Dream of being a part of a small-knit prestigious liberal arts university esteemed for not only its academic rigor but also for its commitment to freedom and social justice? Think fraternities and sororities aren’t really your thing, and that you’d rather be a part of clubs and organizations that are open to anyone who is interested in joining? Want to live in a Victorian house for all four years in college? If you answered yes to these questions, Bates College in Lewiston, Maine is definitely worth a look.
Bates was founded by Maine abolitionists in 1855 and since then, has welcomed students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds. This spirit of inclusion manifests itself in pretty much every aspect of the university’s culture. Bates has never had sororities, fraternities, or any organization that can exclude people. They believe that any activities associated with the school should be open to everyone. And that, in my opinion, is pretty cool.
Bates’ approach to admissions and academics is pretty egalitarian as well. As one of the leaders of the SAT-Optional movement, the university doesn’t require you to submit SAT or ACT scores. And while the school offers 35 departmental and interdisciplinary majors, students have the option to design their own interdisciplinary major if none of the existing ones don’t align with their academic interests or goals. Every student is given one-on-one time with faculty, be it through independent study, research, or senior thesis supervision. Bates also prides itself on its community-based learning, helping more than half of its students integrate community service into their academic work.
But Bates’ scope doesn’t just include its campus and immediate community; its reach is impressively global. About two-thirds of all students participate in study abroad programs. This is a relatively high number. Bates doesn’t just encourage its students to go out there and explore the world; it also facilitates it with an academic calendar that includes a five-week term during which students can participate in off-campus programs.
Now let’s talk about those Victorian houses (it’s easy to tell what really peaks my interest). There are 25 of these beauties on campus and each one houses anywhere from 10 to 30 students. There are also over a dozen traditional residence halls. A high percentage of students – 95% – live in on-campus accommodations, creating an atmosphere of community and participation.
Last but certainly not least, Bates’ location along the Androscoggin River and in close proximity to 2.260-acre Lake Auburn offers students a bevy of outdoor activity options. There are easily accessible walking trails, natural parks, golf courses, and freshwater beaches. For more information: http://www.bates.edu