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College of the Atlantic Reviews

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Wonderful location, accessible professors, fascinating classes! This school might be tiny, but it is extraordinary. Professors take time to build working relationships with students and foster individual passion and learning. The unique curriculum lends itself to those who love learning and are interested in constantly challenging themselves to grow both intellectually and emotionally.
if you want the quintessential "college experience", then COA is not for you. It is a very unique, strange, and wonderful place.
The community is cold and it genuinely seems like everyone has the same mindset. There are little to no engaging activities/clubs on campus, and drugs and alcohol are everywhere (while this happens at all colleges, it happens to an extreme at COA). However, the most important aspect of any college is the academics; this is why you are going to college in the first place. At COA, you are only allowed to take three classes per semester (you usually have to take at least five to be considered full time elsewhere). The classes are rather dry and not very rigorous or informative. It seems as if mediocrity is encouraged as opposed to encouraging and fostering brilliance. When you try to transfer out (as many do), you'll find that barely any of your credits will transfer over or count at other schools. If you graduate from COA, a "human ecology" degree will give you great difficulty when you're trying to get a job - and you will be unprepared due to the lack of information given to you.
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This school is a wonderful place for people who either want to easily achieve a four-year degree without going too in depth into any subject, or who want to work incredibly hard to create opportunities for themselves to succeed. The school does not offer a very clear succession of courses, so it can often be hard to determine how to continue in an academic field that interests you. The culture is very unique, many love it, many don't. The only way to find out if it is for you is just to go there.
The professors are great. There are a variety of unique courses, and I feel like I have many options. The overall experience would be better if it wasn't forcing me into debt and putting a large strain on my own, and my mother's finances.
Some housing is better than others. All options would have little complaints I imagine.
Athletics are not institutionalized here. There are community sports games.
I feel very safe on campus.
There is one major: Human Ecology. You can do whatever you want with it-- meaning, you control your prospects. The major and the school is becoming more and more recognized and understood.
there are no athletics depts
College of the Atlantic is a revolutionary school with a new approach to education. There's a greater focus on what moves you and how you can integrate your interests. It's Interdisciplinary in Interconnectedness, providing students with a chance to interpret the world around them as they please. Humans, and their developments on the landscape and on the creatures of biology, have become an unstoppable force. This force could use an ecological perspective to acknowledge the Interconnectedness of all happenings and humanly choices.
COA is a fantastic school. That being said, it's not for everyone and it might not be for you. If you're looking to major in Chemical Engineering, go to grad school, etc., it's not for you. If you want a rigid education focused on one subject, COA is not right for you. COA is interdisciplinary. If you've looked into the college at all, you've undoubtedly heard this. If you're really interested in biology but also journalism, or math but also art, or climate politics and theatre, this is for you. You shape your own education by picking classes that make sense for your specific route.

Above all, I have to say the professors is what makes the school shine. They're not there for the pay. They're there for the students. All students have an advisor with whom they regularly meet, an advisor who will provide advice, help, and bend over backwards to make sure the student has the opportunities they desire. And of course, they're knowledgeable in their subjects. Classes rarely have more than 20 students each and professors are as a result super attentive to students. Lots of one-on-one time.

We're a weird school. We're so far left that we can sometimes be intolerant. We're super small, we have a very abnormal (yet wonderful) culture, but it's all worth it if you want an interdisciplinary education with a focus on community. Financial Aid is really quite good, especially considering the size and cost. If you're unsure, at least pay the campus a visit.

In a world where more and more colleges appear to be becoming businesses focused on profit, COA is a clear exception. Students, faculty and staff are the ones that make policies. The school cares deeply about its students. If you want a clear-cut, specific-major education, a state school will suit you just fine (and be much more affordable.) If you're looking something more alternative, COA might be a good option for you—check out its website and message some students—we're happy to talk.
The process needed to go though to receive financial aid is not too difficult. All that is needed to do is fill out the FAFSA and accompanying paperwork.
The on-campus housing is wonderful in the sense that it is so close to everything else on campus. Since each house or section does not typically have more than 8 residents, it allows people to form strong bonds between housemates.
The internship/career service department is run by one woman steeped in the value of bureaucracy for bureaucracy's sake. Most graduates who want to pursue a higher degree in a science field find they need to augment their COA education with more classes elsewhere. Whatever an admissions officer tells you, trying to attend medical or veterinary school, or a STEM field graduate program after COA is not what the program is designed for. Whether it's in your first year of course work in grad school or you take a year off, you will need to take Chemistry and Physics somewhere else.
It's pretty hard to find off campus housing.
Bar Harbor is a tourist town, which means you can't afford to eat here.
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Campus is pretty lenient in general.
TAB is not typical cafeteria food and makes some great meals. They also make terrible Pad Thai and creations they claim are tacos. There are always vegan and vegetarian versions of whatever is being served. Meals can be expensive, but leftovers are very cheap. It's not worth $2000 for a full meal plan. It's 10 weeks of meals, meaning $200 a week for food.
Your housing experience can be excellent if you are lucky enough to get a spot in the new housing in the village or in Seafox, but living on the East side of campus is exclusively substance-free housing, so 21+ students who want to drink in non-dilapidated rooms may be out of luck. The older dorms and houses are in various states of disrepair ranging from average dorm-wear in Blair Tyson to flooded basements and mold in Carriage and Cottage houses. All housing is run as a community household complete with a full kitchen. Kitchen responsibilities can be new to students and those spaces typically become an unusable mess.

The college does not have traditional amenities like a gym, and instead includes the cost of a YMCA membership in its fees. The Y's amenities are what you should expect in a small town. The college also sponsors yoga, tai-chi and zumba classes in the auditorium. COA claims to have a climbing wall, which might be a bit less than you are expecting.

The community is very tight-knit and prides itself on claiming the tag 'community.' That said, most of the school's social efforts to build campus revolve around those students who live on campus. I see the in-coming freshman every year form their own new community during their three-week orientation, and their community never really seems to link up with the already existing larger COA student body. The student body feels very stratified, and coming in as a transfer or even matriculating back as a sophomore can feel strained. The school focuses most on the freshman experience.
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