First Year Students

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, extracurricular activities, your unique talents and personal qualities, and testing - if you choose to submit test scores.

Colorado College is distinctive among highly selective colleges in that we choose to support a non-binding Early Action program as well as a binding Early Decision program, giving students greater flexibility to choose the option that is right for them. At the same time, this has resulted in a large increase in early applicants and a larger percentage of our class enrolling from an early round.


We accept the Common Application, Apply Coalition powered by Scoir, or QuestBridge Application. We recommend all students begin by submitting the Preliminary Application. There is no fee to apply to Colorado College.

The Preliminary Application is a free, fast application to provide us with better insight into how we can better serve you, the student. Based on what you tell us, we will provide information to help you through the application process. By submitting the Preliminary Application, you are expressing an intent to complete your application by your decision plan deadline.

In addition to the required essay(s) for the application of your choice, all applicants will be required to complete one Supplemental Essay for their application to be considered complete.

On Colorado College's Block Plan, students immerse themselves in one class at a time, fostering deep engagement and courageous conversations with peers and professors. We embrace diverse perspectives, encouraging students to think differently.   

In seeking to identify students who will thrive at CC, we’d like to know more about your background and experiences.   

In answering one of the prompts below, feel free to highlight any aspects of your self-identity that will help us know you better. This could include, but is not limited to, gender identity, first-generation status, race, ethnicity, political views, socioeconomic background, spirituality, or geographic origin.  With respect to race in particular, please note that in a 2023 majority decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Chief Justice John Roberts stated, “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.”  

  • Tell us about a time when you learned from an experience that challenged your perspective. 
  • Provide one or two specific examples from your life that demonstrate your potential to advance CC’s commitment to antiracism. 
  • Describe how your personal experiences with a particular community make you a student who would benefit from Colorado College’s Block Plan.

Visit our 2023-24 Supplemental Essay page for further tips and insights. Recommended length: 250 to 300 words.

We require your official transcript(s) through the end of your junior year and will eventually require your Mid-Year Report - first semester or trimester of your senior year - and Final Report grades. We do not have a specific required minimum number of courses or subjects, but students who have completed the most challenging college prepatory curriculum available at their school are generally most competitive in the evaluation process.

A counselor letter of recommendation is recommended, but not required.

We require two teacher evaluations - preferably from your junior year, from teachers in core subjects: English or language arts, math, science, social studies, and foreign languages. Additional recommendation letters from teachers, supervisors, coaches, and others are not required, but if you feel that they can provide new and compelling prospective's into your candidacy, they can be emailed to

This item is only required for those applying Early Decision to Colorado College. For more about decision plans, please continue to the Decision Plans & Deadlines section on this page.

Colorado College is test-optional. We believe in empowering students to share information with us that best represents their academic abilities and potential. Standardized test scores are not required for admission. You can choose to opt-in to include SAT or ACT scores as part of your application. However, Colorado College does not penalize those who submit test scores and will only use them if they enhance your chances for admission. If you apply test-optional or submit scores that do not strengthen your application, we will place greater emphasis on your academic performance. Test scores, if submitted, are only part of a comprehensive, holistic review that also includes careful assessment of personal accomplishments, community involvement, and writing.

Please visit our Test-Optional page for more information regarding our testing policy.

If you intend to apply for need-based financial aid, you will need to submit additional materials including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), CSS Profile, and more. Please visit our financial aid page for more information.

If you're interested in the arts, we invite you to submit an optional art supplement in visual art, music, dance, theater, creative writing, or film. Art supplements will be included in a your application for consideration as part of our holistic review process.

Art supplements must be submitted via the Applicant Portal. This part of the Applicant Portal will only appear if you indicated on your application that you would like to submit an art supplement. 

There is no fee to submit an art supplement.

We support media files as large as 5 GB, but please be advised that larger files will take longer to upload and may stall if you are on a wireless connection or one that cannot sustain a connection for the necessary period of time. Uploaded documents may contain no more than 75 pages. We support the following file formats:

Video: .3g2, .3gp, .avi, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .mxf, .webm, .wmv
Audio: .aac, .m4a, .mka, .mp3, .oga, .ogg, .wav
Slide: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff
Document: .doc, .docx, .odg, .odp, .odt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .rtf, .wpd

Note: You must submit your application first before the Art Supplement section will appear on your Applicant Portal.

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Decision Plans & Deadlines

Students may choose to apply Early Decision (binding), Early Action (non-binding), or Regular Action (non-binding). Early Decision is a binding method of application where the student commits to attend prior to receiving an offer of admission. Early Action and Regular Action are non-binding and students are able to consider their options until the May 1 National Candidate Reply Date.

If applying for financial aid, all documents - including the FAFSA, CSS Profile, and more - must be submitted by the application round you choose. Your application is not considered complete until we receive all necessary financial aid documents. We recommend completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile at least two weeks prior to the corresponding deadline. Please visit our Financial Aid website for more information.

Our first-year application deadlines are:

Table of deadlines and decision release dates
Decision Plan
Deadline Decision Released Candidate Reply
Early Decision I
November 1 December 12 January 15
Early Action November 1 December 19 May 1
Early Decision II
January 15 Mid-February Early March
Regular Action January 15 Mid-March May 1

How to apply

We accept three different applications for first-year students and will review all three with the same holistic standards in place - no one method offers an advantage over the others. Regardless of how you choose to apply, we recommend beginning with the Preliminary Application, which allows us to create your Applicant Portal, notify you of your applicant and financial aid checklists, and counsel you as you complete your application.

