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I think by and large most people are really happy at Bowdoin. The school is small enough that it caters to the students and ...
I think by and large most people are really happy at Bowdoin. The school is small enough that it caters to the students and there are lots of resources available, yet I still meet new people all the time. Bowdoin is also in a great town, Brunswick.
I would say for the most part Bowdoin is a pretty non-judgemental place, albeit still very liberal and New England. A lot of students tend to adopt the Maine culture as far as dress is concerned. Dress as warmly as you can! Thankfully if you are from a warm place you can cruise down to the LL Bean outlet in Freeport, 20 min away. Although it takes some students longer than others, I would say just about everyone I know has a group of friends or place where they feel they fit in.
I think you can find groups fitting a stereotype at any college, but no one group dominates; there is a niche for everyone
Academics are great, and the school is small enough that it's easy to find out which classes and professors are exceptional and which are to be avoided (these are very few). Bowdoin's small size also makes it easy to get classes and easy to do independent projects. The small class sizes are also a plus and you really get to know your professors. I took an ecology class that included netting and tagging birds in the professor's back yard.
The college brings in a lot of cool speakers and musicians. The outing club is popular and very well funded, great for exploring the amazing wilderness around Bowdoin. Skiing is also close, it's about 2 hours to Sugarloaf or Sunday River.
not being from the northeast I wasn't aware of too many, but I guess outdoorsy or preppy might apply
Bowdoin, like any school, can be what you make of it. It can seem like a small school dominated by New England prep school ki...
Bowdoin, like any school, can be what you make of it. It can seem like a small school dominated by New England prep school kids who like to get drunk, or you can seek out the many people who are not this way. Bowdoin has many material perks - the housing is much better than many comparable schools (especially for freshmen), the food is really great (even for vegetarians like me), and the location gives you both the advantages of cities within reasonable drives as well as being walking distance from cute shops and restaurants of a small town. And yes, the academics, for the most part, are very good, particularly once you get past entry-level classes. I would comment that school spirit and traditions don't seem to be very important here.
Bowdoin's diversity has and is continuing to increase. Economic diversity might be more lacking than racial diversity, however, as Bowdoin students mostly represent the upper echelons of American society in financial terms. I was surprised at the lack of interest in politics - more students seem to be passively liberal without doing much about it, while a small group are much more active. Maybe it's just the culture of college, but lots of kids are pretty lazy/spoiled. There are really only a small number of students who dress and act in ways that challenge the status quo - not many "alternative" kids. For example, there are some who share my tastes for indie rock, but classic rock continues to be most popular.
I would advise a prospective student to be realistic about what college is going to be like. It's not going to be perfect, anywhere, no matter what admissions officers tell you (they're probably exaggerating). However, college can also be amazing. My feelings about Bowdoin are very mixed - if someone asks me how I feel about it, I tell them I really like it (more so sophomore year than freshman year). But I also have a lot of criticisms and things I would like to see improve. I'm not sure if there was a better college for me out there or not. I do know that I've had some wonderful experiences at Bowdoin so far, and I look forward to many more, especially going abroad to China next spring.
I myself, being from the Midwest, had not encountered the New England prep school culture before, and therefore many Bowdoin students seemed at times preppy, rich, and elitist to me. However, though there are more of these types of students than I would prefer, this is also not the rule - Bowdoin's ethnic and economic diversity have been increasing, and there are students from many different backgrounds.
Classes vary at Bowdoin, like any other college, and range from easy lecture classes with 50 people looking for an easy A, or in-depth seminars with a group of intelligent, enthusiastic students. In general, I was disappointed by what I saw as a lack of intellectual curiosity on campus, and I think this still needs to be improved, but I have also had many really great classes and professors, especially as I have gotten beyond freshman year. Professors will be very helpful for the most part if you seek them out, and I think the close interaction between students and professors is one of Bowdoin's strengths. I am in the Environmental Studies and History departments, and have been happy with them so far. Bowdoin's environmental studies program is large and very good, but it also requires you to complete another major in addition, which has been a pain for me. The workload will definitely be heavy, although you can get by without doing that much if you really want to.
