Bar Harbor, ME
College of the Atlantic


3 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Connor
What is your overall opinion of this school?

College of the Atlantic is a small school that has big part to play in teaching the next generation. It promotes acceptance a...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

College of the Atlantic is a small school that has big part to play in teaching the next generation. It promotes acceptance and creates leaders in fields like science with the degree of Human Ecology that can be applied in any number of ways. It has a close knit community who supports the growth of everyone involved.

Jack
What is your overall opinion of this school?

College of the Atlantic is a very unique community in a great part of the world. It is home to passionate and opinionated peo...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

College of the Atlantic is a very unique community in a great part of the world. It is home to passionate and opinionated people who are always up for a discussion. The academics can be challenging if you make them challenging and there are many opportunities to those who seek them. It was not the right fit for me, but many love it.

Miranda
What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Within COA there are two stereotypes -- Seafox-dwelling substance free do-gooders, and Blair-Tyson-resident substance abusing...

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Within COA there are two stereotypes -- Seafox-dwelling substance free do-gooders, and Blair-Tyson-resident substance abusing party animals. I think for the most part, that's not how people really identify.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There are really too few students for student groups to be effective. There's a water-polo team that is not officially affiliated with the college that seems quite popular. I think the most popular student activity is engaging in annual (at least... maybe biennial) email wars.

Describe the students at your school.

Most students here are open-minded and friendly. The student body is increasingly young, and is fairly average. The standout quality of the student body is that it's small! That can be good and that can be bad.

What are the academics like at your school?

Terms are 10-weeks long, which is not as long as you think it is. Classes meet 2-3 times a week and reading assignments are light. Most classes have a term-project requirement, which is typically a variation on a presentation or term-paper. Professors make room for students to delve deeply into subjects that interest them and relate it to class material, but as far as resources go, don't contribute much. The library at the school is small and does not keep a high standard of journal subscriptions. Research projects are challenging if students don't have a connection to a larger university with better resources. It's possible to be engaged and learn a great deal here, and it's just as easy to float by. That doesn't make COA special... what's special is that you can get a B here either way.

Heather
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Before you leave, make sure you have packed the essentials - plenty of clothes, snacks (because you will be hungry at odd tim...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Before you leave, make sure you have packed the essentials - plenty of clothes, snacks (because you will be hungry at odd times and often you won't have the energy to cook), and most importantly, quarters! Quarters are essential for doing laundry at college, so bring extra in case you need to loan your roommate some. If she doesn’t pay you back, well, you know where she sleeps... Also, you can't live on instant oatmeal and ramen during the weekend. Bring ingredients for pizza, pancakes, bread, cookies – you get the idea. Be prepared to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. They might be expensive, but they are good for you. Oh, and keep a stash of dark chocolate for emergencies. Once you are at college, remember to get plenty of sleep so you won't doze off in class. Take notes and ask your professor for help if you don’t understand something. Have other people read your essays and papers before submitting them - you will always miss some tiny but embarrassing error. When you are studying, take breaks occasionally, but don’t procrastinate, and NEVER leave things until the last minute. All-nighters are bad for your health.

What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

I would have liked to have known that the Thorndike Library uses the Library of Congress cataloguing system. The library I volunteer at back home uses the Dewey Decimal system, so I was a bit confused by Thorndike’s layout at first.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

If you have classes immediately before and after lunch, you only get half an hour of break to eat, which isn't a lot of time if you are on the other side of campus from the cafeterias. The lines can get very long and sometimes you only have a few minutes to inhale your meal before heading to your next class.

Kayla
Describe the students at your school.

Friendly, kind hearted, helpful, passionate, unique, beautiful souls from all walks of life.

Describe the students at your school.

Friendly, kind hearted, helpful, passionate, unique, beautiful souls from all walks of life.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

II have only been attending this college for a month now and thus far I have met some of the most eccentric people that I hope to know and understand better for years to come. The teachers here are unlike any I have encountered throughout my educational experience. The classes are exceptionally engaging. The atmosphere of the school is extremely warm and inviting. It is small enough to get the individualized attention you crave and the open discussions are endless. I have learned that it is always acceptable to share my thoughts and opinion and that I will never be criticized for the way I perceive things. I am enlightened every day in and out side the classroom. To be reminded that my mind is creative and I can do whatever I wish is so refreshing. Everyday when I walk outside, I feel blessed to be surrounded by such magnificent beauty. I have the ocean in front of me and mountains behind me. What could be better than that?

What kind of person should attend this school?

Someone who is environmentaly conscious and socially engaged. This school is for students who love to be challenged and are self sufficent. It fits the mold for those who are creative thinkers who constanly question the world around them and want more than the conventional answers we are given.

