minimum of 16 academic preparatory units is strongly recommended, including four years of English, three of a single foreign language, three of college preparatory mathematics, two of history or social studies, two of laboratory science, and two years of other college preparatory electives. Most successful candidates for admission present at least 20 academic units.”
  • “The College actively seeks applicants who exemplify academic excellence, have special qualities or talents to contribute to the Colby community and represent diverse geographical, racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds.”

The admissions process

Colby received 16,891 applications for admission to the Class of 2026, a record number. The acceptance rate was only 7%, as there were only 1,258 students accepted. In the previous academic year, the school received 15,867 applications and admitted 1,279 students, for a slightly higher acceptance rate of 8%.

Students admitted to the Class of 2026 (distinct from “enrolled”) had median SAT scores of 1500 and median ACT scores of 34; 90% are anticipated to graduate in the top ten percent of their high school class.

Group people laughing together.

The SAT range for the middle 50% of Class of 2025 enrollees was 1390-1530, and the ACT range was 32-34. 73% of enrolled freshmen in the Class of 2024 finished in the top 10% of their high school class, while 89% were in the top quartile.

The yield rate at Colby College—the proportion of accepted students who choose to enroll, divided by the total number of admitted students—is 40%. This places them in the same ballpark as other prestigious liberal arts institutions, such as Williams College (46%), Pomona College (45%), and Swarthmore College (35%).

Consider getting a college admissions counselor. At AdmissionSight, we have more than a decade of experience, and we have a high success rate of 75%.

We are willing to support students who are driven and hard-working. Together, we can get you into any college you aspire to study at. Book a free consultation today.




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