Hey guys, I'm a prospective Colgate freshman and for me it was love at first sight. I could totally see myself going to Colgate until I realized it was a huge party school. I do NOT party anywhere that alcohol is involved (I dont do drugs either but I avoid alcohol purposely because alcoholism has destroyed many generations of my family including my own parents marriage...it's a pretty personal decision, and plus I can't stand the feeling of not being in control, and to top it off I have a phobia of vomit). So should I turn away Colgate for this reason? I want to go to a small liberal arts school that parties but isn't a "party school" and you don't feel pressured.
I also am not athletic and not a big sports fan. Will that be a deal breaker too?
I have never heard Colgate referred to as a "Party School". You appear to want a small liberal arts school that parties but isn't a "party school", I do believe that Colgate which fit that description since no matter how small a school is there will always be some people partying. I think the problem the problem for you will be that you are not going to be able to find many "parties" where alcohol is not involved or present. Also be aware that even if you are at a party that has alcohol I cannot imagine you being pressured into drinking if you are against it and you certaintly would not stick out. I dont think you should let this be your main factor is not attending Colgate since you love it there and you can completely ignore and get around the party scene.
I never experienced peer pressure to drink at Colgate, even at parties where there was alcohol. I'm also emetophobic, so I understand wanting to not be around it at all (rather than just not participating), but depending on your friends, it IS possible to drink responsibly and not to the point of getting sick. There is also substance-free housing where you can request to live with like-minded students. I think unless you go to a really religious college or something, there will be drinking - but I don't think Colgate is that bad, and you can opt-out. Colgate plans activities on weekend evenings as well.
For what it's worth, a friend of mine that went to Amherst (not really thought of as a party school...) told me about the heavy drinking at "tent parties" the night before graduation and how they hand out aspirin and water to the severely hungover graduates as they line up the next day. It wasn't like that at Colgate, thankfully!
The sports thing totally doesn't matter at all. If you read the other post on school spirit, you can see that there's actually more of a problem of a LACK of interest in attending games!
That is an unfounded fear aerobug. My ds goes there. He works hard, he goes to parties sometimes but no alcohol at all.
There are many events happening every weekend at Colgate. You can totally avoid parties if you want to.
This makes me feel a lot better, especially since I got to hear from another emetophobe like myself. I do realize that all LACs will have parties and alcohol but that does not mean I have to participate. I just hope I can find people like me, and I'm sure I will.
My daughter will be a Senior this year at Colgate. It's no more a "party school" than a thousand other colleges are, and a good deal less than a few where drinking and being drunk are the norm for a certain segment of the student body. Of course, this is a major concern for parents and new students, understandably. But there are drinkers and drug-users everywhere you go, I'm afraid. You just make your own group of friends and enjoy their company -- like you would in any city or apartment building you lived in, or business you worked for. Might as well get used to the real world.
We all know those schools where partying goes overboard. Some are large state universities where a certain segment of the student body is immature and away from home from the first time. There are some smaller schools which have too much drinking on campus. Even the Ivies and Little Ivies (Bowdoin, Amherst, etc.) have their share of drunken partying. It's everywhere if you want to find it. Most of the more responsible schools take the issue very seriously, as Colgate does.
As for Colgate, when it was an all-male school (when I went there) it had a reputation for hard partying that was somewhat deserved, and I went to a lot of those parties. Since I didn't drink (and still don't), I carried the same beer around all night and hardly touched it. So it was easy to talk to girls soberly and easy to see how silly some students got. But it was never that bad and mostly just lots of loud music, etc. A lot of students never drank, some preferred small parties where they were more likely to have wine, etc. There were all kinds of students back then, too, as there are today.
Today, Colgate's party culture is often associated with a few fraternities and sororities. But it's yours to involve yourself in -- or not. This is true of virtually every college in the country. There will be drinkers everywhere you go, and there will be dopers who can't live without marijuana, and every other type of person, as well. Welcome to the adult world, I guess. You find your friends and you enjoy life with them. My daughter does, and she doesn't seem to have had any problems with a drinking culture very much at Colgate. She goes to parties, drinks sometimes, has fun, but doesn't make it a big part of her life.
