Frequently Asked Questions - Colorado College

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We realize that many of you know the answers to these questions already, but we thought it would be helpful to give you brief answers to the types of questions we are asked daily. If you have other questions, please feel free to contact the Admission Office (1-800-542-7214).

FAQ's for admitted Students

General questions:

Why should I pursue a liberal arts education? At a liberal arts college, you receive a broad education that will remain useful and relevant for a lifetime. The college provides you a foundation that not only fosters success in whatever vocation you choose, but also gives breadth and depth to every dimension of life. Learning to think critically and analytically, to write, to research, and to work independently and creatively are indispensable skills. A liberal arts education encourages students to be broad-minded and tolerant of differences, to be adaptable to the changing world, and to contribute to their communities.

Can you explain the Block Plan and what a typical day is like? Just like traditional semester-based systems, students at CC will take four classes per semester, eight per year. However, instead of taking classes all at once for the entire semester, students take (and professors teach) only one course at a time, doing a semester's amount of work in three and a half weeks (one "Block"). There are eight of these blocks in an academic year, plus an optional Half Block. The Block Plan promotes active learning since students and professors focus and concentrate on each course with no distractions from other classes or assignments. An intensity and momentum develop in the classroom that students find engaging. Typically, a class meets every weekday between 9 a.m. and noon, followed by afternoon laboratory sessions. However, professors have the flexibility to schedule classes in the format they feel is most suited to the subject matter. Bells don't ring to end a discussion or interrupt an explanation. Students and faculty demand the full attention of each other.

Why is the Block Plan so unique? Why can’t I find it at other colleges? While most educators would acknowledge the value of longer class sessions, smaller classes, and increased faculty-student contact, very few institutions can actually provide the consistently small classes and opportunities for faculty contact made possible by the Block Plan. This system requires a greater teaching commitment from faculty, more classroom space per student, and greater support for off-campus and field study than most colleges and universities are willing or able to provide. Teaching and learning under the Block Plan depend on students who are bright, disciplined, and actively engaged in their own education. We carefully select both faculty and students to participate in this intellectual adventure.

Advantages of the Block Plan:

  1. Students get focused, concentrated, in-depth study of each course.
  2. There are increased opportunities for involvement with students and professors in the classroom. With such concentrated amounts of time, and intense style of learning, students get to know each other, and their professors, quickly.
  3. There is flexibility and creativity in scheduling and teaching.
  4. Students have vast opportunities for field study, independent study, internships, and foreign study. Some classes include day trips, some week-long trips, and some even spend the whole block off-campus, in locations nearby, across the US, and even abroad.
  5. Students acquire greater self-discipline, stronger organizational and time management skills, and become more efficient in their work.
  6. Three-and-a-half week courses encourage students to take risks and tackle unfamiliar subjects.
  7. Students take one exam at the end of each block rather than multiple exams at the end of the semester.

How do courses under the Block Plan transfer in and out? Because the Block Plan, begun in 1970, is a widely recognized scheduling system, students who choose to transfer from CC do not have difficulty receiving appropriate credit at the schools to which they are transferring. One block is equivalent to four semester hours or six quarter hours.

Does Colorado College have an honors program? Because classes are small and all students have been selected through a competitive admission process, an honors program simply isn’t necessary. All classes are rigorous and demanding. In fact, many senior-level courses are comparable to graduate-level courses.

What programs are available for students with disabilities, particularly learning disabilities? For physical and learning disabilities, we provide reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis. In addition, all new construction incorporates significant modifications for physical disabilities. In the past, accommodations such as extra time, quiet locations for testing, and physical adjustments to rooms have been offered. If you need support for a disability or would like more information, please contact Jan Edwards, director of disabilities services.

What additional academic services do you offer to students? If students are having trouble with a course, we hope that they will go straight to the source — the professors who serve as your advisors and teachers. Professors are here for a reason — to teach — and most are very approachable and happy to help. You may also receive advice on writing from the Writing Center in the Learning Commons. In addition, departments can recommend student tutors to students who are struggling in a particular class. Most of the natural science departments employ paraprofessionals who, as recent graduates of the department, are there to assist students and faculty, but do not teach classes.

What percentage of a typical first-year class will return for their sophomore year? About 94% — most CC students are pretty happy with their experience! Do students have trouble graduating in four years? No. It is extremely rare for a student to graduate late due to difficulty in scheduling needed classes.

Can I get credit for AP, IB, or other college courses? It’s possible. Each department sets its own standards. Typically a 4 or a 5 on an AP exam, or a 6 or a 7 on an IB exam, will be worth credit. Course credits from other colleges may transfer if the grade is a C or better, the course is similar to one already taught at CC (i.e. not agriculture), the course is taught on a college campus, and the course was not used to fulfill high school graduation requirements. More detailed information is available here (MS Word .doc).

