Colgate University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Alexandria

My professor knows my name, where I live and many of my hobbies. My favorite class was academic persuasions because I got to know my professor really well. My least favorite so far is Core China because it is a lot of reading. The women's studies department is so active and has brown bags( free food and lecture) every Tuesday and Thursday. They're riveting.

Aidan

My professors go out of their way to know my name. My favorite class is Creative Non-fiction, which was my Freshmen seminar. I really got to learn interesting things about the art of writing and the leading professor was is passionate about what she teaches. My least favorite is Economics. many of the intro professors make the topic seem dull but it isn't at all. Students study hard and party hard. We learn to have a good balance. Studying is usually done Monday-Friday at night in my group. People study all over campus. There are so many good spots for different types. Most times class participation is required and encouraged. Most people don't mind because they like having their voice heard and contribute. Student's definitely have intellectual conversation outside class coupled with lots of humor. The most unique class I have ever taken is Creative non-fiction because people never expect non-fiction to be creative, but you would be amazed see how much art goes into a memoir. Most advising professors will invite advisees over for dinner with no reluctance. The academic requirements may seem restricting but most kids come in thinking they know what they want until Colgate pushes them outside their comfort zone. At Colgate, you find your calling not just a job. The education is definitely diverse enough to ay that it is geared to learning for the sake of learning. It is up to the individual to decide what path to choose.

Heather

The academics are definitely difficult, but the material is really interesting. I have learned so much at Colgate. Likewise, there are a plethora of different classes offered to the students. Any given student could take a wide assortment of classes ranging from a class in neuroscience to one in performance arts . Similarly, students are granted access to a number of resources provided by the campus. Aside from the conventional resources like the library and food services, a student can also experience resources such as the various technology labs, the museum in the Ho Science Center, and so much more. The academic and research opportunities are endless. I realize what academic major I want to pursue, I know the true definitions of conservatism and liberalism, vastly improved upon my Spanish, and most importantly I have really learned how to write. You are offered so many academic opportunities . You really are able to experience any concentration and learn what you really desire to pursue.

Jim

Colgate students are smart, but I wouldn't say they are intellectual. Class sizes are small, and professors know you by name relatively soon into the semester. I think Colgate's CORE requirements can be a waste of time, although you do read some of the 'classics.' The school lately has been playing up its arts and sciences, but both of these are really weak. If your going to study these you would be better served going to a school with a better established reputation in said departments.

James

The professors at Colgate are very accessible and the opportunity is there to form lasting, mentoring bonds with professors. I have never had a Colgate professor who did not intimately know their subject, however, I have had two or three who really did not belong teaching a class. But, they are the exception. Colgate students are most certainly smart- the requirements to get in make sure of that, but Colgate students are not intellectual. School work belongs in the classroom and the library so if you are hoping to stay up all night discussing Nietzsche or have other such random intellectual conversations won't find them here.

Laura

Colgate is a challenging school, but not impossible. Most students probably spend at least 2 hours a day, given the week etc., on their work outside of the classroom. There are a lot of conversations outside of the classroom that apply to class, politics, the world today etc. Kids at colgate are really smart and really involved/passionate about what they are studying. The political science department is full of professors from all different backgrounds with a variety of political views. Its a great place to study the discipline.

Ryan

Core classes are boring, but help broaden a students academic horizon. However, just as students are not excited about core classes, professors are not excited to teach them either. But easy to built relationships with some great professors once a major is declared.

