December 18, 2017
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COA a “Best Value College”

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BAR HARBOR, ME—Describing College of the Atlantic as a place where students are “focused on creating positive change” and offering an education that is “more exploratory and hands-on than lecture-based,” Princeton Review today includes COA in its The Best Value Colleges: 2013 Edition. COA has been commended for its academics and value three out of the past four years by Princeton Review.

The Review’s Best Value Colleges volume recognizes colleges that offer excellent educational experiences while also being attentive to costs. The 2013 edition features only 150 undergraduate schools: 75 public and 75 private institutions. COA is one of four colleges in Maine on this list.

Says COA President Darron Collins, PhD, a first-generation college student when he graduated COA in 1992, “We are a deliberately small school with big ideas and affordability is one of the most critical of those big ideas. Being recognized for our value as a rigorous academic institution, as well as for our attention to family needs, makes all of us at College of the Atlantic very, very proud.”

Just 41 years old, COA remains an experimental, hands-on institution with one major, human ecology. Students find their own pathways to this degree—from courses that range from anthropology and art to zoology. As Princeton Review profile of COA reports, this universal major puts students “‘completely in charge’ of their education,” an approach that “allows for freedom and rigorous learning.” The profile concludes with this comment: COA “is much more than a university, it’s a preparation for life.”

To make its Best Value selection, staff at Princeton Review examined data on academics, cost, and financial aid from 650 schools. In the volume, COA is noted for “small classes, accessible professors, and the promise of a unique education.”

Being considered a “best value” college means that COA’s academics equal its generosity. Writes Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior VP/Publisher and lead author of the Best Value Colleges volume, ” “We commend College of the Atlantic and all of our extraordinary 2013 ‘Best Value Colleges’ for their stellar academics and for all they are doing to make their colleges affordable, especially for applicants with need in these tough economic times.”

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit