Colby College student life

Hello! I am a current high school senior and highly considering applying to Colby! I would love to learn more about student life. I haven’t been able to visit campus because of COVID so it has been tough to find info about it.

What is the social scene like? A lot of people say it’s like a frat school without the frats (which I really like) and that drinking and partying is very popular (which I also really like). But also, there isn’t really a good town, so where do people party and hang out? does it feel too contained and isolated because of the location?

Also, how would you consider the general vibe of the student body? Are students friendly and open to making new friends?

Please let me know your thoughts!!!

If you would like, you can search “Colby Life Documentary” for an extended video perspective on the Colby of six years ago. Note, however, that Colby’s leadership has driven changes since that time, of which some may be manifested in Colby’s current 10% acceptance rate.

Colby College recently completed a $200 million athletic center !

^^Actually, the folks in the documentary graduated in 2013, so it was a perspective from 2009-2013. Personally, I would love to know what they are up to now - a really thoughtful group!

Recent grads say that the school has changed dramatically, even in the last 5 years alone.

What is the change?

Curious too!

The student body is much more diverse, by design and by having added a pile of FA money to make it more affordable to lots of families (including the doughnut hole ones.) As a result, it has less of that NE prep school feeling, effectively watering down that dominant culture. The first Questbridge class graduated in May for example… (I think Posse was there earlier.) There is now housing downtown, so it’s created another alternative for social life and for students who felt trapped on campus, an outlet. There seem to be more activities on campus sponsored by the school and clubs.

The documentary focused on kids who found it hard to find their place at Colby. While I suspect most kids at most colleges experience some version of that at some point (but hopefully not years!), I would guess that those same kids in the documentary might have recognized that they actually had a tribe at Colby if they were there now.

Colby’s greatest general weakness in the documentary may have related to the disenchantment of students who anticipated an intellectual atmosphere, expressed by one subject as “I had this image of myself, reading philosophy books in a field,” an image that presumably did not come to fruition. A move toward this ideal, as a metaphor for intellectual inquiry, would represent the most meaningful improvement that Colby could have made in the last five years, in my opinion.

Colby students are intellectually engaged and they work hard. If you look at the students profiled, a few each week, on their IG page, they all marry their various intellectual interests to research and academic pursuits. Many students do not one, but two senior theses. And sure, increased selectivity has probably made the student body even more capable academically… Money has created more outlets for the pursuit of those interests.

But the students in the documentary were not grumbling about academics or their ability to pursue intellectual pursuits. Colby has always served its students extremely well in this regard. The comment you refer to was one that I interpreted as “I had a notion of what college would be that matched no reality anywhere.”

I DO think that MANY students at many highly selective schools - not singling out any particular school here - are surprised by the social activities at those schools., Especially high achieving students who might have felt out of place in high school and who expected that college would drop them in with their tribe. The choices smart, otherwise intellectually engaged, students make for enjoying each other’s company can be surprising.

And the students I have known at Colby over the last 5 years have suggested there are more varied, and probably “better” choices available.