Bates College Prestige


I did research Bates before applying. Applied for the less “Preppy” vibe, awesome debate team, and a great history faculty.

For your second question, it was never my intention to transfer or to avoid competition when I applied. As of now, I don’t wanna transfer. The purpose of this post is just to gather information from American’s standpoint so that I can better convince my parents that Bates is a great school so that they won’t push me for a transfer.

Whether or not I have the skill sets to transfer is a different question, this thread is on the premise that if I earned the equivalence of transferring to a prestigious university, would it be worth it and will it make any difference in grad school application.

Thank you for your input, happy holidays!


Thank you for your kind response, happy holidays to you and your family!

It sounds like the OP has researched schools and is applying to Bates for the right reasons but needs to convince international parents who have never heard of the school. @iwantcollegeplz, if all you’re looking for is ammo, we can help. :slight_smile:
Please note, these are not the reasons my kids applied to Bates, nor are they the reasons I would normally cite, but in this case the parents are looking for prestige, so we can play that game.

  1. Bates is one of the NESCAC school, sometimes referred to as the "Little Ivies." Tell them the NESCAC is the equivalent of Ivy League but for liberal arts schools and show them this.

Personally, I’ve never even heard the expression “Maine Big Three” and I’ve been associate with Bates for 35 year, but hey, if it’s on Wikipedia it must be true, right? :wink:

  1. Debate is great preparation for law, and Bates has a long tradition of strength in debating. From a story on the World Debating Championships in Berlin (2013):

…and two stories from 2017. Bates won the North American Women’s Debating Championship

…and reached the finals of the World University Debate Championship.

That make Bates better than Harvard, right? :wink:

  1. Bates graduates do well in the job market. As of 6 months after graduation only a half percent of graduates in the class of '17 were still looking for work. For Yale graduates the percentage still looking for work was 3.4%
  1. Bates graduates go on to many great graduate schools, including Ivies. Bates is among the schools currently represented at Harvard's Law School, Business School and Medical School.

The law schools currently attended by Bates students include Stanford, Yale, Harvard, UCLA, Berkeley, University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, U Penn, and Duke. Not bad for a school with fewer than 2,000 students.

  1. Prestigious awards- Bates is a perennial top producer of Fulbright Award winners. Last year Bates won more Fulbrights than any other liberal arts school in the nation, and more than many top universities, including Yale, Stanford, Duke, Columbia, Dartmouth, Berkeley and many other schools with as many as 10x the number of undergraduate students.

Good luck, @iwantcollegeplz. Hopefully you’ll love Bates and your parents will be able to see what a wonderful place it is aside from the issue of prestige.

Yes to all. But I have to say almost no person on the street, let alone on the streets of China, probably heard of Bates. Amhearst, probably. And no person on the street outside CA probably heard of Pomona, arguably the best liberal arts college imo.

Brand names is almost solely due to colleges having a lot of money or athletic success.

You must be a genius being able to get 5s in 8 APs by studying on your own for 14 days. My kid took AP Arts History class, and all they did was study for AP test, and he only got a 4. And he got into Stanford early. Just goes to show you the smartest kids are not at HYPSM. I am impressed if what you say is true. You didn’t even take any AP classes? If true, you should have no problem acing LSAT.

Based on the academic preparation of its students as measured by standardized testing, Bates placed within the range of these schools at 56th nationally, with USC at 42nd, Emory at 47th and UCLA at 74th. A correction might be needed to account for the test-optional policy at Bates, but this nonetheless should give you some idea as to how Bates compares amid these examples.

It’s not about scores. It’s about what actually takes place, once on a campus.

OP, sorry. But I reacted to the idea you got in, haven’t started, and asked these particular questions. Those of us who know the college well are most impressed. We or our kids and their friends had no limitations. We found/find it to be an intellectually vibrant atmosphere, as well as promoting engagement in the community. And more. Graduates find work everywhere. (It is not just about grad school, which, among some, can be a putdown about employability.)

