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Has Colby College changed in the last few years?

FROMTHESOUTH3FROMTHESOUTH3 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
My S is thinking of going to Colby all the discussions on Colby College are old. We have heard there have been a lot of changes in the last couple of years. Does anyone know if these changes have really made a difference for the better? Can any recent grads from Colby share their experiences on why they choose Colby and do they think it was worth it?
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Replies to: Has Colby College changed in the last few years?

  • FROMTHESOUTH3FROMTHESOUTH3 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    Anyone?
  • colfac92colfac92 Registered User Posts: 300 Member
    I am a Colby parent, my son just completed his first year (he loves it, by the way). So I don't have any personal knowledge of what Colby was like in the past and how the student experience might have changed in recent years. That said, there are two changes that I am aware of:

    (1) Colby hired a new president a couple of years ago, David Greene. My impression of him is that he is a real sparkplug, and has been moving the institution forward in some impressive ways. One of the faculty that I talked to was a little more conservative in her assessment of the new president, but in my experience college faculty generally are pretty conservative when it comes to institutional change (I am one). Overall I think President Greene has been very respectful of the core values of the college, and that the changes he is bringing about only serve to highlight and enhance those values. I think the results will be positive for Colby students, and for their already very strong alumni network.

    (2) Applications to Colby have been increasing in significant numbers in recent years. Some cynics think this is all due to changes in application requirements (e.g. dropping a supplemental essay), presumed to be an effort to game ranking systems by appearing to be more selective. Others will point to Colby's expanded recruitment efforts across the country, bringing Colby to the attention of capable students who might never have heard of or considered it previously. The truth is probably some combination, but the fact remains that Colby is becoming more and more selective and is attracting better and better students.

    All in all, again, I think these changes will be positive ones for the student experience at Colby.

    As to all the discussions being old, have you perused this thread: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/colby-college/1946433-why-colby.html ? Colby is a relatively small school (less than 2000 students), so I wouldn't expect there to be as much activity on this discussion board as there might be on the boards for other larger schools.

    Hope this helps; good luck in finding a great fit for your son, as we have for ours!
  • 5050mom16185050mom1618 Registered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    I too am a Colby parent. Although, I can't speak to the changes as we had never heard of the school until our daughter expanded her LAC search beyond the West Coast, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our experience. DD just finished her first year and has found Colby to be a great fit and is already looking forward to getting back to school in the fall.
  • FROMTHESOUTH3FROMTHESOUTH3 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    Thanks for that. What does she like about it?
  • FROMTHESOUTH3FROMTHESOUTH3 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    And thank you for your response @colfac92. I had not seen that other post on Colby. What made your son choose Colby? What other schools did he consider? Was Colby his first choice?
  • 5050mom16185050mom1618 Registered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    @FROMTHESOUTH3 There is little she doesn't love about her school. Her list includes playing a club sport, the Outdoor Club, her COOT "Family" (group she participated with on the Freshman Orientation trip), the work/play balance, a happy, academic, but as she describes it "not overly serious" student body, the guidance counseling she has received, her professors, Jan Plan, skiing at Sugarloaf, Maine... At the top of the list are the students and professors. She says she is hard pressed to name someone who isn't having a positive experience. She is somewhat introverted and we live on the other coast, so we were a bit worried it might take some time for her to adjust. It didn't take long at all. She now "complains" she only has three more years left at Colby. We did an extensive college search. Her top two choices were Colorado College and Colby.
  • colfac92colfac92 Registered User Posts: 300 Member
    @FROMTHESOUTH3 , Colby was definitely my son's first choice. He applied ED but was deferred so he also applied to Bates, Middlebury, St. Michael's, and our state flagship. The common theme (with the exception of our state U) is a small, selective northern New England LAC with proximity to skiing! Colby, Bates, and Midd were reaches, St. Mike's on the safety side of a match, and the state U a safety. Ultimately he was admitted to Colby and to St. Mike's, as well as the state flagship. Other than the cost, Colby was an easy choice (my thread discussing that: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1880691-cobly-vs-st-michaels-d-day-is-coming-p1.html).