Brittany
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

College of the Atlantic is a life changing experience.

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

College of the Atlantic is a life changing experience.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

College of the Atantic has only one major, allowing students to design their own course of study. Students take at least two clases in three categories: Arts and Design, Environmental Sciences, and Human Studies. This enables students to have an interdiscplinary approach to education.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I have learned that education can be fun, creative and interesting as well as informative and useful. I learn because I have a desire to and I know my classes can be applied to the path I choose in life.

Daniel
What is your overall opinion of this school?

We're extremely small, there's no getting around that. You either love it or hate it (and sometimes both), but most students ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

We're extremely small, there's no getting around that. You either love it or hate it (and sometimes both), but most students tend to enjoy such an intimate community (why would you be here if you didn't). The campus is small, but beautiful, and Bar Harbor is a nice town, albeit dead and lonely in the winter.

Describe the students at your school.

Students are generally weird. Being attracted to this non-traditional education requires you to be mature and quirky. While there may be social cliques, there is no social order, and the geekiest of geeks hangs out with our closest thing to a jock (I guess our tobaggoning team). Most people are very intelligent and open-minded. Don't be surprised if you get challenged for a particular viewpoint. While leftist points of view are the norm, we do have the occasional conservative and you'd be surprised how some students view things such as abortion, states rights, etc. It's hard to stereotype our student body because it is quite diverse and varied.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Stereotypes always have a nugget of truth. Our marine biology program is very strong, mainly due to our facilities (2 research boats and islands, oceanside campus, Allied Whale (private organization affiliated with the college that is on campus and which responds to marine mammal strandings, photo-identifies whales and does marine mammal research), and strong marine biology/policy professors. As someone who has served on the admissions committee and who is a marine mammalogist, I can say that coming to COA solely for marine biology is looked down upon. We are a liberal arts institution, and a special one at that, where you are expected to marry a variety of interests to tackle larger societal and environmental problems. We have a small population of strict marine biologists (I admit to being one of them) who immediately focus in on the hard science and never really break out of that. It's great to focus on something, but pursuing marine science so unilaterally defeats the purpose of Human Ecology. My advice, if you are applying to COA and love marine biology (or think you do, it's often romanticized by high school seniors who love the idea of playing with dolphins and living on a boat), is to showcase your diversity of interests and the level of passion you have for the field, but also your desire to have an interdisciplinary and well-rounded education. You're going to have friends doing wildly different things. My best friend studies agriculture, history and anthropology, while I have other friends who study film theory, politics, food systems and herpetology. This is a great thing. When I come home from a day of seal necropsies, the last thing I want to hear about is whale diving physiology. There's a lot to learn in other areas of study, and typical COA students are curious about them. To address the hippie issue, yes, there are some hippies. Everyone who goes to a liberal college adds the disclaimer that hippies are just a small minority of the population. Why would they do that? Because let's face it, hippies are slightly annoying. Theres a social stigmitization towards being a hippie because it is associated with hypocritical free-will but also judgement (what do you mean you don't eat cage-free, free-range, organic, anti-Monsanto local eggs?!!!), a perceived attitude of indifference and laziness, substance use (sometimes abuse) and anti-establishment mentality that ranges from indifferent complaining (dreadlocks) to annoying activism (canvassing). These things are true for some hippies, but for the most part, not ours. All students at COA actively try to seek better things for the world, and so you have genuine, hard-working people who are actually passionate about their views and interests, and who "do things." There are some slackers, but they do not have a prominent position in the community.

What are the academics like at your school?