Alex

I can say almost only positive things about Colgate academics. My Professors have all been extremely knowledgable and good at relating the subject matter. They have all learned my name, at least for the semester, and they have been mostly quite personable. They always know their subject. The coursework is usually fairly rigorous, though as an English major I usually enjoy the work I have to do. Many times, more times than I like to admit, I have coasted by without doing the work. Usually I manage anyway, but not in Oceanography (D+). Class size is usually very small (12-20 students) and classes are very discussion based. Students are usually pretty bright and willing to participate, but with so few students it can be hard to keep the discussion rolling. I often find myself paritcipating more than most other students. Students can get competitive, but more in areas like economics than English, perhaps because we are not vying for high paying jobs. There is certainly some plagiarism, but it isn't what I would consider a serious problem. Professors are very accessible and are passionate about what they do. In my experience, education at Colgate is aimed at education itself as an end, not as a means to a job. I think that Colgate's distribution requirements, painful as they may be at times, are testament to Colgate's interest in producing a person with a well rounded education.

Brooke

See above. One of my main concerns when applying to college was that I did not want to feel lost in the classroom. I didn't want to be a number but a face with a name. Professors constantly make themselves available, offering office hours outside the classroom a minimum of 2 times a week. They really encourage you to get to know them and to seek them out for extra help. I know first hand that taking advantage of their availability can truly make a difference in your grade and your relationship with them. I have gotten to know a number of my Sociology professors and when choosing a class, Ifind myself factoring in my relationship with a specific professor.

Shannon

We have a great new library with 5 floors and a starbucks cafe. Professors are always accessible at office hours and CORE professors usually take their class out to dinner once a semester. It is not uncommon for a professor to extend opportunities for extra credit. However, you will have to work to get that A or B+. Alumni connections are spectacular for finding an internship or job after graduation.

Meghan

I have only been lucky enough to experience two semesters at Colgate but my experiences have been outstanding. There is the believed misconception that college professors don't care and are out to get you but this is not the case. The professors I've had are more than friendly and willing to help.

allison

Yes. Professors know my name. The classes are small enough so professors can learn your name and the campus itself is small enough that you'll run into old professors all the time. My favorite class was my archaeology class and art history class that I took while abroad in Venice through the Colgate program. I really disliked me Econ class. So boring! Yes, there is class participation. Yes, students have intellectual conversations outside of class. And yes, students are competitive. My sculpture class was pretty unique and I really enjoyed it. I really enjoy my major, the department and the professors. My only complaint is that Colgate seems more geared toward helping students in the direction of economics, finance, consulting, etc. Career Services doesn't have a lot to offer art history majors.

Scott

Colgate academics are hard but professors are generally very helpful. While many students spend a lot of time preparing for class and reading etc. you can get by without being a complete nerd. Classes in Political Science and Geography are fun and the professors are generally very accessible.

Wil

Colgate academics are the best. Students and faculty are often on a first name basis. Academics spread outside of the classroom into various different activities and interests around the university. The faculty challenges the students to be the best at their field of study, as many of them are renowned scholars in their fields. Class participation is key for students, as a large part of learning (not to mention grading) is based on the participation of the students.

Jack

It seems that about half of the students at Colgate are economics majors (including myself) and this is a great department. However, you can't really go wrong with any major within Colgate's liberal arts education. The requirements are all interesting, and they include a class entitled "The Challenge of Modernity" which was simply remarkable. Furthermore Colgate mandates that students take a wide array of courses across all departments and which creates well read, interesting students with a wide array of knowledge. The professors are awesome for the most part, and it never ceases to amaze me how a professor teaching a lecture of 75 students can manage to memorize each and every students' name. However, lectures of 75 are generally rare and most classes a comprised of about 15 students in which class participation is highly encouraged. This creates for lively, stimulating class discussions.

Torry

Colgate has great academics. Being a Liberal Arts school there are four classes that every Colgate student must take before completing their sophomore year which I feel not only unifies the student body (as everyone can relate when they walk through the library seeing someone reading The Odyssey or the Bible), but also builds a strong base for students to then decide what they really want to pursue. Additionally, many of those classes are based a lot on class participation which is great experience for students who are often too shy to speak up in class and also encourages that you actually go to class. I feel that Colgate has fantastic academics. What makes them so great is that I am being constantly challenged, but also always supported as I know all of my professors well (as they know me too) and the university always provides tons of tutoring and opportunities to work with others. After my first semester of freshman year, I felt that I had learned more in one semester than I did in the past two years of private schooling. Colgate focuses on learning for the sake of learning. The university prides itself on its liberal arts and believes that it is a good institution and it has done its job if by the end of your four years, there are numerous academic areas that interest you and numerous possibilities for you to continue to pursue.

