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Colgate is a pretty small school located in the middle-of-nowhere New York. Sometimes the small town is a bit stifling, and if you don't have a car it is always a big deal to get a ride with someone else off campus. Even going to Target is a luxury. However, the smallness of it all means that the community is pretty self-contained; you could almost call it a bubble. The administration tries to emphasize how we cooperate with the community, and there are certainly many community service groups at Colgate, but from my perspective the town is very separate from the university. It serves the needs of students when we need it, yet otherwise I feel that we all ignore it. And we love the number 13. It's kind of a big deal.
The best thing about Colgate is the community. During orientation and any other event that gathers huge groups of people, presenters will always elaborate on this quality until it is ingrained in everyone's head. When you are a freshman, the school seems huge, but once you become an upperclassman, you realize how small it actually is and how you practically know everyone in your class by name. Professors here know you by name and will embrace anyone who shows a true passion in their studies. Furthermore,they are able to provide personalized attention and excellent recommendations that you wouldn't be able to get at a larger university. Students are generally happy with their decision to go to Colgate. They enjoy their classes and are extremely active in varsity sports, club sports, clubs and groups, volunteering, campus jobs, mentoring, tutoring and other extracurricular activities. There is a decent amount of school pride, although varsity sports teams such as basketball struggle to maintain a fan base. Living in Hamilton, New York for four years can be trying on some due to limited stores, bars, restuarants, activitites and students often feel ready to leave when it is time.
The best thing about Colgate is the community. Colgate students and alumni LOVE the school and just knowing someone else is from Colgate immediately makes you like them, simply because of that fact. The campus is extremely friendly and close-knit and everyone is very well rounded. Most students excel in academics, sports, extracurriculars and still manage to find time to go out and have fun.
Colgate's faculty is top notch, and I love how the school is isolated. This environment has fostered passions and nurtured friendships for all of us. I hated Colgate freshman year--very few students seemed intellectual or genuiniely interested in academics, and Greek life dominated the social scene. I decided against rushing sophomore year, and for a while I felt left out of a lot of rights of passage and traditions at Colgate. However, I tried as hard as possible to maintain an open mind. It took a lot of hard work for me to enjoy Colgate, but once I found my niche(s), I couldn't be happier. I've learned to love Hamilton and the idea of being guaranteed to see my fellow classmates wherever I choose to go on a Friday or Saturday night. I've developed interests and passions, and close relationships with professors. Colgate's size is perfect--small enough to know everyone and to have personal attention and access to various resources, and large enough to offer a variety of research opportunities, etc. A lot of the criticisms are true: Colgate students are mostly preppy and White; Hamilton is small, isolated, and cold; Greek life dominates the social scene, etc.; but if you trust yourself and your ability to find your niche despite all of this, you will be rewarded, and you will grow to love Colgate!
The best thing about Colgate is the atmosphere. There's something about being far away from a city, surrounded by only hills and trees. It's beautiful in the fall as the leaves become vibrant, but even more breathtaking in the winter as the snow settles indefinitely. If I could change one thing about Colgate I'd make it a slightly larger school. With 2,800 students, you feel you know everyone.. and I mean everyone. It's still large enough so that you're always meeting new people, but you know everthing about everyone in certain circles. Still, it's very welcoming to see familiar faces around campus. Hamilton is an accomodating college town and caters to student's needs, with its pizza places, restaurants and bookstore. There is community feeling that resonates within the town and on the campus, and you get to know staff members pretty well. Students support local business, and in turn, townspeople support school activites by attending games and events. There's a lot of school pride, evidenced by Colgate gear on the student body (literally).
