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Instructions, Advice, and Strategy

Applying to Colorado College

Every year, Colorado College enrolls an academically accomplished student body that encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and backgrounds. Our holistic evaluation process considers your academic work, writing, letters of recommendation, test scores, extracurricular activities, and your unique talents and personal qualities. Read on to educate yourself on the process. 

Colorado College accepts applications for need based financial aid when applicants apply for admission. If you are interested in applying for need-based financial aid at Colorado College all financial aid applications and requirements must be completed by your admission round deadline. For more information on the financial aid deadlines and policies, please visit the financial aid website.

Preliminary Application

The Preliminary Application is the best way to let us know you're thinking about applying to CC. Based on what you tell us, we will send information to help you through the application process. Take the first step and submit your preliminary application to Colorado College.


Colorado College currently accepts three applications for admission: the Common Application, the Coalition Application, and the QuestBridge application. Each one receives the same holistic review, and there are no inherent advantages in applying with one over the others. Each application should be accompanied by our Supplement--additional essays / word prompts that help us understand why you're interested in us and what you could bring to our campus community. For the Common and Coalition Applications, this supplement is built in. For the QuestBridge Application, students must fill this out separately and on their own (see more information here).

In all cases, please make sure to fill out the forms carefully and completely. If necessary, feel free to list your responses on additional pages or a resume. Double-check that the submission goes through.

We encourage you to highlight significant awards, activities, and personal accomplishments. In our view, it is better to provide too much information than not enough. 

Additional information should be emailed to us at

Supplemental Essays

In addition to the regular essays on the Common Application (or QuestBridge Application), you will need to complete two brief supplemental essays as part of your application to Colorado College. Those questions are:

  • Why do you want to join the Colorado College community, and how do you think you will contribute to it?
  • The Block Plan at Colorado College has a tradition of innovation and flexibility. Please design your own three-and-a-half week course and describe what you would do.


Because strong writing skills are so essential to academic success at CC, we read essays very carefully. You’ll write one major essay and a few complementary essays as part of the supplement to the Common Application. We believe essays are an important indicator of an applicant’s ability to think critically and write clearly and fluidly. The essays are also our chance to get to know you, the applicant, on a more personal level. It is our one chance to hear directly from you. Please take the time to think carefully about what you want us to know about you, and then write your essays in a way that reflects this information. There is nothing inherently better about a funny essay or a serious essay. Please stay true to yourself, write in your own voice, and write about topics that are relevant to you.


We look at your transcript(s) for information about your ability to excel in the classroom and thrive as a scholar on our campus. Your course grades, along with the rigor of your chosen academic program, give us insight into your academic preparedness for Colorado College.

A successful applicant almost always has excelled in a rigorous college preparatory program including honors, AP, or IB courses, if offered. Most students will have completed at least 20 solid academic courses by the time they graduate high school.


Students now have the option to withhold testing as part of their application and decide for themselves whether they would like their standardized test scores to be used toward their admission candidacy. At Colorado College, students have never been treated as numbers — in either the admission process or the classroom — and this policy change strengthens that commitment. This move will allow our team to identify the most qualified candidates for admission while also increasing access for first-generation, low-income, and traditionally underserved students.


We require two teacher/professor recommendations in academic subject areas. Non-academic recommendations such as journalism, math team, or coaches do not count toward this requirement. Select these teachers/professors carefully; they should be people who know you well and can speak specifically about your academic contributions to their class and to the school as a whole. Plan ahead so that your recommenders have ample time to thoughtfully complete the forms and submit them to CC on time. Generally speaking, additional recommendations are not helpful. However, if you feel that your two recommendations cannot give us an accurate picture of who you are, feel free to send in an additional optional recommendation.

Counselor Evaluations

In addition to your teacher/professor recommendations you are also required to submit a counselor evaluation.

Extracurricular Interests

While there is no ideal extracurricular profile for a Colorado College applicant, we appreciate students who have cultivated non-academic pursuits that complement their classroom achievements. Generally speaking, we are looking for sustained commitment to a few interests (possibly achieving leadership positions within those activities) rather than sporadic participation in various pursuits each year. We also take into consideration exceptional accomplishment.


Colorado College offers interviews as part of the evaluation process. These interviews are not required, but can help us get a feel for each applicant on a more personal level. Rarely will an interview be a deciding factor in an admission decision, but it may give us some context in which to view the application. Interviews are conducted by alumni volunteers, student fellows and admission staff. Students may not interview more than one time. 

We offer interviews on-campus and off-campus. Interviews can occur either before or after submitting an admission application. Students living on the Front Range in Colorado are strongly encouraged to visit campus and have an interview; students outside of the area can check our travel plans to see if interviews are being offered in your area. Deadlines for requesting an off-campus interview are: 

First-Year Applicants Request by
Early Decision 1 October 1
Early Action October 1
Early Decision 2 January 1
Regular Action January 1
Transfer Applicants Request by
Spring October 1
Fall February 15

Wondering what the interview will be like? Visit our Interview Tips page for some ideas on how to prepare. 

Arts Supplement

We invite students interested in the arts to submit an optional art supplement in visual art, music, dance, theater, creative writing or film.  Art supplements will be included in a student’s application for consideration as part of our holistic review process.  At this time art supplement materials will only be reviewed by Admission staff when reviewing applicant files.

Submitting an Art Supplement:

Art supplements must be submitted via the applicant portal. 


Art Supplement deadlines match the CC application deadlines. Students will be able to submit art supplements starting August 1, 2020.


We have three rounds--early decision, early action, and regular action. Early decision (both in November and January) is a binding method of application--if you are admitted, you have already committed to attend. Early action allows you to apply early but ponder your decision all the way to the May 1 deadline. Regular action is our final round, but the most difficult round in which to compete and be accepted. We recommend you choose one of the early rounds if you are sincerely interested in Colorado College. Our deadlines for application are: 

  Application Submission
Decision Released Candidate Reply
First-Year Applicants      
Early Decision 1 November 1 December 12, 4 pm MST January 10
Early Action November 1 December 17, 4 pm MST May 1
Early Decision 2 January 15 February  11, 4 pm MST February 21
Regular Action January 15 March 13, 4 pm MDT May 1
Transfer Applicants      
Fall Admission March 1 (now March 15) Late April Early May
Spring Admission October 15   November 19, 4 pm MST December 2

If you are applying for financial aid, the deadline to submit your application, the FAFSA and CSS forms is the same as the deadline for the round you've chosen.

Contact Us

Office of Admission

14 E. Cache La Poudre St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: (719) 389-6344
Fax: (719) 389-6816

Office of Financial Aid & Student Employment

14 E. Cache La Poudre St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: (719) 389-6651
Fax: (719) 389-6173