College Sophomore 2013-05-29T14:36:48Z
I have a really great financial aid package and I received a lot of help and support in the process.
College Sophomore 2013-03-13T19:05:14Z
The school is very strict about visitors and super relaxed about pot use. As far as alcohol. If you are 21 or older, in your room with the door shut, and any other people in your room with the alcohol are also 21 or older then you are okay. How they try to enforce this, I don't know. Seems to me like they can't. They only positive thing about enforcement here on campus is that they take physical threats very seriously.
College Sophomore 2013-03-13T18:51:42Z
There is a small computer lab and a few computers in the library. Also, you can borrow one from the IT department. However, the internet is a repeater and therefore unreliable. So, if you don't mind spotty internet you're fine. Printing is one thing that is easy to do although there are usually no staplers in the computer lab and occasionally it gets jammed.
College Sophomore 2013-03-13T18:49:56Z
The food at this school is great if you are a vegan. I cannot eat soy or large amounts of sugar, so eating here is detrimental to my health. There are very few simple meat options. When they do serve meat it is highly seasoned. Also, I have no idea what the seasoning are or what the food is cooked in as it isn't clearly labeled. There are very few options as it is a tiny school. I.E. there is a choice between vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and sometimes a meat option.
College Junior 2013-02-27T15:09:12Z
Bar Harbor is a smaller seasonal community, so there are a lot of homes and apartments that the landlords rent to coa students. The problems arise when more and more students want to live off campus. There is also a problem with shoulder season, that some landlords wont allow students to move in until october because their businesses are still open and are housing summer employees or summer renters. So you need to look early in advance and there are a ton of places to live for the school year. The prices are relatively cheap, the heating bill can get a little high in the winter in maine, but it all depends on how you want to use that utility. The homes vary in size and varity and you can also live outside of bar harbor if you have transportation. All housing can be found within walking distance and COA provides a day bus and night bus to housing and town for students.
College Junior 2013-02-27T15:01:12Z
College of the Atlantic's drug scene is not in your face and its also not non-existent. There are options to live in substance free housing on campus, which means no drugs or alcohol are allowed in the dorm. Then there are substance allowed housing where students over 21 are allowed to have alcohol in their rooms, but not common areas. There are parties and kids drink, smoke and do drugs, but there is no pressure to do any of these things. There is no judgement if you choose not to participate, but if you want to you can and no one will judge you for that either. Drinking and smoking are the most common and drinking is the most social of all drug activities. There is also VERY few instances of hard drug usage.
College Sophomore 2013-02-11T02:32:01Z
The food at COA is amazing. Our cafeteria, Take-A-Break (or TAB for short), serves really delicious, wholesome food. A lot of our produce comes from the local farms that students manage. TAB also takes good care of people with special dietary needs including vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free. Alternatively, you can go to Sea Urchin cafe for smoothies and sandwiches for lunch. The full meal plan is a bit expensive, but it's definitely worth it, at least for your first year.
College Sophomore 2012-12-15T03:37:15Z
The RA team abides by a policy of care, compassion, then consequences. As long as you obey state and federal laws and don't drink in substance free housing, you are fine. Even if you cross a line, there won't be immediate harsh penalties for minor offenses.
College Sophomore 2012-12-15T03:34:23Z
Health & Safety:
The night watchmen are always only a phone call away. The main building burned down in the 1980's, so COA is very conscious about fire safety.
College Sophomore 2012-12-15T03:32:23Z
There are a lot of restaurants in town, but many of them close when the summer tourist season ends. The one's that stay open are small natural food stores, bakeries, pubs, and pizza places; in other words, places frequented by locals. Student discounts aren't really common.
College Sophomore 2012-12-15T03:29:51Z
The college is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Acadia National Park. There's lots to do in any weather!
College Sophomore 2012-12-08T22:46:30Z
We don't have any fraternities or sororities here. If Greek Life is really important to you, COA is probably not the best school.
