Academics

Colby offers an academic program anchored to the world’s most complex challenges. Students choose from 56 majors and 35 minors, as well as an option to design their own major. This is one of the most expansive academic curricula for a school of 2,000 students in the country. Students take courses in everything from art history to managerial economics to computational biology. Colby was the first college to pioneer a 4-1-4 academic calendar where students take four courses in the fall, pursue one intensive academic or career experience during our exploratory term in January, Jan Plan, and take four courses again in the spring.

Through coursework and research opportunities, Colby students are paired with the world's leading scholars as they work in tandem to help address the world's most pressing, complex challenges. Often, collaborations result in coauthoring peer-reviewed articles or presenting research together at conferences.

Students enjoy access to world-class research institutions through partnerships with the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Additionally, Colby’s incredible curricular resources are enriched by labs dedicated to promoting student research, including the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment and the Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation. Exceptional facilities, including state-of-the-art academic buildings and labs, one of the finest college art museums in the country, and the Lunder Institute for American Art, enhance the academic program. The Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence at Colby is the first cross-discipline institute for artificial intelligence (AI) at a liberal arts college. The Institute will facilitate significiant faculty and student research using rich datasets with real-world consequences and prepare students for a future where AI is transforming industries, careers, and modes of discovery, creativity, and scholarship.

Student Life

The Colby experience is about engaging deeply in a campus culture that supports and is shaped by the arts and creativity; is centered on a healthy and active lifestyle; is committed to local, state, and national engagement; and is defined by a culture of shared success. 

Utilized to extend classroom learning by more than 100 classes across the curriculum each year, the Colby College Museum serves as an extraordinary resource for a diverse array of departments and programs. In 2017, we established the Lunder Institute for American Art, thanks to a gift of more than $100 million in American art from the Lunder family. The Institute furthers the Museum’s educational mission and is the only research institute focused on American art at any college similar in size to Colby. The College is in the process of developing a new arts and innovation center that will emerge after 2021 and will support an array of creative endeavors.

Leading a healthy, active lifestyle is central to life at Colby. In 2020, the College opened a new 350,000 square foot athletic facility. This $200 million state-of-the-art center is one of the premier sports venues in the country and will include an indoor 200-meter track, the only Olympic Myrtha pool in the northeast, squash courts, and exceptional competition spaces for basketball, ice hockey, and other varsity, club, and intramural sports. Additionally, the complex features a multi-level 13,500 square foot fitness center designed for use by the entire Colby and Waterville community.

Civic engagement is also an integral part of the Colby experience. In 2018, Colby opened the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, a residence hall for 200 students in downtown Waterville. The purpose of this residence hall is to further civic engagement and community partnership, and the first floor includes retail space as well as an area for city council meetings and other community and College gatherings. 

Our 2,000 students represent more than 45 states and nearly 70 countries, bringing many perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences to Mayflower Hill. More than 10 percent of students are the first in their family to attend college and nearly half receive financial aid. Our community has a well-known capacity for and commitment to collaboration, both inside and outside the classroom. This culture of shared success – which celebrates individual successes as lifting our entire community up, rather than threatening the success of others – is paramount to this experience.

Outcomes

Our innovative DavisConnects program guarantees all students access to global internship and research experiences, regardless of their ability to pay. Partnerships with leading employers and renowned graduate schools enhance opportunities for meaningful internships and research endeavors and position students to make a significant impact in the field of their choosing. Nearly 95 percent of Colby students are employed or in graduate school or professional school within six months of graduation.

Visit Colby

Visiting the College provides an opportunity to meet current students and tour the campus. Plan your visit to Colby

Apply and Afford

Through the Colby Commitment, we have simplified our application process and removed the barriers to applying for both admission and financial aid. We accept the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application. There are no fees to apply and no extra writing supplements or essays to submit. Colby is test optional. Students may choose whether to submit their standardized test scores with their application for admission. We meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, without including loans in our financial aid packages. 

Application Deadlines

Colby has three admissions rounds, including two binding rounds of Early Decision as well as Regular Decision. 

Early Decision I

  • Application Due: November 15
  • Admission Decision: on or before December 15

Early Decision II

  • Application Due: January 1
  • Admission Decision: on or before February 15

Regular Decision

  • Application Due: January 1
  • Admission Decision: on or before April 1
  • Student's Reply: May 1

Application Materials

  • Completed Application for Admission: Colby accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application.
  • Academic Records: We require your high school transcript, a completed secondary school report from a school official, one counselor recommendation, and two teacher recommendations.
    • We recommend a minimum of 20 core academic units, including:
      • Four years of English
      • Three years of a single world language 
      • Three years of mathematics
      • Two years of laboratory science
      • Two years of history or social science
      • Two years of other college prep electives
  • Early Decision Agreement Form (required for Early Decision applicants only)
  • Optional Application Materials
    • Standardized test score results
    • Additional recommendation letters
    • Arts Supplements, including art, music, creative writing, and performing arts materials, may be uploaded after an application has been submitted.
    • If you filed your application early in the fall and want to provide new information or accomplishments, please email us at admissions@colby.edu. 

Financial Aid

Colby aid packages meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, without including loans. Families earning up to $65,000 with typical assets can expect a parent or guardian contribution of $0. Families earning up to $150,000 with typical assets will have a parent or guardian contribution of no more than $15,000. 

Want to know what you might expect from your Colby aid package? Use MyinTuition and our Net Price Calculator to input your family’s financial information. These tools will give you a sense of what your family would contribute toward your Colby education.

The Colby Commitment

We ensure the most talented students from every background have access to the best possible education.

      • Colby meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need using grants—not loans—in aid packages, so students have the opportunity to start their career without the burden of debt.
      • It's free to apply to Colby, and there are no required supplementary essays.
      • Our holistic application review process considers multiple aspects of achievement, involvement, and fit when reviewing each student's application.
      • Colby provides funding and resources for research, internships, and global study and travel. Through initiatives like the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences, the Ralph J. Bunche Scholars Program, the Presidential Scholars Program, and the Pulver Science Scholars Program, first-year students have access to exceptional experiences.
      • Students are paired with professors, advisors, and mentors who will guide and support them throughout their college career.
      • Students have access to Colby's global alumni network, which is invested in helping them succeed.

Additional Information