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College of the Atlantic Reviews

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  • 07/29/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    14 out of 14 people found this review useful. 1 of 10

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Students at COA are interested in a myriad of subjects and studies. Don't let the one major concept scare you. Human ecology is, in very brief and broad terms, the study of the nature of human interaction with their environment. That being said, the typical COA student (if you can call them typical) is dedicated, curious, and self-driven. Whether you're into economics, plants, or art, you can find a place at College of the Atlantic.

    Tips for prospective students

    Prospective students should definitely visit in person. Most students are from out of state, and travel may be difficult, but it is definitely worth it. College of the Atlantic can not be put into words, it is an experience in itself. I would advise students to apply for the Fall Fly-in before their senior year. For this program, students write a personal essay on a given topic and if they are selected, COA will provide an all-expenses paid trip to visit the college, stay in a dorm, and interview with a counselor.

    Bang for the buck

    The price tag of any college can add sticker-shock. Admittedly, College of the Atlantic isn't cheap. It is a private institution and is priced as such. However, students at College of the Atlantic come from all walks of life, all income levels, etc. An impressive number of international students flock here each year. COA is extremely generous with scholarship money, grants, etc. A very committed staff will personally take the time to make sure you can afford your tuition. You can also choose to be involved in work-study, which is an enriching part of the COA experience. One of the positions is well sought after - kitchen duty, where students learn to prepare organic and local foods with care. Whatever the price tag, COA is invaluable. It will diversify you, allow you to travel (money is set aside for this), change your perspective on the world, and introduce you to people that can and will help you grow as a person.

    Am enjoying being here

    Most people will tell you that as soon as they stepped on campus, they knew it was home. It could have been the view from the cozy, woodsy campus - from the patio of Kaelber hall, you can look out onto the breathtakingly beautiful Frenchman bay. Perhaps it was the people that felt like home. Friendly, energetic intellectuals who welcome just about anyone they see around campus. Maybe it took the classroom experience to pull them in. Sitting in on your first COA class is like being introduced to an entirely new world of possibilities. Challenging, fun, often mind-blowing. So what do we do for fun on a tiny island off the coast of Maine? Acadia National Park is more or less the back yard of College of the Atlantic. It is an amazing opportunity for recreation and education, beautiful year-round. At the college, students are rarely bored. From All College Meetings (or ACM), where students have a powerful voice in the college's decisions, to open mics, theater presentations, dances, and field trips.

    Am learning a lot

    The positive energy at COA is infectious. When everyone around you is incredibly passionate about what they're studying, it's hard to resist your own curiosity. The concept of going to class is completely redefined at the college by spirited professors, field work, independent studies, and hands-on applications. COA believes that college should not be a time out of life, but should be a time of learning that inspires your future. Professors become good friends. Your education is virtually completely up to you - if you have an idea, people at the college will be enthusiastic to help make it happen. An internship and senior project are required, and the products and experiences of each student are drastically individual and unique. At around 300 students, classes of about 8 people or so engage in in-depth conversations. You will not only be able to engage in your own passions, you will learn HOW to learn, which is an invaluable aspect of education.

  • 01/13/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    9 out of 9 people found this review useful. 2 of 10

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    COA is for students that are passionate about learning that don't want to be bound to one area of study. They see the interconnections between subjects and want to integrate them and create their own curriculum. COA is for students that want to be involved in a community. Students tend to have a sense of social and environmental responsibility, and are the idealistic types. The motto for the school is life changing, world changing and I think students really reflect that.

    Tips for prospective students

    The people in the admissions office are welcoming and they just want to get to know you. You should come visit and see it for yourself. Schedule an interview while you are here and if you can't make it, at least, schedule a phone or Skype interview.

    Bang for the buck

    COA gives generous financial aid and is a need-blind school. I received the Presidential Scholarship so I am granted $12,000 in addition, to money set aside for research or study abroad. But, I hear from my friends as well that COA offered them more aid than any of the other schools they applied to.

