U.S. News & World Report:

  • One of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S.
  • #12 Most Innovative liberal arts college in the U.S.
  • #9 Best Value College—a measure of academic quality and affordability
  • #25 in Top Performers in Social Mobility
  • #60 in Best Undergraduate Teaching

Princeton Review:

COA ranks among the top colleges in the country on the Princeton Review’s lists including:

  • Green Colleges: #1
  • Most Active Student Government: #3
  • LGBTQ-Friendly: #6
  • Students Study the Most: #7
  • Great Financial Aid: #9
  • Best Campus Food: #10

Green Colleges:

COA has been repeatedly recognized for our college-wide commitment to ecological practices.

  • Sierra Club’s Cool Schools: #1 (greenest college in America) in 2016, 2017
  • The Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges: #1 in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE): #5 top performing sustainable baccalaureate institution in 2019

Ashoka U Changemaker Campus:

COA has been a Changemaker Campus since 2008, recognized through a rigorous, global selection process with this leading designation for social innovation in higher education.  

Washington Monthly:

  • Top liberal arts colleges: #20—this ranking is based largely on colleges’ contributions to the public good.

MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient:

COA is one of six colleges selected to receive a “genius” grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which cited our innovative, mission-driven approach to liberal arts education.

“At this tiny Bar Harbor school, students ‘don’t just take classes’: they immerse themselves in experiences and in ‘an intimate, friendly community’ of do-ers and critical thinkers.… This unique educational model helps students ‘merge [their] talents/interests in a meaningful and applicable way,’ and allows for graduate-level research and real-world work experience at the undergraduate level…. Self-motivated learning is everything here, and College of the Atlantic is for ‘idealists with elbow grease.’”

— Princeton Review’s The Best 381 Colleges 2017


The COA research station lighthouse on Great Duck Island.The COA research station lighthouse on Great Duck Island. 

Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award recipient:  

NAFSA: Association of International Educators honored COA for our innovative international initiatives. 


What they're saying...

  • NEWS
    COA named #1 green college for fifth year running
    Citing College of the Atlantic’s waste diversion efforts, regional food consumption, and sustainability-focused academics, The Princeton Review ranks COA at the top of their 2020-21 Top 50 Green Colleges list. The college has held the #1 position since 2016.
  • NEWS
    Institutions of sustainable learning: Which U.S. colleges are greenest? [The Environmental Magazine]
    College of the Atlantic tops the Greenest College List for the third year running due to focus on sustainability throughout academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives, activities, and career preparation for students.
  • NEWS
    COA is Nation’s #1 Green College

    Broad integration of sustainability into the curriculum, development of a fossil fuel-free campus, and an experiential learning pedagogy push College of the Atlantic to the number one spot in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for the fourth year in a row.