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Colgate's Size

calipersoncaliperson 1 replies3 threads New Member
I really like what Colgate has to offer as a school, but one thing that I am skeptical of is the size. I go to a small high school and I find the size to be restricting and I don't like knowing every single person in my grade. I don't need to go to a giant state school, but I also don't want to be at a college that has the social dynamic of a high school, so I am a bit worried about the size and location of Colgate. So, does it feel to small? Can a student have any sense of
anonymity? Be honest!
31 replies
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Replies to: Colgate's Size

  • moneypmoneyp 775 replies19 threads Member
    My ds graduated there and he did not know everyone. It didn't feel small for him.
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  • markhammarkham 776 replies9 threads Member
    Suffice it to say, the experience of student at an elite residential liberal arts college is nothing like high school.

    Colgate at 2950 undergraduates is larger than most of them, but if you want to find your way out and around a large and more anonymous style or type of institution you have plenty to choose from.

    Good luck with your search.

    Go ‘gate!
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  • DecYetDecYet 18 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My sister attended Colgate. She also was initially concerned it would feel too much like her high school (which had 1200 students). But she LOVED it. She continually met new people throughout her four years at Colgate. In her opinion, it was the perfect size.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6442 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Students at "smaller " schools like this often remark on 2 things:
    1. There is a lot of mingling between classes. It's not unusual for a junior and a freshman to be good friends. And to that end, 25% of the community is new every year.
    2. There will be a group of people you see a lot. They may be in your major, do an activity you do, live in your dorm. But you will also be surprised with how often you are meeting new people as well. You are unlikely to exhaust all the social possibilities in 4 years. In fact, alums of these schools are often delighted with the "new" connections they make at reunions.
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  • kpopmomrunnerkpopmomrunner 38 replies7 threads Junior Member
    My daughter is currently a freshman. Like you she came from a school with a total of 2500+ students from K-12. She loves it there! It's the right size for her. I'm not sure everyone knows everybody. The population might just be under 3K but the campus is big enough that the housing for freshman and sophomore are kind of "hills" apart. The higher level students live down the hill and the young ones on top of the hill.
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  • PublisherPublisher 10339 replies130 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    Colgate has about 2,850 students enrolled--which is large for an LAC. I cannot comment on Colgate, but I can share my experience at another LAC.

    I attended a rural LAC with an enrollment of about 2,300 situated on a lot of acreage. Mostly upper middle class & evenly divided between males & females. Lots of athletes & lots of leaders. Very little diversity. I found this size to be too small & too restrictive. I hated seeing the same people day after day from the same 5 state region where I grew up.

    Went to a large public university for grad school. Enjoyed the best of both worlds as the grad school was small, but located in the most attractive area of a very large campus. I loved seeing different people everyday & enjoyed the more diverse environment.

    Coming from a prep school environment, I found my rural 2,300 student LAC to be somewhat suffocating even though I studied abroad a lot. The isolated rural location and lack of diversity compounded the restrictive feeling.

    Most students, however, seemed to really enjoy the LAC & its dominant Greek & sports life. Although I pledged a fraternity & was an athlete, I did not care for the DIII environment.

    Depends upon the individual & "where" that person is in his or her growth & development. I needed more. I did not like comfortable, familiar environments. I craved new, different & unknown. I wanted to grow in all aspects of my life. Seems as though you might have a similiar outlook. If so, even large LACs like Colgate & Bucknell get real small, real fast.

    You can make a large school small, but you can't make a small school large. Again, depends upon the person & upon individual preferences.

    If I was young enough to redo college, I would consider the University of Michigan, University of Vermont Honors College, College of Charleston, most SEC schools, but not any LACs.
    edited September 2019
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Forum Champion Williams College 2238 replies104 threads Forum Champion
    edited September 2019
    My husband, son, brother-in-law, other family members in my generation and my son’s, and I, all went to small colleges and loved them. It depends what you like...

    Some people certainly may prefer larger colleges. Trust your feelings and go with them.

    But a comparison to high school size is not equivalent. In high school (unless you went to Stuyvesant or an academically elite school like that), there is only a small circle of people as smart as you are. There are only so many nerds available to befriend. But in college, everyone is smart and into learning, so the social possibilities are much wider than they were in high school. Everywhere you turn, there are new people to meet and get to know.
    edited September 2019
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6409 replies127 threads Senior Member
    That’s a good point @TheGreyKing
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24068 replies19 threads Senior Member
    My kids both wanted a small(er) school, but we looked at a few really small schools (under 2000) and they knew they didn't want that small. One picked a 3500 student school and the other a 10,000 student school for other reasons and both thought they were too big but the best compromise (costs, admission, offerings). By the end of 4 (really the end of the first year) years, both wished they'd picked bigger schools .