    Am enjoying being here

    COA is in a beautiful location on the coast on Maine, right next to Acadia National Park. You can always find something to do outside, even in the winter. The community is really welcoming and supportive, making it easy to meet people and make friends right away. On campus every Sunday, there are community dinners, where people cook and eat, with the other residents. On Wednesdays, there are All College Meetings, where students have the opportunity to voice their opinions about issues on campus. COA is a truly amazing place and I am really enjoying being a part of it.

    Am learning a lot

    Professors here are passionate and devoted to their students, in addition, to being well recognized in their fields. Class sizes are small, usually about 10 students, allowing professors to get to know their students personally. They usually recommend meeting every couple weeks to check in and give feedback. Classes have been challenging, pushing me to excel, but not too difficult to the point where it is over my head.

  • 03/22/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    7 out of 7 people found this review useful. 3 of 10

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Adventurers, outdoorsy types, artists, critical thinkers, go-getters, problem-solvers, questioners of all things, explorers, voracious learners.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    There are endless little nooks and places to explore along the waterfront or in the gardens of the school. The buildings themselves have a lot of character, and if you need some perfect spot to study or read or think or sit, you will most certainly find it.

    Bang for the buck

    It's an expensive school, make no mistake, but the financial aid is still very good. In the end, it comes out (for me) to be slightly more expensive than a state school back home.

    What to do for fun

    Swim in the ocean, explore Acadia National Park, sail one of the school's boats, paddle a kayak or canoe, go snowshoeing, jam with students, play a pickup game of soccer or ultimate or ice hockey, make great food with your housemates, learn!

    Food and Dining

    Vegan, veg, gluten-free friendly. Typically pretty tasty food, much of which is sourced locally or even from the school's organic farm. Can be a bit pricey, but the grocery store (and a small natural foods store) is not far away in town.

    Dorm Life

    I live off campus, but the dorms all have character and lead to fantastic community.

    Academic Rigor

    The school is all about letting you test your limits and plumb your passions. You can choose to take classes for a grade, or pass-fail, and many professors encourage the latter because they believe that grades are not actually representative of a student's learning or ability. Students often set up independent studies and can take a term-long residency in which they fully explore any topic of interest to them. Classes are often small and discussion based. Because of this intimate setting, a lot is expected of students, and they can often be found reading dense, but interesting, material at all hours of the day and loving it.

    Tips for prospective students

    Bring rubber boots! Chances are you'll be wading in tidal pools and rivers. Come prepared to explore absolutely everything you have ever been interested in. Stop thinking for a minute about how college is usually run.

    In three sentences

    Built to let you find your own way to your own passion. Wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and a national park, it's the perfect setting for experiential learning. This is a school of Human Ecology, and it's up to the students to make that phrase do work for them.

  • 03/25/2010

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has not been to campus.

    2 out of 27 people found this review useful. 2 people found this inaccurate. 4 of 10

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    For those who like small colleges

    Bang for the buck

    Hey its a small college

    Will enjoy being here

    Looks Nice

    Will learn a lot

    They don't have the major I 'm going for.

  • 11/10/2012

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has been to campus.

    2 out of 2 people found this review useful. 5 of 10

    Categories Comments
    Clubs and Activities

    There is SO much to do at COA. While I was there, I went to a Peace-talk, listened to the chorus practice, and watched students play cricket and practice tight-rope walking.

    Great for these types of students

    Lovers of nature, knowledge, choices, and freedom. Anyone who longs to take control of their education and learn more about themselves, the world, and learning itself.

    What to do for fun

    Hike in Acadia National Park, swim in the ocean, explore! Canoe, kayak, climb the rocky shore, play games, chill with friends, read... the opportunities are limited only by you!

    Food and Dining

    The food is amazing, and obviously made with care. The students at COA make the food, serve the food, and probably help plant it too (the college owns two farms). It's some of the best food I've ever had, and I love how they're so conscious of other people's preferences (There are always vegan options and more. Certainly, COA is a college full of choices and freedom!).