Social life at Bowdoin has been at times disappointing to me - we have "social houses", which are better than the Greek system, but are relatively infrequently used for activities other than heavy drinking of cheap beer most nights of the weekend. There are other things to do, but you have to try a little harder to find them. There is a significant chem-free sector, but they are often separated from the rest of the students. In terms of dating, it can be difficult to find a middle ground between one-night hookups and long-term, serious relationships. Bowdoin students go to a variety of events - while hockey and basketball games are some of the most popular events, theater, speakers, etc. can also attract large crowds. Students are supportive of a wide variety of things. I am on the rugby team and in the Outing Club, and both have provided me with by best experiences while at Bowdoin. Our Outing Club is one of the very best in the nation, and the Leadership Training program is a particular asset. The rugby team has given me my roommates/closest friends, and is a unique and diverse group of amazing women.
Stereotypes might be that Bowdoin students are preppy/rich, but the same goes for most New England liberal arts schools.
For me the best thing about Bowdoin is the lifestyle it provides. The academic life is tough, but not impossible, and extreme...
For me the best thing about Bowdoin is the lifestyle it provides. The academic life is tough, but not impossible, and extremely interesting. The athletics are fantastic, with great facilities, and competitive teams. The social life is all that i wanted.
The student body is mostly composed of upper-middle class kids from the northeast, but with a growing population of kids from the south and west. There is significant diversity on the campus, and different groups mingle together and there is very little in the terms of cliques.
Bowdoin is significantly better than Bates and Colby.
Not for the majority of the student body.
Every single of my professors knows my name, and I feel that i can approach them about problems or questions I have very freely. Bowdoin is competitive, but not so much so that it is a drain on the quality of life.
The athletics are a huge part of the social scene, whether it is people attending games, or athletes throwing parties. If you are involved in a sport you will always have a social outlet to go to. Ivies is the traditional huge party weekend, but as a member of the Track team, i will never get to experience the festivities.
That we are granola liberals with very little interest in showering.
Bowdoin is a perfect fit for me. The social scene is great on the weekends, but for the most part exists only on the weekends...
Bowdoin is a perfect fit for me. The social scene is great on the weekends, but for the most part exists only on the weekends as people work very hard during the week. Those in the know are impressed that I go to Bowdoin, but many people outside of New England haven't heard of it. Brunswick is the perfect little town. It has almost everything you would need (coffee shops, sandwich shops, video stores, A TON of really good restaurants), the surrounding areas have big chain stores such as Target, and if you can't find it here you can get it in Portland. The most frequent complaints come from the College House system, which seems good on the surface but is fundamentally flawed. Some parties there are good, some are awful, but there are always fun things to de elsewhere.
While Bowdoin is predominantly white and wealthy, I don't think anyone would feel out of place. Everyone is accepted for who they are, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive. While the LGBT and racial minority communities are quite small, there is not need to stick with those groups because you feel you don't belong anywhere else.
The social student who likes to work hard and play decently hard will thrive here. It can feel like a camp sometimes (usually in a good way), but you can escape that feeling quite easily on weekend adventures.
For the most part they are accurate.
Professors here know your name. Many classes are discussions around a table. People study a lot, and have many intellectual (but not pretentious) discussions outside of class. However, people here are not competitive at all. Some majors are better than others. Academics are what you make of them. If you are close with professors and listen to upperclassmen about which classes to take, you will be fine. Otherwise things could be negative.
Sports teams are huge here, many people play, but it's division 3 so no one takes themselves too seriously. A cappella is also huge here, as there are 6 groups on a campus of 1700 people. People leave their doors open, and many of your closest friends will be people from your dorm. The dating scene is almost nonexistant. It is more of a hookup scene. Actual couples are scarce, but hookups are not. Ivies happens every spring, and it is the greatest thing ever created. Musical groups come, and it's a huge party for several days. People party on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at most, but almost everyone goes out at least one night a week. Off campus: the surrounding towns are very cool to explore, and Portland is a great resource. Maine is also beautiful and a great place for outdoor adventures.
No one dresses up, we only wear North Faces. Everyone is secretly a nerd, but is not socially awkward.
When people hear Bowdoin they have one of two reactions; they either know it or they don't. People who know it say "Oh wow t...
When people hear Bowdoin they have one of two reactions; they either know it or they don't. People who know it say "Oh wow that's a great school!" I have occasionally heard it being described as "all the best parts of Harvard, but smaller." Then there are the people who don't know it, and they generally say "Bow-doin?" (pronouncing it wrong) "Oh where is that?" And when you reply that it's in Maine they say "Oh, it's cold there!" Bowdoin is very small. Everybody hears everything very quickly, and everyone knows everyone (for better or worse).
