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Diversity at Colby

qxtclxrqxtclxr Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
edited December 2010 in Colby College
Colby has been my first choice for almost as long as I can remember, and I was extremely ecstatic to be accepted. However, as I researched more about Colby (as well as the other schools I am considering), I noticed that I read a lot about how most Colby students are all the same: white, rich, and from New England. I visited Colby a few months ago and even stayed overnight, but I didn't think much of the lack of diversity there. I love almost everything about Colby, but I must admit that I am a bit put off by reading so many accounts of Colby students ostracizing others who are not like them, or being cliquey. I read somewhere that diversity is a major cause of friction there; is this true?
Post edited by qxtclxr on

Replies to: Diversity at Colby

  • newport28newport28 Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    Are these observations something you perceived on you overnight stay/visit or just questions you have from internet reading. What does your gut tell you after your visit and would current students be able to reply to this honestly? It would be sad to enroll in a school like this with those long Maine winters and people not accepting of one another, Current student please ??? Is Bates an option for you with their diversity and history of diverse acceptance??
  • sailfishsailfish Registered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    You should definitely try to get responses from current students. If there aren't many on this site you might try Facebook.

    My impression as a parent is that Colby is not the most diverse LAC but is definitely trying to promote greater diversity. It's absolutely not all rich New England kids. Students come from every state and there are many international students. S has close friends from Florida, California, New Mexico, NY and the Chicago area as well as New England.

    I've never heard Colby described as cliquish and it's hard to imagine people of different social backgrounds would be ostracized. Most students study abroad and are not that narrow in their perspectives. Dorms are mixed, with students from every class in every dorm, and a lot of socializing goes on within dorms. S chose Colby in part because there are no fraternities and sororities, which he thought would be too divisive on a small campus and lead to social rigidity. He's on a team and the members, including minorities and kids from all over the country, do a lot together socially. He also moves among other social groups pretty freely. Social groups seem pretty fluid.

    I wouldn't put too much weight on what you've read on the internet. Trust your own instincts based on your visit, talk to current students and maybe even visit again if that's at all possible.
  • teamodnarteamodnar Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    I know this thread is from last year, but I wanted to inquire about the same topic.

    I actually didn't know about Colby's homogeneity before I visited, but when I got there it seemed like all of the students were white, from the Northeast (I met a lot of people from Massachusetts, in particular). Would it be difficult for minority students to fit in, or do they mostly keep to themselves? Colby is in my top two choices right now, and it's pretty much the issue of diversity that's holding me back.
  • werd814werd814 Registered User Posts: 1,099 Senior Member
    I think the diversity at Colby is good, not great. It definitely has some of the highest diversity of New England LACs, though.

    From Spring 2010 Colby Magazine:

    "Those students were part of an overall applicant pool of 4,210 that includes 45 percent more African Americans and 14 percent more Latino/a applicants than were in last year’s pool. In the early-decision phase, where students are accepted in the winter with the understanding that they will commit to Colby, 46 students from underrepresented groups were accepted—44 percent more than the previous year. "

    Soooo, at least ~ 10% of this year's class will be made up of "underrepresented" groups.

    That said, there is certainly something to be said for the high diversity of personalities, interests, lifestyles, etc. at Colby. I mean, it's no Hampshire, and there's an undeniable aire of privilege at Colby, but I found my experience there socially and culturally enriching-- though everybody's expectations are different.

    About NE/ Mass: While it's true that a large number of matriculants come from the Boston area, Colby also attracts myriad other demographics-- Cali, Chicago, NY, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Washington, Minnesota, Zimbabwe, India, Columbia to name a few of which I have friends from.

    Check this page out for statistics of admitted students for 2014 (take with a grain of salt, as the actual student body for 2014 may not reflect these percentages exactly):

    59% from outside New England
    23% Af-Am, Latino/Latina, As-Am, Nat-Am
    15% International
    55% pub high school grads
    71 Countries represented
  • werd814werd814 Registered User Posts: 1,099 Senior Member
    Note: I am a white male from Upstate New York.

    Did you get a chance to talk to some minority students while at Colby? If not, Colby's Office of Admissions may be able to put you in contact with such a student who could likely give you a more appropriate opinion.

    What's your other top choice?
  • teamodnarteamodnar Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Thanks :) I talked to one international student who will be attending Colby next year. Other than him, during my overnight stay I only saw 3 other minority students in passing so I didn't really get to meet them.

