How to Get Into Colgate University: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Colgate University?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Colgate Students
- What is Colgate Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Colgate College
Set on a hill in the upstate town of Hamilton, NY is Colgate University, a private liberal arts college with an undergraduate enrollment of roughly 3,000. Founded in 1819, Colgate has a history of providing its students with a rigorous academic experience within a caring and vibrant community.
In this post, we cover Colgate’s selectivity level, the average profile of its admitted students, how to optimize your application for Colgate, and other tips and deadlines.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Colgate University?
For the 2020–2021 admissions cycle, Colgate received 8,583 applicants, of which 2,358 were accepted. This means that last year, Colgate’s acceptance rate was 27.5%, making it a moderately selective school. That same year, Colgate received 1,061 early decision applicants, of which 478 were accepted, which yields a 45% acceptance rate for early decision. Colgate does not have early action.
While Colgate’s low admissions rates might be discouraging, your personal chances of admission may be higher. Our free chancing calculator can help you better understand your chances of acceptance into any college. By taking into account multiple elements of your profile, including your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance, and give you tips on improving your profile!
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Colgate Students
The average high school GPA of Colgate’s Class of 2024 was 3.68. 15.7% had a GPA of 4.0. 29% had a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99, and a similar 29.% had a GPA between 3.5 and 3.74.
Of the 18% of Colgate’s class of 2024 who submitted class rank, 65% graduated in the top 10% of their high school class, and 90% graduated in the top 25%. 99% graduated in the top half.
While standardized test scores are normally required for applicants, Colgate is test-optional for three years, beginning with students entering in Fall 2021. Of the students who enrolled in Fall 2020, the top 25% of students scored above a 1460 on the SAT, and above a 33 on the ACT.
What is Colgate Looking for?
In addition to academic achievement, Colgate looks for intellectual curiosity and as well as a sense of empathy for others. There is no cookie-cutter Colgate student; Colgate seeks to create a student body that is diverse but which is composed of thoughtful, curious, and talented students who want to be challenged and who seek the perspectives of others while shaping their own.
How Colgate Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Colgate considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Class rank
- Academic GPA
These factors are “important”:
- Standardized test scores
- Application essay
- Extracurricular activities
- Character/personal qualities
These are “considered”:
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
And these are “not considered”:
- State residency
- Religious affiliation/commitment
- Level of applicant’s interest
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Colgate College
1. Achieve at least a 3.7 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available
As the average GPA of enrolled Colgate students last year was a 3.68, in order to be a competitive candidate, you should aim for at least a 3.7 GPA. In addition, Colgate wants to see that you’ve challenged yourself, so you should try and take advanced honors, AP, or IB classes.
If your GPA is lower, and you’re still a freshman or sophomore in your high school, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Report your SAT scores if above 1460, and ACT if above 33
While standardized test scores are optional until Fall 2024 enrollment, Colgate will still consider your test scores if you submit them. During the next three years, a student who does not submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage from those who do. That being said, a high standardized test score is a valuable way to display your academic aptitude in addition to your transcript. If you do take the SAT or ACT and score in the 75th percentile of Colgate students, which is a 1460 on the SAT or a 33 on the ACT, reporting your scores will likely give you a boost.
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
3. Write engaging essays and supplement responses
In addition to the Common Application/Coalition Application/Questbridge Application essay, Colgate will offer you the opportunity to respond to the optional Colgate Supplement Questions. You can choose to respond to any or all of the questions. Although Colgate states that students who choose not to respond to the supplement questions won’t be at a disadvantage, the supplement is an excellent chance to show your strengths, character, authentic voice, what you’re passionate about, and what you may bring to Colgate’s campus.
For tips on how to approach the supplemental questions, take a look at our guide on how to write the Colgate University essays 2021–2022.
4. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)
When your academics are as equally strong as many other candidates for a college, extracurriculars are where you have a chance to stand out and help the admissions committee form a better idea of who you are and what you might bring to the campus.
In general, any activity that you do regularly outside the classroom counts as an extracurricular, as long as you can demonstrate that the activity has contributed to your growth as an individual. However, not all extracurriculars are created equal. Extracurricular activities can generally be divided into four “tiers.” To increase your chances at Colgate, you should have one to two “Tier 1” or “Tier 2” extracurriculars.
- Tier 1 activities demonstrate exceptional talent, achievement, leadership, or merit. Activities and roles on the national level or which garner field-wide recognition count as Tier 1 activities. This may include winning a national award, qualifying for international competition and therefore gaining prestigious recognition, or starting a nonprofit that gains national traction. Having a Tier 1 activity marks you as a distinguished youth in the field of your activity, so having Tier 1 activities is rare.
- Tier 2 activities are more common than Tier 1, but still show high levels of achievement and potential. Holding school-wide leadership positions like student government president, winning regional competitions or awards, and local recognition as a student athlete or musician are all considered Tier 2.
- Tier 3 activities demonstrate sustained participation rather than exceptional achievement, and are frequently seen in applications, both across the board as well as in any given individual student’s application, as some students may have more than one Tier 3 activity. These activities can include holding minor positions in school clubs or being on a Varsity team.
- Tier 4 activities are the most common and have the lowest entry bar; they demonstrate interest without particular dedication. However, they are still important to include, especially if you have higher tier activities, because they can help show the diversity of your interests. Tier 4 activities can include regular volunteering, general membership in clubs or organizations, or taking any kind of music or art lesson over several years.
Having extracurricular activities on your application shows colleges that you have personal passions and that you can take your skills beyond the classroom. While colleges are happy to see any kind of interest you’ve taken, you’re going to be a much more competitive candidate if you have a few Tier 1 or 2 activities that show dedication and excellence rather than many scattered Tier 4 activities.
5. Apply Early Decision
Remember that Colgate’s early decision acceptance rate is 45.%, while the regular decision acceptance rate is 27.5%. As early decision is binding, you significantly increase your chances of acceptance to Colgate when you apply as an early decision applicant even after accounting for profile strength. If you have your heart set on Colgate, applying ED can be a great way to show your commitment. However, keep in mind the drawbacks to applying early decision. You’ll have less time to refine your application, fewer financial aid packages options, and there’s the obvious inability to try your hand at other colleges if you do get in to your ED school.
How to Apply to Colgate
Planning on applying to Colgate? Here are some dates to keep in mind for the 2021–2022 application cycle.
Admissions Application Due
Early Decision 1
Early Decision 2
Colgate accepts applications through the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge National College Match application. To apply, you will need the following materials:
- All parts of your Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge application, including personal essay, extracurricular activities list, and application fee (option to request fee waiver)
- Official high school transcript
- High school counselor letter of recommendation
- Two letters of recommendations from teachers of core subjects in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade
- Mid-year grades
- SAT or ACT (optional for Fall 2021–2023 enrollment)
Optional materials include:
- Colgate Supplemental Questions
- Arts or athletic supplemental materials