Bowdoin College: Admission Requirements, Courses Offered Tuition Fee, Ranking

Study At Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College is a private institution that was founded in 1794. As at the time it was founded, Maine was still a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The College is located in the coastal New England town of Brunswick, Maine. Until 1971, when the school admitted its first female students, Bowdoin was a men’s college.
It was also one of the first selective schools to make the SAT and ACT optional on its application in 1969.
The college offers 33 majors and 4 additional minors, as well as several joint engineering programs with Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Caltech and The University of Maine.
The main Bowdoin campus is located near Casco Bay and the Androscoggin River, and in addition to this, the school also owns a 118-acre coastal studies center on Orr’s Island, and a 200-acre scientific field station on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy.
Between the years 1821 and 1921, Bowdoin operated a medical school called the Medical School of Maine.
In 1990, the college faculty voted to change the four-level grading system to the traditional A, B, C, D, and F system.
The previous system consisted of the high honors, honors, pass and fail. This was seen to de-emphasize the importance of grades and to reduce competition. In 2002, the faculty changed the grading system so that it incorporated plus and minus grades.
In 2006, Bowdoin was named a “Top Producer of Fulbright Awards for American Students” by the Institute of International Education. The school utilizes a semester-based academic calendar.
The school is more than being small and safe, it is about offering the support needed to take surprising risks.
Students are well guided and shaped by faculty members who are scholars and artists of distinction in their fields.
Faculty and students work together in small classes, in labs, in performance halls, and in the field where students are active participants in performing real-world research.
More than half of Bowdoin students study abroad for a semester through more than 100 affiliated academic programs.
Bowdoin has over 30 varsity teams and the school mascot is a Polar Bear.
This is to honor Robert Peary, a Bowdoin alumnus who led the first successful expedition to the north pole. The Bowdoin Polar Bears compete in 31 varsity sports in the NCAA Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference.
Bowdoin has nearly 100 student organizations. One of the largest and most active groups is the Outing Club, which offers 100 excursions each year.
Their Peucinian Society is one of the oldest literary and intellectual societies in the country, with alumni including poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Bowdoin has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,806 students, and in 2017 was ranked as third-best liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Bowdoin Freshmen are required to live on campus and are assigned to a college house that provides residential social activities.
Notable alumni include former Chief Justice of the United States Melville Weston Fuller, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, former U.S. President Franklin Pierce, and human sexuality and gender researcher Alfred Kinsey—the subject of the 2004 biographical film bearing his surname.

Bowdoin College Ranking

Bowdoin with its highly selective nature enjoys some good ranking and good reviews.

  • The U.S. News & World Report rankings in 2018, ranked Bowdoin 3rd among liberal arts colleges in the United States.
  • Forbes liberal arts college rankings in 2017 saw Bowdoin ranking 23rd overall, and 7th among private liberal arts colleges.
  • In the Business Insider’s smartest liberal arts colleges ranking, Bowdoin tied with Williams for 5th with an average score of 1435 for math and critical reading combined. This ranking is based on student’s SAT scores.
  • Washington Monthly ranked the college 13th in the country.
  • Newsweek in 2016 described Bowdoin as a “New Ivy”, one of a number of liberal arts colleges and universities outside of the Ivy League, and it has also been dubbed a “Hidden Ivy”.

Other rankings include:

  • Best Undergraduate Teaching – 13th
  • Best Value Schools – 13th
  • High School Counselor Rankings – 5th

Bowdoin College Notable Alumni

Bowdoin has produced notable graduates in every field of life. Their graduates have led all three branches of the American federal government, including both houses of Congress.

  • Franklin Pierce (1824) was America’s fourteenth President;
  • Melville Weston Fuller (1853) served as Chief Justice of the United States;
  • Thomas Brackett Reed (1860) was twice elected Speaker of the House of Representatives;
  • Wallace H. White, Jr. (1899) and George J. Mitchell (1954) both served as Majority Leader of the United States Senate.

Other famous Bowdoin graduates include:

  • S. Secretary of Treasury, U.S. Representative, & U.S. Senator from Maine William Pitt Fessenden (1824)
  • Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1825)
  • Novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne (1825)
  • Civil War general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1852)
  • Mayo Clinic co-founder Dr. Augustus Stinchfield (1868)
  • Arctic explorer Admiral Robert Peary (1877)
  • Gold mine owner, entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Sir Harry Oakes (1896)
  • S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas R. Pickering (1953)
  • President and Chairman of the Board of L.L. Bean, Leon Gorman (1956).
  • S. Senator and Secretary of Defense William Cohen (1962)
  • American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault (1973)
  • Author and Journalist Rinker Buck (1973)
  • Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson (1979)
  • Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings (1983)
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anthony Doerr (1995)
  • Barclays CEO Jes Staley
  • Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson (2007)

