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Bowdoin is great. It's a smallerish college so you really do get to know the professors and deans and lunch ladies. You may n...
Bowdoin is great. It's a smallerish college so you really do get to know the professors and deans and lunch ladies. You may not know them your freshman year, but definitely beginning your sophomore year you really start to get to know everyone, and this sense of community is a great feeling. In my home town, few people have heard of Bowdoin. But it is fun when you run into someone who has heard of it, because generally they declare that it's a great school. On campus, a lot of people hang out in the Union (Smith Union) since the cafe, the pub, the mail center, and the gym are all located there. A number of comfortable chairs and couches are set up around the Union so it's a nice place to study when you don't want complete quiet. Otherwise, the libraries generally have a number of people in them, and if you live in a social house or dorm, a lot of times people hang out in the common spaces there as well to do work etc. Definitely, the greatest show of school pride is during the Bowdoin-Colby ice hockey games, which are always packed with yelling fans. The cheers between our two schools are the best part and definitely make the game.
A number of students wear sweats or jeans to class. The dress can be pretty laid back though some do look a bit nicer from day to day. Many times, students hang out with sports teams, and joining a sport team, even a club team, is a great way to have another outlet other than those with whom you live. Most students are "JOBs" - from Just Outside Boston, but in general Massachusettes and Connecticut and Maine. Though there are definitely sizable populations from Florida and California, which is interesting. On average, most students are of middle class. Obviously there are both upper class and lower class students as well. Bowdoin is definitely mostly liberal, but the conservative voice does not go unheard and has its own following of dedicated students. Students are fairly politically aware, especially the government majors, and since a large proportion of the student body studies government, this means a large porportion is quite informed.
In general, much of the student body is quite athletic. Recently, however, Bowdoin has been striving to admit more diverse classes, and this includes a greater number of those who may not be interested in sports. Bowdoin is also not overwhelmingly preppy - there is a good mix of different styles and personalities on campus. This diversity also extends into the wealth of the student body. Especially with Bowdoin's new no-loan policy, a number of students come with full grants, and a rather large portion of the student body attends the college with the help of financial aid.
I have never been in a class where the professor has not known my name, and that includes my gigantic organic chemistry class as well (which, though I considered it gigantic was really only maybe 50-60 people max). Students study an average amount. There are definitely a number of students who are incredibly smart and are rarely seen doing work but get great grades. There are also those who lock themselves in the library for hours. Most people do work all day long all week long, Monday through Thursday, but dinners during the week are usually long and generally people hang out at night before everyone goes to bed. Students are not overly competitive, at least not against each other. Almost every student I have encountered is willing to explain a concept or help a classmate out, even if technically within the class, the students are competing against eachother for the higher grade. This is a great environment for learning because the only competition that people feel is generally with themselves, trying to improve their own grades, and not comparing themselves to anyone else's acheivements. As a chemistry major, since the department is tiny, there is a lot of contact between students and faculty, and you really get to know everyone in the department. The classes are challenging but the professors are great and very helpful. It is definitely possible to start helping a professor out in his/her lab even as a freshman, simply by asking. The chemistry department as really tried to increase their contact with the students by holding weekly lunches at Thorne dining hall, so that students and faculty have a chance to see eachother in a non-classroom setting. The requirements at Bowdoin are not bad, and most are fulfilled without even realizing it, especially as a freshman when students typically explore a little by taking classes outside one particular field.
The Bowdoin Outing Club is hugely popular and most people go on at least a few outing club trips before the graduate. At the very least, most have gone on a Pre-Orientation trip, which can be biking, kayaking, or hiking, for instance, and these are great ways to meet new people. Sports teams often hang out together on campus. I joined the club ultimate frisbee team at Bowdoin as a freshman and it's been a great way to be part of a team and be active while not having all the commitments of a varsity athlete. Especially in freshman dorms and social houses, most people leave their doors bricked so that friends/neighbors can stop by and say hello. My closest friends are definitely my two roommates, with whom, in fact, I have been roommates with since freshman year. Many people's friend groups at the beginning of freshman year are people on their floor or in their freshman dorm. As time goes on, many still remain friends, but also more time is often spent with sports teams or simply other people they've met through classes or elsewhere. Most people party Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. However, Thursdays and Saturdays are typically the more popular nights, and it's not uncommon for people only go out once or twice in a weekend, choosing to stay low key or perhaps do some work on one of the other nights. If you're taking science or intro language classes, you'll often have Friday classes, but that usually doesn't stop those people from hanging out with friends on a Thursday night - everyone just tries to get their work done early to do so!
