As a private liberal arts college, Bates is one of the best. Co-ed since its establishment in 1855, this institution offers 32 program majors and 25 minors. Some of the things to look forward to upon acceptance are the excellent academic programs, including the study abroad option for students, and the active athletics atmosphere. Bates is non-sectarian, despite its original association with the Free Will Baptist institution.
Bates is well known for its bold move of pioneering the SAT optional policy for selecting potential freshmen. In 2004, the faculty voted to make SATs as well as other standardized tests optional as a factor for college admission.
In 1855, abolitionists founded the first co-educational institution in New England. Reverend Oren Burbank Cheney, a minister in the Freewill Baptist Church and a former Maine official was the college’s the first president. Several of the first students of Bates were slaves who have been freed. The origin name of the college was Maine State Seminary, which replaced the Parsonsfield Seminary. In 1870, Parsonsfield’s Cobb Divinity School formed a merger with bates and became the college’s religion department. The first subjects taught are the classics and moral philosophy. The college was chartered in 1863 and received financial backing from Benjamin E. Bates, the school’s namesake.
In 1944, college president Charles Franklin Phillips started the Bates Plan of Education, which involved a core study program including the liberal arts. Under Phillips, the campus facilities were modernized and expanded. The new buildings erected were the Memorial Commons, the Health Center, Dana Chemistry Hall, Pettigrew Hall, Treat Gallery, Schaeffer Theatre, and Page Hall. Bates’ reputation as a national college became known when Thomas Hedley Reynolds took over as president in 1967. During his time, more faculty members joined and received better pay.
Donald West Harward started his presidency in 1989, during which off-campus learning opportunities for students have become possible. During Harward’s presidency, Bates became more active in reaching out to the community of Lewiston-Auburn, creating an active and progressive service-learning program that is widely known.
The vibe around the school is relaxed and rural. There’s none of the frantic vibe that comes with living in a big city school. Many of the students enjoy the 4-1-4 semester scheme, which allows them to take one subject in the winter term instead of cramming the course in a regular semester. Most students live in campus, either in one of the thirteen residence halls or the twenty-five Victorian houses.
Campus organizations in Bates College welcome all applicants, and there is a notable absence of Greek organizations around. No fraternities and sororities have been present in the college since the school’s founding. The school has an active student council, the Bates College Student Government, along with other student-run organizations. Some of the popular ones are the outing club, political clubs, investing club, music clubs, the Chase Hall Committee, and the WRBC Radio. Gifted debaters can also join the Brooks Quimby Debate Council, which has competed internationally and nationally.
Bates is one of the first schools to have a football team and a football field. The school sends competitors to the NCAA Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference and Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Consortium.
Financial aid is given for students that demonstrate financial need in paying the comprehensive fee (tuition, housing and other expenses) after thorough assessment of the documents submitted by the family and discussions on how much the family is able to contribute to the student’s education. The Financial Aid Office also provides assistance for off-campus students that spend a semester or a year in another country.