Typically the complaint about Bowdoin's student body is that it is not very diverse. This is not exactly true. When freshmen first get here they are fairly diverse - people look different. But as time wears on everyone starts wearing their sweats to class; everyone buys the same North Face fleece or J. Crew polo or L.L. Bean boots. Bowdoin has you basic groups of people: the jocks, the girls that follow the jocks around, gov. majors, art majors, etc. But there is a lot of overlap since all Bowdoin kids are uber-involved. There is a big difference in the different sports teams, as well - you can tell who the ski kids are, or the crew kids, or the hockey boys, the softball girls, and so on. And so many kids play sports.
Classes are small which can be a good or bad thing. It's great because teachers know your name; it's bad because they know when you're not in class. Most students genuinely want to do well, and therefore work hard. There's not a lot of competition between students, but people put a lot of pressure on themselves to do well. Students know how to work hard and know how to play hard.
Everyone is involved in something. You're not a Bowdoin student if you're not. Lots of students do sports, but there are plenty of other activities to be involved in. Tuesday nights the 21 year old students go to the local bar, but other than that weeknights are pretty tame. Thursday is definitely a weekend night - people definitely go out. Social house parties dominate the underclassmen scene. Other than that, most events are small and in people's rooms.
Ugly girls, preppy, everyone is from "just outside of Boston," half of the students are gov. majors
I wanted to go to a small school and Bowdoin seems to be the perfect size - at this point. I'm worried that by the end of Sen...
I wanted to go to a small school and Bowdoin seems to be the perfect size - at this point. I'm worried that by the end of Senior year I'll be itching to get out of here and meet new people, but as of now, its so nice to be on a welcoming campus and see my friends mulitple times everyday on the pathways or dining hall.
There is a real mix of students here. From Vineyard Vines to flannel and Carhardt, we've got it all. I guess what I'm most impressed with is how well everyone meshes together. There are certainly groups of friends, but everyone is just so friendly. Upperclassmen are really welcoming to underclassmen - that's the nature of the social house system.
There is no school spirit. As much as our mascot, the Polar Bear, is plastered all over campus, no one really seems to care.
Academics at Bowdoin are what you make of them and who the professor is. There are some really wonderful, inspirational teachers here, but there are - of course - classes that have been a little blah. This goes for seminar classes and larger ones, too. I have nothing but good things to say about the German department, every professor knows my name, even though I haven't taken classes with all of them yet. Thats just the nature of Bowdoin I guess, everybody knows everybody.
There seems to be a lot offered in terms of social life, but the reality is, most weekends are the same. Either big campus-wide parties or parties at Brunswick apartments, etc., or private mid-night dance parties in your own room. It's pretty much the same scene at any other college it seems. The real benefit is how close we are to the ocean and other beautiful places in Maine - there is so much to do here. Bikerides, walks and midnight trekks to the water have been my favorite memories here so far.
Athletic, outdoorsy, friendly, pinetrees.
I love the friendliness of the student body. It would be an overstatement to say that everyone is nice, but compared to the o...
I love the friendliness of the student body. It would be an overstatement to say that everyone is nice, but compared to the other campuses I've been on, almost everyone IS nice. It's really great. I like how people are healthy and eat well and are active without being too obsessed about it. I love the town; I love how there is such a diversity of restaurants in a small town in Maine. Also the stores are cute and practical. The faculty is impressive and warm. They are approachable, like the students. I think the biggest controversy was over C/D/F. In my opinion, I'm glad that I was able to use the "credit" option for my math class but I can also understand why it encourages students to slack off, and how in that sense it is a bad thing. There is an average amount of school pride, which I think is normal of most campuses. The campus itself is beautiful. I have had too many great experiences so far to remember just one.
As said before, most people are very friendly and may appear to be similar but are in fact not. It is true that a lot of people come from the same area/tax bracket, but that doesn't mean that they are not individuals. This year I have a much more diverse group of friends than last year, which has contributed to my feeling that the student body is not homogenous. People dress casually but not sloppily (in general) when going to class, which is nice. I'm glad everyone doesn't wear their pajamas because that would be disrespectful. At the same time I'm glad that people don't stress too much about what they wear/try to dress up too much. I think people are predominantly left of the center, politics-wise. But it is not a very politically active campus - which is fine with me.
Bowdoin is great!
