College of the Atlantic's oceanfront campus in Bar Harbor, Maine is sandwiched between Frenchman Bay and <a href="/about/bar-harbor-maine/acadia-national-park/">Acadia National Park</a>.College of the Atlantic's oceanfront campus in Bar Harbor, Maine is sandwiched between Frenchman Bay and Acadia National Park.

Washington Monthly’s 13th annual guide, comprising “a different kind of college ranking,” measures how colleges improve the nation. The rankings focus on three criteria, including social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), service (encouraging students to give something back to their country), and research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.Ds).

“Educating our students to give back to their countries and communities is a central part of College of the Atlantic’s mission,” said COA President Darron Collins ’92. “It is an honor to be recognized for this work by Washington Monthly.”

College of the Atlantic <a href="/live/profiles/1248-darron-collins">President Darron Collins</a> ’92.College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins ’92.COA is among the top 50 colleges for how well students do after graduation, for graduating low-income students, and how well students repay their loans. The College is #2 on the list for the number of alumni who go on to serve in the Peace Corps, relative to college size.

“Unlike the prestige- and wealth-driven metrics put out by the likes of U.S. News & World Report, our rankings measure what colleges do for their country,” the magazine writes. “Our rankings are meant to be more than just a guide for potential students. An educated, enlightened society is a better society, for everyone. We all have a stake in how well our colleges succeed.”

Washington Monthly’s 2017 College Rankings top 20 comprises school’s from across the country, including institutions such as Amherst, Pomona, Swarthmore, and Bowdoin colleges.

“Our students lead the way in envisioning a world where people value creativity, intellectual achievement, and the diversity of nature and human cultures,” Collins said. “It’s our responsibility as an institution to honor this drive, and help our students, through service, interdisciplinary education, and experiential research, gain appreciation for the relationships among all forms of life and safeguard the heritage of future generations.”

Experiential education is a core part of the COA curriculum. Students in the <a href="/live/profiles/3220-bees-and-society">Bees and Society</a> course sample fresh honey from their hives at <a href="/farms/peggy-rockefeller-farms/">COA Peggy Rockefeller Farms</a>, above.Experiential education is a core part of the COA curriculum. Students in the Bees and Society course sample fresh honey from their hives at COA Peggy Rockefeller Farms, above.

College of the Atlantic is the first college in the U.S. to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment. The Sierra Club named College of the Atlantic the #1 Green College in the United States in 2016 and 2017, and Princeton Review ranked COA the greenest college in the country in 2016. The intentionally small school of 350 students and 35 faculty members offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in human ecology – the study of how humans interact with our natural, social, and technological environments. Each student develops their own course of study in human ecology, collaborating and innovating across multiple disciplines.