Charlie

It was the first semester of freshman year. Considering Colgate's science distribution requirement and my mediocre talents in that realm, I had selected a class that I thought would be interesting, but that wasn't Chem or Bio or anything like that. Technically, it was Neuroscience, but I didn't really pay much heed to that, focusing instead on the fact that it was an intriguingly titled intro class. Turns out, I found myself in what is considered one of the most challenging courses that Colgate offers. Needless to say, I had a rude introduction to college academia. I struggled through the class, which met 4 days a week and required piles of reading and hours of intense, structured studying. However, even though it was a lecture class with more than 50 students, my professor was personally in-touch with my floundering. He consoled me when I came out of the first test. And the second... and the third. He arranged for me to be personally tutored. He knew my name although I never raised my hand in class. When it came time for me to decide whether I would withdraw from the class or continue in a desperate attempt to pass despite my below-failing grade, he never discouraged me. And at the end of the semester, he actually congratulated me and told me that he was extremely proud and was glad to have me as a student -that he would even love to have me back! I got a C-. I didn't think I was worthy of such accolation, but it told me volumes about the professors here. No matter how hard their class might be, they never want to see you fail. They take personal delight in your achievements, even if it is just barely passing. They love to see students learning and developing, even if it's acquiring study skills, rather than a perfect understanding of their material. Although the class was a "rude awakening," I would much rather look at it as an enlightening experience that introduced me to my own potential and the quality of Colgate professors.

Jordan

They're taken seriously, but I don't consider most student to be very competitive with eachother. We help each other for the most part. Even though the academics were challenging, I did not have to put in a ton of effort to get decent grades. However if you want to do really well you'd have to put in alot of time in yours studies. It's nice to be at a place surrounded by other smart people.

Alex

The professors at Colgate are great people and even better teachers. Most of them make themselves very approachable and want to be involved in the students lives. The classes here are all so interesting, I wish I had more time to take classes outside of my major. Cheating (on exams, projects, or papers) is not very common, but it does happen. Academics as Colgate is education for the sake of education, but professors realize that students want the security of a career after college, so if you talk to a professor about life after Colgate they'll suggest all sorts of internships or programs that will help you. As a freshman, I have not gone to the Career Services department yet, but I hear it is helpful -- resume writing, job interview practice, etc.

Whitney

Colgate offers an enormous selection of classes with expert Professors in each field. With the smaller campus size and low student to teacher ratio, nearly all Professors remember your name (given you make the effort too). Class participation is commonly a large percentage of your grade but really helps in learning the material. With so many intelligent students at Colgate, discussions can get very heated and usually turn into a debate and sometimes carry-on into conversations outside of class. The most unique class that I took was Archaeoastronomy with Professor Anthony Aveni who is actually credited as being one of the subjects founders. In the class we learned about ancient civilizations who constructed their homes and cities to align with celestial bodies in the sky. I even had the opportunity to then travel to Yucatan, Mexico with my Professor and some other students to help him measure Maya ruins for astronomical alignments. The other great thing about Colgate is that because it is a liberal arts school, you are required to take classes in many different fields. In doing this students get the opportunity to experience many different classes and some even choose to follow those classes by making the subject their major. It also gives the students a much more well-rounded education.

Kathleen

Professors really do become your mentors at Colgate. They are passionate and genuinely interested and engaged in your learning experience. I've had dinner with at least five different professors here. There are tons of research opportunities and personal guidance too; I love the faculty at Colgate! Warning: students seem exceptionally apathetic, especially for the first year at Colgate. But there are many gems in the student body if you look closely-- people worth meeting, and who you will meet while being isolated up in Hamilton, NY. Most students become empathetic and intellectual by junior year because the education is so geared toward learning for its own sake. Colgate students are encouraged to "live a life worth living and to create a world worth living in." I really like the CORE curriculum at Colgate too, and the distribution requirements really allow students to find their niche.

