Colgate University Receives Over 21,000 Applications for Second Consecutive Year

Colgate University received 21,114 applications for the Class of 2027 by the time the application deadline passed on Jan. 15, marking the second consecutive year that Colgate received over 21,000 applications, according to the Office of Admission.

Although this year’s number of applicants did not exceed last year’s all-time record of 21,153 applications for the Class of 2026, Gary Ross, the Jones and Wood Family Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid, remained sufficiently optimistic about the steady 146% application increase seen at the University since the Class of 2024 applied. 

“The fact that Colgate has been able to achieve and maintain such strong levels of interest for the Class of 2027 says a lot about what prospective students and their families think about the superb academic opportunities that are so evident at Colgate,” Ross said. 

Ross added that this sustained level of applicant growth is unique among peer liberal arts institutions. 

“There are signs from across higher education that institutions like Colgate are doing well with respect to prospective student interest, but Colgate has far exceeded most of our peers in terms of growth,” Ross said. “I do not know of another school that has seen [such] an increase.”

In particular, the Class of 2027 cohort included an increase in applicant diversity compared to the Class of 2026, with a 4.6% increase in self-identified domestic students of color and a 15% increase in first-generation students. The Class of 2027 applicant pool also included a 22% increase in Early Decision I applications.

Though the exact numbers fluctuate annually, Ross said that the University tends to accept about half of the incoming class from the pool of Early Decision I and Early Decision II applicants.

Ross attributed increasing interest in Colgate University to a number of factors, including an expansion in virtual outreach and programming that developed through an understanding of how the pandemic has changed the college admissions process. 

“During the pandemic we learned the value of holding many virtual events, particularly focused on areas of the country that we have been unable to visit. Those events reach far more people than in-person visits, and that has really contributed to our growth,” Ross said. “We have also heard from families and some college guidance counselors who stated how impressed they were with the ways that Colgate handled the challenges of the pandemic.”

Ross also noted how Colgate’s partnership with QuestBridge is important in the University’s continued success in generating interest in Colgate from students with underrepresented backgrounds.

Furthermore, the Colgate Commitment, a financial aid initiative that expands tuition support and eliminates student loans from aid packages, was similarly expected to have resulted in an increased interest in the University. 

“The Colgate Commitment is also a program that significantly improves Colgate’s already very generous financial aid program. Essentially, in a very easy to understand way, the Colgate Commitment can expand opportunities for both access and affordability,” Ross said. 

Sophomore Nikhil Bahal, an admission ambassador, remarked that this has been an exciting year to be part of the Office of Admission.

“It has been rewarding to be part of our campus visit experience, especially during such a busy time,” Bahal said. “It is an exciting time to be at Colgate, and I get the sense that our visitors are picking up on that.”

Sophomore Alba Martinez, who also serves as an admission ambassador, shared similar sentiments, adding that Colgate’s increased geographical reach is reflected amongst guests.

“During this past semester, there definitely have been a lot of visitors inside the office. It is amazing to see so many prospective students come from all over the country (and the world) just to get to know Colgate better,” Martinez said. “I believe that, with this rising demand and interest in Colgate, it is a great moment to be here.”

Amid concerns about how the continually high application volume could present a challenge to the Office of Admission — and to faculty who must put time and effort into thoroughly assessing each application — Ross was certain that Colgate was prepared to efficiently manage the upcoming admissions process for the Class of 2027.

“It was a challenge the first time we realized a major application increase,” Ross conceded. “But in 2020-21, the Admission Office completed an overhaul of the admission process that has effectively prepared us to handle this level of interest in Colgate. There is an incredibly dedicated team in both the admission and the financial aid office and I am so proud of how well team members have responded to the increases.”

Additionally, Ross asserted that continued increases in application numbers are not expected to be mirrored by substantial expansions in enrollment. The class size target, determined by senior administration in close consultation with the Board of Trustees, only increased by 10 additional students for the Class of 2027 to reach a target of 805 students. 

“A significant increase in the size of the incoming class would require additional faculty, housing and other additional resources that the University is not planning at this time,” Ross said. 

Ross’s overall sentiments about the Class of 2027 application statistics and their implications reflected his excitement about the present and the future of Colgate. 

“I am delighted that Colgate is being seen by so many people as an institution that is on the move,” Ross said. “This is a community that consistently achieves excellence in all parts of the campus. We have outstanding faculty teaching and inspiring some of the very best young minds from around the country and around the world. I do not think anyone should be surprised that so many people now understand the value of a Colgate education.”