Bates College

I visited Bates College in May 2008. Three juniors attended "Maine Day for Juniors" with me. There were 160 Maine juniors in attendance from 20 towns. ESPN was on campus covering the NCAA Tennis national tournament. There's always a lot going on at Bates!

It's too bad that many Maine students discard Bates as an option due to its Lewiston location. Worcester is no treat either but students overlook that to attend Holy Cross, Clark & WPI. Bates' campus is beautiful, with the typical brick buildings and rolling expanses of green grass and trees.

Only 11% of Bates students are from Maine. There is no Greek life (frats or sororities).

I found the 200 square foot double to be spacious. Dorms have group study rooms, so there's no excuse to not get together and prepare for an exam or work on a project. Each room has its own thermostat, and there's a kitchen in each dorm building.

You can ski Lost Valley for free as a Bates student.

One word describes the academic vibe at Bates: intense! You'll have to enjoy studying and love learning to do well at Bates. There are teaching assistants (T.A.s) for science labs, so you have someone to go to in addition to the professor to ask questions. TAs also run study groups. Peer-assisted learning groups get together to study for finals. Largest lecture hall holds 78 students, and there may be that many students in any intro class like Chem or Psychology. However, there are only 15 students in your first year seminar, an interdisciplinary course. Our tour guide mentioned her smallest class was French sophomore year, with 6 students. Half the classes have 10 students or less. Every student writes a thesis before graduating.

Academic Calendar
Bates is on a 4-4-1 calendar. Students attend classes from Sept to Dec, and January through April. Short Term is the 1 month that students spend on or off campus in a class or travel.

Admissions Advice---General Advice
  • Getting into college is not an event or a game, but a long process that each family can enjoy.
  • Apply by Thanksgiving or Christmas as a goal to shoot for.
  • Viewbooks are always positive, pretty! Visit campuses to get beyond that hype.
  • Even if a campus is nearby, take the official tour. You never think you know!
  • Talk to your parents once a week about college stuff. Parents want to be in the loop, and if you talk to them once a week about college stuff, maybe they'll agree to not bug you about it every day!
  • Essays: don't get stuck putting it off. Just start with a few sentences or topic ideas.
  • Common App-get started early! Don't be afraid; it's mostly factual information.
  • Is your email address appropriate?
  • Figure out how to get organized and who will help you. (Deadlines, forms, paperwork)
  • Have fun thinking about the possibilities!
Admissions Advice---Bates-specific Advice
  • 35-38% of the freshman class of 500 are admitted during Early Decision, a binding admission plan. Your financial aid award letter accompanies your admit letter around December 15, as long as you filled out the CSS Profile in October with copies of your previous year's taxes. Only 2 or 3 students break their ED contract due to financial aid issues. (That's the only reason allowed to break the ED contract)
  • ED applicants who have never visited campus are at a disadvantage, and are less likely to be admitted. Demonstrated interest really counts at Bates, interview included.
  • Half of applicants apply with their SAT scores even though Bates is test-optional. (650-740 is the middle 50%)
  • Junior year high school classes: you are likely working your way towards more honors and AP courses.
  • Senior year classes: an off-the-chart serious student would have 3 APs and 2 honors classes in math and physics, while a reasonable schedule would be 3 APs, pre calc and honors foreign language. Take courses that are right for YOU: Rigorous but appropriate for you.
  • Most Bates applicants have 4 years each of foreign language, science and history.
  • Bates actively recruits seniors who are in the top 10% of their high school class who took a 'rigorous' course sequence.
  • Extra curriculars and sports advice: be yourself! Don't try to do everything. Bates looks for a commitment to a team and club, not many teams and clubs. They hope you will bring that involvement and commitment to Bates. Are you talented? Interested in global affairs? Contributor to a newspaper? (Their debate team travels the world!)
  • Common App Supplement: if you visited and interviewed make sure you refer to that.
  • Arts Supplement goes to the director of the relevant program.
The Interview. We watched a mock interview.
  • Interview is 'strongly recommended'. You know what that it!
  • It's a 40-minute conversation that should take place before you apply.
  • It is evaluative and not simply informational. A 3-paragraph summary of their notes will go into your file.
  • Dress nicely and represent yourself well. Don't dress uncomfortably or inappropriately.
  • Turn the cell phone off. No gum. No sunglasses on your head.
  • First impressions are so important!
  • Know the college enough so you can address the questions of 'fit'.
  • Half of the interviewees bring a resume and transcript.
  • Thank you notes are thoughtful if they are sincere and personal.
  • Here are the questions asked in the mock interview:
    • How was your tour? (that's a trick question to see if you are a whiny complainer)
    • where else have you visited?
    • what questions do you ask on tours?
    • how do you organize all your college materials?
    • why do you want a small liberal arts college?
    • how did you end up at Cheverus?
    • how did you handle the transition?
    • have you changed since freshman year?
    • how competitive is your school and where do you fit in?
    • what motivates you to work hard?
    • what are your favorite classes and why? teachers?
    • how do you participate in your classes?
    • what is great about senior year? stressful?
    • how important are team sports or clubs in your education?
    • is community service required and will you continue at college?
  • Here are the questions the student asked of the interviewer:
    • is there a typical Bates student?
Cheverus connections: Vinnie C '08, Matt P '10, Sam S '11, Noah S '14, Emily M '14, Kevin D '15, Emily F '16 attend Bates.

Links verified 6/2016