Colby College-Waterville, Maine
Community, creativity and consideration
What it Feels Like to Go Here
Picture this: you stroll through an open green campus, covered in trees and brick buildings, and spot students strutting outdoorsy, preppy styles decked out in leggings and flannels. The tiny size (less than 2,000 undergraduates) creates a second-family feel at Colby. “I’ve never been on a campus where like…it really feels like a home and a family,” sophomore Alicia Elliott said. This close-knit atmosphere makes building friendships and meeting new people incredibly easy, especially for freshmen. At Colby’s dining halls, you can meet new people through a color-coded coffee cup system: If you’re open to making new friends, you choose a red cup, but if you’d rather stick to your group, you can choose a white cup.
Aside from the inclusive social life, students at Colby take their academics seriously. Walk into the library and you’ll find it packed with students studying. Professors go out of their way to support their students too. “I got to go to two different professor’s houses—they just invited us over for dinner—and they’re all super into what they’re teaching so they make their classes a lot of fun,” Elliott said.
What Colby lacks in size it makes up for with its alumni base. The author of the hit book series turned T.V. show Gossip Girl, Cecily von Ziegesar, graduated from Colby in 1993 with an English degree. Other notable alumni include Billy Bush, best known for his role as the host for Access Hollywood. Fun fact: He’s former president George W. Bush’s cousin. Dan Harris, 1993 graduate, makes a name for himself as an ABC News correspondent, Nightline anchor on ABC and weekend co-anchor on Good Morning America. Last but not least, lift up your dove hearts! One of the founders of the Sigma Kappa sorority chapter, Mary Caffrey Low Carver, graduated from Colby in 1875. She was also the first woman to graduate from Colby after it became the first college in New England to admit both men and women.
Where We Hang
The town of Waterville sits in the middle of nowhere, so most students stick to on-campus outings. Luckily, Colby always brings in fun for their students during the weekends, like live bands or free food. Many students eat at Dairy Cone, Waterville’s version of Dairy Queen. Some upperclassmen venture to bars, but most underclassmen stay on campus, hanging out in dorms or initiating intense Nerf Gun wars.
If you look hard enough, you can always find a party on campus, but students find other ways to make the most of their college experience, too. In the winter, students play broomball, a game similar to hockey, but with brooms and no skates. During the week, students relax on Miller Lawn, where you can spot the entire student body on a nice day. You can guarantee running into someone you know at the library or the Spa, one of the dining halls. Colby’s faculty promotes what they call “Spontaneous Fun Days” where students will receive a random e-mail in the morning listing all the events around campus, like moon bounces, therapeutic dog petting and free ice cream.
1.How much are students partying?
“[Partying gets] pretty big on the weekends…a lot of people go out, but it is an open door policy…you can just go in anywhere and it’ll be fine…There’s also a lot of people who don’t and even the people who do party a lot it’s not like all the time. Sometimes they will just hang out and play charades or whatever. So there’s a mix.” –Alicia Elliott, sophomore
2. What will you get in trouble for at your school?
“You’ll get in trouble for dorm damage, of course. You can…be fined for swimming in Johnson Pond or climbing trees. You can also get a ticket for parking in the wrong section, so if you’re planning on having a car on campus, make sure you park in the student parking lot.” –Christine Clark, sophomore
3. How much sex are students having?
“There’s definitely some people who go out on the weekends for the purpose of finding someone to have sex with…But I think overall people can do whatever they want to do and no one is going to judge you.” –Elliott
4. What would you tell incoming freshman about your school?
“[First:] Go to office hours that your professors have… they really want you to come and it will really help with grades…I found that a lot of the classes were pretty challenging when it came to exams and essays because the grading scale can be harsh. [Second:] All the experiences I had were about the people I met in my dorm and my classes. So, I would find one really strong interest after exploring a few through clubs and stick to it.” –Ilana Zyatitsky, junior
