Impressions Of
Colby College

Academic Experience

Female Economics Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It can be both. It’s pretty collaborative in that I rarely study on my own and people are pretty willing to help you and receive help. At the same time, it can be competitive because everybody is really smart. It’s not cutthroat, but people are competitive, especially with themselves.

How accessible are your professors?
They’re very accessible. I go to office hours every week pretty much. They also respond to emails and phone calls as well.

Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Generally, yes. It’s a pretty liberal school so, depending on the subject you’re talking about, people generally lean towards a more liberal perspective. Especially in the Economics department, I think people’s opinions vary pretty widely and people are open to accepting other’s perspectives.

Female Global Studies Major C/O 2020

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I like the way the major is structured around five core courses and a variety of different subjects to get a really well-rounded introduction to Global Studies and then you have the flexibility to choose which area you want to concentrate in, which is what I’m doing.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
In the classroom setting, students definitely have the desire to come together and work together on projects or essays and share notes. But, at the end of the day, there is a competitive vibe on campus for people to strive to do well and do well in terms of doing better than others.

How accessible are your professors?
One of the best parts about Colby is that I have a lot of close relationships with my professors. They are so willing to meet and I feel very comfortable about speaking to them about anything or asking for letters of recommendation. Colby has a great program where you can take your professor to lunch at the school’s expense. There definitely is a vibe where office hours are very available and a lot of students use them regularly.

Male Computer Science Major C/O 2019

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
In the Computer Science courses, I will have more group work than the Math classes I take. Specifically in the Computer Science courses, the weekly course load depends on how much work the students want to put into their projects because we have weekly projects. The weekly projects are the main thing because in the end they contribute to about 50% of your grade, which means some people put in maybe 12 hours a week. I put in about 6-8 hours a week depending on how much work I have in my other classes. We also have a weekly quiz and exams every month.

How accessible are your professors?
Very accessible. All of the professors I’ve taken classes with give you enough time and are, more or less, always available. For example, for an Economics class I took, Corporate Finance, the professor was there every day from 2PM to 4PM every day of the week, we had teaching assistants available from 7PM to 9PM, and then you could schedule more time if you needed. They’re very available.

Social Opportunities

Female Economics Major C/O 2021

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
There are mostly on-campus parties on Friday and Saturday and then there is bar night on Thursdays for people who are over 21. The parties are held in on-campus apartments and there will sometimes be smaller parties in bigger dorms. On occasion, there will be parties at off-campus houses too. Generally, the on-campus parties are mixers between teams and then they open up to anyone around 11. Sometimes there will be themed parties for people who are not on sports teams.

How happy have you been with the weekend options at Colby? Is there anything you would change if you could?
If I wanted to go to a big party school, Colby would not be the place for it, and that is perfect for me so that worked. If I were to want more nightlife activity I would go somewhere different. It’s a nice balance of work life and nightlife for me.

What have been some of your favorite times at Colby?
Especially in the fall when it’s still warm out, it’s really nice to go hiking with my friends and get outdoors. Waterville’s a really pretty place in Maine to explore when it’s nice out. There are also a lot of student-run concerts outside in the fall.

Male Computer Science Major C/O 2019

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I enjoy dancing. I’ll have dance practice where we dance with friends in an organized setting until like 9PM. After that we go to a party. I don’t do as much partying now, I think I’m growing old [laughs]. There are no nightclubs or anything like that around so we do everything on campus in people’s rooms. We have no Greek life, so everything is held by friend groups, athletic teams, or clubs. All the parties happen on campus either in dorms or in a Colby owned apartment. There are also school organized events in [dormitory] common spaces. It’s really what you make of it, I have friends who still go to parties on campus.

How happy have you been with the nightlife at Colby? Is there anything you would change if you could?
Honestly, there are times when you wish there was more because at some points it becomes monotonous. I wish there was something else to break up the monotony. I think it’d be nice [if we had more organized activities].

Female English Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I mainly spend time with my friends or go to the senior apartments for parties, but the parties aren’t my favorite thing. I tend to go to those on Saturdays. I also like seeing the shows the Theater department and theater clubs put on and going to dance concerts and acapella concerts.

What nights of the week do you go out?
It’s interesting because Colby is very academic during the week. Nobody goes out Sunday through Wednesday. For seniors, there are more opportunities. Friday and Saturday are when most people go out, Thursday night is bar night for seniors, and Wednesday night is Pub Night.

What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
People love to go to dinner in Portland and there are concerts there. Sometimes there is stuff going on in Augusta too. There are also activities the school puts on, like paint night.

Campus Culture

Female Economics Major C/O 2021

How did you meet your closest friends?
A bunch of my closest friends I met through Colby Outdoor Orientation Trips (COOT). You go on an orientation trip before you get on campus, I went hiking, and I met a bunch of people through that. I also met people through my classes and also through club skiing.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s a very friendly environment. You always see people saying hi in the dining halls. It’s generally a very social environment and because it’s so small everyone knows everyone. It’s pretty easy to make connections and make friends and now that I’m a sophomore it’s very easy for me to sit down and have a conversation with people.

How do you like the size of Colby in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that influenced your experience? [Colby has about 2,000 students.]
The size is one of the biggest factors of why I chose to go to Colby. It’s so small and everyone stays on campus so everyone gets to know each other very well very quickly. There’s never a time where I meet someone where I don’t know one of their friends. It makes it really easy to get to know people.

