School in Focus: Bates College

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Group of students walking around the campus.

School in Focus: Bates College

Bates College is a private liberal arts college. Founded in 1855, the college is one of the oldest in the state and has a reputation for academic excellence and a commitment to social justice. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Bates College, from its history and location to its academic programs and campus life.

It is located in Lewiston, Maine, a small city with a population of around 36,000 people (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden). The college’s 133-acre campus is situated on a hill overlooking the Androscoggin River, and it is within walking distance of downtown Lewiston.

The college is in a region known as the “Lakes and Mountains” area of Maine, which is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. The area is popular with hikers, campers, and skiers, and it is home to several state parks and ski resorts.

What is the history of Bates College?

What was the impetus behind the founding of Bates College? Bates College was founded in 1855 by Oren Cheney, a Free Will Baptist minister, and abolitionist.

Cheney was born in Holderness, New Hampshire in 1816 and was raised on a farm. He attended school in the winter months and worked on the family farm for the rest of the year. Cheney was an exceptional student and showed a keen interest in religious studies from an early age.

After completing his education, Cheney became a minister in the Free Will Baptist Church, a denomination that placed a strong emphasis on individual freedom and responsibility. He was an ardent abolitionist and worked tirelessly to end slavery in the United States.

Cheney believed that education was a powerful tool for social change and that it could help to break the cycle of poverty and oppression that affected many people in the country.

Young woman holding her books while walking.

In the 1840s, Cheney became involved in the movement to establish a college in Maine that would provide a high-quality education to young men and women regardless of their economic or social backgrounds.

In 1855, he finally realized his dream when Bates College was founded in Lewiston, Maine. The college was named after Benjamin E. Bates, a wealthy merchant from Boston who provided much of the funding for the institution.

Bates College was originally an all-male institution, but it became coeducational in 1870, making it one of the first colleges in the country to admit women. The decision to admit women was a controversial one at the time, and it was met with resistance from many quarters.

However, Cheney and the college’s trustees were committed to providing women with the same educational opportunities as men, and they believed that coeducation was the best way to achieve this goal.

Over the years, Bates College has remained committed to providing a high-quality liberal arts education to a diverse student body. The college has weathered many challenges, including financial difficulties, changes in leadership, and shifts in the cultural and political climate of the country.

However, through it all, the college has remained true to its founding principles of academic excellence, social justice, and community service.

Today, Bates College is widely regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Its graduates include many notable figures in a wide range of fields, including business, government, the arts, and academia.

The college’s commitment to social justice and community service continues to be a defining feature of its identity, and its students and alumni are known for their dedication to making a positive difference in the world.

What is the academic situation at Bates College?

What is the current state of the academic community at Bates College? The college is known for its rigorous academic programs, a strong commitment to social justice and community service, and its beautiful campus, which is nestled among the rolling hills and forests of central Maine.

We will explore the academic situation at Bates College, including its curriculum, faculty, and academic support resources.


Bates College offers a wide range of academic programs, including majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and interdisciplinary studies.

The college also has a unique “General Education” program, which requires students to take courses in a variety of disciplines, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. This program is designed to provide students with a well-rounded education and to help them develop critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Students holding their book while talking.

Bates College has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, which means that students receive a high level of individual attention and support from their professors.

The college also has a robust advising system, which helps students to choose their courses and to develop their academic and career goals.


The faculty at Bates College is known for its high level of expertise and its commitment to teaching and mentoring students. The college has approximately 200 full-time faculty members, the vast majority of whom hold terminal degrees in their fields.

Many of the faculty members are active researchers and scholars, and they bring their expertise and knowledge into the classroom to enhance the learning experience for their students.

Academic Support Resources

Bates College has a wide range of academic support resources to help students succeed in their studies.

These resources include the Academic Resource Commons (ARC), which provides tutoring and academic coaching to students; the Writing Center, which offers individual consultations and workshops on writing; and the Math and Science Resource Center, which provides tutoring and academic support to students in these areas.

Four female students studying in the stairs of a building.

The college also has a strong commitment to providing opportunities for research and independent study.

Many students engage in research projects and independent studies under the guidance of their professors, and these experiences often lead to publication and presentation opportunities.

What are the reasons for attending Bates College?

What are the advantages of going to Bates College? In the lines that follow, we will explore some of the reasons why students choose to attend Bates College.

Degrees offered

As a liberal arts college, Bates places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, critical thinking, and communication skills, which are essential for success in any field. Here are some of the degrees that are offered at Bates College:

  • Art and Visual Culture
  • Biology
  • Classical and Medieval Studies
  • Dance
  • Environmental Studies
  • French and Francophone Studies
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
  • Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies
  • Sociology

In addition to these majors, Bates College also offers several interdisciplinary majors and minors, such as African American Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Humanities, and Latin-American Studies.

