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Bates College

Bates College is a liberal arts college in the small city of Lewiston, Maine about 45 minutes north of Portland.  With just under 1800 undergraduates, students receive a very personalized education and truly get to know their professors.  What makes Bates different from other New England liberal arts colleges?

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine has a unique history that is rooted in embracing diversity. Photo taken by Joan Casey.

Embracing diversity since the beginning.  Bates was founded in 1855 by abolitionists and has always been open to women and students of color. Martin Luther King Day is a “Day On” at Bates with classes cancelled but enriching workshops and experiences offered for all. Lewiston is home to many Somali refugees with 26 languages spoken in their high school.  Bates students are very much engaged in the community.

The flexible general education requirements allow for many students to double major, minor or add General Education Concentrations (GEC’s).  Students must participate in three required writing required courses: a freshman writing seminar (professor is also your freshman advisor), a course within the major(s), and the required senior thesis. Most popular majors include politics, economics, psychology and environmental studies.  There is a new interdisciplinary digital and computational studies program.

Just under 1800 undergraduates attend Bates College, making for a personalized experience. Photo taken by Joan Casey.

Bates students are engaged in many clubs and co-curricular activities across campus.  They have never offered Greek life. Thirty-one varsity teams compete at the DIII level within the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).  Their Ski Team is DI.  Bates’ Brooks Quimby Debate Council was founded in the mid 1800’s and is one of the world’s premier debating societies. They welcome students with or without debate experience. Bates covers all costs and members travel nationally and internationally throughout the year to tournaments. Theatre and Dance programs are open to all students and host multiple productions each year.

The Center for Purposeful Work helps to prepare students for their career path. Photo taken by Joan Casey.

President Clayton Spencer introduced the idea of Purposeful Work to the Bates community in 2013.  The Center for Purposeful Work prepares students for lives of meaningful work by helping them align who they are with what they do. This mission is infused into coursework; alumni come to campus to meet with students and discuss their careers. “How to Adult” workshops are offered that, among other things, expose students to career paths within their majors. A $4000 stipend for unpaid (or low paying) summer internships or research is available to students for at least one summer.

Bates is on a traditional fall and spring semester calendar but also offers a five-week short term or Maymester where students take only one intensive and often fun course.  Adjunct professors come and teach things such as Japanese boat making, medieval re-enactment, even accounting. Short Term can happen on campus or abroad. Students must participate in two, and up to three are included in tuition.

For students interested in pre-health curriculum and experiences, it is good to know that St Mary’s Regional Medical Center is adjacent to campus.

Bates is looking for intellectually curious students who are excited to be engaged with their campus community in many ways.  They want students with diverse and creative interests. 17.8% of applicants were admitted in 2018 with 70% of the class filled through early decision cycles. Bates has been test optional for over 30 years and 50 percent of applicants apply without submitting test scores. 

Bates is a great place to develop meaningful relationships with peers and professors while exploring academics and considering career opportunities that fit with who you are and what you want.

Useful Resources:

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(617) 734-3700
1678 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02445