Impressions Of
Bates College

Academic Experience

Female Environmental Studies Major C/O 2021

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I think it’s really nice that we have options for different tracks. There are four concentrations in the major, and I like that because, for example, I didn’t want to take Economics classes but I can still be an Environmental Studies major and take more science classes. One downside is that Environmental Studies has some of the most requirements of any major at Bates. There is an internship requirement, capstone project, and a thesis.

How accessible are your professors?
Pretty accessible. I’m in intro to biology as a sophomore, which is kind of weird, and it’s one of the biggest classes at Bates. I’ve actually found that professors that have really big classes and know that their classes are hard are even more accessible. I’ve found that the professors who are the least accessible are the ones in my small seminars because I think they think students don’t need any help.

Male Politics Major C/O 2020

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
It’s basically a lot of reading and writing. Keeping up with the reading is the most difficult part. It’s harder to get something out of your classes if you’re not keeping up with the reading because you don’t spend as much time in class as you would in a STEM major. I probably read two hours a day, if not more, and I’ll have five to ten pages to write each week if you average it out over the whole semester.

In the Philosophical, Literary, & Legal Studies concentration, it’s a lot of analyzing reading and trying to figure out what it is, what it’s saying, and poking holes in the theory and constitutional decisions. There are four other concentrations, [Governance and Conflict, Identities and Interest, Institutional Politics, and Political Economy.]

Male Art History and Geology Double Major C/O 2017

How would you describe the learning environment?
In Art History many of the early classes are like 50 people in a lecture hall, then once you get higher up you’ll have less than 10 people in a seminar. Those are more helpful in my opinion. In Geology the first few classes are lectures and then after that, you don’t have more than 15 people in a class. It’s a very collaborative environment, I don’t think it’s competitive at all.

How accessible are the professors?
The Art History professors are easy to interact with. They would help you and would be very friendly. The Geology professors were a bit more awkward because they’re science guys, so it was a little more difficult to get to know them.

Are you happy with your major choices?
Yeah, I’m more Art History focused, but it’s nice to have the skills I learned from my other major. I don’t recommend doing a double major because you have to do two theses. The coursework is fine but having to do two theses is a lot. I recommend doing a lot of classes in another department for credit and for fun, but not doing the double major because the end is tough. [A thesis is required by most departments at Bates.]

Social Opportunities

Female Environmental Studies Major C/O 2021

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Bates?
I go out to parties every weekend. You generally can find something pretty fun going on Friday, Saturday, and sometimes on Thursdays. There are two bars in Lewiston that people go to on Thursday nights, and that’s pretty fun. Friday and Saturday, it’s mostly off-campus parties. Seniors can live off-campus, but nobody else can. If there isn’t a party off-campus, there will be a party in the basement of one of the houses on Frye Street.

How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change?
I’m pretty happy. It’s hard because Lewiston is pretty residential and there’s the constant fear of noise complaints, campus security, and Lewiston police. It’s really touchy. It’s so frequent that parties are shut down by noise complaints and when that happens security is not super friendly and the Lewiston police are definitely not very friendly with off-campus houses. I look forward to being a senior and living off-campus, but it’s tough that you have to be so weary of the neighbors. [See Portland Press Herald article, “Crackdown on off-campus parties pleases neighbors, frustrates Bates students.”]

Male Politics Major C/O 2020

What are some of your favorite times or events?
We have short-term over the month of May where you take one course really intensively. That is a lot of fun because there are parties [very often]. Bates also hosts a lot of school-sponsored parties and dances, and those are a lot of fun too. There are five dances throughout the year that Bates hosts and those are really fun.

How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change?
I wasn’t too happy this year. My thing is that I love the parties with my team, so that makes up for the lack of a social scene this year. The thing that makes me a little uncomfortable at times is the increased police and security presence. I think they can be overbearing. If I could change anything, I would change the fines you can get just for going to a college party. It’s a give and take because I like the fact you can have parties with your club and everybody there you know and trust and it’s a good way to bond.

Male Economics and Chinese Double Major C/O 2021

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Bates?
I do what I can because my sport is a two-season sport, so a lot of the time on Friday nights I can’t go out. I’ll stay in and watch a movie or do some homework. My friends are also on the team so I’m not alone. When my sport is not happening, I like to go to house parties and small parties in peoples’ suites and stuff like that. All the sports teams have houses, so we’ll either go to a house or a lot of the seniors on my team will have something.

How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change?
I’m not a huge partier, so it’s enough for me. I don’t think everyone feels that way. I think some people expect it to be a crazy party scene but it’s not. I’m also a pretty serious athlete so I don’t go crazy. It’s definitely enough for me as somebody who is in season most of the time and doesn’t go out that much.