Somewhat. There are definitely those people here, but it's not like that that is all that defines them. It may appear to be a homogenous group at first glance, but people are unique and interesting under the surface (as is often the case)
There are great relationships here with professors - they are attentive without being overbearing; friendly without being too intrusive. I really appreciate the wealth of knowledge they seem to have. I am impressed almost every day by it. Students are competitive in a healthy way - that is, I don't know a lot of cutthroat people, but people definitely work hard and want to do well. The Classics department is pretty small but they are very flexible in terms of counting classes toward the major that aren't in the department. I don't particularly like the requirements, but I can see that as a liberal arts college, Bowdoin needs to have them. That said, I did not get anything out of my math class or enjoy it, but I had to take it because it was required. But i understand the point of them.
Clubs and extracurriculars are really varied and I think most of them are exciting and cool. I've tried crew, Taiko drumming, organic gardening, and volunteering at a homeless shelter since being here. All of these different clubs/groups were extremely easy to join (and easy to leave if I found that I wasn't crazy about them). Freshman year, everyone left their door open which was awesome. Nobody does this year in Chamberlain, but I guess that's ok. I don't think people over-party or anything but I think they do it regularly over the weekends which is fun. It's nice to de-stress and not be working all the time, and I'm glad people aren't overly academic. The parties aren't insane but they're fun. There are movies and restaurants to go to off campus if you're not interested in partying also.
That they are all upper-middle class white kids from near Boston who wear LL Bean...
I love that Bowdoin is small enough that it's not overwhelming and there are plenty of people I still don't know, but at the ...
I love that Bowdoin is small enough that it's not overwhelming and there are plenty of people I still don't know, but at the same time it seems much much bigger than the HS I graduated from. A lot of people I talk to have never heard of Bowdoin and/or don't know where it is, which I find strange. However, I have found that most of the people I know on campus are extremely smart and driven, and yet have a host of other interest such as sports, other outdoor activities, dance, you name it.
Students at Bowdoin come from all sorts of backgrounds, be it race, religion, etc. I think most people could be happy at Bowdoin, but students with a love of the outdoors would be particularly well suited to Bowdoin. That said, I know plenty of people who would rather die than go on a day hike.
Relative to the former, this is sometimes true, are not in many many cases. As for the latter, I would say that there are many Bowdoin students who turned down Ivy League schools to come here, while others find Bowdoin very challenging
I know all my professors and talk to them frequently outside of class. I even feel comfortable having lunch or dinner with them and talking about non-academic subjects. Bowdoin students do study a lot, but most make time for other activities that they enjoy, as well as social activities on the weekends. It's not uncommon to overhear/participate in intellectual conversations outside of class, especially politics and international news headlines. There is certainly a competitive side of Bowdoin, but in my opinion it is more of a personal drive than a desire to out-do other students. As a liberal arts college, students are encouraged to take a wide variety of classes outside of major requirements and career based subjects. At the same time, the Career Planning Center is an incredible resource for students who know what they want to do.
I met my closets friends freshman year, with a few exceptions. I am still building close friendships with people I met this year. I've met a lot of people through the outting club, which is very popular. Our men's hockey team and our field hockey team are both very popular and competitive. During the week most people are studying until they go to bed, but on Fridays/weekends, students go to parties at the social houses and other places such as the pub. There are also a lot of trips on weekends, either planned by the outting club or by small groups of students.
A lot of people assume kids from Bowdoin are (overall) preppy and from wealthy families. Also, some people think that Bowdoin students are relatively smart, but not smart enough to get into Ivy League schools
Bowdoin is full of really nice, friendly people. Admittedly, there are a few people that don't fulfill this generalization, b...
Bowdoin is full of really nice, friendly people. Admittedly, there are a few people that don't fulfill this generalization, but that's true everywhere and often with far more exceptions. As it is, almost anyone you talk to will help you out if they can and are generally open and fun. Most everyone is intelligent and multi-talented: able to take hard classes, play a couple sports, and then go sing a concert for an extreme example. Sometimes the classes can get a little intense, but people are still able to cool off and make it through. It's rather ironic to me that despite all the skills and rankings that place Bowdoin so high (especially for the food!!), most people I know from home/elsewhere have never heard of the school.
I've met people on campus from all over, and with a certain variety in religion and socio-economic background. Admittedly, while the overall trend is towards richer people either from the northeast or the west coast, there is still some definite variation. However, most students are fairly open, so there is almost always a place for anyone to fit in at Bowdoin. Students are aware of politics and often quite active, but don't seem to be especially to one side. There are students to both the right, left, center, and libertarian on campus.
As far as I know, most everyone DOES do sports on campus, if only pickup and IM games like me.
