See what students say:


At this tiny Bar Harbor school, students "don't just take classes": they immerse themselves in experiences and in "an intimate, friendly community" of do-ers and critical thinkers. The college offers one self-designed major, human ecology, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning; this means "your undergraduate experience really is what you make of it." As a result, students are involved in outside projects in many areas that COA might not have many classes in. You also see "an interesting blend of subjects—physics, life drawing, environmental policy might all be found in one senior thesis." This unique educational model helps students "merge [their] talents/interests in a meaningful and applicable way," and allows for graduate-level research and realworld work experience at the undergraduate level. Students can't say enough about their professors, who "foster an environment open to discussion." If they do not know the answer to a question, "they are likely to admit it and research" the answer for you. "It's hard for me to talk to friends at other schools because it's not popular to love your college and academics as much as I do," says a student. Conversations extend outside classrooms all of the time; COA "is a college and a community that demands cognizance, compassion, and trust." There is a tremendous amount of academic freedom here, as well as "the ability to self-govern as a community"; COAers all recognize "the trust and responsibility the institution places in all students to create their own academic path between and among traditional majors." Self-motivated learning is everything here, and College of the Atlantic is for "idealists with elbow grease." Students can try their hand at numerous internship, residency, and study abroad opportunities, as the school "endeavors to make education a verb, and apply it to positively impact the world." Professors are deeply invested in their roles as educators, and "pour their hearts into this." "They expect our best and help us achieve it," says a student. "I am challenged and encouraged in equal parts."

Student Body

Students at COA are typically "down to earth, progressive, and passionate about improving the world around them." Or, to put it another way: "Brilliant and a little weird." While the student body may be small (with a pretty skewed gender ratio at about 70 percent female), there's a great deal of diversity within the student body, both culturally (there is a huge international student population) and socioeconomically. "Nobody has the opportunity to hang out with people just like them"; instead students say, "We learn to be with each other, to share space." The four-year, straight through plan is not always typical here, and students "often leave for months or years and come back with experiences that enhance their and everyone else's education."

Campus Life

The housing and food here get rave reviews, and "many great conversations about the state of the world take place in houses, at meals, and just about anywhere else." The "active Outing Club" offers plenty of opportunities for students to kayak in Frenchman Bay and explore their "backyard" (Acadia National Park) or "other incredible natural areas of Maine." "It's hard to get bored when you live in such a beautiful landscape," says a student. COA students strive to be conscious of how their actions affect their social, political, and natural environments, and "there's definitely a hippie aesthetic." "We are constantly thinking about the latest environmental/social justice issue and thoughtful debates about these subjects happen at every meal." For fun, most students will "host potlucks with friends, spend time outdoors, and dance (with exceptional skill) together." Contra dancing ("one of the best things ever") is "alive and well in Maine and at COA!" "Reading parties, movie screenings, philosophical debates, and playback theatre companies" are also common, and "evenings often finish with singing, fiddles and guitars."


Acceptance Rate
Average HS GPA

GPA Breakdown

Over 3.75
3.50 - 3.74
3.25 - 3.49
3.00 - 3.24
2.00 - 2.49

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SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
580 - 690
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
530 - 600
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
530 - 630

Concordant SAT Scores

SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
610 - 700
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
560 - 620

ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
26 - 30

Testing Policies

ACT Writing Policy
ACT with or without Writing accepted


Early Decision — December 1

Early Decision II — January 15

Regular — February 1

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Application Essay

Selectivity Rating

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Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
10 - 19
Most frequent lab / sub section size
2 - 9

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


  • Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences

  • Agriculture, General
  • International Agriculture
  • Taxidermy/Taxidermist

  • Architecture and Related Service

  • Landscape Architecture (BS, BSLA, BLA, MSLA, MLA, PhD)

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • Anatomy
  • Animal Behavior and Ethology
  • Animal Genetics
  • Aquatic Biology/Limnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Other
  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
  • Biology/Biological Sciences, General
  • Biomathematics and Bioinformatics, Other
  • Biostatistics
  • Botany/Plant Biology
  • Botany/Plant Biology, Other
  • Cell Biology and Anatomy
  • Cell Physiology
  • Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other
  • Cell/Cellular Biology and Histology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Developmental Biology and Embryology
  • Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Genetics, General
  • Genetics, Other
  • Human/Medical Genetics
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology
  • Microbial and Eukaryotic Genetics
  • Microbiological Sciences and Immunology, Other
  • Microbiology, General
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Physiology
  • Mycology
  • Physiology, General
  • Plant Genetics
  • Plant Molecular Biology
  • Plant Pathology/Phytopathology
  • Plant Physiology
  • Population Biology
  • Structural Biology
  • Systematic Biology/Biological Systematics
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Zoology/Animal Biology
  • Zoology/Animal Biology, Other