College Sophomore 2012-11-18T23:52:43Z
Health & Safety:
The college is open to anyone in the public. None of the dorms or buildings are locked. The college is in a remote town with 2 police officers, and little access to phones, is poorly lit and "secured" by one older gentleman who spends his time sleeping in the library. I've heard horror stories of creepy people hiding away in basements on the college, and walking around with dark hoods. Plus there is a very high rate of sex offenders in the surrounding area. At least the dorm rooms lock...
College Junior 2012-07-14T21:01:52Z
Very Helpful – The financial aid office is always easy to get in contact with. They have guided my family through many confusing steps in the financial aid process.
College Junior 2012-07-14T20:57:27Z
Lovely Summers, Bitter Winters – Most of the year is quite nice, a bit chilly, but manageable. This past winter we had very little snow, but it was very, VERY cold. Luckily campus is so small that you don't need to be outside for long.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-08T12:47:46Z
We All (Mostly) Love Human Ecology – Interdisciplinary is the new way to go. Lots of employers are looking for people who can think across disciplines and outside the box. Yes, it feels weird at first to all have the same major, but since everyone does something different with it, it starts to make even more sense. Human Ecology becomes something unique for each student and even the faculty don't always agree on what it is, but the more time that I've spent working in other places outside the school, the more I realize how much that sort of mentality is appreciated. People have gone on to do wonderful things and get very prestigious jobs after graduating from COA, so as long as you work hard and are an independent thinker, you'll be fine. I might go to graduate school at some point but after graduating I may work at a museum or an organization to get some more hands-on experience and to further prune my academic interests.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-08T12:44:05Z
Sustainable, and Everyone Gets a Kitchen – The new dorms are eco-friendly, I don't even totally understand how they work in terms of heating and things like that, but they have compostable toilets and are made from recycled materials. All the toilets are low-flow toilets in the other dorms. Every dorm feels like a house. The largest, Seafox, houses 20something people and has one kitchen, but all the other dorms have kitchens shared by about 8 people each. I can't imagine people at other schools who don't have kitchens! There is no cable TV or anything like that, but there is WiFi and a media center in the new dorms with a big TV that people can hook up video games to. It's a bit expensive, and after your first year you enter a housing lottery and may not get your first choice dorm, but living on campus is really fun. It's convenient but since the school is so close to town, there are other options available, as well.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-08T12:40:11Z
A Unique, Interdisciplinary, Independent Learning Experience – Anyone who has heard of COA knows that there's something different about it. It's still sometimes called "experimental" and I think that it totally is. With under 350 students, it's one of the smallest colleges in the country, but yet we have a huge proportion of international students. The campus is beautiful... we're carbon neutral right now (go composting toilets!) but considering going off of carbon credits and working more on our own sustainable practices by getting more local food (we use a ton already from Beech Hill Farm, owned by our school), reducing electricity usage, etc. Because the school is so small, class sizes are small, and you work so closely with other students and your professors to actually learn useful things. We all share the same major, Human Ecology, which is about interdisciplinary thinking and interaction. Everyone does something different with it. At COA you can design your own curriculum, even your own courses if you want, and focus on things more important than taking required courses that you're not interested in, or memorizing a hundred things for some exam that you'll forget about next term. You have to do an internship and a Senior Project to graduate. Tons of people at the school do hands-on research, write their own novels, create educational programs, exhibits, and more. I'm always learning something from my fellow students. Everyone knows each other and you genuinely care about the overarching themes that pervade the whole community (health, the economy, the environment). It's one big family. There is no "Greek Life..." so many of these questions just aren't applicable. There's no sports team, although there's Water Polo at the Y and everyone is awesome in the outdoors (real sports, haha). There's no other school like it. If it's for you, you'll know.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-08T12:18:56Z
