Is Colby Your Dream School? The Reasons I Chose Colby

by Merrill Read

Every year admitted students from high schools around the world come to Colby to see if Mayflower Hill is where they want to call home. This weekend, around 500 prospective students and their families will visit Colby, dewy-eyed and excited. The parents will say their goodbyes and the nervous student will take their sleeping bags to a random dorm room and (hopefully) be surprised by the kindness of their host. Then, they will meet the other admitted students and might find the school of their dreams.

This may or may not be a common experience for students, but with the knowledge that parents and prospective students might pick up this week’s edition of the Echo, I thought I would share my reasons for coming to Colby and the things that I think set Colby apart.

It all began my Junior year of high school. Wanting to play field hockey in college, I knew the East Coast would be where I could find the best athletics and academics combined in one place. I knew I didn’t want to pursue DI athletics because I wanted to be more than just an athlete, DII is not something I wanted to be a part of (sorry DII players, I know some do it for scholarships), so DIII was where it was at.

After researching more about East Coast schools, I really began to narrow my search to small liberal arts schools, mainly the NESCAC schools. I wanted to be able to play my sport, focus academically, and explore extracurriculars that I could become passionate about.

My guidance counselor at my school in Wisconsin told me to check out Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby because she thought I’d like Maine. Fitting my description, I visited the three with my mom. We first went to Bates and I met with the team, the coach, and was able to walk around on a busy Saturday. The team gave me weird vibes (a girl literally yelled at me not to throw balls at the play day and I was like “nope, I don’t like these girls”) and the coach was average. Also, the campus didn’t really excite me despite it being a bustling Saturday.

Then we visited Bowdoin. Bowdoin was better, but didn’t have everything I wanted. The buildings seemed as though they were from all different time periods and weren’t super attractive. It wasn’t the picturesque campus I had pictured. I didn’t meet many students beyond my tour guide, but I did know a girl who played field hockey there, and the coach was nice. The fields were far from campus and the off campuses houses didn’t seem great. I left Bowdoin with a stale taste in my mouth.

Then I came to Colby on a dreary Sunday. There were no tours that day and it was epically foggy. However, driving from 95 and seeing the campus for the first time, I knew I was in love. Seeing Miller Tower and Johnson Pond, even on a rainy day, I knew it was the most beautiful campus I had ever seen. We drove past Mary Low and I loved the white and red brick and Georgian Revival architecture. At the time, I hadn’t even talked to the coach, so it was neat to fall in love with the campus before the team. I didn’t expect that to happen, too, but it luckily did.

When I met the students and the team, that’s when I knew Colby was the only place for me. They were extremely nice, welcoming, and passionate about their activities. That got me really excited. There was a vibe about campus and the students that I didn’t feel anywhere else.

After four years of going to Colby, I now can look back and describe some of my favorite aspects of the college:

  • The layout of the campus — It’s still small enough that the farthest you’ll walk is ten minutes, but it has separate sections that make it feel bigger than it is.
  • 2,000 students is the perfect size — In any room I enter, I know five people but there are still five more to meet. Even as a senior I am meeting new friends.
  • The professors are amazing — In any department, I feel that I could walk into their office and talk about anything. I truly feel like I can learn from them even beyond the classroom.
  • Living on campus — This may be a hot take, but I love that most everyone lives on campus. When will you ever again be in a dormitory or apartment with all of your friends?
  • Jan Plan — It is seriously amazing that we have a month to study on campus, abroad, or do an internship. From taking Geology of Bermuda, to French III in Paris, to The Art of Fly Fishing, I have had some of my best memories in my Jan Plans (shout out Kidz car).
  • Spring Concert — No question this is a spring highlight. The food trucks and the performers make it all worth it.
  • Balance — I love being able to wear many hats. From student government to athlete to mediocre singer, I love meeting different people and exploring different opportunities.
  • Academic focus AND fun — During the week, students focus hard on their school work and activities, but make sure to have fun at the same time. Colby students have an appreciation for relaxing and having a fun weekend.
  • Campus Beauty — Look around. Colby is by far the most beautiful campus with Maine as its backdrop.
  • David Greene — Our President is so visible and welcoming to students. He makes an effort to be accessible and continues to be innovative. Liove, loive, DG.
  • Mayflower Hill — Didn’t have time to make it to the gym? That’s fine because walking around Mayflower Hill will give you the perfect workout.
  • Waterville — She may be small, but Waterville is a special place. For restaurant referrals please reach out to Katie Senechal ’19.
  • The people — I mentioned it before, but I can’t say it enough. The people at Colby– students, faculty, staff — are the best people that I know.

If those aren’t enough reasons to want to be a Colby student, then maybe Colby isn’t for you. But all I can say is that I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the past four years here and they have been the most formative years of my life. If you let it, Colby will make you into a better person and will give you the tools you need to change the world.