Patrick

Academics at Colgate are tough and unlike many other colleges you have to work very hard to get a good grade. This is good in the long run as it prepares you for the future.

Nina

Class participation is usually necessary. Except for science classes, usually the class participation, a final exam and lots of papers contribute to your grade. Colgate is geared toward learning for its own sake - it's liberal arts. Students are competitive with themselves, but not with classmates. Group work and study teams are common. Professors are always willing to have extra time to help out difficult matters. Tons of help!

Lindsay

Even in Into to Psych, the largest lecture at Colgate, the professors knew my name. Professors truly care about their students and want us to do well. Students want to see each other do well, too. Colgate is definitely a school of overachievers, but students aren't competitive. We all want to see each other do well. Study groups are very common, and the library offers many rooms for study groups to meet (and all of these rooms are PACKED around finals time!)

Michelle

Most classes are on the smaller size of around twenty students. Professors will know your name and even in my 70 person lecture hall, my professor knew my name. My least favorite classes are those that are under the CORE curriculum that all students must take (Western Traditions and Challenges of Modernity). These courses completely depend upon what professor teaches them so that's frustrating. Class participation is counted in final grades for the majority of the classes offered. Economics is a very difficult major at Colgate as it probably is at all other schools. Professors work around with final grades for the class being averaged at a B-. Tests are made to be very difficult so that they are curved in the end. The nice thing about going to a small school is that it is normal for professors to take their students out to the clubhouse or the Colgate Inn or Merrill house or even their own house for dinner.

Joe

Professors are great. Most seem to be genuinely interested in teaching as well as research. Your experience with Colgate's Core Curriculum will depend on the professors you have, but if you get some of the great ones it will be unforgettable. Some departments are much stronger than others. Philosophy, Economics, Political Science, Mathematics and Geology are some that come to mind as the strongest.

Emily

Academically, Colgate is very intimate. All the professors know your name, except in the few big lecture classes. Most genuinely want to help you learn and make themselves available for office hours. Many of my professors have hosted their classes to their house for a meal or dessert. We take academics fairly seriously and most days you can find half the campus in the library, studying and socializing with friends.

Charlene

The academics are rigorous at Colgate, that might eve be an understatement. As it was named one of the 'new ivies' it is clear that the academics are going to stick to that title. However, the tough academics do not mean it is impossible. The professors at Colgate make a strong effort to know all of their students names and keep office hours regularly to make sure that students do well in their classes. It is also nice that classes do not exceed 30-45 people and every class is taught by a professor rather than a T.A.

Evan

They know our names usually. Cross-cultural human development -- the View meets a UN think tank. Sweet. Least favorite? Lots of people have different opinions about which intro class sucks the most--take a couple and find out yourself. Intellectual students have intellectual conversations outside of class, and they're usually really interesting. Then again I just heard someone say "Are you trying to out-bro me, bro?" on the quad, so there's always the other side. Some students talk to professors outside of class; they are community members, etc.

Blake

Academics are pretty hard with the exception of SOAN and Women's Studies- hence why you'll see so many athletes in SOAN. Students study pretty frequently, as most are pretty academically driven. Class participation depends on the class and the student group you end up with. Intellectual discussions outside class are not rare, but aren't common either. Within the Art History department, there are some amazing professors and some really cool ones. I loved my Renaissance Architecture course taught by Guile (amazing prof). I generally like the academic requirements here because they give a good breadth. Depending on what you study, you learn for the sake of learning or learn towards a career. There is a very strong push towards internships etc here.

