March 21, 2018
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Princeton Review: COA with its “Stimulating academic experience” is also only Maine college on Green Honor Roll

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COA students take to the woods to study ornithology.

BAR HARBOR, ME—College of the Atlantic’s “stimulating academic experience and its ability to broaden student perspectives netted it a place as one of the best 377 colleges in North America, according to Princeton Review’s annual college guide, this year titled The Best 377 Colleges.

COA is the only Maine college on this year’s distinguished “Green Honor Roll,” and one of only four colleges nationwide to appear on the review’s list in each of the five years of the rating. The popular college guide’s surveys also found COA to be among the schools where class discussions are highly encouraged, and labeled the college’s food as among the best in the nation (taking seventh place). According to the survey, COA students are among the most liberal and politically active.

Having interviewed COA students, the authors characterized the college as offering a “progressive educational experiment that broadens perspective,” where each student creates an individualized approach to education “in a way that works and matters” to them. COA professors, the guide adds, “have impressive credentials with diverse backgrounds.” They’re also “extremely passionate” about their subjects, “and expect their students to have the same passion.” The passion is contagious. According to the guide’s authors, many COA students “find by the time they graduate that they have ‘several brilliant mentors’ in their professors.”

“Princeton Review nailed it,” says COA President Darron Collins, PhD, a 1992 alumnus of the college. “COA students are challenged to think and work beyond their comfort zone by our excellent, passionate and extremely devoted faculty.”

The annual guide includes only about 15 percent of the United States’ 2,500 four-year colleges and three colleges outside the US. Says Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher, and author of The Best 377 Colleges, “We commend College of the Atlantic for its outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our selection of schools for the book. Our choices are based on institutional data we collect about schools, our visits to schools over the years, feedback we gather from students attending the schools, and the opinions of our staff and our 30-member National College Counselor Advisory Board.”

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