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. Currently, applications are open for Wilderness Adventure and Outreach. Other programs have not yet begun accepting applications for the Class of 2022. Please check this page at a later date to apply.

If you have any questions, please email

Available Programs

Jump to more information about one of the following programs:

Wilderness Adventure

Students before mountain landscapeEach August, roughly one quarter of incoming students participate in Wilderness Adventure to make friends, learn about Colgate, and have an absolute blast! Living and traveling with a small group of new students and two or three highly trained leaders, you will hike, paddle, climb, or bike through stunning New York wilderness. 

No previous wilderness experience is needed for any of our trips, just a willingness to have fun, learn, 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 days traveling on a set itinerary and then return to Colgate 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.
2018 Session Information
Session 2018 Dates About
Session I August 11 – August 16 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 21 – August 26 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 26th, 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.

To apply for this program, please fill out the program application.
  • 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 23-25

Student Leaders
Megan Leo '18
Jackie Dowling '18

If you have questions, please contact

Colgate Activities Board (CAB)

The CAB students outside the Colgate InnSpend 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.

To apply for this program, please fill out the program application.
- 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 23-25

Student Leaders 
David Little '20
Vinny Betti '21

If you have any questions, please contact

Raider Pep Band Camp

The Raider Pep Band outside the Class of 1965 Arena 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

If you're interested in this program, please fill out the program application.
  • 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 23-25

Student Leader:
Mary Festa '20

If you have questions, please email

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 2018 programming schedule. 

No prior radio experience required

To apply for this program, please fill out the program application.
  • 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 23-25

Student Leader:
Dawson Highland '19

If you have questions, please email

Masque and Triangle Student Theatre Society: New Expressions Camp

Group photo of Masque and Triangle
Want 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 theater experience necessary

To apply for this program, please fill out the program application.
  • 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 23-25

Student Leader:
Sarah Allen '20

If you have any questions, please email

Outreach - Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE)

Get ready to make new friends and get to know your new home. During Outreach, you will have the opportunity to work with local non-profit organizations doing important work in the Hamilton and Utica communities while meeting students that have similar interests as you.

There is plenty of time in the evenings to build friendships and settle into your new home before Orientation gets going while you get a head start on feeling at home off campus. Students find this experience fun and rewarding. As one past Outreacher put it, "I really enjoyed the opportunity to start Orientation with new friends who were like me after we had already started to contribute to our new community."

To apply for this program, please fill out the program application.
Students work with wheelbarrows at the Madison County Head Start
August 22nd - Registration, move-in and welcome events August 23rd - Day of volunteering in Utica, dinner with community organizations, group activities August 24th - Day of volunteering in Hamilton, dinner with Colgate families, group activities August 25th - Day of volunteering around Hamilton, dinner and closing activities

Examples of Volunteer Work
  • Park trail clearing
  • Helping to prepare meals at soup kitchen
  • Playing with children at community center
  • Helping at an organic farm, play games at a senior center

  • Learn about the local community and give back right from the start
  • Build friendships with like-minded students and settle in at a slower pace
  • Learn about ways to get involved in volunteering
If you have any questions, please email