The best thing about Colgate is that it fosters the ability to excel in academic and extracurricular events. Never would I have thought I would do honors in Philosophy, do independent research in geography or become an EMT to volunteer for the local ambulance corps. But that's the thing about Colgate- it's such a supportive environment with so many opportunities in class and out of class. I love the professors, and they really love teaching undergraduate students. We're always encouraged to go to office hours and talk with our professors about course material or broader topics. Many of my professors have invited me over for dinner-whether it be an invitation for the entire class, or an advisor extending a home-cooked meal to a student, professor-student interaction is a normal thing on campus. Students feel like professors really care about them, their level of achievement in the classroom, and their future. I think Colgate is a great size. I wanted the liberal arts college feel, and I definitely get that from my small classes, and close interactions with professors. But I didn't want to live in a bubble, and Colgate always has a lot happening: lectures, events, music concerts, theater performances, religious events, social causes, student club events, athletic events at all levels, a thriving community, etc. I feel like I am getting the best education possible while still enjoying myself outside of the classroom. We also just built a new science center that is beautiful and has state of the art facilities, and we also have newly renovated library. These centers on campus make me feel like I am at a larger university because I have the resources to do research and work with professors in all departments. The core liberal arts curriculum (4 courses) exposes students to several disciplines, and the classes are taught by professors in all fields which is a great system. So if you love history, you can take your Scientific Core Perspective class with a history professor. I took my core Culture class on The Iroquois Nation with a Religion and Native American Studies professor, and it was so interesting. The background field of the professor will give you a different perspective on the material than the same class with a different professor. And everyone says you fill the distribution requirements without trying, and they are not lying. Colgate students want to try a psych class or take a geology class and before you know it, you've fulfilled the 6 requirements (2 natural sciences, 2 humanities, 2 social sciences). Hamilton is a small town but has a lot happening. There are a bunch of places to eat, a couple delis, pizza places, coffee shops, italian restaurant, sushi, chinese food, and a couple nicer places. There is a movie theater, two grocery stores, and a small organic food store too. Farmers' Market takes place on the village green on Saturdays for the spring, summer, and fall. There are bars in town frequented by upperclassmen. The Colgate Bookstore is also located downtown. Students and the town have a good relationship, and there is a lot of interaction. Students support the local businesses, and students interact with town members through various community organization, service groups, and even service-learning in Utica and Syracuse. Since downtown Hamilton is walking distance from Colgate, and there is a shuttle bus that goes all over campus and downtown, Colgate and Hamilton blend together. Seniors have the option to live of campus, and so that adds to the interaction as well. Hamilton is a small town, but it is a fun town. If you feel the need to get out--which you will at some point, you can go to New Hartford which is about a half hour away or Syracuse with is about 45 minutes away for malls, more people, more familiar places to eat, better grocery stores, Target, etc. I like Colgate's administration and am friendly with many of the deans through various activities including the ambulance corps which has two deans as members. Several students feel that the administration is frustrating, but I don't feel this way. Maybe this is because I am not on student government and have not had to work with administrators on difficult of controversial issues. The dean of first year students is incredible, and Colgate's first-year orientation program is outstanding thanks to her. Upperclassmen "links" serve as liaisons between freshmen and Colgate and help first years get plugged into campus life and academic life. I generally feel like the administration is trying to work with students and meet students needs. It's hard to see major change because students are only here for four years and the administration sometimes forgets that taking three years to implement a new initiative is almost as long as a class cycle through Colgate. Students sometimes grumble about their difficulties with the administration. There is school pride, especially for Hockey games, but I wish there were more. I visited a friend at a large, football-oriented university, and it was a really different feel. Some students do not attend football games or any sporting events. Since we are small, we don't get huge crowds. But, with hockey, Colgate students go all out. We line up hours in advance for our free tickets, everyone goes to the games or watches them on TV. Cornell is our biggest rival, they throw Toothpaste at us and we throw Big Red back and it's a blast. I think one thing that is unusual about Colgate is its extended study program. Extended studies are three week trips connected to one or two classes. After the semester, everyone in the class goes to the area of study. My best out-of-class experience was definitely my extended study to IRELAND that I took in the spring of my junior year. Sponsored by the English department, the extended study was connected to two classes: Ancient Irish Literature and Contemporary Irish Poetry. After the spring semester, about 20 of us went to Ireland. We started out in Dublin and then made our way to Sligo, Galway, and Killarney. We spent most of our days going to ancient sites, and we walked around tombs that pre-dated the pyramids. It was really great to have read literature about the places we saw because it gave them greater significance to us, and the two professors were fun to travel and study with.
Lauren SeniorReviews provided by: Unigo