Rankings & Accolades


College of the Atlantic's innovative approach to education has caught the attention of many national lists and rankings.

U.S. News & World Report 2015

  • Among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S.
  • #13 Best Value College — ranked one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country for value, defined as a measure of academic quality and affordability (net cost including financial aid)
  • Among the top 100 colleges, College of the Atlantic is one of three colleges that have showed the most significant positive movement in the U.S. News ranking over the last five years

Princeton Review 2015   

In the Princeton Review's survey of students at the top 379 colleges across the country, COA rises to the top in many categories including:

  • #3 Professors Get High Marks
  • #9 Best Campus Food
  • #11 Their Students Love These Colleges
  • #14 Best Quality of Life
  • #15 Most Accessible Professors
  • #19 Great Financial Aid


College of the Atlantic is also listed on the Princeton Review's Best Value and Green colleges lists.

Green Colleges

COA has been repeatedly recognized as one of the top green colleges in the country, both for our commitment to sustainable practices on campus and because ecological themes are woven through all aspects of the academic curriculum. From the Sierra Club Cool Schools list, to Grist.org, to Popular Mechanics, when it comes to sustainability we're walking the talk.

What they're saying...

Chronicle of Higher Education (2012)  called COA a tiny college that "nurtures big ideas."

Princeton Review (2015 edition): "College of the Atlantic is a small liberal arts college… that its students think of as a 'progressive educational experiment that broadens perspective'… Students also find that professors 'are extremely passionate' and expect their students to have the same passion. With that kind of attention in class, students agree that it is 'rare to graduate without having had dinner at a professor's house at least once.' Many find by the time they graduate that they have 'several brilliant mentors' in their professors. The motto of the school is 'life changing, world changing' and many find that motto pervades the 'stimulating academic experience' at College of the Atlantic."

Andrew Revkin's New York Times blog "Dot Earth" (September 2014): "Facing the intertwined challenges of expanding energy access while limiting global warming, what the world needs is an unlikely mix of urgency and patience… Also needed is a diversity of approaches. For example, while a large contingent of students from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Me., joined the marchers in Manhattan, another group has headed over to Denmark along with two faculty members and five residents of Maine's many small islands grappling with high energy costs from reliance on diesel generators. Darron Collins, the college president, told me their goal, working with the Island Institute, is to devise a plan for Maine's islands to follow the example of Samsø, a Danish island that was once dependent on diesel fuel but now is a net exporter of fossil-fuel-free electricity to the mainland."

In addition, COA has repeatedly been recognized for our local, sustainable and vegan/vegetarian-friendly dining hall, our beautiful oceanfront campus, and the high level of satisfaction among our student body. We're also proud to be one of the few colleges in the U.S. where 100% of students participate in an internship, applying their academic learning directly to the world of work.

COA — Life Changing.

"I feel certain that the COA education broadened my perspective and allowed me to develop the personal initiative to take control of my education and, ultimately, all of my life choices. Most other colleges seem to encourage a level of personal passivity that erodes the independent thinking needed in today's world. COA is the polar opposite. It nurtures a sense of personal  responsibility and encourages not only critical thinking, but also compassionate acting. "


Sarah McDaniel

Class of 1993 & Alumni Trustee