And it’s generally not a grade inflation school. AP quick study, imo, is not a predictor one will do well there. In fact, personally, I find that score focus can be contrary to learning.

I understand your concern. But the idea Bates needs to impress in all corners of China is not even related, to me, to what makes it an excellent institution. Nor whether someone/anyone in the US midwest or 3000 miles away, on the west coast, instantly knows the name. The proof is in the graduates.

My kids are superbly educated. Similar comments are made by other parents or grads on CC. These kids can create their futures. Name recognition outside the east coast matters far less. It’s about the individuals this college empowers.

Depends upon whether OP will be seeking employment in the US or in China.

I agree with @lookingforward . My daughter would say that Bates has grade deflation. As far as self-study for APs, my daughter did that for AP psych, which she knew she wanted to major in. She decided she should take intro psych anyway, even though she got a 5, and she was glad she did. You cover material in college at a much more in-depth level than you do in high school. She says she would have regretted skipping intro psych.

Anwyay, @iwantcollegeplz , i think you are going to find your groove at Bates and I definitely think you will love the debate team. My daughter did debate her first year, having never done it in her life, and was so well-prepared that she actually beat Yale in her second tournament ever.

You will find that most kids take their studies pretty seriously and the college has a collaborative atmosphere. I am sure you will be happy there. Happy holidays to you, if you celebrate!

Yes. But that’s a decision to be made before app deadlines. An informed decision.

MODERATOR’S NOTE: Please stay on topic - I deleted the list that did not include Bates at all. I also deleted a few other posts.

For a kid like you, going to Bates or any good college won’t detract from your goals at all. But if making your parents happy by transferring school is that important to you, it’s your choice. Not a bad idea to experience two colleges as an undergraduate. I wouldn’t do it if you are happy at Bates.

I know OP said that right now you aren’t planning on transferring, and I think that’s really good. I’m a freshman right now. A kid I know here came here planning to transfer, and it’s the saddest thing because every little thing he views as a reason to transfer. Annoying construction? Professor unforgiving about a missed deadline (his fault)? Must not be a good fit, another reason to transfer. I think he would have a lot better year if he wasn’t looking for reasons to be unhappy. If you get here and don’t like it for legitimate reasons that’s one thing, but definitely give it a shot. Coming from a very competitive high school there was definitely a lot of pressure to go to a good school, and at first it bugged me that some people hadn’t heard about Bates. But now that I’m here I don’t regret my decision at all. Everyone here has been kind and very smart. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if people you don’t know have heard of your school, just that it was a good fit.
As for convincing your parents of Bates’ prestige, I agree with the stats a lot of previous posters have given.

I’ve been visiting this site as a non-member for quite a while now, and have read countless posts, but took the unexpected step of officially joining CC in order to respond to you in particular! I couldn’t help it :slight_smile:

As soon as I read that you are here to gather evidence to persuade your parents, I couldn’t help but chuckle. I thought, “We have a champion debater on our hands!” As I continued reading, I was delighted to learn that the debate team was, in fact, one of your main reasons for choosing the college. As a Bates alumna and former BQDC (Brooks Quimby Debate Council) President, later hired on as Assistant Coach of the team, I feel confident in assuring you and your parents that you have found the right school.

Back in my day, Bates wasn’t well known on the west coast (it is now) and I remember that my AP Physics teacher was concerned. He tried to convince me to accept an offer to attend a more prestigious liberal arts school a few states south, and felt that Bates would be a mistake. He was surprised and disappointed when I chose Bates. But I had visited and fallen in love with the rhetoric department and the debate team. (Incidentally, look into rhetoric for preparation for law school. It’s a fantastic major.) I also loved that the college had its own radio station, and became a WRBC DJ and talk show host. Fun times!