The classes are, depending on the subject and class level, medium to small in size. The largest class I've ever had is an intro science class of about 40 students, and the smallest was about 10 students in an upper level french class. In either case the teachers know you, are easy to contact and talk to, and are usually fairly understanding and really helpful. The teachers are usually trying to engage the class and get them to understand and participate. In a couple of my classes I've actually had an assignment where I led class discussion for 30 minutes on a passage and subject from the book we were reading, and that was not only a lot of fun, but helped me understand just how hard a teacher's job can be. Classes can be hard, but if you study and try you can usually make it through just fine. In general, they challenge you to think more and better about new ideas, and to really understand the concepts and processes. I often get a variety of class types, since I'm doing a French/Biology double major, but both types are always interesting, and help me understand just how things work.
Hockey is one of the bigger sports on campus to watch, especially the game with our rivals at Colby college. Other sports can be just as big, it really depends on how well they're doing in the season. In the dorms, most students leave their doors cracked, so if you need anything you can open it or knock to say hi. During the week, most everyone is busy with work of some kind, though many are able to chill and relax a little. On the weekends almost everyone goes out to party, often with a couple destinations each night; though if someone wants to take it easy, that's fine too. Some people just chill, play board games, dance, or whatever on a weekend night. But one attraction for everyone, whether or not they plan on partying, is Super Snacks. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights one of the dining halls opens from 10-1am (though you can stay after the doors have closed), and let you get chips, grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots, and other snacks. Whether you're hungry or just want to chill, it's a great place to go.
I don't know of many stereotypes about Bowdoin, really. The only one that I am aware of is that everyone does sports and school, and extracurriculars.
So many times people ask where I go to school, and I say "Bowdoin"; they reply, "Where?" But to everyone who goes here, Bowd...
So many times people ask where I go to school, and I say "Bowdoin"; they reply, "Where?" But to everyone who goes here, Bowdoin is the center of the universe. We have a community that could not be fostered as well at any larger school. Bowdoin is in the middle of a small town, some people might say in the middle of nowhere - I say it's perfect. It's only 20 minutes from Freeport, 30 minutes from Portland, 2 hours from Boston and less than 10 minutes away from the ocean.
Bowdoin is a very white-bread community but is making all efforts to diversify - there is absolutely more diversity than there was even a couple years ago. No student should feel out of place at Bowdoin if they make the effort - As long as you're willing to put yourself out there, and be active socially, you'll have a great time.
If I had to do it again, I'd choose Bowdoin in a heartbeat. I've loved my experience here more than words can describe and part of me even wishes I could stay here longer than my four years.
This one absolutely is - but Bowdoin is actually much more laid back than this implies. Students may dress expensively, but when it comes down to it, many of us are just as comfortable in Bean boots and sweats.
Not gonna lie - classes are difficult. But as a trade-off, these are absolutely the best classes I've ever taken. The subject matter is intellectually stimulating, and most of the professors are absolutely wonderful, both in and out of class. Every professor learns your name, whether it is a class of 5 or a class of 50 (which is as big as they ever get, and is mostly for intro classes). Bowdoin's course offerings really encourage academic exploration of all sorts and I find myself building an extremely strong foundation for whatever it is I decide to do in life.
Bowdoin students LIVE for the annual Bowdoin/Colby hockey game. Watson Arena completely fills up with students outfitted head-to-toe in black; school spirit runs rampant. The cheer heard most often at this hockey game? "Mules are sterile!!" I've met my closest friends through the crew team and ResLife staff. Knowing that people share your interests so closely - 1. Bowdoin chose them and they chose Bowdoin and 2. They're a part of these somewhat self-selecting groups - means a lot. The people in each group are diverse in age and interests, both academic and extracurricular. The thing I love most about both the crew team and ResLife is that with these groups of people, I feel at-home. They're my family at Bowdoin. We have common hour every Friday at 12:30 - Guest speakers come and speak on issues of their choice - the speakers range from Bowdoin professors to activists (like Eve Ensler) or US ambassadors. The variety is really stunning. Usually, these talks gather quite a crowd. In terms of going off campus, having a car is never a bad thing - it makes shopping easy at places like Target, or anywhere in Freeport. But having a bike is great for riding out one of the nearby points to the ocean or anywhere else close by. There is also a bus that goes straight to Portland and Boston from campus, so transportation out of Brunswick is pretty easy.
There's definitely a sort of New England stereotype that accompanies Bowdoin - preppy, upper-middle class, white collar students, wearing J.Crew (thank you Freeport) and other brand names.
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