As for sports, believe me there are other people asking questions about why Colgate ISN'T enough of a sports school. I guess you can't please everyone! Colgate students are pretty athletic, for the most part. About half of all students play some sports. It's a very healthy place in that regard. And there is a big deal intramural and club sports program. But those are mainly for fun. And there are lots of students who have not the slightest interest in sports. If you are more intrigued by film, music, drama, literature, or just hanging out, then you don't get involved in sports. No one is going to care.
One advantage of not being a very small liberal arts college like so many of the other LAC's is that there is room for a great deal of diversity at Colgate. If it were a 1200 or 1800 student school, you might not have that. But at nearly 3000 students, Colgate is big enough to have an enormous variety of different groups of students -- and many individuals who just go their own way as they wish. No standard student cliches fit Colgate students other than perhaps "smart," "hard-working," "well-rounded," and "enthusiastic." Oh, also "incredibly good-looking," too. Had to add that one! Smile.
I'm thinking you should consider a school that is either closer to a city with more cultural events, restaurants or shopping or a very large school that has many types of clubs, theater events etc (Cornell comes to mind) A boy I know at another school very similiar to Colgate & location and he is a non drinker. He said while he loves his school, he wishes there was something else to do on weekends besides the few University sponosred events & frat parties...
I'm sorry, have but have any of the people responding to this actually attended Colgate as a student? As a recent Colgate grad, let me say that Colgate is a HUGE party school. If your son told you he goes to parties with no alcohol, I have no idea where he is going.
If you are as uncomfortable with alcohol as you say you are, I would strongly encourage you to attend another school. I would say less than 5% of Colgate students do not drink heavily, regularly.
I honestly feel really bad that all these other posters have led you astray, and anyone else who might read this. I absolutely loved Colgate, and there's a lot more to it than drinking, but if you can not handle rowdy parties and binge drinking, you will be very uncomfortable and not fit in.
So, Rosemary, which is it? Less than 5% that don't binge drink or 5-10% that don't drink at all, as you say in your post on another thread?
I would have to disagree (as a recent alum) with your last statement as well. I think it really depends on your group of friends and social circle what role drinking plays. Colgate is a large enough school that there's a niche for pretty much everyone, even those who don't want to drink a lot, or ever. Rowdy parties and binge drinking are pretty much a given in college. Luckily at Colgate there are other options.
Even among those that do drink occasionally, choosing not to is perfectly acceptable. There were students that lived in substance-free housing for 3-4 years. And not all parties with alcohol are the crazy beer-soaked events you see in movies - my townhouse threw a wine and cheese party, for example. If I extrapolated from my group of friends, I'd say that Colgate students drank 1-2 nights per week and pretty much never got fall-down drunk. Clearly that's not true of everyone - it just proves that it really depends on your perspective. Just because something isn't true for the majority of students doesn't mean it's not true for others.
For what it's worth, I lived on campus last year as a grad student at an Ivy and there were undergrads drinking every single night - I could hear them coming back to their dorms at 2 am on a Tuesday. Sunday night was pretty much the only quiet night of the week. I was also rather surprised by friends' stories from other top liberal arts colleges - stories that made Colgate seem tame by comparison!
"Colgate students have a lot of school spirit, in that they LOVE their school. I have never really seen another college/student body that is as in love with their school as Colgate students and alums. [But] I went to less than five football games in my entire four years there - the same with all my friends. The tailgates on the other hand get a lot of attendance. I have gone back for a few homecomings, and never made it out of the tailgate field."
Where you were busy drinking to excess, I gather, from your comments above.
Your claim that 95% of Colgate students are regularly and excessively drunk is absurd, a completely made-up statistic to get attention, and an insult to your alma mater and especially to all the young people interested in Colgate who your claim may scare away.
It is a fake statistic with no bearing in fact, one no one could support with more than anecdotal evidence (Did you count the students who were drinking every weekend?) and which reflects an infantile approach to argumentation -- the fake fact. Colgate is no more alcoholic than any other college. It has drinkers and non-drinkers. Beyond that, you might spend some time on half a dozen other campuses before you attempt to draw any conclusions about drinking. You might be surprised to find excess among young people just about everywhere.
To make he claim made above, one using a fake statistic, is the height of arrogance and the hallmark of adolescent argumentation. Making up facts wins no arguments.