Ande

I love my academic experience. The professors are great and it is really easy to build relationships with them, in fact they encourage it. People are pretty active in class discussions but I am a bit disappointed in a reluctance to engage in academic discussion outside of class by many students. We are smart kids, but not overly intellectual. Being in a Peace and Conflict Studies major is great because the professors are really open. My favorite class has been Weapons and War, which studies the history of weapons and explores more philosophical issues surrounding war like what is injury.

Caroline

Academics at Colgate is very challenging. Students put in an average of more than 30 hours of work a week, but it is worth it. Classes are interesting and engaging, and professors are friendly and helpful. Class participation is often required in class, even in the larger lectures. There is an environment of learning for its own sake; teachers challenge us to think outside the box and apply our knowledge to a greater worldview. This manifests itself in the required courses at Colgate. We must take a wide variety of courses that range the subjects, with 4 Core classes that challenge us to apply our knowledge to the bigger picture and society at large.

Jessica

Very Very TOUGH!!!Definitely hard work. Lots of papers in first 2 years.

Nick

Professors are for the most part involved with the material, the school, and the students. Classes mostly revolve around discussion. Students even (gasp) talk about interesting class material outside of class.

Jill

Professors are what make this school so amazing. They will go way out of their way to help you. The academics are very challenging and demanding, but it is only because the professors really push you to grow and develop in your four years. I am a political science major and I am currently abroad on the Colgate Geneva Switzerland Study Group. An amazing experience. Professor Shain brought a group of 18 of us and we travel around europe visiting different international institutions and seeing amazing European studies! He is an amazing guy and I met a whole new group of kids that I would have other wise never have known. Colgate Study groups are so worth it, but still VERY demanding academically.

Jesse

It is a good academically challenging school.

Steve

Small classes and professors know you by name. Alot of outside class work between groups of students, like projects, presentations, studying, as oppossed to just getting a ton of homework assignments. Great academics that prepare you for the job you want.

Alex

Professors know me by name, except for psych class; students study hard as well as play hard when it comes to partying; most classes there is a grade for how often you come to class; chemistry is very difficult.

Cody

As a music major and economics minor, I've had the opportunity to see both ends of the academic spectrum. The economics department is popular and competitive, turning students out into successful finance careers. However, I've never had the same professor twice and don't know the vast majority of my many economics classmates. However, the music department is more intimate. Everyone knows each other in all the classes, and I've had the same professor for four classes, who then accompanied my senior recital. Whether you're looking for an intimate, close department, or a very large department with a lot of variety, we have majors fitting both categories.

Colleen

I love living in a small college community like Colgate because it seems like everything extends beyond the classroom. Obviously, one thing that all students here have in common is that we attend classes at Colgate. I have often introduced myself to people I have classes with in settings other than the classroom, so it is a good conversation starter to talk about class. I often find myself becoming engaged in heated discussions over topics or controversies brought up in classes, or that are subjects in the news. It's funny, just the other day my friends and I were talking about how sometimes we get into very intellectual discussions at odd times, like at the bar at 1 am on Friday night. People here are very smart, and love to debate, and anytime we can, we'll talk about what interests us. I think that classes here are very conducive to fostering our passion for discussing subjects. Most classes are very small - the average is around 19 students per class, though I have had many much smaller courses than this, especially at the upper levels - and discussion based. I have become much more comfortable with speaking in class, as well as giving presentations, while at Colgate. That has really helped me during job interviews. I think the emphasis on student thought during class, as well as other students' interests in discussing issues outside the classroom setting, has really pushed me to explore what I truly believe.

Andy

Professors are very invested in the lives of their students and genuinely encourage success. Classes are generally small and Colgate boasts about its small teacher:student ration. The amount of work you do depends on the type of student you are and what you decide to study. Sociology majors don't study, biochemistry and astrogeophysics majors do. Participation is common and group applications and projects are somewhat common. Students have intellectual conversations outside of class and going out for dinner with a professor or babysitting his kid are not uncommon. The academic requirements provide an amazing foundation for approaching worldly problems even beyond the scope of your particular major. The learning process, intellectual growth and real-world applications are emphasized in every class.