What are the general requirements? CC does not have a core curriculum, but we do have a distribution requirement. This means that while we expect students to have a breadth of experience in their curriculum, we do not specify particular courses. Students must declare their major by the end of their sophomore year and complete a total of 32 blocks for graduation.

Are there required first-year courses? The first two blocks at Colorado College are the First-Year Experience, where students choose one of over 30 interdisciplinary courses to introduce them to the Block Plan and the liberal arts.

What pre-professional programs are available? Pre-professional advising is offered in the health sciences (dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, etc.) and in law. There are cooperative programs with other schools in engineering, which require that students spend three years at CC pursuing a liberal arts foundation before transferring to one of four cooperative universities for two years of engineering. At the end of this 3-2 period, students receive two bachelor’s degrees: one from CC and one from the engineering school. Many CC students will also go into business after graduation.

Does the college help students find jobs? Definitely. Our Career Center is an excellent resource for students as they look for employment opportunities during and after college. The Center provides individual career counseling and workshops in resume writing and interviewing, and the career library provides resources on internships and employment. You will have access to a computer program that helps identify interests and possible employment areas. There are opportunities to interview with businesses, corporations, non-profit organizations, government and social service agencies, and graduate schools which come to campus throughout the year. The Center can also direct you to a network of alumni across the country who have volunteered to offer assistance.

What security measures does CC employ? Where can I obtain statistics about safety? Security should be a concern anywhere. We focus on educating students about risky and inappropriate behaviors. We also have escort, emergency phones, and whistle programs, as well as security patrols. Residence halls utilize a system of key card entries. Statistical crime reports are prepared annually by the college and may be requested from the Campus Safety Office.

What majors does CC offer? As a liberal arts college, we hope that there aren't significant differences in our departments and that you could change majors many times without having to leave CC. Generally speaking, the most popular majors at CC are those that are popular nationally. You can see the majors we offer here.

What is the average class size? The average class size is 16.3 students and classes are officially limited to 25 students unless there are two professors, in which case the limit is 32. (Professors will occasionally go over this limit to accommodate student demand.)

What types of extra-curricular activities exist on campus? There are too many to detail here....

  • The performing arts (you don't have to be a major to perform).
  • Community service (the most popular extracurricular activity on campus as measured by student participation).
  • Athletics (9 men’s varsity, 9 women’s varsity, many club and intramural teams).
  • Spiritual groups (Hillel, Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship, Catholic Community, over 20 in total).
  • Minority student groups
  • Student media
  • CCSGA (student government)
  • Debate/Forensics
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Block breaks!
  • And the list goes on and on....

Who are your famous and most distinguished graduates? A number of Colorado College alumni were tapped by President Obama for positions in his administration. They include:

  • Former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar ’77, secretary of the interior
  • Jane Lubchenco ’69, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Lori Garver ’83, deputy administrator of NASA
  • Marcia McNutt ’74, director of the U.S. Geological Survey
  • Harris Sherman ’64, agriculture undersecretary for natural resources and environment

Additionally, Colorado College had a 2008 graduate, Aaron Gutierrez, serving as an intern in the office of legislative affairs at the White House. Gutierrez, who was born and raised in Pueblo, Colo., graduated with a B.A. in international political economy and a minor in Spanish. A survivor of brain cancer, he was a Fellow at El Pomar Foundation, one of the largest and oldest grant-giving foundations in the Rocky Mountain West. At El Pomar, Gutierrez received firsthand experience in the nonprofit sector.

Also among the long list of notable CC alums are William J. Hybl ’64, former president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, member of the International Olympic Committee, and nominated delegate to the United Nations General Assembly; Lynne Cheney ’63, news commentator and wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney; Tara Nott Cunningham ’94, the United States’ first Olympic gold medalist in women’s weightlifting (2000 Games); Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming ’70; Olympic cyclist and World Mountain Bike Champion Alison Dunlap ’91; William “Bro” Adams ’69, Colby College’s 19th president and former president of Bucknell University; Neal Baer ’78, former executive producer and writer for “ER” and current executive producer for “Law & Order SVU”; Jay Engeln ’74, 2000 National High School Principal of the Year and currently CC’s director of alumni & parent relations; U.S. Congresswoman Diana DeGette ’79; Glenna Goodacre ’61, a sculptor who designed the image of Sacagawea on the golden U.S. dollar coin; Peter Neupert ’78, Microsoft executive and founder of

What are the college expenses? Current information on expenses can be found at:

Approximately half of the student body receives direct support from Colorado College in the form of financial aid or scholarships. Detailed information is also available on our website:

What does my tuition pay for? CC is a private institution, and therefore not subsidized by the state. While our tuition may seem high, it is actually on the lower end for nationally known liberal arts colleges. Colorado College hires the best faculty, keeps class sizes extremely small, and has ample state-of-the-art facilities and equipment designated for undergraduate use only.

Do you have more questions? If so, send us e-mail or give us a call at: or 1-800-542-7214