Colgate recently ranked in the top 10 for US party schools. It was one of the few small liberal arts colleges on that list, which was primarily made up of big state schools schools such as PSU and WVU. I honestly find many of the older alums here purposefully misleading to high school students.
While we here are all very proud to be Colgate alums, we aren't here to sell Colgate to students at any cost. If a student isn't a big drinker, than they would be better suited to another college. That isn't to say Colgate isn't a great place to learn, and that there aren't pockets of non-drinkers, but there ARE colleges out there like Colgate in academics that offer less habitual drinking and a geekier atmosphere (Grinnell and Swarthmore come to mind). I would prefer to tell someone that they shouldn't go to Gate than convince them to go to Gate and have them be unhappy there. Sure, maybe they would find the 30 kids in their year that don't drink, but they should go to a school where there are more non-drinkers for them to choose from (for friends). The non-drinkers at Colgate are often religious too, so unless you swing that way, you may not find what you're looking for.
I also think that as much good as some of the parents and older alums try to do, they do not have the best information when it comes to Colgate's social scene. For one, I would agree that most Friday/Saturday night plans involve alcohol. While no one will force you to drink (and most will accept that you don't), wouldn't a student be better off at a school that plays DnD or board games in their dorms on a Saturday night?
There is a lot of excessive drinking at Colgate. Compounded with the fact that we are in the middle of nowhere, there isn't a lot else to do. I for one didn't like frat parties or the Jug. However, I often attended house parties that served alcohol, so even if I wasn't drinking that night, I would still have to be okay with my friends who were drinking. And my friends were the hard-core science kids.
Heh, wow, I don't think I'm really that old... I mean I did graduate a whopping 4 years ago...
The problem with a forum like this is that everyone can only provide their personal experiences and there are a limited number of people to provide them. Colgate has a surprising amount of variety, and as a result we may often disagree. I seem to have had completely different experiences than many others, but my experiences are no less valid.
Speaking from that personal experience, it is possible for non-/light drinkers to be plenty happy at Colgate. There actually already is a student-run club that organizes board games on weekend nights (The Game's Afoot). I never went to their events, but they seemed to be quite successful way back in the day (2007-2008). There might not be thrilling events every single Friday and Saturday, but you and your friends find things to do - watch a movie, go out to dinner in Hamilton/Syracuse, cook dinner in a townhouse/apt/theme house, go to concerts, sled down the hill on a dining hall tray, snowball fight, just hang out...
Yes, there is a lot of drinking at Colgate. Yes, there are schools with less drinking. No, I can't guarantee that if someone who doesn't drink goes to Colgate that they will be perfectly happy. But if someone really loves Colgate, the party habits of many of the students shouldn't prevent them from attending.
Its funny Lydia, but I'm pretty sure we had overlapping friend groups.
As a member of the Game's Afoot townhouse, I can tell you that their Friday/Saturday nights included drinking too (I wouldn't call it excessive though). So while light-drinkers and non-drinkers were more than welcome (the events themselves were alcohol free), I think non-drinkers would have a hard time finding like-minded people if they were 100% uncomfortable with drinking.
I think in the end, it might be more difficult to find non-drinkers to find a good social group at Colgate compared to colleges with less drinking. Does that mean a non-drinker can't enjoy Colgate? No, of course not. I would just prefer they know what they are getting into before arriving at Colgate, so they can make the most informed decision possible. That way, they can have the best college experience possible.
I love how everyone spins the "drinking" question to either reflect their own personal experiences, promote their agenda or act as counter-points to statements in need of refinement. Cardietheil provides me with a little fodder. I like this: "...but there ARE colleges out there like Colgate in academics that offer less habitual drinking and a geekier atmosphere (Grinnell and Swarthmore come to mind)..."
What is it about Colgate students that prevents them from spawning a "geekier atmosphere ?" Surely drinking isn't the only activity that separates the atmosphere of a Colgate from any of the other top national LAC's ? I truly have no idea whether "drinking" is a big deal or not. But, I think Colgate has a "culture" that distinguishes it from other LAC's that look like it on paper. And "drinking" is the easiest way to put a finger on it for outsiders.