5. What is one thing that Colby does differently than other schools?
“We have…Jan Plan, so you take one class for the month of January and…it’s a time where you can…take something you’re really interested in that could be totally different from your major…I took multicultural literacy which was a really cool class just about diversity…and I had a friend who took a book making course where they learned how to make books and bind them.” –Elliott
1. “It’s just super friendly…it’s just one big community…like I know I could walk anywhere and just say hi to a stranger and they would probably start talking to me about life…it felt like summer camp…all year.” –Alicia Elliott, sophomore
2. “Colby is very well set up to help you meet people; all freshman live on campus, you meet people through the outdoor orientation group and you spend time with freshman in your hall for the first week of orientation. This continues even after classes start because most activities at Colby including weekend parties take place on campus or at least enough events that you could definitely find something to do.” –Ilana Zyatitsky, junior
3. “Academics wise professors…really care about helping you and will if you talk to them outside of class. Also you get a lot of chance to participate in classes, it’s not just lectures.” –Zyatitsky
4. “It’s hard to get off campus unless you know someone with a car and the only thing to really do on the weekends is to go to parties in terms of campus activities. Since the school is so small, the only way that I really found you could meet new people after orientations was through your classes or having a strong common interest that bonds you…also the town of Waterville isn’t too great in terms of things to do.” –Zyatitsky
5. “It’s been great. My favorite part…just like meeting so many cool people and I have such awesome friends now. I’ve gotten to experience so many things that I don’t think I would’ve anywhere else. I take Russian and Colby sent kids in the Russian department to Boston [to watch] a play, Three Sisters,…and the actors were from St. Petersburg…So just all of the support Colby has and all of the people, it’s incredible.” –Elliott
Top 3 Majors
Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations
1. The Colby Outing Club (COC)
As a group of people who share a passion for the outdoors, The Colby Outing Club hosts more than 100 trips each year for students. From hiking to biking to climbing and skiing, COC alllows students to participate in outdoor activities for free. Students can either join a trip or rent gear and go on their own outdoor adventure. “My favorite part of the COC is definitely the people,” sophomore Rachel Leonard said. “Everyone is super welcoming, especially to newbies like me, and genuinely open and willing to help out.”
2. Colby Cares About Kids
Colby Cares About Kids links Colby students to local kids, grades kindergarten through eight, who attend schools in the surrounding communities. Colby students act as mentors and help students in the class room or go out for ice cream to just talk. At the end of the year, all Colby students and their mentees throw a goodbye BBQ. “The most rewarding aspect has been watching my mentee grow and accept me more and come to trust that I would show up each week,” sophomore Abigail Taylor-Roth said.
3. Colby Volunteer Center (CVC)
A student run organization, the Colby Volunteer Center enables students to engage with the greater Waterville community through over 25 different service projects. “I would describe us as student-focused, committed, and determined to make an impact outside of our campus,” CVC Assistant Director and junior Peter Barkey-Bircann said. Students participate in projects like animal welfare, food security, education, medical service and mentoring. They host a “Haunted House” on Colby’s campus each Halloween for the whole town of Waterville. “I’ll never forget the excitement plastered on the little kids faces while walking through the spooky haunted house, nor the parents smiling as their kids won prizes,” CVC Co-Director and junior Shona Bell McCarthy said.
Colby takes pride in its “holistic” approach to college admissions. Colby wants to hear about your interests, pursuits and ultimately, your personal story, rather than a repetitive list of GPAs and test scores. The best part? Colby doesn’t require any additional essays apart from the Common App and no application fee. Interviews are optional, but don’t feel intimidated. Current students interview you rather than scary faculty members and you literally just have a conversation. “She asked about myself and…she shared stuff about herself. I felt like we were friends at the end of the interview,” Elliott said.
Location: Waterville, Maine
Tuition & Fees: $47,350
Total Cost on Campus: $61,730
Undergrads Enrolled: 1,850
Grads Enrolled: N/A
Total Enrolled: 1,850
Acceptance percentage: 22.5%
Percent Admitted who Enroll: 33.2%
Enrollment: 483 freshman
Percentage of Male Students: 47%
Percentage of Female Students: 53%
Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 41%
Percentage Receiving Federal Grants: 40%
Percentage Receiving Federal Loans: N/A – as a part of the “Colby Commitment” Colby will meet 100% of students’ financial need, through grants and on-campus work, not student loans