Bates College is a small New England liberal arts school with a tight-knit student body. Its 1,800 undergrads, almost all of them living, eating and hanging out together on campus, are famously friendly to each other and to outsiders. Academics at Bates are challenging without being overwhelming, and campus life is varied. On a typical day, students might go from classes to sports or a cappella practice, and then gather in the Commons to refuel with brick-oven pizza before studying. Seniors spend a good portion of their final year putting together a thesis to cap off four years of major studies. This close-knit, small liberal arts experience doesn’t come cheap: Money estimates the typical price of a degree from Bates is about $247,000.

On the weekends, Batesies find entertainment at school-sponsored events or parties in the student houses on Frye Street. Outdoorsy types can enjoy hiking, biking, skiing and other adventurous pursuits. Without much else for a college kid to do around town (not to mention a strained relationship with Lewiston townies), the activities and amenities of campus explain why many students rarely venture beyond the so-called Bates Bubble.