As a dedicated member of the debate team, I was invited to represent the college (all expenses paid) at major competitions and public debates in North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Our team hosted the North American Parliamentary Debate Championship. On many occasions, we welcomed visiting teams from around the country and the world for public debates on campus. If debate is what you want, Bates was and is the place to find it. You will learn to think differently. The experience will challenge, inspire, and enlighten you. You’ll see yourself, and your role in the world around you, in new ways, and you will be permanently changed. This thought-upheaval happens to students throughout the campus – not just those on the debate team – and it’s a real benefit of a high-quality liberal arts education. It’s my personal belief that the combination of parliamentary debate training and a liberal arts institution is unparalleled, and is the “magic” that makes Bates so successful on the national and international debate circuits.

The way that you’ve written your posts tell me that you’ll fit right in on the team, where, if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find lifelong friends and decades of funny, engaging, well-rounded, intellectually-satisfying conversations. It’s hard work, and you’ll often miss weekend events on campus as you travel to tournaments, but it also will often bring you south or west during the cold Maine winters :slight_smile:

My fellow team members and I went on to law school (Yale, Vanderbilt), architecture school (Cambridge), graduate school (Stanford, Rutgers, Boston U, UC Berkeley), business school (U Chicago, Harvard), and more. One earned a Fulbright Scholarship. I agree with the comment, above, that Bates is especially good for students planning to study beyond the undergraduate level. Obviously, we all worked very hard in our courses (and I agree with the Bates mom, above, that there is significant grade deflation, which can be frustrating) but there is no doubt that the Bates name is well-known – and very prestigious – in law, medical, business, and graduate school admissions offices.

I hope this all provides insight for your parents. Like I wrote earlier, I couldn’t help but find a way to log in and assist an up-and-coming fellow BQDC member! My own formal involvement with the team ended decades ago, but we alums follow the team on social media and sometimes make it back to campus for events. You and I will probably meet in real life someday, in fact, at some invitational debate event on campus – when we’re both alumni! In the meantime, congratulations on your admission. Enjoy Bates, its delicious food, Winter Carnival, the debate team, and everything else the college has to offer.

Thank you so much for your kind response!
I will definitely join BQDC!

@CardinalBobcat So happy I read your comments my son is currently on the BQDC team and it’s been such an amazing experience. The commraderie, travel and overall experience has been eye opening. He is acting as moderator this year. Can’t say enough positive things regarding Bates!

That’s fantastic, @Olympia2!

Getting sidetracked by BQDC, but my D did it the first year and had a great experience. She had never done debate before and ended up beating a Yale kid. Great group! @CardinalBobcat

Since we are being frank, maybe its a good thing its not too well known in China. I live in a university town, which is well known in China. It does not appear that the Many, groups of Chinese students are assimilating into US college culture and language but staying comfortable with what they know. Bates is a very welcoming community and you will learn so much more outside of the classroom mingling with other students. My son has had a great 4 years of growth and learning and is sad to be leaving…

I guess I have a different take on this as a 20+ year grad. If your interest is graduate/med/law school, Bates is highly regarded. And it’s well known and regarded in the Acela corridor. Having said that, once you get out of the NE/Mid Atlantic, you will get some confused looks from people who don’t know elite LAC intimately, and almost nobody out west will have heard of it. As opposed to Bowdoin and a lesser degree, Colby, which most people will say back to you when you say you went to “college in Maine.” FWIW.

Or they make a Sopranos joke.

@FormerBobcat , I think that is changing. My D has been there for three years now. She says that people more often recognize the name than when she first started. At my kids’ high school north of NYC, there is definitely more awareness.

I grew up in So Cal and the only LAC I had ever heard of was Vassar, which I didn’t even know was an LAC. Hand on heart, I had never heard of Bates College until four years ago or so. I had heard of Bowdoin (thought it was pronounced Boh-doyn for a while), when a friend mentioned she was accepted there back in the day. I think there’s a pretty limited number of people who have heard of those schools, until their own kids are looking at colleges. As I said earlier, there are very few colleges that most people have heard of.

Bates had a record number of apps this year, so I guess they don’t mind too much if everyone doesn’t know who they are, lol.