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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.

The average rate of return from first year to sophomore year is 95 percent. The average six-year graduation rate is 91 percent.

Application Dates

November 15: Deadline for filing applications for fall option Early Decision I admission and financial aid. *Notification: by December 15.
November 15: Deadline for filing applications for midyear transfer admission.
*Notification: by December 31.
January 1: Deadline for filing applications for winter option Early Decision II admission and financial aid. *Notification: by February 15.
January 1: Deadline for filing applications for regular decision admission.
*Notification: by April 1.
January 15:
Regular decision applicants' deadline for filing financial aid application forms.
March 1: Deadline for filing fall transfer applications and financial aid requests. *Notification: by May 15.
By April 1: Notification of regular decision admissions decisions and financial aid awards.
By April 16:
Deadline for mailing parents' and students' signed prior-year federal income tax returns, including W-2s.
May 1: Candidate reply date for students admitted regular decision.

Application Forms

Application forms, including the Colby supplement to the Common Application, are available online at An application fee is not required for any student who files the application electronically, for any student from Maine, or for any student who cannot afford the $65 application fee.


Colby requires official results of one of the following three options: the SAT, the ACT, or the SAT Subject Tests in three different subject areas of the applicant's choice. A foreign language Subject Test is recommended for students seeking to fulfill the College’s language requirement in this manner. All required tests must be taken no later than December of the senior year. Applicants must request that test results be sent to Colby directly from the appropriate testing agency. Information about the tests is available at and at The Colby College institutional codes are 3280 for the SAT and Subject Tests and 1638 for the ACT. Candidates planning to submit only ACT results are encouraged to take the ACT with the optional writing test component.


Interviews are strongly recommended and are available on campus from June 1 through mid-December and in many cities around the country throughout the fall. Campus interviews are offered on weekdays and on most Saturday mornings throughout the fall. Off-campus interview sites and dates are posted to the website each August.

Interviews with alumni volunteers are available throughout the country and across the globe. Please visit the website for more information.

First-Semester Abroad Admission

Each year more Colby juniors study off campus during the second semester than during the fall, and 35 to 40 spaces for incoming students usually become available at the beginning of the January term. A student who applies for admission in the fall semester may be offered admission for midyear. For these students, Colby offers two fall semester abroad options, which are described in the Opportunities to Study Abroad section. A student who participates in one of the College’s fall semester abroad programs enters Colby with a group of friends acquired through the program and with enough credits to progress toward the degree at the same pace as his or her classmates.

Early Admission

A small number of students are admitted without completing the senior year of secondary school. This is done only with the recommendation of the secondary school. Considerations of academic and personal maturity are important to the candidate and to the College in earlier-than-usual admission. An on-campus interview is strongly recommended for any early admission candidate.

Advanced Standing

Colby participates in the Advanced Placement program of the College Board. Credits will be recorded on the Colby transcript for official AP scores of 4 or 5, and, where appropriate, advanced course placement will be granted. These credits may also be applied to certain academic areas of the College’s distribution requirement (See Academic Requirements section), but AP credits may not be counted toward the 128 credits required for graduation. 

Colby also recognizes the International Baccalaureate and offers advanced placement and credit based on individual Higher Level examination results, as well as performance on the full IB Diploma program. At the discretion of individual academic departments, advanced placement may be earned for scores of 6 and 7 on Higher Level examinations. A full year of credit toward the 128 credits required for graduation and up to two full semesters toward residency requirement may be earned for an IB Diploma point total of 36 or better, assuming all examination scores are 5 or better.

Finally, students who receive an A or B (superior level) on A-levels or comparable scores on the Leaving Certificate (Ireland), the Abitur (Germany), or the Baccalaureate (France) may be eligible for credit and advanced placement.

Campus Visits

A visit to Colby is strongly encouraged. Campus tours and group information sessions are available on most weekdays and on Saturday mornings in the fall.

Colby is located near exit 127 of I-95. Waterville also may be reached by bus, by air to nearby Augusta, or by airport limousine from the Portland International Jetport or the Bangor International Airport. A list of hotels is available online at

International Students

Colby has traditionally encouraged the enrollment of students from countries beyond the United States and is actively engaged in programs of international cooperation and exchange.

In addition to the standardized test requirements for all applicants, students whose native language is not English and whose secondary school experience has been in a school where the language of instruction is not English must submit the official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants from mainland China may submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in lieu of SAT scores. Additional information about these examinations may be found online at,,, and To ensure that the results are sent promptly to Colby, please use the Colby College institution code: 3280 for College Board exams or 1638 for the ACT. United States embassies and consular offices can provide pertinent information about these examinations. These offices often have booklets describing the tests and may have practice tests for applicants’ use.

Financial aid is available to a limited number of international students. Applicants for financial aid must complete the International Student Financial Aid Application, which is available online. Documentation (with translation) of parents’ incomes also is required.

An associate dean of students serves as the advisor to international students on immigration and other matters. An intensive English bridge program during the fall semester serves conditionally admitted students whose TOEFL, IELTS, or other verbal scores are below Colby’s standards. Individual English language tutoring is available to any international student at any time during the academic year.

Transfer Students and Veterans

First consideration in admission is for first-year students, but some transfer students are accepted each year. Admission by transfer is open to those with strong academic and personal records from accredited colleges or universities. Transfer application forms are available online at

Credits from accredited institutions are generally accepted for courses that are comparable to those offered at Colby and in which grades of C or better are received. No more than 64 transferable semester credit hours may be applied toward a Colby degree.

Veterans may request advanced standing consideration for completion of service schools in advance of matriculation. Credit is not granted for military service or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests.

Nonmatriculated Students

Anyone interested in enrolling as a nonmatriculated student must contact the Office of Admissions for information about the application process. Registration in individual courses then requires the approval of the course instructor and may be limited; matriculated students have priority in admission to courses with limited enrollments.

All persons seeking to take courses for credit must present evidence that they are qualified to pursue the intended courses and must pay the established fee. A limited number of gifted Waterville-area secondary school students may be recommended by their schools to take a course. Adults from the immediate Waterville area who are not degree candidates may qualify to take courses at one half the usual fee or may audit courses at no charge.

Persons wishing to enroll as auditing students must also contact the Office of Admissions and are referred to Auditing Courses in the Academic Procedures section.