    Dorm Life

    I stayed at College of the Atlantic for two days and two nights when I went to visit. Now, I'm normally very shy, but everyone was so incredibly nice, I was seldom nervous, and felt VERY welcome. The dorms are full of character, clean, comfortable, and homey. They range from old summer houses that were converted into dorms to more modern, recently built dorms.

    Academic Rigor

    I sat in on three classes, and from what I could tell, the workload wasn't too bad, and the material was interesting. The professors are quirky and dedicated to their students- truly passionate people doing what they love. If you're passionate about learning, you'll do well indeed!

    Tips for prospective students

    VISIT! It can be difficult to arrange travel and such, but visiting is worth it. There's so much about the college itself that can't be fully realized until you step on campus, smell the salt air, see the smiling faces that abound there, and explore a bit for yourself. Also, apply to the Fall Fly-In program. It's an amazing opportunity, and even if you don't get accepted, just applying can help you (I wasn't accepted, but received a $200 voucher to help pay for travel expenses when I went to visit the college anyway).

    In three sentences

    If this college is anything, it's genuine. From the people to the location, everything about COA is holistic and caring. From the moment I set foot on campus to when I left two days later, I felt like I was home- I was incredibly at peace -and unshakably happy.

  • 10/23/2013

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 6 of 10

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    The campus and Bar Harbor are very trustworthy communities as is, but the school also has a night watch crew who make sure that everyone is okay past dark. I feel comfortable leaving my belongings unattended just about anywhere on campus, and most people feel safe leaving their doors unlocked.

    Greek Life

    There isn't any.

    Clubs and Activities

    The school has a lot of clubs, but most of them aren't widely known so it can be hard to get involved. There's a hula-hooping club, ukulele club, and quidditch team to name a few.

    Great for these types of students

    Liberals and environmentalists.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Lots of cool paths along the shores to explore and a bunch of hidden spots with great views of the ocean.

    Bang for the buck

    I'm learning a great deal and having a lot of fun.

    What to do for fun

    Explore Acadia! There's always stuff to do outside. The town of Bar Harbor is very cute and has a number of neat shops, as well. In the winter it's a bit of a ghost town, but it's still easy to find something to occupy your interest.

    Food and Dining

    The food is excellent and very vegetarian and vegan friendly. Most of the produce comes from the school's farm and other local farmers as well!

    Dorm Life

    Most of the residencies are actual houses and that makes it really cozy. It's easy to make friends with the tight-knit community in your home.

    Academic Rigor

    Most classes rely on rigorous reading, and a few incorporate different research projects and writings as well. The classes are typically less than ten students, and very discussion based. It's crucial to do your work and stay on top of things, or you'll fall behind very quickly. Grades are optional, but don't mistake that for meaning the classes are easy. If you don't do your work you will not pass the class and/or get an evaluation that reflects your poor performance.

    Tips for prospective students

    Visit. It's definitely an interesting place that attracts a unique crowd. It feels much different than it appears online.

    In three sentences

    A unique school with a small student body and a trans-disciplinary, self-designed approach to learning.

  • 10/24/2013

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 7 of 10

    Categories Comments
    What to do for fun

    My personal favorite is to go for a hike in Acadia National Park. It is minutes from campus and can make a fantastic afternoon. Also if you are athletic, you can play COA's only official sport, Quidditch.

    Food and Dining

    The food at COA is great. Sometimes a little too experimental for my tastes and at times disappointing. It is one of the most vegan friendly cafeterias in the US and it is readily apparent. However, they are also highly environmentally aware and use lots of organic, local and responsibly harvested ingredients. If you look trying exciting things and eating healthy this is great for you.

    Dorm Life

    Living on campus is convenient, there are kitchens in all the housing and the Davis Village is nice. However, living off campus is usually better and cheaper. Anyone looking for a party scene will probably be disappointed, especially on campus. Environmental awareness is one of the fundamental principles of COA and is visible in the housing, particularly the village.