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

  • Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies
  • International Business/Trade/Commerce
  • Marketing/Marketing Management, General
  • Non-Profit/Public/Organizational Management

  • Education

  • Art Teacher Education
  • Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education, Other
  • Biology Teacher Education
  • Chemistry Teacher Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Education, General
  • Education, Other
  • Educational Evaluation and Research
  • Educational Leadership and Administration, General
  • Educational/Instructional Media Design
  • English/Language Arts Teacher Education
  • Geography Teacher Education
  • History Teacher Education
  • International and Comparative Education
  • Mathematics Teacher Education
  • Multicultural Education
  • Music Teacher Education
  • Physics Teacher Education
  • Science Teacher Education/General Science Teacher Education
  • Secondary Education and Teaching
  • Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education
  • Social Science Teacher Education
  • Social Studies Teacher Education
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods, Other
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas, Other

  • English Language and Literature/Letters

  • American Literature (United States)
  • Creative Writing
  • English Composition
  • English Language and Literature, General
  • English Language and Literature/Letters, Other
  • Technical and Business Writing

  • Foreign languages, literatures, and Linguistics

  • Comparative Literature
  • Foreign Languages and Literatures, General

  • History

  • American History (United States)
  • History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • History, General
  • History, Other

  • Legal Professions and Studies

  • Legal Studies, General

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities

  • General Studies
  • Humanities/Humanistic Studies
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies

  • Mathematics and Statistics

  • Algebra and Number Theory
  • Analysis and Functional Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics, Other
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Geometry/Geometric Analysis
  • Mathematical Statistics and Probability
  • Mathematics and Statistics, Other
  • Mathematics, General
  • Mathematics, Other
  • Statistics, General
  • Statistics, Other

  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Biological and Physical Sciences
  • Biopsychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Historic Preservation and Conservation, Other
  • Intercultural/Multicultural and Diversity Studies
  • International/Global Studies
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other
  • Natural Sciences
  • Neuroscience
  • Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution
  • Science, Technology and Society
  • Systems Science and Theory

  • Natural Resources and Conservation

  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Land Use Planning and Management/Development
  • Natural Resource Economics
  • Natural Resources Conservation and Research, Other
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy, Other
  • Natural Resources/Conservation, General
  • Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resources Management

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

  • Ethics
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies, Other
  • Religion/Religious Studies

  • Physical Sciences

  • Atomic/Molecular Physics
  • Chemistry, General
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Physical Sciences, Other

  • Social Sciences

  • American Government and Politics (United States)
  • Cartography
  • Demography and Population Studies
  • Development Economics and International Development
  • Geography, Other
  • International Relations and Affairs
  • Political Science and Government, General
  • Political Science and Government, Other
  • Social Sciences, Other
  • Sociology
  • Urban Studies/Affairs

  • Visual and Performing Arts

  • Art History, Criticism and Conservation
  • Art/Art Studies, General
  • Ceramic Arts and Ceramics
  • Cinematography and Film/Video Production
  • Commercial and Advertising Art
  • Crafts/Craft Design, Folk Art and Artisanry
  • Dance, General
  • Dance, Other
  • Design and Applied Arts, Other
  • Design and Visual Communications, General
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General
  • Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other
  • Drawing
  • Fiber, Textile and Weaving Arts
  • Film/Cinema Studies
  • Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other
  • Fine Arts and Art Studies, Other
  • Fine/Studio Arts, General
  • Graphic Design
  • Intermedia/Multimedia
  • Jazz/Jazz Studies
  • Music History, Literature, and Theory
  • Music Performance, General
  • Music Theory and Composition
  • Music, General
  • Music, Other
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Playwriting and Screenwriting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Theatre Literature, History and Criticism
  • Visual and Performing Arts, General
  • Visual and Performing Arts, Other



Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


Notable Faculty

Prominent Alumni

Chellie Pingree
Maine's 1st District Congresswoman, former Pres., CEO of Common Cause

Gregory Stone
Sr VP Chf Scientist for Oceans Cons Intl, key in Phoenix Isl Marine Preserv

Nell Newman
CEO of Newman's Own Organics - Second Generation

Juan Hoffmaister
Works extensively on UN negotiations around climate change

Philip B. Kunhardt, III
Documentary producer, author; and founder of NYU's Transformative Lives Ctr

Jay McNally
Founder, former CEO, Ibis Consulting, renowned electronic data analytics co

Amy Toensing
National Geographic photographer

Academic Rating

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes


Application Deadlines
Feb 1
Notification Date
Apr 1

Required Forms

Business Farm Supp
Forms Divorced Parent

Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

On-Campus Room and Board
Comprehensive Fee

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology
Federal and Institutional

Scholarships and Grants


Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid is available

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
Federal Perkins Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender

Financial Aid Rating


Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Foreign Countries Represented



73% female
27% male
75% are out of state
92% are full time
8% are part time


Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment

Housing Options

Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
Wellness Housing

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations


Athletic Division

Student Services

LGBT Support Groups: COA students offer a student-run support group. Our health services clinic also provides counseling on issues related to gender.