Bowdoin College Athletics

Not only does Bowdoin college produce leading scholars, they also produce fine sportsmen. Students balance rigorous academics with the fun of more than 100 student clubs and numerous sporting activities.
The college has thirty varsity sports teams, and competes in the NCAA Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference, which also includes Amherst, Conn College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, Williams.
The college’s rowing club competes in the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Chase Regatta annually. The school’s mascot is the polar bear, and the school’s official color is white.
Bowdoin has intercollegiate and club teams in men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s rowing, men’s rugby, water polo, men’s soccer, men’s volleyball and men’s and women’s Ultimate.
Their field hockey team are four-time NCAA Division III National Champions; winning the title in 2007 (defeating Middlebury College), 2008 (defeating Tufts University), 2010 (defeating Messiah College) and 2013 (defeating Salisbury University).
Bowdoin has bagged several titles of which includes:

  • The NCAA Men’s Double title won by two Bowdoin players in 2011.
  • The NCAA college Division III Championship won by Bowdoin’s Men’s Tennis in 2016, after defeating Emory University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
  • The second-straight NESCAC championship won by Bowdoin’s Men’s Tennis in the spring of 2018.
  • The NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships won by the men’s indoor track Distance Medley Relay Team in 2012.
  • The women’s sailing team was ranked 2nd in the U.S. In 2014, in a national poll by Sailing World.
  • The women’s basketball team are 8-time NESCAC champions, holding a record 7-year streak from 2000-01 to 2006-07.

The college has several athletic facilities which include:

  • Sidney J. Watson Ice Hockey Arena
  • Buck Center for Health and Fitness
  • Hubbard Grandstand and Whittier Field
  • Leroy Greason Pool
  • Lubin Family Squash Center
  • Boathouses for sailing and rowing

Bowdoin College Acceptance Rate

As at the fall of 2016, Bowdoin’s acceptance rate stood at 15%, placing them amongst the group of colleges classified as ‘highly selective school’.
The rate fell lower the next academic year as the acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was reported as 13.4% in March of last year, but rose to 13.6% after the College accepted some students from the waitlist over the summer.
The current acceptance rate, which was for the Class of 2022, stood at 10.3%, the lowest ever and a decrease of over 3% points from last year’s rate of 13.6%.
The applicant pool consisted of 9,081 candidates, up from 7,251 for the Class of 2021, representing a 25% increase.
The table below helps you visualize Bowdoin College acceptance rate trend, showing the academic years, total number of applicants, accepted applicants and acceptance rates.

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Total Applicants 7,251 6,788 6,790 6,935 7,052
Accepted Applicants 988 970 1,009 1,034 1,054
Acceptance Rate 13.4% 14.3% 14.9% 14.9% 14.9%

To be accepted at Bowdoin’s, you will need GPAs that are well above average, depth in extracurricular activities, strong writing skills, and evidence of taking challenging courses.

Bowdoin College Admissions

Bowdoin is a need-blind and a no-loans institution. It is growing repeatedly hard to get admission into the college, thus affirming the U.S. News and World Report classification of Bowdoin College as “most selective”.
It was quoted in April 17, 2008, edition of The Economist in an article on university admissions that it is now as hard to get into Bowdoin as it was to get into Princeton in the 1970s.
Although Bowdoin does not require the SAT in admissions, all students must submit a score upon matriculation.
Bowdoin seeks students who are bright and engaged inside and outside the classroom, and who demonstrate curiosity and a willingness to take intellectual risks.
As a community of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experience, Bowdoin is interested in students who respect different views, opinions, and backgrounds, and who welcome the challenges associated with such diversity.
In the selectin process of new students, a student’s overall academic record is by far the most important of the credentials Bowdoin evaluates.
Although Bowdoin does not require a prescribed high school program or number of courses, the typical entering first-year student will have had four years each of English, foreign language, mathematics, social science and three to four years of laboratory sciences.
Candidates applying to Bowdoin are evaluated individually, and admissions officers pay special attention to:

  • Academic (grade) success
  • Level of course challenge
  • Counselor and teacher recommendations
  • Writing samples
  • Overall academic potential
  • School and community involvement
  • Character and personality

The application process for international students is the same as for domestic, first-year applicants, but with a few exceptions:

  • Students whose first language is not English must submit official results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), from IELTS, or from Duolingo English Test (DET) by the application deadlines. Applicants should score a minimum of 100 on the TOEFL or a minimum of 7 on the IELTS or a minimum of 75 on the DET to be competitive for admission.
  • TOEFL or IELTS or DET requirement will be waived for applicants who have been taught exclusively in English for four years of high school or secondary school.
  • TOEFL or IELTS or DET requirement is not waived based on an SAT Critical Reading score, SAT Subject Test result or AP Exam result.
  • An official transcript of academic work in the language in which it was prepared and a certified translation into English of the transcript is required by Bowdoin.
  • Students from countries with national university entrance exams (such as WASSCE, EGSE, KCSE, CAPE, IGCSE, ISC, SLC) are required to submit official results. Applicants in an A-Level curriculum must submit O-Level/IGCSE results and predicted A-Level results. Students in an IB curriculum are expected to submit predicted IB exam results.
  • Bowdoin anticipates that international students will apply for the F1 student visa.