    I think all the things that @5050mom1618 relayed from her daughter equally apply to my son -- the sense of community and everyone is really friendly, academic but not overly serious, the interest that the faculty take in their students, etc.... My son is very active on a club sport team as well, and he will be a COOT "Dad" in the fall.

    Central Maine probably seems pretty remote and foreign to somebody "from the south," but I would say it is probably worth taking a trip up there to visit if you can swing it.
  • colfac92colfac92 Registered User Posts: 300 Member
    Thinking about my last paragraph there, I think it is probably fairer to say that central Maine likely seems pretty remote and foreign to just about everybody from anywhere else in the world! It's really not that bad....
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 4,334 Senior Member
    There are things about Colby that have remained constant over the years -- indeed decades -- but like all schools, it has evolved quite a bit and I think that as @colfac92 notes, the speed of evolution has picked up under David Greene. He is very much of a dynamo!

    Traditionally, Colby was known in New England to be a good, selective school with excellent teaching that was favored by smart kids who liked outdoor sports (and not necessarily intercollegiate ones, but ones like skiing and climbing). In many ways, it is still all of those things, but there has been a huge push over the last several years to attract students from outside of its traditional circles and to be more inclusive. The school has worked hard on this in many ways -- it was one of the top schools matched in the Questbridge match for the last few years, the launch of DavisConnects, more ties with the town of Waterville, deans and programs focusing on diversity and inclusion, etc. It has, of course, been well supported for things it's always done well (such as environmental science), and alumni seem very supportive of where the school is going, (That suggests to me that it is more of an evolution than a change in direction.) Part of what increasing diversity (in every respect, including geographic) means is that there are fewer seats for the traditional base, and this has been somewhat frustrating/infuriating to those who might have assumed (rightly a decade ago) that this would be a slam-dunk acceptance for them.

    The students I know who are there now appreciate the strong sense of community and having friendly, motivated classmates who are not competitive or cutthroat. The teaching is excellent. A lot of the kids there considered other schools like Bowdoin, Bates, and Middlebury (all ones that offer much of the same -- no Greek life, strong community, and winter sports,) There are distribution requirements, so it is attractive to students who are open to "sampling" and most departments do a great job of offering introductory courses that just might entice someone to dive in a little deeper.

    If, as @colfac92 mentions, you're not familiar with this part of the country, you should visit and see what you think. It's a beautiful part of the world, but it's definitely a bit remote!

  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 36,022 Super Moderator
    edited June 2017
    @5050mom1618 I think I know the young woman involved with the COOT group. :) I babysat her a lot when she was little (her mom and I traded babysitting so that we could each work part-time). I'm really proud of her.

    We moved up here from Texas and I absolutely love it. I would recommend the state to anyone (but don't, usually, because I don't want too many people moving here!).
  • 5050mom16185050mom1618 Registered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    @MaineLonghorn I don't blame you for trying to keep Maine a secret. My husband and I have fallen in love with the state and Mainers in general. I'll try to keep my enthusiasm in check :-)
  • FROMTHESOUTH3FROMTHESOUTH3 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    @5050mom1618 and @colfac92 Thanks so much for both of your responses. We did just come back from visiting Colby and loved the campus and area! Our son liked it also. Being from the south we had not heard of Colby before a coach reached out to our son. As we research it we like it even more and feel it would be a good fit for our son. Now we are not sure he can get in. Do either of you mind saying what your kids had to get excepted? (GPA and test scores)
  • 5050mom16185050mom1618 Registered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    @FROMTHESOUTH3 If I remember correctly her ACT was 31 and GPA was 4.3W. She had fairly strong ECs and letters of recommendation, but no hooks.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 4,334 Senior Member
    @FROMTHESOUTH3 , if your son is thinking of applying ED, you can ask the coach to arrange a pre-read. Afterwards, it's fair to ask "if this were your kid, would you let him use his ED option this way?" I suspect you'll get a pretty accurate sense of where you stand. Glad you liked it!
  • colfac92colfac92 Registered User Posts: 300 Member
    I think his test scores were around the bottom of Colby's advertised middle 50%; I don't know his GPA but I think he was ranked in the top ~15% of his high school class.
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