Bowdoin students are typically considered athletic, preppy, and perhaps somewhat financially well off.
the people in the bowdoin community are its richest asset. from the friendly students, to the generous faculty and staff, eve...
the people in the bowdoin community are its richest asset. from the friendly students, to the generous faculty and staff, everyone is worth getting to know. "the bowdoin hello" is what first struck me about bowdoin-- people are friendly and enthused to be here. the open, relatively communal approach is important in a challenging higher education environment. the friendliness extends to the town of brunswick as well. the bowdoin, brunswick relationship is another one of the critical assets of bowdoin. whether you go in to get coffee, live in the neighborhoods, work with the townspeople, the experience is always well worth it. although the winters are long, brunswick is not in the middle of nowhere. quite contrary-- it is 30 minutes north of Portland, a very hip and eclectic port town, and 2hours north of boston. both of which have a plethora of sweet concerts and delicious eateries. to enjoy the long winter, skiing at sugarloaf and sunday river are less than 2hours away and the outing club provides weekly trips: snow shoeing, xcountry skiing, and mountaineering.
experience-wise there is a remarkable amount of diversity-- but you have to seek it out, because on the surface, it's a lot of white wealthy straight kids. but! BQSA (queer straight alliance) is a wonderful group on campus that works hard to make it an LGBTQ friendly community. the student body is incredibly active and over achievers! in extracurriculars along with academics.
professors are wonderful. don't limit yourself--take a hodgepodge of classes and when you connect with a professor, get to know her/him! you'll find your passions in the most unexpected places at bowdoin. professors are truly dedicated to the students, so take advantage of it! (find the art department and gender studies department) the atmosphere is not competitive between students at bowdoin. students seem to be more competitive with themselves (remember, learning is a privelege and fun- even when you're swamped, try to gain perspective!) while it may not happen until junior year, it is true-- professors have you over for dinner to their houses. i've been at least five times. there's nothing better than escaping campus for an evening to have a homecooked meal and experience the family side of the professor you've come to know so well, intellectually.
the social scene is on campus. revolves largely around social houses (co-ed houses that sophomores and juniors live in). if the campus scene (lots of partying) is not for you, finding a concert or movie in town is alway enjoyable. dorms are very communal and friendly places (for the most part). proctors in first year dorms provide a great service and doors are usually open!
The best thing about Bowdoin is that you can make friends with people you normally would not interact with. I would change cl...
The best thing about Bowdoin is that you can make friends with people you normally would not interact with. I would change class size. Bowdoin is not a big school, but there are still many classes that have more than 30 students in them. I would like for Bowdoin to hire more professors of color, especially in areas that you would not find these professors. When I tell people back home, I get one of two responses. The first is, where the heck is that, or Wow, you go to Bowdoin. There is nothing in between. One problem I have with Bowdoin is the way they deal with issues of race. I feel that Bowdoin places issue of gender and sexuality on a pedestal, but when there are black/white issues, they are swept inder the rug. School pride...it's getting there. Men's Hockey games and Women's basketball games are well attended. The cheerleading squad is made up mostly of students of color. Ivies Weekend is the best Weekend at Bowdoin. Experience Weekend is fun too, only when you are a freshman and sophomore, not after that.
I involved in two cultural groups. Both of these groups are stigmatized, but I tink it is true of all cultural groups on campus. Many Bowdoin students feel that if they are not Latino, or not Black they can't be in LASO or the Af-Am. That's ridiculous, but what can we do. It is hard to reach out to students who do not want to be bothered. Fashion does not exist at Bowdoin. The females dress more than the males. Regular attire for men are a pair of sweats and a t-shirt either with a pair of flip flops or dirty sneakers. At Bowdoin we have the preppy students who rock their popped collars, the jocks with the sweats, and everyone else. Many students are from Massachusetts. Another popular state is New York. Most students are middle-class or upper middle-class. Bowdoin is a bubble and I often find myself not knowing what is going on outside of school. But if you want to be informed, you will be.
Nothing left to say. This survey was long, but Bowdoin is a great place to be. It can be extremely whack at times and other times I cannot wish to be anywhere else.
I would say yes.
Academics here at Bowdoin are great. I feel that Bowdoin is a very academic driven school. Your whole life surrounds around academics. When I watch TV, I always feel guilty, because I know that I can be finishing that paper or reading a chapter of Marx or Foucault. My least favorite class was Computer Science 101 and Bio 76. I felt that Comp Sci was taught as if it were higher than an introductory course. Bio 76 is sooooo boring. Students study at Bowdoin all the time. There are even some losers who are in the library on the weekend when the sun is out...I've been one of them in the past. Class participation is usually common. There are always those times when the professor asks a question and no one responds. But in smaller classes, there is always discussion. The most unique class I took was Visual Arts 165. No reading!! But we had a different project due every week. The professors here are usually good. I have developed good relationships with some professors, while others I did not like them at all. One professor was ignorant to such a common fact. One professor I had was too outspoken.
The Af-Am is one of the most popular cultural groups, they have some clout on campus. ASA is popular when the spring semester rolls around and they give away free food and have their annual fashion show. Bowoin theater is very popular, and the Winter and Spring dance shows are always packed. One of the most popular groups on campus is Improvabilities. Their shows are always overcrowded!! No frats or sororities. There are usually parties on the weekends in the social houses, but sometimes there are weekends when there is absolutely nothing to do but your homework. Ivies Weekend is the biggest drinking weekend at the school. Drinking is involved in a lot of activities on the weekend, but if you do not want to involve yourself with that activity, you can catch a movie-most likely in someone's dorm room, grab a bite to eat, but not after 10, because everything is closed, or play spades 'till five in the morning.
