How to Get Into Bates College: Admissions Stats + Tips
- How Hard Is It to Get Into Bates College?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Bates College Students
- What is Bates College Looking For?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Bates College
- How to Apply to Bates College
- Learn More About Bates College
Bates is among the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the country and has a reputation for pushing the boundaries of higher education. When Bates was founded in 1855, it became the first coeducational college in New England and admitted students without regard to race, religion, national origin, or sex. In fact, some of Bates’ earliest students were formerly enslaved people. More recently, Bates became known for its pioneering test-optional admissions policy (the college has been test-optional since 1984, almost four decades).
How Hard Is It to Get Into Bates College?
Admissions to Bates College are extremely competitive. Bates received 7,696 applications to its Class of 2025 and admitted just 1,085—giving the college an overall acceptance rate of 14%.
Bates has an Early Decision admissions process through which it received 838 applications. The school accepted 388 of those applicants, for an Early Decision acceptance rate of 46%.
Bates College’s acceptance rate is incredibly low, but your own chances depend on the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can add clarity to your odds of getting into Bates. It uses your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more to estimate your odds of acceptance and provide tips to improve your profile!
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Bates College Students
Bates doesn’t report the average GPA of accepted students, however, it’s clear that Bates students are generally exceptional academically. An impressive 60% of Bates’ Class of 2025 graduated in the top tenth of their high school.
The middle 50% SAT and ACT scores of Bates’ Class of 2025 are 1210-1420 and 27-33.
What is Bates College Looking for?
When making admissions decisions in 2020, a Bates sports coach said, “I’m not looking for a player who can play. I’m looking for a player who makes an impact.” This is a great summation of what Bates admissions officials are looking for in all applicants. The ideal Bates applicant won’t merely come to the college and silently succeed; rather, their presence will resonate across campus.
Bates has long been a believer in holistic admissions and has practiced test-optional admissions since 1984. While Bates values academics, they’re also searching for ambitious and inspired individuals prepared to learn and grow from their college experience.
How Bates College Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Bates College considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Class rank
- Extracurricular activities
These factors are “important”:
- Geographical location
- State residence
- First generation
- Applicant interest
These are “considered”:
- Test scores
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
And these are “not considered”:
- Religious affiliation
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Bates College
1. Achieve the best possible GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.
Bates College students are academically exceptional. Of Bates’ Class of 2025, 60% graduated in the top tenth of their high school while 82% graduated in the top quarter. Bates considers GPA, class rank, and course rigor all “very important” to admissions.
To submit a competitive application, you’ll need to have earned great grades in the most challenging courses available to you. At super-selective schools like Bates, it’s common for applicants to have completed anywhere between five and 12 AP classes in high school.
It’s also common for schools like Bates to use a tool known as Academic Index to facilitate admissions decisions. Academic Index is your entire academic performance represented by a single numerical score. If your Academic Index fails to meet Bates’ standards, your application will likely not receive serious consideration.
If you’re early in your high school career, the best way to improve your Academic Index is to raise your GPA—here are some awesome tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it’s more difficult to increase your GPA, which makes earning higher test scores the best method to improve your Academic Index.
2. Write an engaging essay.
Bates views the essay as “very important” to admissions and it is an area where you can both separate yourself from other applicants and call attention to why you belong at Bates. Applicants to Bates are required to respond to one of the seven essay prompts found in the Common Application.
Bates’ Director of Admission suggests an attention-grabbing essay is one that will “Take me out of my office and into your life for five minutes.” The college also encourages applicants to use the essay to “describe your character and experience in ways that create a distinct person that an admission staff can come to know.” It’s worth noting that Bates also considers character “very important” to admissions.
The best college essays are written in your own voice and include details that make your words come alive. No matter what prompt you respond to, your essay should highlight how you’ll fit at Bates and how the college will benefit from you being on campus.
