How to Get Into Colgate University: Admissions Guide

New York Canal
April 26, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

How hard is it to get into Colgate University? What admission requirements do you need to apply? Keep reading to learn how to get into Colgate University.

Colgate University Campus

Source: Colgate University

Colgate University, a private liberal arts college located in Hamilton, New York, was founded in 1819 and has a rich history and tradition of academic excellence, intellectual inquiry, and community engagement. 

The university offers 56 undergraduate majors and a range of interdisciplinary programs, including environmental studies, international relations, neuroscience, and peace and conflict studies. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, Colgate provides students with a personalized, world-class mentorship.

Currently, US News ranks Colgate at 21st for best liberal arts schools and 15th for best value schools. If this all seems appealing to you, here is everything you need to know on how to get into Colgate University! 

Colgate University Acceptance Rate

Colgate’s acceptance rate sits at 12%, making it quite a selective school. To raise your chances of getting in, you’ll need excellent grades and a well-rounded application. 

Students hoping to transfer to Colgate may be encouraged as Colgate University’s transfer acceptance rate is nearly twice as high, sitting at 21.78%. The same can be said for early decision applicants, who can look forward to a Colgate University early decision acceptance rate of 25%

See below for a table showing Colgate’s acceptance rate for the past three years: 

Class of: Acceptance Rate
2027 12%
2026 12%
2025 17%

Source: Colgate University, Colgate Maroon News

Colgate University Admission Requirements

To secure admission to Colgate University, aim for an SAT score in the range of 1460-1540, an ACT score of around 32-35, and a GPA as close to 4.0 as possible. Elevate your application by engaging in diverse extracurricular activities that showcase your strong leadership skills, commitment, and talents.

Let’s dive deeper into these Colgate University admissions statistics:

Colgate University GPA Requirements 

While Colgate asks for your high school transcripts and mid-year grades, there is no official GPA requirement. However, to make sure your application is competitive, try your best to secure as close to a 4.0 GPA as possible. 

Colgate University Average GPA

The most recent freshman class had an average GPA of 3.97. When looking at the students admitted, 94% were within the top 20% of their class, and 82% of all admitted students were in the top 10% of their class. 

Colgate University SAT Requirements

Colgate University has decided to make their admissions process test-optional through 2026, meaning that applicants can decide for themselves whether they’d like to submit their standardized test scores for consideration. 

If you do submit your SAT results, you’ll need to do well to keep up with the rest of the Colgate applicants. The SAT is not easy, so if you want to ensure a high score, then make sure to check out an SAT test guide

Colgate University Average SAT Scores

The most recent freshman class at Colgate University had SAT scores between 1460 and 1540 on the SAT. To increase your chances of acceptance, you’ll want an SAT score that falls within this window. 

Colgate University ACT Requirements

The test-optional policy at Colgate applies to the ACT as well as to the SAT. However, if you’d like to submit your ACT scores anyway, it never hurts to use a test guide to ensure a good score. 

Colgate University Average ACT Scores

The Colgate class of 2027 scored between 32 and 35 on the ACT, so you should aim for a score somewhere in that range. 

Common Application or QuestBridge

Colgate accepts applications through the Common App, QuestBridge, or the Coalition Application on Scoir. They have no preference, so you can feel free to submit your application through any of these portals. 

Source: Common App

Transfer Student Requirements

Transfer applicants will need to apply through either the Common Application or the Coalition on Scoir. They will also need to include the following materials in their application: 

  • Official high school transcripts
  • Official college transcripts
  • College Official’s report
  • Mid-year report
  • Academic evaluation
  • Essay (found on application portal)
  • SAT and ACT scores (optional)
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or DET scores (for non-native English speakers)

International Student Requirements

International applicants (those without U.S. citizenship) must follow the same requirements as all other regular decision or early decision applicants in the U.S. Non-native English speakers must also submit their TOEFL, IELTS, or DET scores. 

The application process to Colgate is free for international students. 

Undocumented & DACA Applicant Requirements

Undocumented and DACA students are able to apply to Colgate through the same process as all other incoming students. For records purposes, they will be considered international students but are not required to submit English proficiency scores or visa information. 

Colgate University Application Process & Deadlines 

To increase your chances of being accepted to Colgate, it’s important to meet the application requirements and submit your application by the appropriate deadline. Here’s a breakdown of important dates and materials you need to gather before you start the application process.

