Through the admission process we hope to get to know you as an individual: What are you passionate about? What do you hope to learn and experience in college? Why do you think COA might be a good fit for you?

>>Schedule an admission interview to tell us more about yourself and learn more about COA!

Each application is reviewed holistically by several members of our admission committee, which includes faculty, current students, and admission staff. We are specifically looking for evidence of:

  • Strong academic preparation and achievement
  • Intellectual curiosity and a love of learning
  • Desire to be part of a small college community with a focus on human ecology
  • A tendency to seek out intellectual and personal challenges
  • Ability to thrive in a self-directed environment
How to apply

Students may apply for undergraduate admission using either the Common Application or the COA application. 

Your application will be considered complete when we have the following:

  • A completed application form
  • At least two teacher recommendations
  • Official transcripts of all academic work
  • School report and counselor recommendation (first-year students only)

There is no fee to apply.

We accept early decision, early action, and regular decision applications; be sure to get all of your application materials in by the appropriate deadline! If you’re an international applicant, a transfer student, a home-schooled student, or non-traditional student, use these links for more information and answers to frequent questions.


Admission interviews, though not required, are strongly encouraged. High school seniors, transfer students, and non-traditional students can schedule an online interview via Zoom or Google Hangouts. 

Standardized testing optional

COA is SAT/ACT optional. Our CEEB code is 3305.

Graduate admissions

Visit the graduate program pages to learn about the requirements and process for applying to our M.Phil program.

Service member readmission

College of the Atlantic adheres to all regulations regarding readmission of Service members as outlined in Chapter 3 of Volume 2 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook. See instructions for detailed guidance.


In addition to the standard essay, we ask for your responses to the following two required short-answer essay questions, and one optional short essay question—you’ll find them on the essay section of the COA application or on our Common App member page. Your responses should be around one to two paragraphs:

  • A​t COA, we know that grades on a transcript tell only one part of your story. In one to two paragraphs, please describe one or more aspects of your educational background that may not be evident from your transcript alone. For instance, you might describe a class or educational experience that inspired or influenced you, or difficult circumstances that may have impacted your grades.
  • College of the Atlantic is, in many ways, not a typical college. COA’s self-designed program, our close-knit community of 350 students from around the world, and our engaged and interdisciplinary curriculum tend to attract students who are looking for a different kind of educational experience. Please describe, in one or two paragraphs, what you’re looking for from your college experience and why you think COA could be a good school for you.
  • Optional: At College of the Atlantic, we’re committed to cultivating a diverse student body that includes a wide range of backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. Briefly describe how your identity, community, or life experiences have shaped who you are today.
Want to tell us more about yourself?

If you wish, you are welcome to submit examples or a portfolio of writing, art, music, or another form of expression not easily conveyed through a standard application. Send materials as one PDF file in an email to, and please include a brief explanation and/or captions of your work to provide context. Dropbox, Google Drive, web URLs, and email attachments are also acceptable formats.


Statement of nondiscrimination

College of the Atlantic admits students on the basis of the individual’s qualifications to contribute to the college’s educational objectives. COA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, or veteran’s status. COA operates in accordance with federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination.