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In the spirit of College of the Atlantic's small, participatory community, our admission committee is composed of current students, faculty, and staff. As committee members review your application we want to get a sense of you as a unique individual, and we specifically look for evidence of the following:

  • academic preparation and achievement

  • intellectual curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning

  • desire to be part of a small college with a human ecology focus

  • a tendency to seek out intellectual and personal challenges

We strongly encourage prospective students to reach out with any questions you have, either by phone (800-528-0025) or by email (


COA accepts the Common Application for undergraduate admission. You can find more information about the COA application here. Important application deadlines and notification dates can be found here.

Prospective graduate students can download the graduate application form and find more information about COA's program here.

An application for admission is complete when the Office of Admission has received all of the following:

  1. A completed application form and $50 fee
  2. At least two teacher recommendations (see application for details)
  3. Official transcripts of all academic work
  4. School report and counselor recommendation (first year students only)
  5. An admission interview, although not required, is strongly recommended for all candidates.

In addition to the regular college admission essay, College of the Atlantic asks you to submit brief responses to three questions on our Common Application member page. First, we ask you to describe whether you feel that your past academic record is a good reflection of your potential. Second, we ask you to elaborate on how you envision a COA education aligning with your academic, career, or other life goals. Finally, we ask you to elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities and why this activity was meaningful to you. This could be anything from a paid job, to a family trip, to volunteering, or a school club. Your responses to these questions need not be lengthy, but we hope they provide an opportunity for you to tell our admission committee a little more about your background and your interests — what's important to you and why.

While standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) are optional, they are particularly helpful in assessing the academic ability of students from schools that do not give grades or have nontraditional programs. Approximately 60% of first year students typically submit SAT or ACT scores. If you are an international student and English is not your first language, COA requires submission of TOEFL or similar English language test scores.

Our CEEB code is 3305.

Students wishing to submit a portfolio of writing, art, music, or other form of expression not easily conveyed through the Common Application may send materials to Dropbox, Google Drive, URLs, and email attachments are all acceptable formats. Please include a brief explanation and/or captions of your work to provide context.

Early Decision

If you know that COA is your top choice, you may choose to apply Early Decision (ED). The college offers two separate deadlines for ED applications: ED I (deadline is December 1st) and ED II (deadline is January 15th). You will receive a response from COA within 15 days of the ED deadline. The primary benefit of applying Early Decision is that you will receive notification of our admission decision much earlier than if you apply as a regular candidate. Financial aid awards are calculated using the same methods for both Early Decision and Regular Decision candidates. You may want to talk with your college counselor to determine which ED round best fits your needs and your school schedule.

Important: Early Decision is binding. This means that if you are accepted as an ED applicant, you are obligated to withdraw your applications from all other colleges and universities. The ED application is made official when you submit our Early Decision Agreement, which you’ll find on the Common Application website.

Regular Decision

The deadline for regular applications is February 15th. You will receive a decision from COA by April 1st. Applying Regular Decision gives you the freedom to keep your options open, and is the traditional and non-binding option for applying to the college.

Transfer or Visiting Students

College of the Atlantic welcomes applications from transfer students. About 20 percent of all new students annually are transfer or visiting students.

A student may transfer a maximum of 18 credits to COA (the equivalent of two years of course work: 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours). Although an evaluation of credit is not final until after enrollment, students may receive preliminary evaluations by contacting the Registrar's Office at 207-801-5681.

Transfer student applications are due by April 1st; you will be informed of our decision by April 25th. As a prospective transfer student you are also welcome to submit an Early Decision application.

Students who wish to spend one or more terms at COA and transfer college credit to another institution should apply as visiting students.

Visiting students may be eligible to apply some of their financial aid to their time at COA. Please check with your financial aid and registrar's offices about whether you can bring some forms of financial aid with you through a consortium agreement between the two schools. A consortium agreement is a legal arrangement that may allow for the transfer of certain Title IV (federal) funds such as Pell grants, Stafford loans, etc. The number of credits that can transfer back to your home institution and the costs associated with taking classes at COA help determine your eligibility for aid. You may contact the COA Financial Aid Office at 207-801-5645 for more details, or you can start by inquiring at your home school.

International Students

COA welcomes applications from highly qualified international students. Application deadlines for international students are the same as those for freshmen and transfer students. Application requirements are identical, except that international students are also required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and a Declaration of Finances Form. Students who are graduates of any of the United World Colleges may have 100% of their financial need covered through the Davis UWC Scholarship and COA financial aid once their family's ability to contribute has been determined by the financial aid application. Financial aid for international students who are not enrolled at a United World College may be limited. Interested students should contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Adult Students

Older students of nontraditional college age wishing to take courses or pursue a degree are invited to inquire and become better acquainted with COA. Adult students are encouraged to contact the admission office early in the admission process to arrange a personal interview.

Advanced Placement and I.B.

College credit may be given for superior performance in the CEEB advanced placement examinations or the College Level Examination Program. Scores should be sent directly from the testing source. COA credit normally will be granted for scores of '4' or higher.

For International Baccalaureate (IB) work, two COA credits will normally be given for scores of '5' on higher level exams. These credits are officially recorded only following successful completion of the student's first year.

Deferred Admission

Students wishing to defer Fall admission may do so prior to June 1 by sending a written response to the Director of Admission and paying a $400 nonrefundable deposit ($200 of which will be applied to the student's first term tuition bill). Matriculation will be postponed for up to a full academic year, subject to successful completion of any academic work completed during that time, as well as continued confidence in the quality of the student's personal character.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

In its employment and admissions practices, COA is in conformity with all applicable federal and state statutes and regulations and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, marital status, religion, creed, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, or physical or mental disability.

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