Official Transcripts

Submission of an official high school transcript is required for all applicants. An official high school transcript needs to display all courses for all years of high school attended or currently attending at the time of applying, as well as the final grades for all the completed courses.

Letters of Recommendation

Colgate University requires all applicants to send three recommendation letters: two from core academic teachers and one from a guidance counselor. 

Mid-Year School Grades

Colgate University defines mid-year grades to be: “the first semester or first trimester grades from your final year of high school.” Most students are still in the middle of taking their final high school year by the time they’re applying, so Colgate needs to know the latest snippet of an applicant’s academic performance.

If providing your first semester or trimester grades is difficult for you or your school, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Colgate and let them know.

Early Decision Agreement

An early decision agreement is a document that needs to be filled out and submitted for applicants applying for early decision. The early decision agreement requires the signatures of the student, a parent/guardian, and a guidance counselor.

Colgate Application Deadlines

In terms of Colgate University application deadlines, Colgate University offers the following options:

  • Early Decision I
  • Early Decision II
  • Regular Decision

When applying early, keep in mind that both Early Decision I and II are binding. This means that if you are admitted under either option, you are required to withdraw all other applications and attend Colgate. The main difference between these two options is that Early Decision I has a later deadline than Early Decision II. 

It’s good to also note that while Colgate offers early decision, they do not offer early action

To help you keep track of Colgate’s admissions deadlines, take a look at this table:

Deadline Early Decision I Early Decision II Regular Application
Application Deadline November 15th January 15th January 15th
Financial Aid Submission Deadline November 15th January 15th January 15th
Supplemental Question Responses Submission Deadline December 1st February 1st February 1st
Mid-year School Grades Submission Deadline February 15th February 15th February 15th
Admission Decision Release Mid-December Mid-February Late March

Source: Colgate University

You may notice that Early Decision II and Regular Decision have the same deadlines for everything, even though one of them is still classified as “early decision.” This means your Colgate University decision date may be earlier if you applied for early decision II. 

Colgate University Tuition and Fees

To attend Colgate as a first-year student living on campus, you will have to pay the following fees

  • Tuition - $66,622
  • Housing - $8,108
  • Meal plan - $8,682 (required for first-years and those living in residence)
  • Student activity fee - $402

Colgate also estimates that other costs such as textbooks, travel, and personal expenses will equal about $3,256 each year. This means that the total cost of attending Colgate per year is roughly $87,070. 

You may also need to pay for student health insurance, which totals around $2,097. However, this may be waived with proof of alternate coverage. 

Colgate University Financial Aid & Scholarships 

If you’re concerned about being able to afford Colgate, don’t worry. Colgate offers financial aid assistance such as grants, loans, and work-study opportunities to their students. 

Depending on your circumstances, you may also receive additional aid. This may include Colgate University merit scholarships for athletic achievement, veteran’s benefits, or outside aid. 

Colgate University Supplemental Essays

Interestingly, Colgate University does not have a mandatory admission essay. However, students are given the option to write supplemental essays. This way, you can provide the admission committee with greater insight into who you are and how you’ll fit into Colgate’s community once you’re admitted.

Despite Colgate stating that the “prompts are not meant to feel like essays,” the supplemental questions serve the same purpose as a typical personal statement; they provide an additional perspective of the applicant to the admission committee. 

The Colgate University essay prompts are as follows:

Colgate Supplemental Question 1

On Colgate’s campus, students engage with individuals from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, and perspectives during the course of their educational and social experiences. In 200–250 words, please share the benefits you see in engaging with a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff as part of your Colgate experience.

Colgate Supplemental Question 2 

Colgate students immerse themselves in social and intellectual pursuits that inspire them. Tell us in 200–250 words what inspires you and why you want to pursue that at Colgate.

Colgate Supplemental Question 3

Please complete the following so we can learn a bit more about you. Each response should be no more than 13 words. 

  • I am fascinated by…
  • My favorite book, movie, or television show is…
  • My role model is…
  • In the future, I hope to …
  • One historical figure I would like to meet is…
  • My favorite food is…
  • One thing I would change is…
  • I am most challenged by…
  • My favorite place is…
  • I am drawn to Colgate University because…

For the third question, you’re required to combine shorter answers for multiple questions into one response. You don’t have to answer all these questions, just the ones you want to.

