Who lives off campus?

As of fall 2023, approximately 40% of COA students will live off-campus. These are primarily second-, third-, and fourth-year students, the majority of whom live in houses owned by the college. Students who started as first-years can elect to live off campus after one year at COA. Transfer students may choose to live off campus beginning with their first term.

Is it hard to find off-campus housing? 

We’re not going to lie, with the short-term vacation rental market ballooning in Bar Harbor, it became very difficult for students to find suitable off-campus housing. So the college took action, and over several years we purchased 18 units of off-campus housing for students within the town of Bar Harbor. As of fall 2023, more than 80% of students will live in college-owned housing either on or off campus, eliminating the challenge of the housing search for the majority of students. The off-campus housing selection process begins during the winter term for the following year. 

Why live off campus?

Living off campus, students can choose their own housemates and live more independently. And with so many students living in town, there’s also a lively off-campus culture of gatherings, potlucks, and creative projects. You may find that the short walk or bike-ride to and from your house can be a grounding bookend to the day.

How far away is off-campus housing?

Off-campus housing is typically around one-half to one mile from campus. Some houses owned by the college are closer, from one-tenth of a mile (just north of campus) to a quarter-mile (just across the road and up the hill). Many students walk or bike along the multi-use pedestrian/bikeway from downtown. The college also operates a Night Bus and a winter term Day Bus to shuttle students to and from campus, allowing for convenient travel home as well as to the movie theater, grocery stores, and YMCA—helpful especially in cold or rainy weather or when you’ve bought two bags of groceries!

In 2022, COA opened the Mount Desert Center (MDC) in downtown Northeast Harbor, a 15-minute drive from campus. The MDC includes housing for 15 students, with a shared-use vehicle for transportation to and from campus.