See what students say:


A hop, skip, and a jump from stunning Acadia National Park, with its campus on Maine’s Frenchman Bay, College of the Atlantic (COA) offers undergraduates “an extreme degree of academic freedom.” COA’s “interdisciplinary structure” lets students create their own course of study with creative pedagogy from professors who regularly “provide immersive activities such as field work, class trips, and experiential opportunities.” Students rave about faculty who have “big hearts” while upholding a “rigorous academic” standard. Students have a chance to take traditional classes, but there is also an “incredible amount of experiential learning opportunities,” including hands-on projects like “working on a research boat” and building a “tiny house with other students” in a class dedicated to—yep—designing and building tiny houses. Furthermore, students say “the professors at COA foster a class environment that honors and values class discussion and a balanced student-teacher relationship.” This is evidenced by “everyone go[ing] by their first name,” and faculty “participating in every other aspect of life at COA” outside of the classroom. Independent students also noted that they were able to receive “substantial financial aid,” and had “flexibility in shaping [their] own education.” Students have numerous internship, residency, and study abroad opportunities, all of which complement the school’s “culture of social responsibility and environmental sustainability.” “Workshops,” one student adds, “most notably, the Thoreau gatherings held once per term...on student skill-sets enable us to better organize and advocate for change.”

Student Body

At the College of the Atlantic, you’ll find a fascinating assortment of “geologists, guitarists, teachers, poets, fashionistas, sailors, rock climbers, film makers, and economists” among the student body, who are “curious about learning, especially in the field setting,” “passionate about global climate change and social equality,” and “overwhelmingly willing to contribute to projects and help out people in need even if there is no individual benefit to be claimed.” Another student trait that “seems to be universal” is a “willingness for academic discussion on a range of topics, in settings like classrooms to the line in the dining hall, in which students are keen to take sides and find real depths of thought together in a safe way without coming to personal jabs.” Proud COA students note that they have “few traditions” and are “experimental in the best sense of the word.” Students are inspired by “the words of...former school president Ed Kaelber: ‘Any college that is not constantly seeking new ways of doing things is only half alive.’” Students say their “tiny community is tied together much closer than most colleges get their students to be,” and full of “self-directed learners who want to take charge of their learning rather than follow the general current.”

Campus Life

Students are drawn to COA’s “small community with a commitment to sustainability.” Many classes “move outdoors in good weather” to “explore Acadia National Park across the street or other sites on the coast of Maine.” COA students also “play a large part in the governance and daily operation of the college, participating in work study positions and serving on committees.” Between classes, students “often hang out at a cafeteria called TAB (Take-A-Break), “a central location on campus,” that “besides being used for meals, is a common study or social space.” Hiking is popular year round, or playing water polo at the YMCA in town. Skiing and winter camping are go-to activities in the winter. Popular on weekends year round is the “movie theatre/pizza place in town, Reel Pizza.” And “a lot of people go contra dancing once a month in a nearby city.” Students are generally passionate about their coursework and fieldwork, and serve “on the school’s research vessel, the MV Osprey,” and at the “Peggy Rockefeller Farm.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Donna McFarland
Associate Director of Admission

Office of Admission
105 Eden Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609


inquiry@coa.edu or visit@coa.edu

Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Thorndike Library
Blair Dining Hall (aka Take-A-Break, or TAB)
The pier
George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History
College of the Atlantic is located on the shore of Frenchman Bay, next door to the mountains, forests, beaches, and trails of Acadia National Park. We welcome visitors during any season, and offer regular tours of campus on weekdays at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Acadia National Park
Cadillac Mountain
Kayaking Frenchman Bay
Shopping/dining in Bar Harbor
Sand Beach
Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park provide a wealth of opportunities for visitors. Whether you like to hike, bike, or kayak, enjoy good food, go on a whale watch, or attend a cultural event, the spring/summer/fall season in Bar Harbor is lively and engaging. The Abbe Museum, located downtown, focuses on Native American culture and history of Maine, and there are many local galleries, marine museums, and more. Downtown Bar Harbor is just a short walk from campus, and has a full range of amenities and services.

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
Monday - Friday

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: 10:00am, 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 year-round accommodations include: Atlantic Oceanside Hotel Acacia House B&B Acadia Inn Elmhurst Inn Quimby House Inn


Applicants: 459
Acceptance Rate: 67%
Average HS GPA: 3.58



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