Daniel

Most classes at Colgate are small, and the professors will almost always learn your name. There are some requirements that force you to take classes outside your major, which is good. I feel well-rounded, and everyone finishes those before the end of sophomore year. The "best" part about academics is that you only have to take four classes per semester to graduate, or sometimes three if you have AP credits, summer classes, etc. It's interesting that my friends at state schools are taking five or six per semester, but I'm getting a "better" education than them. The majority of classes I have taken have been no work, then study for the mid term, then no work, then study for the final. I think this reflects on the academic attitudes of Colgate students pretty well. As an econ major, I'd say that Colgate's education (despite actually costing $45K/year) is "cost effective" since you get a degree with a good name for not that much work. As an econ student, I notice people only care about getting good grades in order to secure a good banking job. The good thing is, a lot of people do get those jobs.

Brittany

Academics at Colgate are the best part about Colgate- by far. The professors are outstanding, classes are small and challenging. Students study here a LOT. It's not an easy school, people really want to get an education. Class participation is a must and there's no such thing as skipping class. People have intellecutual conversations outside of class all the time. Professors invite students to their houses, to babysit their kids, to hang out etc. It's a very warm community. We have a core curriculum that is pretty easy to fulfill.

Sarah

Professors at Colgate make it their business to know each of their students names. It is very easy to approach professors with questions or just to have a random conversation with them. The atmosphere at Colgate is very welcoming and no one feels left out.

John

Great Professors who really care about their students.

Angelica

I was promised a great education when I got accepted into Colgate. And a great education I got. Most of my professors have pushed me past my limits, influencing me to go the extra mile. There are some great professors here, and I am definitely thankful for that. Although Colgate's academic requirements sometimes seem a bit much at times, I know I'll be glad I endured the journey when I graduate. I've had friends that studied abroad remind me when school stresses me out Colgate's standards don't define the world's standards, and I won't always be this stressed. A warning for newcomers: get sleep and stay healthy! Take time to spend with yourself and relax a bit.

Becca

All my professors know me by name and my old professors greet me when I pass by. It's great to have that connection with all your professor--it really helps when you need advice on a paper or just somebody to talk to about what's on your mind. My favorite class is Japanese (perhaps 'cause I'm a major). Aizawa-sensei is an engaging, personable teacher. Because of him, I feel nearly ready to study abroad in Japan next year.

Jon

Colgate has a very intimate academic program. You will get to know your professors well, and they usually have generous office hours for students. Their focus is on teaching, not research. Classes are small, and classes are tough. Colgate definitely has an intense academic program that will challenge you to write long papers, understand difficult subject matter, and think outside the box. Expect to spend from 20-40 hours per week on studies. Most courses are graded on a curve, which can be intimidating because everyone around you will be incredibly intelligent and well-spoken. It's not difficult to meet Colgate's CORE or distribution requirements, and you'll probably enjoy some of those classes more than you had expected.

caryn

As I get ready to enter the "real world" it is strange to think that I will no longer be having class dinners, be invited to professors houses, and meet with my advisor. For four years this has been a part of my life and something I have loved about Colgate. You go to a school like Colgate for the intimate relationships and special attention from teachers, but Colgate goes above and beyond meeting all expectations.

John

Academics, are obviously tough. But I have to say, professors are incredibly helpful, my physics professor this semester for example would hold help sessions every tuesday and thursday nights to make sure that people could finish their homework. Also, with the exception of my intro psych class, every one of my professors knows my name which impressed me a lot. And the course selection is great too, we have the standard courses like Organic Chem or Calc or History, but then our Core courses are things like the evolution of the atomic bomb or Paradox and Infinity or the Atlantis Debate. If you came to school to learn and not necessarily to get a job Colgate is a great school for that. Although if you want education for a job, Colgate is pretty damn good for that too.

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