Through the admission process we hope to get to know you as an individual: What are you passionate about? What do you hope to learn and experience in college? Why do you think COA might be a good fit for you?

Each application is reviewed holistically by several members of our admission committee, which includes faculty, current students, and admission staff. We are specifically looking for evidence of:

  • Strong academic preparation and achievement
  • Intellectual curiosity and a love of learning
  • Desire to be part of a small college community with a focus on human ecology
  • A tendency to seek out intellectual and personal challenges
  • Ability to thrive in a self-directed environment
How to apply

COA accepts the Common Application for undergraduate admission.

Your application will be considered complete when we have the following:

  • A completed application form and $50 fee
  • At least two teacher recommendations
  • Official transcripts of all academic work
  • School report and counselor recommendation (first year students only)

We accept Early Decision and Regular Decision applications; be sure to get all of your application materials in by the appropriate deadline! If you’re an international applicant, a transfer student, or a home-schooled or non-traditional student, use these links for more information and answers to frequent questions.


Admission interviews, though not required, are strongly encouraged.  To arrange an interview in person, over Skype, or on the phone, please contact the admission office.

Graduate admissions

Visit the graduate program pages to learn about the requirements and process for applying to our M.Phil program.


In addition to the standard Common Application essay, we ask for your responses to the following three short-answer essay questions—you’ll find them on our Common App member page, and your responses should be around one to two paragraphs:

  • Please comment briefly on whether you believe your past academic record is an accurate indicator of your potential to succeed at COA.
  • Please briefly describe how you envision your studies at College of the Atlantic fitting in with your overall educational, life, and work goals.
  • Please elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences, and describe why it is meaningful to you.
Want to tell us more about yourself?

If you wish, you are welcome to submit examples or a portfolio of writing, art, music, or another form of expression not easily conveyed through the Common App. Send materials to, and please include a brief explanation and/or captions of your work to provide context. Dropbox, Google Drive, web URLs, and email attachments are all acceptable formats.

Standardized testing optional

COA is SAT/ACT optional. Our CEEB code is 3305.