Students at Bates College are encouraged to explore multiple fields of study and to design their own individualized majors, which allows them to tailor their education to their specific interests and career goals.

Bates College does not currently offer graduate degree programs, as it is solely an undergraduate institution. However, the college does offer a number of post-graduate opportunities for students, including career counseling, internships, and research opportunities.

Many Bates alumni go on to pursue graduate degrees in their chosen fields at top universities around the world.

Academic Programs

One of the main reasons that students choose to attend Bates College is the strength of its academic programs. The college offers a wide range of majors and minors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and interdisciplinary studies.

The curriculum is designed to provide students with a well-rounded education and to help them develop critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Two students studying in a library.

The college also has a strong advising system, which helps students to choose their courses and to develop their academic and career goals. Many students also engage in research projects and independent studies under the guidance of their professors, which provides them with valuable hands-on experience in their chosen fields.

Social Justice and Community Service

Another reason that students choose to attend Bates College is its strong commitment to social justice and community service. The college has a long history of activism and social engagement, and its students and alumni are known for their dedication to making a positive difference in the world.

The college offers many opportunities for students to get involved in social justice and community service initiatives, both on and off campus. These opportunities help students to develop their leadership skills and to make a meaningful impact in their communities.

Beautiful Campus

The campus is known for its historic buildings, lush green spaces, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The college has invested heavily in recent years to improve and expand its facilities, including the construction of new academic buildings, residence halls, and athletic facilities.

The campus also features a wide range of amenities, including a fitness center, an art museum, and multiple dining options.

Strong Alumni Network

Bates College has a strong and active alumni network, which provides students with valuable networking opportunities and support after graduation. The college’s alumni are located all over the world and are involved in a wide range of industries and professions.

Many alumni are actively involved in mentoring and supporting current students, providing them with guidance and advice as they navigate their academic and career paths.

How to apply for Bates College?

How can one submit an application to Bates College? Applying to college can be a daunting process, but with careful planning and attention to detail, it can be a smooth and successful experience.

Bates College is a highly selective liberal arts college that attracts students from around the world. In this part of the article, we will outline the steps to apply for admission to Bates College.

Step 1: Research the College

Before starting the application process, it is important to research Bates College and its programs to determine if it is a good fit for you. This can involve reading the college’s website, attending information sessions or virtual tours, speaking with admissions counselors, and connecting with current students or alumni.

Consider factors such as the size of the college, its academic programs, its location, and its culture and values.

Step 2: Complete the Application

To apply to Bates College, students can choose between two application options: the Common Application or the Coalition Application.

The Common Application is accepted by over 900 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad, while the Coalition Application is a newer platform designed to provide a more streamlined and user-friendly application process. The Bates College application requires the following materials:

  • Completed application form
  • $60 application fee (waivers are available for eligible students)
  • Official high school transcript
  • Standardized test scores (either the SAT or ACT, although test scores are optional for the 2022 and 2023 admissions cycles due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Two teacher recommendations (one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities teacher)
  • Personal essay
  • Activities and achievements list
  • Optional interview (either in-person or virtual)

Step 3: Submit Supplemental Materials

In addition to the required application materials, Bates College also requires students to submit supplemental materials. These materials vary depending on the applicant’s academic interests and background, and may include the following:

  • Writing samples or portfolios for applicants to the arts programs
  • Additional teacher recommendations
  • SAT Subject Test scores (optional for the 2022 and 2023 admissions cycles)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students
  • FAFSA or CSS Profile for financial aid consideration

Step 4: Consider Early Decision

Bates College offers an Early Decision (ED) program, which is a binding agreement between the student and the college. ED applicants agree to attend Bates College if accepted and must withdraw all other applications.

In return, ED applicants receive an earlier decision and may have a slightly higher chance of admission.

Step 5: Submit the Application

Once all application materials are complete, students should submit their application by the deadline.

Students should also make sure to check their application status regularly and follow up with the admissions office if any materials are missing or incomplete.

Step 6: Wait for the Decision

After submitting the application, students will need to wait for the admissions decision. Regular decision applicants typically receive a decision in late March or early April.

Segue to AdmissionSight

Bates College is a highly respected liberal arts college that offers students a rigorous and challenging education in a supportive and engaging community.

With its commitment to social justice, community service, and civic engagement, the college is an excellent choice for students who are looking for a college that values both academic excellence and social responsibility.

Whether you are interested in the natural beauty of Maine or the intellectual and cultural opportunities of a top liberal arts college, Bates College is an excellent choice.

We at AdmissionSight would be happy to assist you in realizing your goal. With over a decade of experience, AdmissionSight has helped countless students just like you earn acceptance to their top-choice colleges and universities. Make sure to get in touch with us immediately away so we can set up your no-cost consultation.



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