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5 College Sophomore

Academics: Honestly the choices, rigor, and professors all make the entire college worth staying in. With all of its flaws and issues, Colgate's academics are phenomenal.

3 people found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Colgate is rigorous and the workload is intense. There are internships and study abroad options that offer some of the best experiences in the world.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: As its prestigious reputation would imply, academics are very rigorous at Colgate. The classes are for the most part interesting and definitely challenging. It's considerably harder to get A's here than most other schools, but you will definitely learn a lot from your professors and peers.

4 College Freshman

Academics: The academics are great here, professors are very passionate about their fields.

5 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Colgate students deal with a heavy workload facing not only grade deflation and competition from other classmates, but also a mandatory five course core curriculum with low overlap among majors. Only the best students can maintain a GPA above 3.67 with most falling into the 3.3 to 2.7 range. Full fledged professors are amazing to learn in upper courses while visiting professors often feel like they are phoning it in for introductory classes. Of note for special study options is a chance to intern in Washington D.C. for a semester as a political science student (one student interns for a Supreme Court justice) or as a biology or chemistry student at the National Institutes of Health. For a Biology or Chemistry student, you get to work on important, basic research in understanding and treating human disease such as cancer, diabetes, or influenza. During the ebola scare, one student's lab was actually the lab working on the treatment. The NIH study abroad opportunity is not only a chance to be exposed for 40 hours a week to world class biomedical research but it is also a networking opportunity for future internship and professional schooling.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Colgate students know it is their fellow students and the professors that make this place so special. Classes have a way of transcending the walls of the classroom and reaching most other aspects of campus life, whether it is a lecture series sponsored by the peace and conflict studies (P-CON) department or the Table of Babel each week in Frank Dining Hall. The University works hard to keep class sizes small and to provide professors with funding to go on field trips and immerse their students in the subject. On the subject of Colgate as a "university," you don’t need to worry about getting lost in the sea of graduate students. The focus really is on the undergraduate side of education, as only a handful of graduate students matriculate from the sole graduate program each year. That doesn’t mean students don’t reap the rewards associated with larger research institutions, however. About 150 students stay on campus each summer to conduct graduate-level, cutting-edge research in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences, and many continue that research with professors during the school year. The facilities: top-notch.

There are a handful of required courses at Colgate within the core curriculum—one of the nation’s oldest—but most students agree that these courses are a great way to complement fields of study or to discover one of interest and create great discussions both inside and outside of the classroom. Another way Colgate looks to improve classroom discussions is through the commitment to off-campus study; about two-thirds of the student body travels abroad through one of the University's programs or through an affiliate, and it is the only institution—anywhere—with a partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NID) in Bethesda, Md. There’s much more to Colgate than academics, but this is definitely where the University shines.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
Total FT Faculty
Faculty with Terminal Degree
Average Faculty Salary
Full-Time Retention Rate
Transfer-Out Rate
Graduation Rate
Programs/Majors Offered
Academic/Career Counseling?
Remedial Services?
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 61%
  • 20 to 49 students: 37%
  • 50 or more students: 2%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: Yes
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • Humanities
  • Natural sciences and mathematics
  • Social sciences
  • University studies
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree
Most Popular Majors
  • Economics and Econometrics: 4%
  • English Language Studies: 4%
  • Political Science and Government, General: 4%
  • Sociology and Anthropology: 4%
Graduation Requirements
  • Foreign languages
  • Humanities
  • Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
  • Sciences (biological or physical)
  • Social science
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Other Academic Offerings
  • Cross-registration
  • Double major
  • Extended study program
  • Honors program
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Liberal arts/career combination
  • Student-designed major
Online Courses
While Colgate doesn't offer online courses for credit, they started an alumni and parent section of the Living Writers series, featuring an online course available for parents and alumni.
Best Places to Study
  • The O'Conner Campus Center-"the Coop"-boasts an oversized fireplace and plenty of comfy seating, which incidentally are great for naps.
  • All academic buildings are open until at least 11 p.m., leaving plenty of quiet, well-lit space for those who would prefer to do work outside of the libraries. The Persson skybridge is a student favorite.
  • Case Library provides floors and floors of private and group study space and is a clear favorite among students. Looking to lose yourself in your books? The basement level government stacks are a hidden gem.
  • The smaller, George R. Cooley Science Library, is located closer to academic buildings than Case and makes a great place to study during the day and in between classes.
Tips to Succeed
  • Go to class and attend office hours. Most teachers have an attendance policy, which is incorporated into your grade. The professors go over the material so students have a clear understanding. Professors are more often than not itching to speak with students outside of class and often grade more favorably if you take advantage of office hours.
  • Nearly every academic department has its own lecture series. Branch out and attend as many different lectures as possible; it's an easy way to learn something new and may even be the inspiration for your next paper or project.
  • Work on your homework whenever you have time; if something fun comes up, you don't want to be stuck in Case Library based on procrastination, while the rest of your friends are out having fun.
Did You Know?
  • No need to add up credit hours at Colgate. Every course counts for one credit toward the 32 needed to graduate.
  • Colgate's core curriculum, one of the oldest in the country, gives students an opportunity to explore subjects outside of their comfort zone. All students take "Legacies of the Ancient World," "Challenges of Modernity," "Communities & Identities," and "Scientific Perspectives on the World," ideally one per semester during their first four semesters on campus.
  • For those students unable to take a full semester off to study abroad, Colgate offers extended study opportunities each semester, which incorporate on-campus classes during the year and a short-term trip abroad to immerse students in the subject matter.
  • Colgate offers 52 majors and 13 minors; incidentally, the number 13 is Colgate's luckiest number.
  • Registration works on a rotating alphabet system, but if you get locked out of your first choices, don't worry! Show up the first day of class, and many professors will sign you in to the course for the semester. Many departments also offer pre-registration for courses in your major.

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 71 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How often do you:    Based on 26 responses

  • Attend class (lectures and recitation)
  • Do all of your homework
  • Do all of your assigned reading
  • Adequately study
  • Take advantage of office hours/study sessions
  • Take notes

Where did this school rank in your list of potential schools when applying?    Based on 26 responses

  • 23% This was my dream school.
  • 62% This was one of my top choices.
  • 15% This was a school I settled for (safety school).


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