    I think you can make a small school bigger - if it is part of a consortium.
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  • moneypmoneyp 775 replies19 threads Member
    My ds went to colgate and we think it is just the right size. My two dd are in u of t, it is simply way too big to have an ideal university experience..
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  • PublisherPublisher 10339 replies130 threads Senior Member
    @caliperson: I think that the centerpiece of your worries--"I don't want to be at a college that has the social dynamic of a high school"--is a valid concern.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10157 replies562 threads Senior Member
    My D attends a small college that is hardly larger than her high school. She doesn’t know everyone.

    There is a reason why many LACs continue to thrive. They tend to have very high retention rates. Kids are happy, so they come back. You have to remember that the kids at Colgate are self-selecting. They chose to be there. The kids in your high school didn’t choose to be at that high school. There’s a big difference. And fwiw, Colgate is on the large side for an LAC. You shouldn’t worry about feeling like it’s high school.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 204 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I read the question aloud to my DD, who is hoping to be a member of the class of 2024. Before I could even say anything else, her first words were that this was probably not the right choice for OP. While on a visit at another LAC, a staff member of some sort said if students are looking for a place to blend in to the woodwork, a LAC is not the place for them to be.

    I agree with gardenstategal that these schools need to build a community and every student is chosen for a reason because they don’t have the luxury of admitting students who want to be anonymous.
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  • PublisherPublisher 10339 replies130 threads Senior Member
    I don't think that it is a fair reading of OP's thread starting post to assert that OP "wants to be truly anonymous" as suggested above.

    OP asked: "Can a student have any sense of anonimity ?"

    In my opinion, this is a reasonable concern at a small, rural LAC. But Colgate University is a fairly large, semi-rural LAC, so the question seems reasonable even though the answer is obvious for smaller, more rural LACs.

    OP much of the answer that you are seeking rests in the diversity found on a campus of 2,850 students--racial, ethnic & socio-economic diversity. The more diverse a campus community, the more diverse perspectives, experiences & activities to which one is exposed.

    (FWIW: My small prep school (part boarding/mostly day students) was much more diverse than the 2,300 student, rural LAC that I attended and felt much less restrictive or suffocating than did my largely homogenous LAC.)

    Small LAC communities can be rumor mills fueled by gossip.

    Although I suspect that Colgate may not be the best fit for OP, it would be interesting & helpful to know what attracts OP to Colgate University.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10157 replies562 threads Senior Member
    I don’t totally agree with the last two comments. My kid hides in her room when she feels like it, studies in the library undisturbed and can be alone whenever she likes. It’s not like LACs are full of students slapping each other on the shoulders and calling out in greeting to every single person they see.

    LACs, imo, don’t have a high school dynamic. For one thing, virtually every student is over the age of 18. At least half are older than twenty. They are adults, not youngsters (of course, there will be immaturity on display at times.) There will be a rigorous academic environment. A lot of students will be committed to activities or jobs or studying. They WANT to be there.

    If this student wants anonymity from profs, then perhaps LACs aren’t a good choice, but he/she doesn’t seem to mean that.
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  • PublisherPublisher 10339 replies130 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    Did you attend an LAC ? The LACs with which I am familiar definitely have a strong prep school vibe & dynamic. I think that is a significant reason why many students choose to attend an LAC. Many seek & find comfort in familiarity & in a mostly homogenous environment.

    I think that there are degrees of anonymity, but it is harder to find in a small, rural community living in close quarters.
    edited September 2019
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35300 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    My hs was 2000. I think I knew 90%, at least by name or activity. And I was only there 2 years.

    My kids' college was 2000. I thought D1 knew everyone, she socialized that much. Not.

    Kids find their own friend or classmate pool(s.) It expands and contracts, as someone brings in a new face or others go off.

    Meanwhile, D2, same school, studied in the library or her room, rarely partied (showed up, to be seen, then left,) gave up drinking, had a small core group.

    "Small" is well under 1000. My college was smaller than my senior hs class. I still didn't know everyone.

    3000 is multiples bigger than, say, most places people work.
    edited September 2019
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  • PublisherPublisher 10339 replies130 threads Senior Member
    Definitely agree that most LACs have more students than the typical place of work. But usually work & college are different stages of life.

    Important to distinguish between "privacy" and "anonymity". One can have plenty of privacy without any degree of anonymity, while one can be in the center of Manhattan during a busy day and be anonymous without any privacy.

    Really is a matter of personal preference. It is great to have so many choices among US colleges & universities.
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  • AriBenSionAriBenSion 88 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My DD is currently at Colgate and continues to be very happy with her choice. She is very happy with the 3,000 size.
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