Process Is the Best It Can Be! COA is a really small school, so our endowment isn't huge. We have a bunch of international students, people from farming backgrounds, lots of people who can't afford tuition so pretty much everyone gets some financial aid. Even though I didn't get the greatest deal anywhere, probably, the financial aid director (who is also an alum, he studied bats when he was in school) worked closely with my family to talk about my dad's unemployment and get me a bit more funding. You can talk to him directly about financial aid situations, and even if you don't get fully funded, you still understand where your money is going and that it helps other students to attend. There are some in-school scholarships available for Freshman. I didn't get one, but I've been able to apply for in and out-of-school grants for some of my off-campus projects.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-08T12:18:49Z
Isolated, Cozy, Tight-Knit, Seasonal – Bar Harbor is located on a beautiful island in Maine, home to Acadia National Park, whale watching, cute shops, and lots of shoreline for kayaking, sailing, SCUBA, and more. There are a couple local museums--one Native American and one Natural History. Bar Harbor is a seasonal town so after October just about everything closes until the Spring. It's kind of nice because only local people stick around in the colder months and there are less distractions... for a good time, some restaurants stay open, and there's a cool movie theater that makes artisan pizza and has couches. It's super safe when it's not tourist season, most people don't lock their houses and you can leave you stuff anywhere. Sometimes in the Spring bikes or a jacket get taken but there's no violent crime. The tourist crowd is pretty funny. Bangor is the closest "city," it has good Indian food and a little mall, and the U Maine Orono campus which has a cool climbing wall (a bit bigger than COA's, with a tower). Maine is beautiful and Bar Harbor is a really friendly community. Some locals don't like the college, which is understandable, but I've never had a bad personal interaction with anyone outside the school about it--only positive things.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-08T12:06:16Z
Cold in the Winter – As expected, it's pretty cold in the winter and it occasionally snows quite a bit, but I think that the bad weather creates a closer sense of community. Sometimes classes are cancelled but since you don't need to drive far, it doesn't really inhibit daily activities (walking on the paths in big drifts in the freezing wind is quite an experience, though). Fall and Spring are really beautiful although it gets cold quickly towards the end of September. Once May comes everyone is outside all the time and things start turning green. It's Maine, it's going to be cold.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-05T14:04:18Z
Health & Safety:
Quite Safe – It feels safe here. Although since this community functions through trust, it works 95% of the time as most people will pick up earrings and lost cellphones to return them. Laptops will be lying around for hours and people won't worry.
Seafox is a dorm which is a tourist attraction, so there are outsiders coming in during the tourist season. So we had to keep doors locked then so stuff wouldn't get stolen. Otherwise I would say most people trust each other here.
But since people trust this place too much, it sucks when someone takes advantage of our trusting community.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-05T13:58:31Z
Most classes are small, but they are starting to increase in number. There's also less and less space around campus to fit more class time into the schedule. So evening classes are more common now than in my first year.
That being said, I've had a few amazing classes with a few professors. Dave Feldman's classes are the best in that he has a very clear syllabus, lots of in class time for questions and practice problems. Also he usually picks great TAs to help out after class. He also devotes a few hours for Homework Help sessions either in TAB or Deering. He will hover around as people do the homework and will make himself available when you're ready to ask questions.
I always felt that he put in way more time than any other professor I've had here. It's important here, since we have 10 short weeks to learn everything we can.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-05T13:51:20Z
Not Sure – I have a few professors here that I am extremely close to and know they care about me. It's been difficult because teachers also get used to students "being in charge" as we have to build our own focus. Sometimes I feel that the internship office isn't too much of help and there is a fine line between giving a sense of freedom to the student vs. making the student feel overwhelmed.
Personally I need a lot more support and help when it comes to decision making. I can say that I feel like I haven't benefitted from this system. Though I know a lot of other people who thrive in this academic environment.
Recent Alumnus 2012-06-05T13:44:18Z
House Parties/Potlucks – Wasn't really into parties, but there are a few that are run by the College which are fun - Aurora Borealis.
Nightlife-wise, people hold off campus potlucks/parties which sometime end up getting too loud for the neighbors. A few times the police would come as neighbors would complain, so that's a huge reason as to why I don't even mess around with parties in town.
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