School Profile: Collaboration, Community Service, and Career Development at Bates College

Bates College, a small liberal arts college located in Lewiston, Maine, it was founded in 1855 and was one of the most forward-thinking colleges of its time. It started out as a seminary and was a stop on the Underground Railroad; consequently, many of the first students were former slaves. Throughout time they have remained a diverse and inclusive school that promotes the importance of rigorous academia coupled with the betterment of oneself.

At Bates College students can choose from thirty-five interdisciplinary and departmental majors along with twenty-six secondary concentrations. Many students double major, graduate with a major and minor, or graduate with a major and two general education concentrations. This allows them to enter the professional world with a strong and diverse academic background.

The average class size at Bates is no more than twenty students, and 100% of the faculty hold the highest degree in their respective fields. Diverse academic options combined with personalized teaching offers students a strong foundation for academic success. There are a wide range of study abroad options that more than 60% of the student body take advantage of, plus internships, fieldwork, and research opportunities that stretch and challenge students.

At Bates, all students take part in a first year seminar where you, a small group of peers, and a chosen professor will dive into a specialized topic that models the type of work you’ll be doing for all four college years. This will fold into your senior thesis that will usually be the first step towards graduate study or your first job after college. Bates College is perfect for students who want strong guidance while gaining the tools and education to lead successful professional careers upon graduation.

Campus life at Bates is diverse and centers around community. The student housing, clubs and organizations, and the student-run coffee house, simply referred to as The Ronj, help cultivate the sense of community. All freshmen live on campus in first-year residence halls where they get to know one another and adjust to campus life under the guidance of the some of the upper-classmen. Most students live on campus in either a residence hall or one of the 25 beautiful Victorian houses.

There are more than 100 clubs and organizations for students to participate in as well as a myriad of services that benefit student success. They include student employment, community service projects, and career development opportunities. Students can collaborate and get to know one another at The Ronj, where they can play pool, watch movies, or attend concerts and other events while snacking on some delicious grub. The Ronj also offers services like catering campus events, and it functions as an open space for creative writing, broadcast art, comedy, theater, and much more.

Bates College competes in Division III athletics in the New England Small College Athletic Conference with 14 men’s and 15 women’s varsity teams. They have won countless championships in a variety of varsity sports. Club teams include rugby, ice hockey, ultimate Frisbee, sailing, and more. Intramural sports are available for those who play simply for the love of the game.

The athletic facilities at Bates are state-of-the-art; among them are an ice hockey rink, several courts, a boathouse, a swimming pool, tracks, and various outdoor fields. The football field is one of the oldest in the nation. For those who just like to maintain their physical fitness, there is access to facilities such as the weight room that includes treadmills and elliptical machines.

Traditions are a big part of Bates College; some go back nearly one hundred years. One of the most prominent traditions is the Winter Carnival where festivities last four days and are created by the Bates Outing Club, centered around a new theme every year. This fun carnival is all about celebrating winter in Maine, where you might find competitions like tray and three legged races. Other activities could include an ice skating party, a casual bonfire, or a concert. The big finale on the last day of Winter Carnival is the puddle jump, and no this is not skipping through puddles; you’ll have to see for yourself when you become a Bates Bobcat!

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By Colleen Hill