How to Get Into Colgate: All You Need to Know

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


Colgate University is a small liberal arts college located in Hamilton, New York — about one hour southeast of Syracuse. It’s often ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

Colgate is quite selective and only admits a small percentage of applicants every year. To be considered for admission to Colgate, prospective students should start to prepare early by building their profile, doing their research, and gathering their application materials. Read on to learn what it takes to get into Colgate University.

How to Get Into Colgate: Table of Contents

  1. When to Apply to Colgate
  2. How Hard Is It to Get into Colgate: Early Prep
  3. How Do You Actually Get into Colgate: The Application
  4. Class Profile
  5. What Makes Colgate Unique?

When to Apply to Colgate

Generally, students looking to attend Colgate University should apply during fall semester of their senior year for admission the following autumn. Colgate offers early and regular admissions options — when the student applies depends on what admissions option they choose.

Colgate Deadlines

For the 2023-24 admissions cycle, Colgate offered three admission options:

  • Early Decision: November 15
  • Early Decision II: January 15
  • Regular Decision: January 15


Deadlines may vary slightly each year, so applicants should always double-check the deadline for their admissions cycle.

Early, Rolling, and Regular Decision

Students can choose from different application types when applying to college, though these types can vary by school. It’s important to understand the key differences between these application types, like Regular Decision, Early Decision, Early Decision II, and Early Action.

Colgate offers Early Decision, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision admissions. The Early Decision options are binding — students who are admitted must attend Colgate and withdraw all other applications. Regular Decision is non-binding, meaning students can still opt to attend another school if Colgate admits them.

Colgate does not offer Early Action, which is an early application option that is non-binding. Rolling admission is another option offered by some schools where applications are reviewed as they are submitted and there are no strict deadlines. Colgate does not offer rolling admissions.

Waitlisted Applications

If you apply to Colgate University Regular Decision, you may be accepted, denied, or waitlisted. If you end up on the Colgate waitlist, it means that you are a great candidate for admission, but there is currently no space for you in the class. You have the option to accept or deny your spot on the waitlist.

It’s worth keeping in mind that waitlist admission rates tend to be extremely low at most schools — out of the 2,146 students who accepted a spot on Colgate’s waitlist for fall 2022, none were admitted.


Students applying Early Decision to Colgate University will receive one of three possible admission decisions: accepted, denied, or deferred. If you are deferred at Colgate, it means that your application will be reviewed with the Regular Decision applicant pool. This sometimes happens because the admission committee wants additional information, like fall semester grades.

It’s important to know what to do if you have been deferred. Each school handles deferments differently — some may request additional materials and others may not. Students who are deferred at Colgate should confirm their next steps with the admissions committee.

How Hard Is It to Get into Colgate: Early Prep

Colgate’s admission rates are in line with its selective process, and it’s become increasingly competitive to gain admission. Students who want to attend Colgate should start preparing as early as possible to best prepare themselves for the application process.

Build Your Profile

To be a competitive applicant to Colgate, prospective students should start building their profile as early as ninth grade. Your profile is holistic, meaning that it not only includes your academic performance and history, but your extracurricular activities, talents and strengths, and other aspects about you that demonstrate how you will fit in at Colgate.

So, what does Colgate look for in its students? Highly selective universities, including Colgate, look for “pointy” students who demonstrate deep and prolonged engagement in their field(s) of interest through their high school academic course selection and extracurricular activities.

Visit the Campus

The best way to determine if Colgate is a great fit for you is by visiting campus.

Prospective students can register for an official campus visit, which includes a welcome session led by an admissions officer, a student-led campus tour, and a wrap up by the office of admissions. Students can also take self-guided tours on campus.

Colgate also offers “Colgate in Focus,” a program to promote diversity on campus. The program is offered both online and in person for the prospective student and one parent/guardian. It features opportunities to connect with Colgate students, faculty, and staff; observe a class; and get to know the greater Colgate community.

For students who are not able to visit campus in person, Colgate also has a robust offering of virtual programming, including information sessions, tours, and webinars on a variety of admission topics.

Connect With a Student

Connecting with current students is the ideal way to learn more about campus life and other aspects of Colgate. Students visiting the Colgate campus can connect with their tour guide, who will not only show them around campus, but share their experiences. Prospective students can also register to meet virtually with a student through Colgate Admission Conversations.

Learn About Any Student Experiences

If you connect with a student via a tour or Colgate Admissions Conversation, ask them to share their student experiences. Other good ways to learn about student experiences are through Colgate’s website and social media channels, which highlight current students’ perspectives about the university.