Campus Culture

Male Politics Major C/O 2020

How did you meet your closest friends?
One of my friends lived across the hall from me, the others lived on the hall. I made one really good friend on AESOP, which is the mandatory wilderness retreat for all freshmen. He came earlier for a first-generation college student orientation, so I met some of my best friends through him. You meet people through clubs and through your floor. You’ll meet a lot of people who are still best friends with people from their hall.

Do you think people are happy with their choice of Bates by senior year?
I think most people are. There is definitely a population that wishes they went to a bigger school or a school in a different place because Maine is really tough during the winter if you don’t ski or snowboard. Daytime gets a lot shorter, the sun sets around 4:30-5PM in the winter, and that can have an effect on people.

Male Economics and Chinese Double Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the social scene?
I really like it. I really like the small community. It doesn’t remind me of high school so much because the people at Bates are pretty down to earth and nice. I do like to be a big fish in a small pond, so I wouldn’t like to go to school with like 10,000 people.

How would you describe the student body?
There are a lot of very outdoorsy people who like to go hiking and camping and are kind of crunchy. I’m kind of like that, but I like to sleep in a bed [laughs]. A lot of the non-athletes are like that, they’re Outing Club-type people. Then a lot of the students are athletes. There’s a lot of wealth, but there is also a lot of students that are not from a lot of wealth. [Socioeconomically, 51% of students come from the top 5% and 2.8% come from the bottom 20%.]

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

How did you meet your closest friends?
I have two best, best friends at Bates. One doesn’t play sports at all and the other is on my team. I knew most of the girls in my class on my team going in, so, for the most part, I like most of the girls in my grade on my team and they are in my friend group. I met my other really good friend who doesn’t play a sport in my first-year seminar.

How would you describe the social scene?
I think it’s really open. Everyone is very down to earth and people are not very critical. What I love about it is that the seniors end up being really close with the freshmen, which I think is really cool. There are friendly faces all the time.

Lewiston, ME

Pros of

  • “Maine has a lot of places to go hiking.”
  • “Getting to engage with the community. There’s a Somali population in Lewiston and there’s a lot of service work done in their community. There are a lot of community service options.”
  • “We’re 40-minutes from Portland and Portland is a really cool city.”
  • “We are really close to some really beautiful outdoorsy places. It’s in a central location to mountains, Portland, and the coast.”

Cons of

  • “It’s cold and there’s a ton of snow.”
  • “The college is working on its relationship with the local residents, which is good. It has not always been so great.”
  • “It’s not a major city, so there are not a lot of internship opportunities around the area.”
  • “There aren’t a lot of things to do in Lewiston.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Politics Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Bates before you entered as a freshman?
I thought I was going to be prepared for the amount of work college was going to be. Bates is a lot of work. I also probably wish I had tried skiing before I went to Bates.

What’s something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Commons, which is the cafeteria at Bates, is pretty incredible. The food is really good and the architecture inside is really cool too. Definitely check out the cafeteria. [According to Niche, it is the third best in the country.]

Male Art History and Geology Double Major C/O 2017

What is something you wish you knew about Bates before entering as a freshman?
The small school atmosphere in terms of the social life in that it can feel close-knit. Once you get into your groups it’s hard to branch out. Once I did my sport, most of my friends were from my team. Then once you start doing your major it’s hard to find new groups outside of that to make friends with.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
If they get to go to a class they should talk to the professor because the professors are the best part of Bates. So, have a chat with a professor to get a good feel for how good the school is.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about Bates before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about the majors. It’s a liberal arts school, so there is no business major. [I wish I knew that if] I wanted a business major, what classes I should take if I want to be prepared to take that route after graduation.

What is something that we haven’t touched on that a prospective athlete should know?
If you’re some who really loves [your sport], but doesn’t want to go D1, Bates is a really good option. You feel very involved and very in it with the social scene, and I really feel like more people should give the NESCACs a chance. I feel like a lot of people are very determined and sometimes even stubborn about going D1, but D3 is a great option too and the league is very competitive. You learn a lot more than just [your sport] being there.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Bates College

To Attend

  • “Everybody here is super nice. The community is so amazing. The students and the faculty are generally very kind and smart.”
  • “The Outing Club is really incredible. If you want to get into outdoors stuff, I don’t know if there is a school that does it better.”
  • “The food is really, really good.”
  • “The professors really want you to go to office hours. They want you to interact with them like normal people and they will interact with you like a normal person.”

To Not Attend

  • “It’s in the middle of nowhere, and if you’re not down for that you really shouldn’t come here. If you’re a city person, you really shouldn’t come here.”
  • “If you’re looking for a school with huge Greek life or massive parties.”
  • “If you don’t enjoy athletic culture, I think it would be difficult to assimilate to Bates’ culture.”
  • “Harsh winters.”
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