Colby admits students as candidates for the degree of bachelor of arts. Admission is highly selective, and evaluation is based on data concerning academic achievement and ability, as well as qualities of intellectual promise, interest and excitement in learning, character, and maturity.

The College actively seeks applicants who have special qualities or talents to contribute to the Colby community, as well as those who represent diverse geographical, racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. Such candidates are expected to be within acceptable ranges of academic ability and preparation.

The quality of a candidate's preparation is judged by the academic record, references from school administrators and teachers, and results of tests administered by The College Board or by the American College Testing Program.

To ensure a common educational base, a minimum of 16 academic preparatory units is strongly recommended, including four years of English, at least three of a single foreign language, three of college preparatory mathematics, two of history or social studies, two of laboratory science, and two years of other college preparatory electives.

Colby supports the efforts of secondary school officials and governing bodies to have their schools achieve regional accredited status, in order to provide reliable assurance of the quality of the educational preparation of its applicants for admission.

Eighty-four percent of the members of the class entering Colby in the fall of 2002 graduated within in four years. The average six-year graduation rate is 88 percent.