Pre-Orientation Programs for the First-Year Class Skip Navigation

Pre-Orientation Programs

Colgate offers seven optional summer pre-orientation programs prior to Colgate's regular Arrival Day.

Application Period

Applications for pre-orientation programs will be accepted until all spaces are filled. Once filled, an update will be made to this site.

Available Programs

Jump to more information about one of the following programs:

Wilderness Adventure

Colgate students hiking in the AdirondacksEach year in August, 125-150 first-year students arrive on campus early to make friends, learn about Colgate and get a head start on their Colgate experience. Living and traveling with a small group of 8-12 first-year students and 2-3 highly trained leaders, you’ll work together to hike, paddle, climb, or bike through stunning New York wilderness.

No previous experience is needed for any of our trips, just a willingness to have fun, try new things, and meet new people.

Physical Education Credit

Wilderness Adventure earns you one physical education credit. Note: two credits required for graduation.
WA features a number of activities including:
  • backpacking
  • canoeing
  • sea kayaking
  • rock climbing
  • and more
Most trips take place in the Adirondack Park, a six million acre state park that is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Parks combined.

Students choose trips based on activity and difficulty. All trips are designed to be within the ability of most students, but are rated according to relative difficulty (level 2+ and 3 trips provide a good challenge and hike on some of the tallest peaks in New York).

After a day on campus, trips spend four or six days traveling on a set itinerary and then return to Hamilton on the last day for a closing campfire and group celebration. Groups carry all they need for the week, cook their own meals, and pitch their own tents.
  • Start college with a group of great new friends and upperclassmen mentors.
  • Practice outdoor skills under the guidance of experienced student leaders.
  • Try something new, and maybe a little bit challenging — just like college.
  • Learn about classes, dorms, food, clubs, activities, and more from your leaders.
  • Jumpstart your entrance into community living and active citizenship.
  • Discover the Adirondack Park and Central New York – your new home.
2016 Session Information
Session 2016 Dates About
Session I August 6 – August 11 Six-day program including arrival and move-in day, a four-day trip, and a final day to wrap up and say “see you later” to your new friends.
Session II August 16 – August 21 Six-day program including arrival and move-in day, a four-day trip, and a final day to wrap up and say “see you later” to your new friends.

Maroon-News: Newspaper

Students work in the Maroon-News officeJoin the staff of the oldest college weekly newspaper in America, the Maroon-News, to put together a special issue just for your incoming class! Our program teaches participants how to write a news story, conduct an interview and layout an edition for print, all with the help of our friendly and experienced student staff.

We welcome anyone with an interest in writing, editing, layout, photography, business, online design, or videography. Prior experience is helpful, but not necessary.
  • Learn the basics of gathering information and writing a news report, opinion piece, sports article or feature story.
  • Become familiar with the office culture and structure of operations.
  • Prepare an edition of the paper for the first week of school.
Dates​: August 18–20
Contact Information: Apply for the Maroon-News program

Raider Pep Band Camp

Raider Pep Band group photo Get psyched for Raider athletics, make new friends, and learn long lasting traditions with this three-day band camp. Students spend the days working on new music, getting oriented to the Colgate campus, and getting to know their bandmates. All levels of musical experience are welcome.
  • Become familiar with the band’s music during practice.
  • Learn fun traditions that will acquaint new members with the athletic programs we support.
  • Establish close connections with members to provide mentorship and ensure collective harmony
Dates: August 18–20
Contact Information:
Apply for the Pep Band Camp

Masque and Triangle Student Theatre Society: New Expressions Camp

Students in costume on stageWant to indulge your theatrical side? Want to play with scenes and monologues? This one-of-a-kind experience offers workshops in stage movement, directing, dance, writing, improvisational comedy, technical theatre, and more.

Whether theatre is your thing, or if you want to try something completely different, Masque & Triangle’s program is for you. No prior experience necessary.
  • Learn all aspects of theatre through a variety of group “workshops.”
  • Focus on and hone personal skills or theatrical interests through one-on-one mentoring.
  • Encourage students to not only pursue the academic side of theatre, but to prepare them for future endeavors in the dramatic arts.
Dates​: August 18–20
Contact Information: Jason Alexander '17 (

Apply for the theatre program

WRCU: Radio

Student DJ at the mic for WRCUSpend three days with WRCU, Colgate's own non-commercial, class-C licensed radio station. Get tech-trained on the station’s equipment, explore the station and its music collection, and learn WRCU and FCC standards and regulations for DJs.

All participants are guaranteed a show for the fall 2016 programming schedule. No prior radio experience required.
  • Introduce students to the student-run radio station at Colgate and provide training required to host a show.
  • Learn about behind-the-scenes activities of the station, such as reviewing records, charting, and proper equipment use.
Dates: August 18–20
Contact Information: Matt Kavanagh '17 (

Apply for the WRCU program

Outreach: Community Service

Colgate students doing community service and painting a fenceGet to know your new community and start making new friends! Outreach is a 4-day volunteer service experience that immerses students in the greater Hamilton and Utica areas through work with community organizations.

Recreational evening activities continue to build on relationships formed while doing service in the community.
  • Learn about the local community and have an opportunity to contribute from the start.
  • Meet like-minded students interested in getting to know the community they will be a part of for the next four years.
  • Learn about ways to get involved in community engagement.
  • Have an opportunity to settle in at a slower pace.

Religious Life

Colgate Memorial ChapelGet to know the folks who make religious life at Colgate happen! If you’re interested in getting involved with a particular belief community or are curious about interfaith activity, join us!

We’ll be helping out at a local farm, learning from each other about our various traditions, cooking (and eating) a Shabbat dinner together, enjoying a meal at the homes of Colgate professors, and exploring some of the hidden treasures of our campus and community. Most if all, it’s a chance to begin to build the community you’ll be living in (and loving) for the next four years!
More about religious life
Colgate’s Religious Life program is tremendously active and deeply engaged in the life of the University. Students who are religiously active report the highest levels of satisfaction with Colgate, have more diverse friendships, are highly successful in academics, and are also leaders in athletics, Greek life, student government, the arts, and other areas of campus. This pre-orientation is meant to connect you with one of Colgate’s happiest and most engaged communities. We’d love for you to get a head start and meet some remarkable people.
  • Meet with the Chaplains, faculty, and student leaders
  • Engage in community building activities
  • Eat dinner with supportive professors
  • Volunteer with a local farm
  • Get to know the members of your own faith community, as well as other chaplaincy groups (Newman Community, Colgate Jewish Union, University Church, Muslim Student Association, Hindu Student Association, Secular Alliance of Skeptical Students, Colgate Christian Fellowship, Colgate Buddhist Union)
  • Encounter some of the places and people who make religious life at Colgate so fun and rewarding
  • Meet new friends from backgrounds completely different from your own
  • Expand your understanding of other religions.
Dates: August 18-20
Contact Information: Rabbi Dena Bodian,

Application and Contact Information