Colgate is a contained community as the town of Hamilton (not to be confused by the college Hamilton) is an integral part of their campus. The two block town houses the Colgate bookstore along with a couple of cute coffee houses and shops.
While the college is remote, there are a lot of activities organized for the students. Colgate is a Division I school, with Hockey being the most active sport. “The Hockey Games are insane!” One interesting course is called Living Writers, where students read a book by a living author each week, discuss it on Tuesday and meet with the author on Thursday. These meetings are also available through webinars for students studying abroad or parents to view. DanceFest is a popular event on campus, which brings together all of the dance groups for a school-wide performance. They also bring a lot of speakers to campus, e.g. Bill Clinton, Dalai Lama.
Greek life represents a large part of the social life, as do local bars for upperclassmen. Students work hard and play hard. A previous incident of over drinking by freshmen had been blamed on the fraternities. Depending on whom you speak with, this is more or less true. Everyone though was in agreement that the Greek life is under scrutiny. Students are actively discussing what the right number of fraternities and sororities should be and how active a role Greek life should play. (The college recently eliminated one of the sororities, however there is a lot of demand to bring it back.)
While the predominant look on campus is J. Crew and preppy, there was a nice mix of students. Our tour guide was from Los Angeles and was very active in the Jewish Student Union. Another young man that I spoke with was from New York, sporting a pink button downed shirt and khakis. He was in a fraternity, she was not. The political culture is moderate with a good mix of conservative and liberal students.
Colgate students describe themselves as active and engaged. They are driven, intelligent, social and open to new experiences. Students must get involved to be happy on campus because there really is not much else to do outside of campus. On the plus side, it helps form a very cohesive community.
Colgate is a needs “aware” school and approximately 40% of students receive financial aid. This means that students who do not have a financial need may have an advantage. Colgate is highly select and the student’s intellectual engagement reflects this.
Colgate is great school for a student who wants a rigorous, liberal arts environment with Division I sports, enjoys interacting with a tight-knit community, and would be happy in a rural location.