How Do You Actually Get into Colgate: The Application

Prospective students must submit a Common Application or a Coalition Application, including their personal statement, two letters of recommendation from teachers, one letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor, and an official high school transcript.

Students can submit optional application materials, which include responses to the supplemental essay prompts and standardized test scores — Colgate is test-optional for all applicants entering through fall 2027. We recommend submitting supplemental materials whenever possible if it will make you a more competitive applicant.

GPA Requirements

Colgate University does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, high school GPA is one of the most important factors considered for admission, so it’s helpful to know the GPA range of admitted students. Of the students admitted to the class of 2026:

  • 54% had a 4.0 GPA
  • 63% had a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99
  • 81% had a GPA between 3.50 and 3.74

SAT and ACT Scores

Like many colleges and universities, Colgate became test-optional during the pandemic. This policy has been extended through the 2026-27 admissions cycle. This means that students can choose whether they want to submit an SAT or ACT score as a part of their application. The university will review a student holistically with or without a standardized test score.

For students who submitted test scores in their applications for the class of 2027, their middle 50% test scores are as follows:

  • SAT: 1470-1540
  • ACT Composite: 33-35


Strong standardized test scores will make you a more competitive applicant, so we advise submitting your SAT or ACT results whenever possible.

Personal Statement

Students must respond to one of the personal statement prompts in either the Common App or Coalition Application. The personal statement is one of the most important qualitative factors of the application process, requiring thought and creativity. Applicants should use the personal statement to tell parts of their story that aren’t already mentioned elsewhere in their application.


Colgate University offers two optional short supplemental essay prompts and one prompt comprised of 10 one-sentence statement responses. These prompts are available in the Colgate portal after students submit their application, and you can choose to respond to one or all of them. These essay supplements are another way to provide additional information to the admissions committee, so we advise you to take advantage of them.

These are the prompts for the 2023-24 application cycle:

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.

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.

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…

Letters of Recommendation

Colgate University requires one counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations. Letters of recommendation are an important part of your application since admissions counselors use them to get a different perspective of who you are as a student and a person. Be sure to ask your teacher and counselor to write your recommendations early to give them enough time. A great time to ask is at the end of junior year.

Admission Interviews

Colgate does not require evaluative admissions interviews, but prospective students can request a virtual conversation with a current student or alumni volunteer. This is optional, but it presents a terrific opportunity to make connections and learn more about the university. Colgate Admissions Conversations are available June 1 through December 10 with a current student, and September 1 through January 10 with an alumni representative.

Contribution to the Colgate Community

Community is an important part of Colgate’s culture. It’s important to showcase your academic and extracurricular interests in your application to show how you will contribute to the university both inside and outside of the classroom. Colgate is looking for students that demonstrate academic achievement, a wide range of intellectual perspectives, and creative promise. The office of admissions considers each applicant’s quantitative and qualitative factors in several ways, including how those factors will help you fit in and contribute to the campus community.

Class Profile

You’re likely wondering how many people apply to Colgate. Let’s look at the profile for the class of 2027. Colgate University received 21,130 applications for undergraduate admission for fall 2023 from across the U.S. and 152 countries. Only 2,508 students were accepted. Of the students who enrolled, 25% are multicultural students and 9% are international students.

Acceptance rate 12%
Class size 807
Undergraduate majors 56

What Makes Colgate Unique?

As a small liberal arts college with research and engagement opportunities, Colgate University offers a lot of what you would find at a larger research university. Located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, it’s a beautiful place to grow and learn in a supportive environment. Colgate even has an on-campus institute, the Upstate Institute, dedicated to fostering connections between the university and the regional community.

A handful of research institutes and academic centers provide students with excellent opportunities beyond the classroom. For example, the Center for International Programs provides an impressive offering of study abroad opportunities, student exchange programs, and resources for international students. Students can also take advantage of scholars programs and research opportunities.

Colgate participates in NCAA Division I athletics as the Raiders. It is an excellent option for students looking for a small liberal arts environment with a very competitive level of Division I athletics. Students can also choose from hundreds of different clubs and activities, such as intramural sports, student government, and community service groups.

Admissions Counseling

Because admission to Colgate University is highly competitive, most students could benefit from working with a private admissions counselor. Experienced counselors understand the admissions process inside and out, from building a competitive applicant strategy and a balanced college list, to brainstorming strong essays and supplements. They work with students through every stage of the process, helping them to submit the strongest, most competitive application possible to maximize their chances of admission. If Colgate is one of the schools you’re considering, take the first step toward achieving your admissions goals and schedule an Initial Consultation.


Related Topics

Choosing a College
Sign Up for the IvyWise Newsletter
 简体中文 »
close wechat qr code