How to Get Into Colorado College: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Colorado College?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Colorado College Students
- What is Colorado College Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Colorado College
Sitting at the foot of the Rocky Mountains is Colorado College, a private liberal arts college known for its unique Block Plan structure and its opportunities in outdoor education. The 2,000 students at Colorado College don’t learn on a semester or quarter system, but rather The Block Plan, in which students take only one class for three and a half weeks. The Block Plan encourages deeper and more intensive learning in the mornings, while allowing students to pursue their other passions during the afternoons. Think a deep dive into your studies and ample outdoor activities is your kind of college experience? Keep reading to find out how to optimize your chances at Colorado College.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Colorado College?
For the 2020–2021 admissions cycle, Colorado College received 10,257 applicants, of which 1,395 were accepted. This means that last year, the acceptance rate was 13.6%, making it a highly selective school. That same year, CC received 1,323 early decision applicants, of which 311 were accepted, which yields a 23.5% acceptance rate for early decision. Colorado College also has a non-binding early action option.
While CC’s admissions rates are low, they don’t necessarily reflect your own chances of admission. Our free chancing calculator can help you better understand your chances of acceptance into CC. 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 Colorado College Students
Of the 32% of last year’s first-year students at Colorado College who submitted class rank, 73% graduated in the top 10% of their high school class, and 91% graduated in the top 25%.
Standardized tests are not required to apply to Colorado College. A student’s decision to submit scores will not impact his or her candidacy for admission. However, test scores will be considered if submitted. Last year, 50% of freshmen at Colorado College submitted SAT scores, and 43% submitted ACT scores. The top 25% of students scored above a 1440 on the SAT, and above a 33 on the ACT.
Colorado College does not offer secondary school GPA information, but given that almost three-quarters of admitted students graduated in the top 10% of their class, you should aim to have all A’s.
What is Colorado College Looking for?
Colorado College is fueled by curiosity, adventure, and imagination. The ideal CC student is eager to communicate, debate, defend, think, and engage, and needs to be willing to dive into their classes at hand with passion for 3.5 weeks. With courses that draw from the diverse terrains of Colorado and a strong global education program, Colorado College hopes to attract students who will benefit from experiential and intensive learning.
How Colorado College Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, CC considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
These factors are “important”:
- Academic GPA
- Application essay
- Extracurricular activities
These are “considered”:
- Standardized test scores
- Character/personal qualities
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- State residency
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
- Level of applicant’s interest
- Religious affiliation/commitment
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Colorado College
1. Aim for all A’s while taking the most challenging classes available
While Colorado College doesn’t have a “cut-off” GPA, accepted applicants across the board have strong academics. Since almost 100% of enrolled first-years last year graduated in the top quarter of their class, a competitive candidate for CC will need to have A’s in almost every class. Colorado College particularly wants students who challenge themselves, 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. Write engaging essays and supplement responses
In addition to the required essay as part of the Common Application/Coalition Application/Questbridge Application, Colorado College will require you to write a supplement essay.
Use the essay to show your strengths, character, written eloquence and voice, what you’re passionate about, and what you may bring to CC’s campus. This is your chance to speak directly to admissions officers.
For tips on how to approach the supplemental essay, take a look at our guide to the Colorado College essays 2021–2022.
3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)
Colorado College looks for students who will be inspired by and fit into CC’s creative, intense, and curious culture where learning doesn’t stop at the classroom walls. Your extracurriculars will show your passions outside the classroom as well as how you engage with the world around you. However, not all extracurriculars are equal in an application. To be a competitive candidate, 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.
4. Ask the right teachers for recommendation letters
Colorado College requires at least two letters of recommendation from teachers of an academic core subject (English, Math, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language.) Additional recommendation letters are accepted, and a counselor recommendation is recommended, but not required. CC is a small college with a high faculty–student ratio (10:1), in which the average class has 15 students, and where students and professors collaborate closely outside the classroom as well as inside.
Your letters of recommendation will show admissions officers what kind of student and peer you are. Letters of recommendation should come from instructors who know you the best and who can speak positively of your character and abilities. Take some time to think about which teacher will write you the most promising recommendation letter, and take a look at tips from CollegeVine to help guide you through the process.
5. Apply Early Decision
Since CC’s early decision acceptance rate is 23.5% and the regular decision acceptance rate is 13.6%, you considerably increase your chances of acceptance when you apply as an early decision applicant, even after accounting for profile strength. If you have your heart set on CC, applying ED can be a great way to show your commitment. However, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind about applying early, including less time to refine your application, fewer financial aid packages options, and the obvious inability to try your hand at other colleges if you do get in. If you are pretty sure about CC but still want to keep your options open, you’re in luck, because Colorado College is one of the few schools that offer both ED and non-restrictive EA. You’ll be able to submit your application early for earlier consideration, but not be subject to committing in the case of acceptance.
How to Apply to Colorado College
Planning on applying to CC? Here are some dates to keep in mind for the 2021–2022 cycle.
Admissions Application Due
Early Decision 1
Early Decision 2
Colorado College accepts applications through the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge National College Match application. There is no preferred or advantageous application. Required materials include:
- All parts of your Common, Coalition, or QuestBridge application, including personal essay and application fee (option to request fee waiver)
- Writing supplement
- Official transcript from junior year, and eventually senior year mid-year and final report
- Two recommendation letters from teachers of core subjects (English or language arts, math, science, social studies, and foreign languages)
Optional materials include:
- SAT or ACT scores
- Additional recommendation letters
- Arts supplement
- Counselor recommendation (recommended)
Learn more about Colorado College