3. Get really great recommendations.
Recommendations are “very important” to Bates admissions. Bates requires you to submit three letters of recommendation with your application: one letter from your high school counselor and two recommendations from teachers. It will also accept an optional non-academic recommendation, such as one from a coach or employer.
Teacher recommendations are important for showing a college not just your attitude for learning but also your aptitude for college-level work. Consequently, teacher recommendations hold significant sway with admissions officers.
To a large extent, you’re in control of the quality of teacher recommendations you receive—not just by your actions in the classroom, but also by who you ask and the support that you give your writer. The nine rules of requesting letters of recommendation from teachers cover the entire recommendation process with tips on everything from who to ask to what materials to provide to how to show your appreciation.
4. Cultivate a strong portfolio of extracurriculars.
Extracurricular activities are “very important” to Bates admissions. To stand out among a crowded field of applicants, you’ll want an extracurricular profile with one or two well-developed interests, or a highly developed interest known as a “spike” supported by a few impressive extracurriculars.
The four tiers of extracurriculars are a good guide to understanding how colleges value your activities outside of the classroom:
- Tier 1 activities are impressive and uncommon; for example, winning a prestigious award, earning national recognition in athletics, or attending an acclaimed merit-based summer program.
- Tier 2 extracurriculars demonstrate achievement of leadership but lack the prestige of those in Tier 1. Common Tier 2 activities include gaining state-level recognition in athletics or holding a leadership position like student body president.
- Tier 3 activities are better for showing your interests outside of the classroom than calling attention to any particular distinction. Tier 3 includes activities such as captaining a varsity sport or holding a minor leadership role in a club.
- Tier 4 is home to activities that highlight your interests but don’t display the dedication of those in the higher tiers. These activities include playing a sport or instrument, participating in a club, or general volunteering.
Because of Bates’ selectivity, a strong extracurricular profile will have one or two activities from one of the top tiers. It’s also worth noting that while volunteering and after-school jobs fall into Tier 4, Bates “considers” volunteer work and work experience when making admissions decisions.
5. Aim for a 1420 SAT and 33 ACT.
Bates is well-known for its test-optional admissions and only “considers” standardized test scores when making admissions decisions. That said, a strong test score can make a convincing case you’re ready to tackle Bates’ challenging curriculum. The middle 50% SAT/ACT scores of Bates’ Class of 2025 are 1210-1420 and 27-33.
CollegeVine recommends taking either the SAT or ACT—if you can do so safely—and submitting scores at or above the 25th percentile of accepted students (1210/27). Students who submit test scores paint a more complete picture of themselves as a student and are accepted at higher rates than those who do not submit scores. You can get recommendations on whether or not you should apply test-optional using our free chancing engine.
Bates superscores both the SAT and ACT; consequently, it’s recommended that students take the SAT/ACT between two and three times to maximize their score. For more tips to improve your SAT/ACT scores, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
6. Apply Early Action/Early Decision.
Bates has three admissions processes: Early Decision (ED), Early Decision II (ED II), and regular decision. Applying Early Decision can provide a substantial boost to your odds of acceptance at Bates. The college’s 46% Early Decision acceptance rate is significantly better than its 14% overall acceptance rate.
Early Decision isn’t for everyone, however, and while it will amplify your odds of getting into Bates, it comes at a cost. Both ED and ED II are binding, which means that when you apply through them you commit to attending Bates if you’re accepted. This makes ED and ED II best suited for applicants who are sure that Bates is their first choice.
How to Apply to Bates College
Early Decision II
Bates accepts the Common Application. Other requirements include:
- Counselor recommendation
- Two teacher recommendations
- Mid-year grades
Other optional materials include:
- SAT/ACT scores
- Non-academic recommendation
- Art supplement
Learn more about Bates College
Interested in learning more about Bates? Check out these other informative articles:
- What Does It Cost to Attend Bates College?
- What Are the Little Ivies and NESCAC?
- Top 10 Liberal Arts Colleges in New England
- Top 10 Colleges with the Richest Students
Want to know your chances at Bates? Calculate your chances for free right now.