Female Global Studies Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s definitely friend group based. Most of the activities you’ll participate in are based on what you and your friends do. Maybe a friend of a friend in your group is having something and will invite your friend group, so all the activities are spread by word of mouth. The campus is so small and isolated that even if you don’t know of something going on you can just go there because it’s not exclusive at all.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
There are a lot of straight, White, upper-class people at Colby. About 20% of the study body is in the top 1%, so basically, anyone who looks different or acts different doesn’t necessarily feel welcome to that team aesthetic. Otherwise, there are a lot of spaces on campus for people of any sort of orientation or background.

How would you describe the student body?
The student body gets a really bad rap for being very White and not diverse. Especially since I’ve been on campus, the incoming class has been more and more diverse and I think you can see that which is really nice. There are a lot of Questbridge and Posse scholars on campus, so Colby is making a very large effort to admit students from different backgrounds, so I think that culture is starting to change. [The population of Colby is over 70% White.]

Male Computer Science Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the overall social scene?
A cliché descriptions people use is “cliquey,” but I think that can have a negative connotation to it. I find it to be a healthy social environment. Yes, there will be teams who tend to stick together, like the football team or the soccer team, there will be clubs who stick together, so the African-Americans may tend to clique together and the Africans in my dance group tend to stick together. Different sections of campus tend to clique together because of the friends that you have, but there are no set boundaries. There is mixing between groups at parties and stuff like that.

To what extent do international students and domestic students mix socially?
It depends on the student. I’ve been both. I interacted a lot with domestic students, then I didn’t, and now I do again. It just depends on what you want. You could also end up closing yourself off if you are just part of Colby African Society and find yourself with just Africans, I know people who do that. You can also be outgoing and talk to anyone.

Waterville, ME

Pros of

  • “Because it’s so rural, the campus is pretty isolated and you get that happy bubble feel where everybody is on campus and together. We have that same foundation of Waterville experiences to relate to.”
  • “It’s an hour drive from Portland, which is a really cool city. There’s lots of good food and culture there.”
  • “There are lots of winter sports opportunities.”
  • “You get to focus on school because there’s nothing happening around you. You get to study and then go to the parties on campus on the weekends. On Mondays there is nothing else happening so all you have to do is work.”

Cons of

  • “The closest city is Portland, which about an hour and fifteen minutes away. If you don’t have a car on campus you’re pretty trapped on campus.”
  • “Colby kids are the youngest people in the surrounding area, it’s mostly old people around.” [About 29% of the population of Waterville is 55 or older.]
  • “The people in Waterville are very conservative and there are some neo-nazi vibes.”
  • “It’s really cold here, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be because there is camaraderie around it.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Economics Major C/O 2021

What is something a prospective student interested in finance may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
One of the reasons I chose to go to a liberal arts school and study finance is because, if I went to a business school everyone would be studying business, but at Colby it’s a small portion of students studying business and the rest of students are studying something else. Also, you can choose to minor or double major in other things, like I know people who double major in Art and Economics, so it gives you more flexibility in what you can study.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I would definitely go to the dining hall so you can get a feel for how students interact in a more casual setting than the classroom. It’s a place where you can tell a lot about the social culture of the school.

Female Global Studies Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Colby before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about the culture on campus so I could have a better understanding of what I was getting into. It’s something I’ve learned over the years and is something I’ve adapted to, and it’s working well for me. There is some turn off because of the way that student entitlement pervades on campus. It’s definitely very northeastern and wealthy. You know that statistically about the school, but the way it affects the way students behave and approach things is not necessarily clear before getting on campus.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The weather in Maine is generally not ideal. The student may take a tour of campus when it’s grey and cloudy and that might affect their visit. I think they should go to some of the really nice study spaces. One of the great things about Colby is you can go pretty much anywhere on campus and the buildings are pretty much unlocked for students at all hours, so, if the library isn’t a good spot for you, you can find a comfortable space that you might not see on the tour.

Female English Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Colby before entering as a freshman?
I feel like I was guided really well and I went in with the idea that I would learn, which I did. I wish I knew my Community Advisor was really accessible and that it doesn’t get warm until May, but I think I knew that.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Walking through the Pugh Center and talking with people on campus. People breeze by the Pugh Center in the tours. I also think sitting down and having a conversation with someone that is different than the guided tour is important. I’d also suggest to actually go to admitted students’ day if you’re admitted because it helps.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Colby College

To Attend

  • “The close relationships you can have with your professors is amazing.”
  • “The community itself is very tight-knit and administrators respond to issues very quickly. You can have a say in what happens on campus if there’s something that you see that you don’t like. As long as you’re willing to, you can change it.”
  • “It’s a collaborative but competitive academic environment.”
  • “The new president is really trying to renovate many buildings and the facilities are really improving. The downtown Alfond Apartments are a dream for any college student. They are also building a new athletic complex and a new arts center.” [Colby’s president, David Greene, took over in 2013 and one of his main focuses is to renovate campus spaces and downtown Waterville. Notably, the Alfond Main Street Commons, which houses senior apartments, has spurred jobs and positively impacted local businesses.]

To Not Attend

  • “The campus can feel very homogenous. There is a feeling of White privilege on campus that can lead to questioning if you are not of that background.” [About 20% of the student body are students of color. The median family income of a student at Colby is $236,100.]
  • “It’s definitely a small school so you get used to seeing the same people on a regular basis and get to know a lot of people very quickly. If someone’s looking for a bigger school where they’re constantly meeting new people, I would say Colby is not a good fit for that.”
  • “Waterville is not the best place to be in the prime years of your youth. There’s not a lot happening around.”
  • “Sports are very prevalent, so if you don’t play sports or are part of that culture it can feel hard.”
Notice: Colby College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Colby College.

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