Minority Support Groups: COA students have an international students group.


In the spring of 2013, the college adopted an Energy Framework which lays out steps to meet its energy needs by using local and renewable energy sources and to eventually become a fossil fuel-free campus. Implementation will involve students through hands-on, interdisciplinary classes and student-led projects to inspire and educate students to conceive of and implement similar work at larger scales in the world. Already, COA classes have researched, sited, and installed solar panels and a wind turbine on campus. These add to the college’s baseline renewables and environmentally sound building practices. COA routinely conducts energy audits of the campus with the goal of making existing buildings more energy-efficient. The college also focuses on providing local and organic food to its students, faculty and staff; COA has its own organic farm twelve miles from campus, which supplies the cafeteria with produce as the seasons permit. A new livestock farms produces broiler chickens for campus. An electric van charged by solar panels provides transportation between the farms and campus; the campus solar charger is open to the public for free. That said, the school is keen to note that “all food waste is composted.” In fact, with designated composting bins in the cafeteria as well as every dorm (not to mention recycling bins for plastic, glass, and paper in every building and on almost every floor), there’s no excuse at COA not to compost and recycle. The college also takes a proactive approach to teaching sustainability in the classroom through its Sustainable Foods Systems Program, which explores how COA’s work in organic agriculture can be applied to larger food system issues, as well as its Sustainable Business Program, which focuses on environmentally and socially focused strategies to encourage positive change, while another program focuses on environmental diplomacy empowering students to become youth leaders in international negotiations.

School Has Formal Sustainability Committee

Sustainability-focused degree available

School employs a sustainability officer

Public GHG inventory plan

% food budget spent on local/organic food

Available Transportation Alternatives

Bike Share

Car Sharing Program

Carpool/Vanpool Matching Program

Condensed Work Week Option For Employees

Free Or Reduced Price Transit Passes And/Or Free Campus Shuttle

Indoor And Secure Bike Storage, Shower Facilities, And Lockers For Bicycle Commuters

Reduced Parking Fees For Car And Van Poolers

School Developed Bicycle Plan

School Offers A Telecommute Program For Employees
Data provided by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS®, as of March, 2017.

Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Undergraduates that Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

University of Maine Computer Connection

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Donna McFarland
Associate Director of Admission

Office of Admission
105 Eden Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609


Email or

Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History
Deering Common Community Center
The pier
Blair Dining Hall (aka Take-A-Break)
College of the Atlantic is located between the ocean and the hills of Acadia National Park. It's a beautiful spot to visit during any season. The campus has recently completed state-of-the-art sustainable housing and a creative restoration of an historic building into a similarly sustainable campus center. These are also very popular spots for visitors. But our library is a welcome environment overlooking the ocean, our Blair Dining Hall (aka Take-A-Break) is our meeting spot, our food is delicious, and there's now a little cafe, Sea Urchins Cafe, in the lovely Deering Common Community Center

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Acadia National Park
Cadillac Mountain
Kayaking Frenchman Bay
Shopping in Bar Harbor
Popovers at Jordan Pond House
College of the Atlantic is an oceanside campus located between the Atlantic Ocean and Acadia National Park. A visit to the college can be combined with a visit to Acadia National Park, and (depending on the season) hikes, kayaking trips, x-country skiing, and an enjoyment of the island atmosphere.

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
Monday - Friday

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions

by appointment

Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice
1 week

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Admissions Office

High school seniors and transfer students


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Regularly scheduled flights are available to Bar Harbor Airport and to Bangor International Airport. Bus service is available to Bar Harbor, Bangor, and Ellsworth, though service to Bar Harbor is limited in winter. Taxis are available year-round.

Driving Instructions to Campus
Driving from the south, take Interstate 95 north to Interstate 395 in Bangor (exit 182A). Follow Interstate 395 to Re 1A Ellsworth (Exit 6). From Ellsworth, follow Rte 3 east to Bar Harbor. Keep left after crossing the bridge onto Mount Desert Island. College of the Atlantic is on the ocean side of Rte. 3, about 19 miles from the Ellsworth shopping district, eight miles from the head of Mount Desert Island and one-quarter mile beyond the Nova Scotia Ferry Terminal. Turn left at the COA entrance and park in the provided areas. The admission office is located on the first floor of Kaelber Hall, under the arch to the right.

Local Accommodations
Nearby accommodations include: Atlantic Oceanside Hotel (1-800-336-2463); Aurora Inn - closed winter - (1-800-841-8925); Seacroft Inn - seasonal - (1-800-824-9694); Acadia Inn - seasonal -(1-800-638-3636).

Articles & Advice