    My other top choice is Macalester.
  • JHCgirlJHCgirl Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    I recently visited Colby and was actually impressed to find that it was more diverse than I thought it would be. They've been making a big effort in recent years to increase their diversity, and I think that their percentage of African American students was up to around 20%, which is a very high percentage for a small town New England liberal arts college (compare to Trinity or Holy Cross). Also, they are growing very steadily in numbers of international students, which I think is very cool. In my opinion, as far as these small town New England liberal arts schools go, Colby is pretty diverse. Especially for Northern Maine. Now, clearly you will get a more diverse environment if you go to a large school in a bigger city, like Boston University. But if you want something smaller, and in New England, it's going to be less diverse. Colby IS definitely making efforts to increase their diversity as well.

    As far as the attitude of the students there, while there are lots of white kids from New England (I do fall into that classification as well, but I do not want to be surrounded by only the same in college - I definitely want a college that is more diverse than my high school, so I've been really thinking about diversity while looking at schools), the feeling I got from Colby was that there were all sorts of students who blended together, and there were groups more so than cliques.

    I'd say go by the feel you got from visiting.
  • PlainsmanPlainsman Registered User Posts: 1,503 Senior Member
    There is no top LAC with 20% African American students. Most PUBLIC colleges and universities do not have 20% African American students. The only colleges with that high (and more) a percentage of African Americans are schools that are predominantly African American or are third tier schools.

    I think you misread 20% "minorities" for African American. It's not the same thing. If Colby has 20% specifically African American, it deserves a Congressional Medal for pulling off the impossible.

    On College *******, current students graded Colby a "C" for diversity, and the stats quoted on the College ******* site give Colby only 2% African American. That's dreadfully low. I think you added a zero by mistake. If you add all minority groups and Internationals (almost none of whom are black) TOGETHER you might get 20% total non-white + non-American.
  • thinker88thinker88 Registered User Posts: 210 Junior Member
    If you add all minority groups and Internationals (almost none of whom are black) TOGETHER you might get 20% total non-white + non-American.

    Of the international students, I can attest that there are certainly more than "almost none" who are black. I'm not saying that it's a large proportion, but maybe something like 1/5 of the internationals (offhand estimate). Also, of the remaining internationals, I would say that the majority are not white (European). I would agree that the 20% is for non-white + non-American though.
  • gowhitemulesgowhitemules Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    The Class of 2015 is the most diverse in Colby's history with 24% being ALANA (African American, Asian, Native American, and Latino) AND 7% international.
  • PlainsmanPlainsman Registered User Posts: 1,503 Senior Member
    That's great, gowhitemules. It makes sense, and is a credit to Colby's efforts in this area. But for JHCgirl to say 20% African Americans only was ridiculously misleading.
  • thinker88thinker88 Registered User Posts: 210 Junior Member
    The Class of 2015 is the most diverse in Colby's history with 24% being ALANA (African American, Asian, Native American, and Latino) AND 7% international.

    Do you mean the Class of 2014?
  • CurrentCCStudentCurrentCCStudent Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Yes, they must, as applications are just starting to be sent in to the Admissions Office here.

    Also, I will be a non-international junior at Colby, and I can tell you that diversity hasn't been an issue here. We just had our International Orientation, and yes we are having more international students and students of color than ever before (reference: Colby College | Admissions & Financial Aid | Quick Facts), but also everyone's quite friendly and accepting. Last night we went to see a band perform in the coffeehouse and then ordered pizza and hung out in the music & arts dorm (<-- my dorm!! The best!) together.
    P.S. If you choose to matriculate at Colby, live in Grossman. Just sayin'.
  • happytalehappytale Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Thanks! That was very informative. I wanted to apply to Colby, but when I checked it out on Youtube recently, first video I saw was about a case, where campus security attacked a URM student. Then I watched some other videos about Colby and couldn't see any Asian on them(I'm from a country in Central Asia), and it caught my attention. Finally, I've read some claims that Maine is the "whitest" state in the US (sorry, if I write something wrong, I don't mean to offense any one) , and some claims about racial issues. This totally alienated me from Colby, but now I see(or at least want to see), that if I get to Colby, I'm not risking to be discriminated(or ostracized). Can any body cast away my doubts?
  • sailfishsailfish Registered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    The incident you saw on youtube was really unfortunate. The administration, faculty and students took it really seriously, though. There were student protests in support of the minority students involved, and the college commissioned a study to look into what went wrong, how it happened and how things like that could be prevented in the future. If anything, it probably brought the entire student body, including minorities, closer together.

    It's true that fewer minorities live in northern New England than other parts of the US--Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire are all relatively white states. Some minorities live in Maine, though, particularly in cities like Portland and Lewiston, and I don't think you have to worry that minorities are routinely mistreated. It's probably a little harder for colleges located in northern New England, like Middlebury, Bowdoin, Bates and Colby, to achieve diversity but they are all working to achieve that. The percentage of international students at Colby is pretty high and the college is becoming more diverse. I don't think there's any problem with how the students get along.
This discussion has been closed.