As some members of Colgate’s Division I athletics teams helped unload cars and trucks packed tightly with suitcases and boxes destined for first-year residence halls on the hill, incoming student Grace Kotraba said she knew this was the perfect liberal arts school to spend the next four years.

“I visited about 12 other schools, and this place just felt right,” said Kotraba, who is from St. Louis, Mo., and now lives in Curtis Hall as a member of the Ciccone Residential Commons. “The chipwiches at the end of the tour stood out,” she quipped, “but it was also one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve visited. I’m interested in studying economics, and I want to join TIA (Colgate’s Thought Into Action entrepreneurship incubator).”

After unloading and moving in, Colgate’s newest first-year class has a full slate of orientation events throughout the weekend, ranging from ice-cream socials and first meetings with their fellow Residential Commons members to meetings with academic advisers and an opportunity to take in a midnight philosophy session.

Colgate received 8,542 applications to the Class of 2021, 851 of which were sent via Early Decision. Students applied from 128 countries, Washington, D.C., and 49 states, with North Dakota as the lone absentee. New York, New Jersey, and California are the three most-represented home states of students in the class. The average high-school grade point average for all accepted students was 3.8 out of 4.0.

Eleven percent of the 778 students in the class are international (including dual citizens), with 37 countries represented. Twenty-two percent of class members from the United States self-identify as students of color.

“The Class of 2021 is going to be a great addition to the student body at Colgate,” said Associate Dean of Admission Drew Riley. “They are dynamic; they are active; they are from all over the place; and they demonstrated to us that they want to make their communities better places.”

Forty-one percent of the incoming class is receiving Colgate financial aid, and the average award is $52,075.

For Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Bilal Boussayoud, who is planning to study computer science and English, with a concentration in creative writing, the decision to attend Colgate was easy. He liked the small class sizes he found while attending Colgate in Focus, the university’s diversity open house, and of all the schools he applied to, Colgate offered the most generous aid package.

“I’ve gone to public schools my whole life, and I’m used to 30 or 40 people in my class. To go into a computer science class and see eight or 10 people — it wasn’t hard to picture myself standing out,” said Boussayoud, who lives in East Hall as a member of the Brown Residential Commons.

At a special welcome for family members in Colgate Memorial Chapel, President Brian W. Casey thanked parents, grandparents, and loved ones for entrusting Colgate with the education of their children. “You have brought us the future — the future of this nation, the future of this university, and the future of the world,” Casey said, “that is who your children are.”