    Academic Rigor

    I have not attended an ivy league school, however compared to the state school I transferred from, Rhode Island College, College of the Atlantic is considerably more academically rigorous. Part of it may be that the traditional teaching formula of solely memorization isn't followed, rather critical thinking and a thorough understanding of the material is required. COA has certainly given me more opportunities to learn, challenged me and taught me more than my previous school.

    Tips for prospective students

    At COA your education is on your shoulders. In most colleges this is true, but particularly at COA. You have to devote yourself to your education and discover your passions. Once you do that, then you will be able to fully get the benefits of going to COA. There are so many opportunities and the professors will help what ever it is you seek happen.

    In three sentences

    COA is a wonderful, inspiring, exciting and challenging school. The single interdisciplinary major provides so much academic freedom and allows students to follow their passions and learn everything agriculture to art, marine biology to psychology. The faculty are exceptional and the school has a very student focused approach.

  • 06/20/2014

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 8 of 10

    Categories Comments
    What to do for fun

    You're living in Bar Harbor, Maine so there's an entire national park, Acadia, right behind you. There's things to do in town but people mostly just socialize with their peers.

    Food and Dining

    The cafeteria serves some of the best college food in the country, enough said. They take pride in their constant omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options.

    Dorm Life

    The dorm life is great. The dorms are spacious and everything's really close.

    Academic Rigor

    The classes aren't too hard but they're also not too easy. They're perfectly challenging and you will retain a lot of the information.

    Tips for prospective students

    Be careful in selecting classes on Wednesdays. Also try to finish off your graduation requirements as soon as possible.

    In three sentences

    Basically, it's for people who are serious about what they're doing and want to change the world. It's for people who don't want to define themselves to one major and instead see the world as interconnected. It's a college for doers.

  • 09/11/2014

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 9 of 10

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    I feel very safe here. We have two night guards who actually feel like they could defend me. Not some chubby cop who couldn't chase a dog. And both are very nice and friendly.

    Greek Life

    Hooray No Greek Life!

    Great for these types of students

    We have it all here. The amount of international students really makes this place very cultural, there are some people who lie on the more hippie side of the scale, but there are also many, many people here who have a strong passion for change in the world. Whether that is through environmental or humanitarian means.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    The Bar Island swim. Do it! You swim 500 meters in the freezing Atlantic water. It took me about 30 minutes, but I did it!

    What to do for fun

    Town is just a walk away. The town is a tourist town full of fun shops and interesting people. Don't be scared away, when at school it doesn't FEEL like a big tourist town. Even in the town square its calm and quiet, the town is beautiful and there is a free bus system that can take you all around the island. You are living on an island by the way. With nature trails, bike roads and mountains to climb.

    Food and Dining

    This is the place to be a vegan if you're into that. Just saying it is sooo easy. the food is organic, with vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options. I consider myself a carnivore, and the food here is great even for meat loves like me. We just had a BBQ here with pulled pork and it was delicious.

    Dorm Life

    Every Freshman lives on dorm. Which really are houses with kitchens, normal bathrooms, and lovely Nooks and Crannies. I am in Sea Fox which is one of the best dorms; we have a piano, I have a huge room I share with 2 roommates, and we can go mattress surfing down the staircase. And we just build a new series of buildings for 2nd and 3rd years which are pretty nice.

    Academic Rigor

    You take 3 courses a trimester because each class is very demanding. And you better show up to every class, because classes are small, and people know when you are skipping.

    In three sentences

    This is Human Ecology. A major where you have extreme academic freedom to choose your classes. I was looking for a school with many majors that seemed to suit me that way I could change my major without having to change schools. Here you have one major an can change and grow with your studies and shift emphasis without totally putting yourself years back with required classes.

  • 04/07/2013

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has not been to campus.

    10 of 10

    Categories Comments
    What to do for fun

    Anything outdoors!!!

    In three sentences

    Love the Human Ecology Major. Wonderful location. Very small size so everyone would know your name.