All applicants to Colby are reviewed holistically by our admissions team. This page describes the application process for every type of first-year applicant. See below for specific information for:

If you’ve decided to apply, we can’t wait to read your application. It’s the most rewarding thing we do all year. Our review process is holistic, meaning there’s no set formula that guides our decisions. We look for intellectually adventurous students who have demonstrated consistent achievement in a challenging program of study and who seem likely to make meaningful contributions to our diverse and collaborative community.


Colby considers applications from all students regardless of citizenship or background. Each year our admissions counselors read thousands of applications. Your application is what will set you apart. Tell us what interests you. Share your accomplishments and what you’ve learned along the way. Emphasize your dedication to both academic and extracurricular activities. Tell us your story. Our financial aid packages meet 100 percent of your demonstrated financial need, making this education available to students from every background.

Early Decision or Regular Decision? 

If you’re 100 percent sure that Colby is for you, consider applying Early Decision. We’ll give you our decision quickly, but if you are admitted, we expect you to withdraw all other applications. If you’re still weighing your options, Regular Decision applications are due January 2, and we’ll let you know our decision by April 1.

Application Materials

  • Completed Application for Admission: Colby accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application.
  • Academic Records: We require your high school transcript, a completed secondary school report from a school official, one counselor recommendation, and two teacher recommendations.
    • Planning ahead is always a good idea, so when you’re mapping out your class schedule, make sure to include the most rigorous college-prep courses your high school offers. The most competitive applicants have a minimum of 20 core academic units, including:
      • Four years of English
      • Three years of a single world language (scoring a 640+ on a foreign language SAT Subject Test or receiving a score of a 4+ on an AP foreign language exam or scoring a 6+ on an International Baccalaureate foreign language exam will also fulfill the foreign language recommendation)
      • Three years of mathematics
      • Two years of laboratory science
      • Two years of history or social science
      • Two years of other college prep electives
  • Early Decision Agreement Form (required for Early Decision applicants only)
  • Language Proficiency Exam Results: A score report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), TOEFL Home Edition, International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Duolingo English Test (DET) is also required if English is neither your first language nor your current language of instruction.
    • You may self-report your scores when applying to Colby, either by reporting them on your application to Colby or sending a PDF copy of your score report via email ([email protected]) or fax (207-859-4828). As of August 1, 2019 we will super score the TOEFL and accept MyBest scores.
  • Completed Financial Aid Application (required for financial aid applicants only): For detailed information regarding applying for financial aid, visit our Applying for Aid page.
  • Optional Application Materials:
    • Standardized test score results
      • Colby is a test optional institution. Students may choose whether to submit standardized test scores with their application for admission. Students may email [email protected] to notify us that they do not wish to submit standardized test scores, or submit the Standardized Test Score Update form in their Colby admissions portal.
      • Self-reported SAT, ACT, and Subject Test scores are permitted.  The College will accept standardized test scores submitted through one of the following means: (i) scores included on the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge Application; (ii) scores sent to the admissions office via a PDF score report or from the testing agency; and/or (iii) scores submitted through the optional update form. Admitted students who submit test scores as part of their application will be required to provide official score reports prior to enrollment.
      • We superscore all exams, including the ACT, and will accept and include the individual section retest results as part of the superscore.
    • Additional recommendation letters
    • InitialView Elevator Pitch
    • portfolio, may be uploaded after an application has been submitted.
    • Arts Supplements including art, music, and performing arts materials, may be uploaded after an application has been submitted.
  • If you filed your application early in the fall and would like to provide new information or accomplishments, please email us at [email protected].
  • All application materials must be submitted in English (regardless of your language of instruction).

Colby conducts routine audits of select applications to confirm the accuracy of the information submitted as part of the application process. By submitting an application to Colby, applicants grant consent to Colby to contact individuals, schools, and other organizations identified in applications for the purpose of these audits. The submission of materially false or misleading information in an application is grounds for Colby to deny or revoke admission.

Colby College and its employees are mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect. In the event that an application includes information that raises concerns of potential ongoing abuse or neglect, or other concerns for the health and safety of the applicant, including suicidal ideation, Colby may contact the appropriate child protective services agency or consult with personnel from the applicant’s current school to confirm that appropriate resources are available to the student.

Application Deadlines

Roundadmissions deadlinefinancial aid deadlineoptional and supporting materials duedecisions released
Early Decision INov. 15Nov. 15Nov. 22On or before Dec. 15
Spring TransferNov. 1Nov. 15Nov. 1On or before Dec. 15
Early Decision IIJan. 3Jan. 17Jan. 17On or before Feb. 15
Regular DecisionJan. 3Jan. 17Jan. 17On or before April 1
Fall TransferApril 1April 1April 15On or before May 15

Early Decision Conversion: If you have filed your regular decision application prior to the deadlines of November 15 or January 3, you can convert your application to Early Decision by submitting a signed Early Decision Agreement by December 1 in the case of EDI, or by February 1 in the case of EDII.

Deferral Policy: Students admitted to Colby may request to defer their matriculation.

NESCAC Statement of Common Admissions Practices: Guidelines and factors in admissions decisions for prospective student athletes.

Colby Nondiscrimination Policy: Colby is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and has endorsed the principles contained in the association’s Guide to Ethical Practice in College Admission.

More to Know Before You Apply

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