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How to Write Bates College’s 2016-2017 Essay
About Bates College
With a setting conducive to skiing, canoeing, and hiking, Bates College, located in Maine along the Androscoggin River, is the perfect place for nature enthusiasts and the oldest coeducational college in New England. With a liberal arts curriculum offering around thirty majors and related minors, Bates is highly committed to providing its students a quality, well-rounded education, having graduated nearly 90 Fulbright Scholars, 11 Olympians, and 5 Pulitzer Prize Winners. Bates students remain top-notch to this day, with two 2016 Bates alumni featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.
Community is an integral part of the experience at Bates, with the College hosting strong student traditions that have been held for decades, including prank-playing on neighboring Bowdin and Colby Colleges, a Winter Carnival to embrace the fierce Maine winters, and the “Puddle Jump” in Lake Andrews to celebrate the “exuberance at the end of a hard winter.”
The Bates College Application Essay Prompt
Bates has one supplemental essay to the Common Application, which we have briefly analyzed below.
What draws you to Bates? Consider the Bates Mission Statement (below) in your response (1-2 paragraphs).
Since 1855, Bates College has been dedicated to the emancipating potential of the liberal arts. Bates educates the whole person through creative and rigorous scholarship in a collaborative residential community. With ardor and devotion—Amore ac Studio—we engage the transformative power of our differences, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action. Preparing leaders sustained by a love of learning and a commitment to responsible stewardship of the wider world, Bates is a college for coming times.
The purpose of this prompt is two-fold; the admission officers want to know more about your goals and passions, but they also want to see if you can give a well founded explanation as to how Bates specifically can help you achieve those goals. Because the prompts provides you with Bates’s mission statement, it is best that you not only draw on your outside knowledge of the College, but also tie back that information to the aspects outlined in the mission statement. Each sentence in Bates’ mission can help you highlight an aspect of the College that appeals to you. Let’s break the mission statement down and go through them one by one.
Since 1855, Bates College has been dedicated to the emancipating potential of the liberal arts.
The phrase “emancipating potential” is crucial here. Do you feel as though going to Bates will “emancipate” you in some way? If so, how? Perhaps you feel pressured by your parents who only want you to pursue a career in medicine, although you are really interested in the social sciences. You can write about how by going to Bates, with its liberal core curriculum, you will be able to explore classes in the fields you are interested in while still being able to take classes in the sciences to see whether you would be interested in a medical career.
Bates educates the whole person through creative and rigorous scholarship in a collaborative residential community.
Here is a good time to pull out your knowledge of Bates and the ways in which its synergetic environment will benefit you, including how you can add to it as well. In relation to this sentence of the mission statement, you can about your desire for a strong community and how Bates, with its small undergraduate population, can fulfill that. “Creative and rigorous scholarship” most directly applies to academics, so you can take this opportunity to name-drop specific departments or professors at Bates that you are particularly interested in. Stress the liberal arts curriculum, and how it allows for creativity in the classroom. Make sure the admission officers know that you have researched the school in-depth and believe yourself to be a good fit for it.
With ardor and devotion—Amore ac Studio—we engage the transformative power of our differences, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action.
This phrase is more related to outside-the-classroom activities. Talk about how you, as a unique individual, can add to the already quirky atmosphere at Bates, and how you can use the “power of difference” to make an imprint on the culture there. Mention an extracurricular club you researched that really drew you to the school (preferably one that is more Bates-specific), and how you plan to pursue your hobbies/passions there. If you are interested in student government or something similar (and have related experiences in high school), you might want to mention how you hope to give back to the community by participating in clubs that will directly affect the school and its administration. Try your best to relate these activities to what you hope to pursue even after leaving Bates, and how a Bates education will you with a unique opportunity to follow those passions.
Preparing leaders sustained by a love of learning and a commitment to responsible stewardship of the wider world, Bates is a college for coming times.
Take time at the end of your response to talk about your envisions for future after Bates. How will being at Bates specifically propel you towards (whatever hazy or ambiguous) goals you have for the future? If you have a humanitarian bent, be sure to talk about how you wish to serve the “wider world,” as that is what the prompt sets you up for. You do not have to limit yourself to volunteer or humanitarian work, of course, but be cognizant of how you hope to take what you learned at Bates to better the world when you leave.
As always, take note of the word limit here. “1-2 paragraphs” most likely means an essay of about 400 words, and as admission counselors are swamped with essays, keeping your response short and sweet is key. In order to keep your response within the desired essay length, try not to repeat yourself while addressing different parts of the mission statement. For example, if you already mentioned that you really love the academic freedom that comes with a liberal arts education, don’t feel as though you need to stress the “emancipation” aspect of Vassar while talking about extracurricular activities. Try also to be as specific as possible when talking about what draws you to Bates. Stay away from generalizations that can be applied to any college. Going through your essay and deleting sentences and phrases that are general should allow you to meet the word limit.
Hopefully with these tips you have a better knowledge of Bates and how to illustrate your interest to admissions officers through the essay response. If you find yourself seeking additional help as you continue researching this exceptional institution, CollegeVine’s highly trained essay consultants from the nation’s top schools can help you ensure your Bates application is the strongest it can be. Check out our tips on how to stay on top of the college process during this busy season, and good luck!