Community garden at COA

College of the Atlantic Professor of Botany Nishanta Rajakaruna has been named editor in chief of Rhodora, the peer-reviewed journal of The New England Botanical Club. Read more here.

COA looks like a perfect college for me, but becuase I come from a low income family, money is a huge concern for me. What kind of scholarships does COA offer?


While it’s important to consider what your family can afford, I recommend not putting too much weight on the “price tag” of any college. Many schools, including COA, offer both need- and merit-based financial aid. You usually won’t know what you qualify for until you are admitted to a school and receive a financial aid award.

Here’s some info from our website:

The first piece of advice for students looking at colleges is to ignore the price tag. You simply do not know what a school will cost out-of-pocket until you see a financial aid award. It is entirely possible that a $40,000 school could cost you less than a $30,000 school if the former provides a more favorable award package.

More than eighty-four percent of College of the Atlantic students receive at least some form of financial aid. Many have a low expected family contribution based on their financial aid application. We offer merit scholarships as well as need-based aid, making COA affordable for many students regardless of income. Check out our Net Price Calculator to see how financial aid might reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Read more here.

While you can find specific COA scholarships here (the majority of which are for individuals who have attended certain programs), all students are automatically considered for merit-based aidthere is no need to submit a separate scholarship application.

To apply for need-based aid, students fill out the FAFSA as well as a COA institutional financial aid form (all required forms can be found here. Different forms will be required depending on your individual circumstances).

To learn more about financial aid, I recommend checking out FinAid, a great resource which explains common questions ranging from loans to understanding paperwork and common acronyms. Also, the COA financial aid office is also always happy to help. You can be directed to them via 800-528-0025.

Community garden at COA

Prospective students and their families are invited to join us for COA’s Fall Open House. Participate in classes, meet faculty and current students, and enjoy Mount Desert Island’s spectacular fall scenery!

High school juniors, seniors, and college transfers are all welcome!

Today’s view from campus

Community garden at COA

What do we need to know about check in day, on August 31st? What time can we access our dorm rooms?


On check-in day you’ll arrive at COA between noon and 2:00, park, walk down to Deering Common (in red square on map below, it’s #18 on the online map here), and we’ll give you info about where your dorm is as well as some other important materials.

Check-in day (August 31st for OOPs participants):
12:00pm - 2:00pm OOPs Participants Arrive: Registration for Orientation
in Deering Common (When you register you will receive your key, info on where you can unload your car if applicable, and then move into your dorm!)
2:00pm - 3:00pm Family and Friend Farewell Time (OPTIONAL)
3:00pm - 6:00pm Meet Your OOPs Groups
3:00pm - 4:00pm Parent Orientation
6:00pm - 7:00pm Dinner
7:45pm OOPs Extravaganza

Check-in day (September 6th for non-OOPs participants):
12:00pm - 2:00pm Registration for Campus Orientation (students who did not attend OOPs) in Deering Common
2:00pm - 3:00pm Family and Friend Farewell Time (OPTIONAL)


[I]t is up to all of us shark constituents to keep working to study, advocate and conserve sharks and make our voices heard. Without good science and a strong, informed public voice, leaders and decision-makers will not act.

Greg Stone ‘82, Senior Vice-President and Chief Scientist for Oceans, at Conservation International writes about the “Global Policy Needed to Keep Sharks in our Oceans”

Read his full entry on Huffington Post here

When will admitted students hear about their work study placements?


You’ll hear about work study at a meeting during new student orientation.

Fishermen, researchers to trap green crabs in Frenchman Bay

Researchers with the University of Maine, College of the Atlantic and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory are partnering with the regional shellfish committee in the study.

Onions at Beech Hill Farm!

Does a student have to pick one area of specialization or can they take a range of interdisciplinary courses as long as they fill the requirement for a degree in human ecology?


Students work with their advisor(s) to select courses that will help them to expand their current perspectives and skills as well as prepare them for graduate school and/or their future career(s).

All undergraduate diplomas read “B.A. Human Ecology.” While some students may choose to “focus” on a particular area or field, specializations are not designated by the college. The “areas of study" listed on the website are examples of the way you could design your studies. There’s a lot of flexibility!

What field could someone with a BA in human ecology find a job in?


COA graduates integrate the perspective of human ecology into a wide variety of fields. This means that they see the world as a complex and interconnected place. Often, they serve as a bridge across disciplines.

Alumni Careers
22%    Natural Sciences
17%    Arts and Design
17%    Education
16%    Administration, Business, and Computer Technology    
14%    Social Services, Government, and Law
10%    Health
 5%     Other

You might find these Tumblr Q&A’s helpful:

Hello there! I was wondering what kind of careers are possible with a BA in human ecology and if grad schools recognize how diverse and individualized a human ecology degree from COA is.

Does COA award degrees in areas other than human ecology? If so, what are they? [Includes additional explanation of major]

I feel like COA is the perfect school for me and I really align with the core values and beliefs. However, I have a concern about graduating with a major in human ecology. In some ways it feels limiting/not practical. Could anyone comment on this? Is this fear really off base. In an ideal world I would love to not have to think about what work I will be doing four years from now but it’s still in the back of my head?

I’ll leave you with this list partial list of COA careers. Hopefully it will give you a picture of the incredible range of careers graduates have:

Field Researcher, Aerodynamicist, Filmmaker, Paralegal, Engineer, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Aquatic Ecology Teacher, Animal Behaviorist, Urban Gardener, Animator, Dancer, Genealogist, Acquisitions Manager, Conservation Coordinator, Biologist, Game Warden, Restaurateur, Foster Care Administrator, Jewelry Designer, Falconer, National Park Ranger, Refuge Biologist, Social Worker, Brewmaster, Baker, Blacksmith, Family Practice Resident, Deputy Chief of Interpretation, Cinematographer, Parent, Acoustic Researcher, Archivist, Graphic Designer, Biostatistian, Instructor, Farm Manager, Professor of Medicine, Farmer, Carpenter, Animal Rights Advocate, Case Manager, Restoration Ecologist, Cetacean and Wildlife Artist, Therapist, Administrator, Writer, Arborist, Salamander Ecologist, Admission Counselor, Plant Ecologist, Preschool Teacher, Business Owner, School Administrator, Researcher, Health Educator, Ecologist, Landscape Designer, Summer Camp Director, Equine Veterinarian, Ornithologist, Sail Maker, Fish Culturist, GIS Specialist, Fisheries Biologist, ELL Specialist

What is the likelihood of getting a single room on on-campus housing?


The majority of our dorm rooms are doubles. There are also a handful of triples, one quad, and several singles. Most singles are given to upperclassmen who request them as well as those who may require them for other reasons (such as medical). Any student may request to be in a single, and if we have room, we’ll do our best to meet their preferences.

All students who are requesting on-campus housing (and all first-years) are asked to fill out a lifestyle questionnaire which asks when you usually go to bed, how tidy you like to keep your room, when/where you study, etc. This helps student life staff make housing assignments.