We accept the following applications:

Common Application

The Common Application was created in 1975 by a group of colleges seeking to make the application process easier, and it is accepted by nearly 900 institutions. The Common App offers the following:

  • Students enter personal information only once, and the applicable sections of all their Common App will populate.
  • An easy way to search and view college options within the application.
  • A streamlined process for submitting transcripts, letters of recommendation, and counselor letters.

Visit Common App for more information, or create an account and start your application.

Apply Coalition powered by Scoir

Colorado College joined the Coalition for College in its inaugural year. Our membership in the Coalition for College provides a range of resources for students and their supporters as they navigate the admissions process. Find advice from Coalition member schools, opportunities to connect with admissions counselors at events, and more on the Coalition’s website.

For students using Scoir to search for colleges with their high school counselor, applying is a simple 2 step process: Start building applications on Scoir for multiple Coalition colleges at once. Then, finish and submit our supplemental questions. Get started by signing up or logging into your Scoir account. 

QuestBridge Application

Since 2013, Colorado College has partnered with QuestBridge — a non-profit organization that matches high-achieving, underserved students with opportunities in higher education. To learn more about this application process, please visit our QuestBridge Application page.

Alternate Entry Options

Colorado College is unique in that first-year students may consider a variety of entry options when applying. A traditional fall entry is the default consideration for most students under review by the Admission Committee, however, some students may be considered candidates for alternate entry options - especially if an interest has been indicated via an application or form.

Students may be considered for the following entry options:

Gap Year

In a typical year, approximately 50-60 admitted students elect to delay the start of their Colorado College education by designing and pursuing a year-long adventure of their own making, or by considering existing options. While there are a multitude of personal reasons students cite for pursuing a gap experience, each tends to point to a quest for experiential learning that isn't found in the confines of a classroom.

Students admitted under our Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Action programs may submit a gap year request to delay their enrollment for one year. We will approve longer gap terms for purposes of national service or religious mission. Students admitted to the Winter Start Program are not eligible to apply for a gap year.

Visit our Gap Year resources page for more information, including request and approval information, and recommended programs.

Winter Start (Gap Semester)

Nearly every enrollment cycle, approximately 30 students admitted to our Winter Start program will embark on an independent semester-long gap experience in the fall semester before joining their classmates in January to enroll in their first block on campus.

Students admitted to our Winter Start program will participate in the Winter Start Orientation (WSO) and will also engage in our First Year Program — designed to prepare students for the rigors of the Block Plan.

Visit our Winter Start resources page for more information, including recommended programs for credit and non-credit options.

DACA & Undocumented Students

All applicants to Colorado College - regardless of citizenship - will be considered for admission. DACA and undocumented students are well supported at Colorado College, and although admission to Colorado College is highly competitive, we plan to admit and fund those who compete successfully in our process. We meet full demonstrated need of every admitted student, which in the case of DACA and undocumented students, is accomplished by using private grant aid from the college.

Please note that our current students will receive our continued support, and we are continuously monitoring the federal stance on DACA and undocumented students. For more information about funding and support for DACA and undocumented students in the United States, please visit the NASFAA Tip Sheet for Undocumented Students.

We also encourage students to visit the our DACA Resource page to learn more about DACA status and Colorado College. For admission questions regarding DACA and undocumented, please contact Alex Dominguez in the Office of Admission.

Athletic Recruitment


Colorado College enrolls students who will enhance and enjoy the intellectual, social, and extracurricular communities our campus provides. We seek students who are interested in the wide range of rigorous intellectual experiences offered, and value the role that extra-curricular activities, such as music, debate, theater, political action, and athletics, play on campus. In addition, we are committed to racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and geographical diversity.

Recruitment Philosophy

Colorado College is committed to academic excellence and has established shared recruitment practices to strengthen athletic programs. The Office of Admission partners with the Athletic Department to ensure that students on all intercollegiate teams are representative of our student body and are admitted with the expectation of their full participation in the life of the college. Student-athletes should be aware that we have committed to the following:

  • All admission decisions are rendered and delivered in writing by the Admission Office only. Any communication regarding the status of an admission decision conveyed by non-admission personnel, including verbal commitments, should be considered preliminary, unofficial, and subject to change.
  • No admission decision, including an Early Decision, will be made until the candidate's application is complete and all necessary supporting documentation has been received (including application, supplement, transcripts, standardized test scores and recommendations).
  • By NCAA policy, there are no athletic scholarships awarded in Division III programs. Merit-based scholarship offers and need-based aid packages are made only by the Office of Financial Aid after the student has been admitted. Therefore, we recommend that families use our Net Price Calculator to estimate the cost of attendance prior to being admitted.

Coach's Role

While admission decisions are made exclusively by the admission committee, the coach's assessment of the athletic ability and potential contribution of each candidate is considered. Coaches at other colleges may evaluate a student-athlete's ability differently. Positional considerations may also lead to different assessments of an applicant's value to a team.

It is important to remember that this is a college admission process with an athletic component, not an athletic recruiting process that comes with the opportunity to attend college. Our coaches actively identify and recruit student-athletes and act as advocates for them; but no coach at the college has the authority to offer, promise, or otherwise guarantee a spot in the incoming class to any recruited student-athlete.

We encourage interested student-athletes to complete the recruitment form on the respective athletic team webpage in order to begin the pre-review process.

Homeschooled and nontraditional students

Colorado College has always evaluated candidates for admission on an individual basis. In recent years we have been asked about our policies regarding home schooling, narrative transcripts, portfolio assessment, and other non-traditional approaches to a standard high school transcript. Please review additional information on our admission policies for non-traditional applicants

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/10/2023