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

Pre-Orientation Programs

Colgate offers several 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.
2017 Session Information
Session 2017 Dates About
Session I August 8 – August 13 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.
Note: Housing on campus is not available in the period between the end of session I and the start of Orientation.
Session II August 20 – August 25 Six-day program including arrival and move-in day, a four-day trip, and a final day to wrap up.
Note: Students will be back on campus early on the 25th, in plenty of time to attend the start of Orientation that afternoon.

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 22-24
Contact Information: Class of 2021 application

Colgate Activities Board (CAB)

CAB Photo_optSpend three days with the Colgate Activities Board (CAB), the university’s primary event planning committee. CAB events are student initiated, from idea conception to event execution.

You’ll work with other first years and returning members to plan one of the first events of the semester. We'll teach you how to book a space, the food, and the entertainment, create a theme, and publicize around campus! You’ll learn how to make things happen on Colgate’s campus and get a sneak peek at all of the upcoming events in the semester.

No prior event planning experience necessary.
- Get to know both new freshman and CAB members.
- Learn the ins and outs of planning an exciting event on Colgate's campus.
​Dates:​ August 22-24
​Contact Information: 
- Melanie Oliva '18 (
- Hayley Lazzari '18 (

Class of 2021 application

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 22-24
Contact Information:
Class of 2021 application

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 22-24
Contact Information: Matt Kavanagh '17 (

Class of 2021 application

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 22-24
Contact Information: Angelica Greco '18 (

Class of 2021 application

Solar Eclipse

For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the continental US. Congratulations!—you chose a college with pre-orientation trips coinciding with the eclipse. Star ‘Gate and the Department of Physics and Astronomy invites you on an expedition to view the total eclipse.

You will arrive on campus on August 19 and move into your dorm room, then the trip will depart on the morning of August 20 in order to view the eclipse in South Carolina on August 21.
Solar eclipse
Our drive back will be more leisurely, with stops at sites such as:
  • Technology companies in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Smithsonian Natural History Museum
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Thomas Edison National Historic Park
You’ll have the chance to meet students and faculty in physics and astronomy, learn about research opportunities in these fields, meet other students in your class, and see a total solar eclipse!

Basic expenses, including meals and shared rooms in hotels, will be paid by a grant from the Budget Allocation Committee of the SGA.

Priority will be given to prospective physics and astronomy students who will be enrolling in Physics 131: Atoms and Waves, which is the first course required for the major.
​Dates: ​August 19-24
Contact InformationProfessor Beth Parks

Class of 2021 application