College of the Atlantic

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Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
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Baccalaureate Colleges: Arts & Sciences Focus
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The College of the Atlantic is a private 4-year school located in Bar Harbor, ME on Mount Desert Island. Founded in 1969 on the idea to stimulate the local economy during off-peak tourist season and to provide extensive study of ecology, the campus sits on 37 acres of lush, green land and includes two organic farms (which provide food for the dining hall) and two offshore research stations. Bar Harbor, once known as a hideaway for the affluent, sits on the coast and is near Acadia National Park, a popular outdoors destination for hiking and camping. College of the Atlantic takes “green” seriously, it was the first college to be ‘carbon neutral’ as well as divesting fossil fuel holdings from its endowment. Among the alumni is Nell Newman, founder of Newman’s Own Organics.

Academic Programs

The College of the Atlantic is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and offers a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Ecology. Although it offers one degree, the curriculum and coursework varies from student to student; focus areas include arts and design, environmental sciences, humanities, international studies, sustainable food systems, and socially responsible business. The educational experience also includes a 450 hour internship for hands-on learning. Per the Mission Statement: “College of the Atlantic enriches the liberal arts tradition through a distinctive educational philosophy—human ecology. A human ecological perspective integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate—and ultimately improve—the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities. The human ecological perspective guides all aspects of education, research, activism, and interactions among the college’s students, faculty, staff, and trustees. The College of the Atlantic community encourages, prepares, and expects students to gain expertise, breadth, values, and practical experience necessary to achieve individual fulfillment and to help solve problems that challenge communities everywhere.”

Student Life

There are just over 350 undergraduate students enrolled in College of the Atlantic, many of whom live on campus in one of the former seaside estate homes – all of which are environmentally friendly. The school sponsors several clubs and organizations ranging from environmental activism to leisure activities. The annual calendar includes the Bar Island Swim in the Autumn, Fireside Fridays in Winter, Weekly Tea in the Spring and a Tug of War/Peace at the end of the school year. Students understand the Vision and Values of the school: “Together we wrestle with putting human ecology into action on campus and in the world, and in the process we often find ourselves changing not just light bulbs but also our conceptions of what it means to be “green.” From the food we eat to the energy we consume, the courses we teach, and the community that we build together, our commitment to environmental and social justice is an effort that engages faculty, staff, and students in the intellectual and practical life of the college.” “We believe that passion and love paired with critical reasoning and creativity make a necessary and powerful combination.”

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?