U.S. News & World Report:

  • One of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S.
  • #21 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
  • LGBTQ-Friendly: #8
  • Best Campus Food: #11
  • Professors Get High Marks: #12
  • Students Study the Most: #12
  • Most Active Student Government: #14

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
  • 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 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.

  • NEWS
    College of the Atlantic Ranks High for LGBTQ-Friendliness, Food, Academics
    COA is in the top 20 among the nation’s colleges and universities for LGBTQ-friendliness, campus food, active governance, and schools where students study the most, according to The Princeton Review’s “Best 385 Colleges” Guide for 2020.
  • NEWS
    These Colleges Get an A+ in Sustainability [ACEEE]
    The top five baccalaureate colleges for sustainability are College of the Atlantic, Colby College, Dickinson College, Sterling College, and Middlebury College, according to new annual ranking by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.