Remember: your written answers to these supplemental questions are your opportunity to tell the story of who you are, what drives you to move forward, what you wish for yourself in the future, and most of all, why you’re the right candidate for the program you plan to apply to.

Tips for Getting Into Colgate University

Colgate values talent, intellect, and a willingness to contribute to the campus community. A student’s academic performance, interests, and personal character are all important. Every step of the application process plays a crucial role in deciding chances for admission.

Colgate looks for ambition, curiosity, passion, commitment, excitement, and empathy for others. The admissions committee aims for diversity and egalitarianism, offering equal opportunities for anyone of any background and intellectual perspective. 

Anything you show the university can either raise or drop your chances of getting admitted. Here are a few tips to increase your chances:

Focus on Academics

Colgate University is a highly selective institution, and academic rigor is one of the main reasons. Thus, taking care of your academic performance, specifically your high school GPA and standardized tests, cannot be ignored.

You should also take advanced or challenging courses to show you’re able and ready to challenge yourself and pursue your academic curiosities. Only taking easy courses won’t do you any good, as Colgate will know your GPA is only high because of a lack of difficulty rather than because of your academic aptitude. 

Although the SAT and ACT are optional, if your test score is higher than the average admitted freshman of the previous year, your test scores can still improve your profile and increase your admission chances. So, if you’re able to do so, make the test scores count and put your best foot forward! 

Extracurricular Activities

Your extracurricular activities, such as starting a club, participating in sports, volunteering, or other activities of interest, can effectively showcase your talents, strengths, and accomplishments outside of academics. 

Be sure to select extracurriculars that give you the opportunity to demonstrate leadership, contribution, and commitment. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can:

  • Look into activities that spark your interest and match your skills
  • Find activities with leadership opportunities (such as team captain, president, event planner/organizer, administrator, etc.)
  • Think about how you can make a difference, take an initiative, inspire someone, or make any kind of positive impact

You should also get in the habit of self-reflecting. After participating in the activity, look back at your experiences and identify the leadership skills you developed. This will help you articulate your leadership experience in future applications or interviews.

Secure Strong Recommendation Letters

Letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or mentors can provide valuable insights into your character, work ethic, and academic aptitude. 

Make sure to ask teachers who know you well and can provide specific examples of your achievements. A great way to ensure your recommendation letters highlight your best qualities and experiences is to provide your recommender with a comprehensive brag sheet!

Final Thoughts

Colgate's picturesque campus features Georgian-style buildings, expansive green spaces, and state-of-the-art facilities. 

With its strong commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility, Colgate prepares students to become leaders who are equipped to make a positive impact, both in their communities and the global environment.

If a prestigious liberal arts education is something you desire, and you have impressive skills, talents, and academic excellence, Colgate University could be a great school to add to your list!

FAQs: How to Get Into Colgate University

Still have questions about how to get into Colgate University? Take a look at these FAQs for more information.

1. How Hard Is It to Get Into Colgate University?

Getting into Colgate University is quite difficult. With a 12% acceptance rate, Colgate University is considered an immensely selective school.

2. What Kind of Students Does Colgate Look For?

For one, Colgate seeks students who are academically excellent and motivated by their intellectual drive and eagerness for challenges. The admissions committee also looks for candidates who have unique talents and a willingness to use their skills to contribute to their community.

3. What GPA Is Required for Colgate University?

While Colgate University doesn’t outline any particular requirements, the most recent freshman class averaged a 3.97 GPA. To make sure your academic profile is as competitive as possible, aim for a GPA as close to 4.0 as possible. 

4. Is Colgate Considered an Ivy League School?

Despite its academic rigor and highly selective admission process, Colgate is not a part of the Ivy League. It is, however, considered a Hidden Ivy League school. 

5. What is Colgate University Known For?

Colgate considers itself a modern educational center with rich traditions and history. The university is also known for its intellectual rigor and for providing world-class professional teaching for its students.

Final Thoughts

Colgate's picturesque campus features Georgian-style buildings, expansive green spaces, and state-of-the-art facilities. 

With its strong commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility, Colgate prepares students to become leaders who are equipped to make a positive impact, both in their communities and the global environment.

If a prestigious liberal arts education is something you desire, and you have impressive skills, talents, and academic excellence, Colgate University could be a great school to add to your list!

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