The current application deadline is January 1st, 2019.

Bowdoin College Majors

Bowdoin has a broad array of courses students can major in, making them a near comprehensive educational institution.
A student can major or minor in the areas listed below, as well as in eight interdisciplinary majors:

  • Africana Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Asian Studies
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Classics
  • Computer Science
  • Earth and Oceanographic Science
  • Economics
  • English
  • Francophone Studies
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
  • German
  • Government and Legal Studies
  • Hispanic Studies
  • History
  • Italian Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Performance Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Romance Languages and Literature
  • Russian
  • Sociology
  • Visual Arts

Bowdoin College Tuition
Bowdoin has a pretty high tuition fee, leading to 45% of full-time undergraduates receiving some kind of need-based financial aid.
The average need-based scholarship or grant award is $42,206.  The table below is the fees for the 2018–2019 academic year.
Some of the items listed in the table are with estimated costs.  Students and parents are advised to anticipate an increase in tuition and other charges each year to reflect program changes and other cost increases experienced by the College.

By Semester Academic Year
Tuition $26,709 $53,418
Housing $3,434 $6,868
Board (19-meal plan) $3,915 $7,830
Fees $252 $504
Subtotal $34,310 $68,620
Books (yearly estimate) $420 $840
Personal Expenses (yearly estimate) $625 $1250
Travel Varies  Varies
Total Estimated Expenses $35,355 $70,710

The meal plan varies depending upon board plan selected. The subtotal charges reflect “billed charges” by the College per semester/year; grants/scholarships and any loan resources reduce billed charges.
Travel expenses varies depending on student’s permanent residence.
Other Expenses includes:

  • Health insurance coverage for all students
  • A participation fee of $1,000 per program for 2018-2019 for students wishing to participate in the off-campus study programs for Bowdoin degree credit. This fee is to help students access the Bowdoin need-based student aid for students wishing to study off-campus.

The Bursar’s Office is responsible for the tuition and fees payment. They have various payment plans to help best meet your needs.
Bowdoin College Niche
Niche gave Bowdoin college an “A+” for academics, “A+” for value, “A” for diversity, “A+” for Campus, “B” for Athletics and “B-” for party scenes.
This rounds up to an overall niche grade of “A+” for the College.
On the Niche rankings, which are based on rigorous analysis of key statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and millions of reviews, the College was ranked:

  • Best Small Colleges in America – 1stof 1,002
  • Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America – 1stof 211
  • Best Test Optional Colleges in America – 1stof 137
  • Best College Campuses in America – 2ndof 1,411
  • Best Colleges in America – 9thof 1,644
  • Top Private Universities in America – 9thof 978
  • Colleges with the Best Professors in America – 13thof 1,599
  • Colleges with the Best Student Life in America – 25thof 1,501

On the cost of schooling, Niche estimated a Net tuition Price of $24,888/ year, and a National of $15,523. Due to this high cost, Niche provided a list of Scholarship opportunities (some offered by themselves) which stands as financial aids to the students. The following are some of the available scholarship offerings with their deadline for application and sponsors:

  • $2,000 “No Essay” Scholarship, offered by Niche – Deadline, August 31, 2018
  • $10,000 ScholarshipPoints Scholarship, offered by ScholarshipPoints – Deadline, September 17, 2018
  • $5,000 VIP Voice Scholarship, offered by VIP Voice – Deadline, September 30, 2018
  • Full Tuition Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program, offered by U.S. Department of Defense – Deadline, December 1, 2018

Niche also estimated the following for the college:

  • Median Earnings 6 Years After Graduation – $58,700/ year; National – $33,028
  • Graduation Rate – 94%; National – 49%
  • Employed 2 Years After Graduation – 93%; National – 83%

Some other colleges similar to Bowdoin suggested by Niche are listed below with their location, Niche grading, and duration of course study:

  • Williams College, Williamstown, MA – A+, 4 Year
  • Amherst College, Amherst, MA – A+, 4 Year
  • Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT – A+, 4 Year
  • Colby College, Waterville, ME – A+, 4 Year

Conclusion: We believe we have exhausted all that is to be known about the Bowdoin College, a wise man once said the best time to get a thing done was yesterday. Therefore, go ahead send in your application don’t wait for tomorrow.

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