Ken Robinson presents a fascinating tedTalk entitled "Do schools kill creativity?" If you haven't seen it, it's worth a look. The type of education he endorses is exactly what COA offers. You are forced to design your own education at COA, taking the courses that you think best address the problems you want to solve in this world. There's no planned trajectory, and so students can marry their diverse interests into a practical, beneficial project or course of study. There are no traditional departments, but faculty members become the de-facto representatives of disciplines. While we say there are no inherent divisions in different areas of study, they do functionally exist. There are definite scientists, strict artists and students with the politics bug so far up their butt you never want to mention it around them. The great thing is that if you want to write a ballad about the importance of composting, you can. Class participation is mandatory. You'll be in classes with 11 other people on the average, and often with just 4-5 other pupils. It's painfully obvious if you didn't do the reading, but that's a great motivator. Presentations and papers are the standard form of work. Tests are rare to non-existent. This means you'll be doing a lot of writing. Late-night cram sessions are centered around hammering out these papers as opposed to cramming for a test, memorizing facts you'll just forget after the exam. Professors are very accessible (first name basis, home phone numbers, potlucks and visits to their house if they like you) but also very busy. You are assigned an advisor to help guide you through a very de-structured 4 year undergrad education, and this is most often the professor in your primary focus (not everyone has just one focus, or even a predominant focus, though). You have to work to arrange meetings and get what you need done. No one is going to baby you, but you're a young adult, and this is something you'll get used to. Motivation, passion and a laid-back but still A-type personality are attributes of successful students here. You can float through your education, taking introductory courses and never fully committing. Students who come here do not do this, though. A lot of high-quality work is expected, and most students rise to this. Academics extend even to the residential life, conversations about the importance of pop-culture continuing over dinner, or why the ocean is screwed being discussed while getting your hair braided.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Student groups are rare and do not influence daily life all that much. There is a newspaper, LGBT support group, international group, etc, but most interest groups spawn and die with incoming and outgoing classes. Typically they'll go like this: Eli: Want to start a baking club? Liz: Sure. Eli: Or we could just make some bread right now and cut the bureaucracy. Liz: Sure. We are in a small summer resort town, so in the winter you have to make your own fun. Most houses on campus are substance-free and most students are as well. Parties primarily occur off-campus and are small. University of Georgia this is not. You're surrounded by creative and fun people, though, so there's a lot of random stuff that happens on the weekends when you're not studying. Plus there's acadia national park so you can hike your heart's desire out.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Most visiting students who haven't done extensive research about the college think we are a marine biology school, or that we operate as some sort of a hippie commune. In late spring and early fall the campus resembles a summer camp, and before heavy work sets in students are always lounging about on fields, participating in drum circles, and playing games of frisbee. It looks all too easy.

Alexandria
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Do what you want to do because out of this whole experience that is what you did best! However, make sure to tell your friend...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Do what you want to do because out of this whole experience that is what you did best! However, make sure to tell your friends you love them! They are the most important people in the world, and you know how much they mean to you! Give Kim and Kelly a break...get to know them. There's a reason why your best friends are dating them. Tell Kenny to reach for the stars. Tell Caleb I respect him. Tell Jessie I love her spunk. Tell Ben he gives the best hugs. After you get to see a new part of the world, you're going to realize just how lucky you are to have those people in your life. Keep in touch with them and let them know how important they are to you. You would never be standing here if it weren't for their love and support; let them know it. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay surrounded by those loving friends, because even though it sounds corny, you'll be able to take on anything with them.

What's unique about your campus?

College of the Atlantic is a graduate school for undergrads. Every student majors in Human Ecology with classes that focus in an area of your interest. I have the freedom to choose classes I am interested in and not worry about filling petty requirements. The classes are challenging and the work is fascinating! With each class, my mind makes new connections to previous knowledge and my eyes open a little wider with the capability to analyze from different perspectives and see the interconnectedness in every aspect of human life.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

College of the Atlantic is a unique campus environment. One of the aspects that make COA so "COA" is the relaxing way we go about our lives. Everyone is very passionate about their work and interests, and sometimes we forget a little that the rest of the world runs by a clock. We still have deadlines and such, but a few minutes here and a couple days there...the students and the professors aren't always timely.

Noah
Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are curious, engaged, intellectual, friendly, motivated, caring people.

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are curious, engaged, intellectual, friendly, motivated, caring people.

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

My school is best known for being the greenest college in the USA!

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior knowing what I know now about college life and making the transition, I would tell myself to not only choose schools by academic programs offered and to do overnight visits at the schools I wanted to attend to make sure they were really the best fit for me. I made this mistake my senior year of high school which resulted in spending a long, unhappy year at a very large state institution - the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I corrected this mistake by transferring to the College of the Atlantic (COA) at the beginning of my sophmore year. I decided to transfer to COA because I felt it was the best fit for me not only academilly, but socially, intellectually, and environmentally and because it was the only school that promoted a real sense of community. The evidence of the existence of a caring community was clear during my two overnight visits to College of the Atlantic as was the close student-teacher bonds COA is known for. I wish I had considered these things when applying to schools as a high school senior.

Kasi
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could go back and tell myself anything that I now know about college and life I would remind myself to slow down and enj...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could go back and tell myself anything that I now know about college and life I would remind myself to slow down and enjoy the experience more. I would tell myself that college life is a wonderful experience that I will only have one shot at and I would plan more in advance for extra activities to be involved in as well as learning to meet new people. I would like to go back and tell myself that the transition from high school to college life, while scary at times, it is worth it all in the end. I would tell myself to be more excited and not worry about things as much because in the end it all works out as it should. Overall, I would simply tell myself that college is only the first step to a wonderful time in my life and to enjoy every second knowing that I am fully prepared to take it on!

Details

  • Enrollment
  • 337
  • Tuition & Fees
  • $43,542
  • Acceptance rate
  • 65%

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