Bowdoin is surrounded by a drinking culture. Most of the students play a sport.
Best things about Bowdoin: the PEOPLE (a-grade human beings very smart and very fun), the PROFESSORS (inspiring, caring, pers...
Best things about Bowdoin: the PEOPLE (a-grade human beings very smart and very fun), the PROFESSORS (inspiring, caring, personable, incredibly intelligent), FOOD!!!! (see NYtimes article), Parties (DJ pub nights, social house parties, Crackhouse, Joshuas, fun people), CAMPUS (gorgeous gorgeous accessible campus), NO frats or sororities, Great clubs and events on campus constantly, IVIES. Things I would change: BSG very dominated by the same groups of people, Housing shortage although housing is great overall, cold weather in maine. Bowdoin is a small school but coming from a large public school i found it perfect and i never feel too sheltered or trapped. People's reaction to Bowdoin: "Bowdoin... WHAT!?! a community college in Maine?" or "Wow, YOU GO TO BOWDOIN!?!" Time spent on campus: Classes, Homework, Studying, Partying, Socializing, Eating, going to Club meetings and campuswide events Colelge town: Brunswick Maine, Gem of Maine. Great stores and restaurants easily accessible. Ie. Big Top - best sandwiches, Scarlet Begonias - delicious pizza and pasta BYOB, Joushuas - fun bar and great lobster rolls, Sea Dogs Brewery (great lobster and beer) also half an hour away from Portland (city in the USA with most restaurants per capita) Bowdoin Administration: Unseen but everything runs incredibly smoothly Controvery on Campus: The possibility of getting rid of Credit/D/Fail. Overridden due to student protests School Pride: Come to any Sporting event ESPECIALLY Hockey and Lacrosses and will find devoted rowdy fans
Very open-minded student body with all races and religions, LGBT parties being represented in open-discussions sponsered by clubs on campus. Money offered to these clubs never runs short and administration openly supports and encourages this type of activity. Students normally wear either preppy, in jeans+sweatshirts or just plain clothes to class, of course there are also the students who get decked out but heels or dress shirts are a big no-no on campus or get you noticed when going to class. Different students interact through extracurricular activities and that often forms friendships outside of those you normally are friends with. Classes are also a great place to meet people espeically in smaller classes. Four tables in dining hall: One is sports team, One is always the same group of upperclassmen girls, One is a freshman dorm, and the other is a mix of students. Financial background: Bowdoin got rid of pay-backs for financial aid, many students receieve financial aid but no one really knows about it Students are very politcally aware and even more active. Students have very strong views on a myriad of politcal issues. Predominantly Left. Students never talk about money matters, just there to enjoy education and company.
Bowdoin rocks, but you need to be more than academically accomplished to get in
There is a certain preppy-ness due to the amount of kids from prep-schools but they are hardly ever snobby or flaunt their backgrounds. Bowdoin happens to be in Maine where there is amazing outdoor activity being offered. Before coming to Bowdoin I was not an "outdoors" person but i found myself trying new things and joining the BOC. P.s. the BOC is a GEM on campus. Also a diverse amount of students from all around the world are found in the Bowdoin student body I find myself constantly meeting new types interesting characters on campus. Girls at Bowdoin are surprisingly very good-looking, and not only that very smart, witty and opinionated, not going to find a typical housewife type of gal at Bowdoin! Guys are all-around decent looking but you tend to find girls dominating campus activities/clubs when guys stick to sprots and intramurals.
Professors know your name and are very open to getting to know YOU outside of class and helping you with assignments. Students study alot and library is never empty. Class participation is very common, hardly ever an awkward silence. Bowdoin students have intellectual passions and often follow them outside of campus taking on multiple independent studies and pursuits. Students are not competative with each other but with themselves. Most unique class on Film Noir a freshman seminar also an class entitled Art & Life where a small group of students single-handedly curated an entire exhibition in the Bowdoin Museum. Art history department very popular and very accessible. Challenging and interesting, always reinventing new classes. Pyschology department one of the hardest on campu along with natural sciences. Great professors, respected in their field and always challenge students. Professors are always open to officehours and hours outside of that. Want to help you in life, will willingly write recommendations and encourage you. Bowdoin is very academically challenging and demanding, must put in effort to get good grades. Education is not geared toward getting jobs, no Business or Marketing offered.
Stereotyped as being either preppy or granola-y. No matter what kind of labels students are written under, Bowdoin kids are some of the smartest, driven and well-rounded people you will ever meet. Bowdoin girls are suppose to be "ugly" and guys are the athletic good looking type.
Most popular groups on campus: Safe Space, Relay for Life, BSG, Campus Activity Board, Dance groups: Vague, Obvious, Arabesque. Most popular teams: Lacrosse, Soccer, ICE HOCKEY, FIELD HOCKEY (national champs!!!!) Safe Space is a sexual assault advocacy group, has greatly increased its membership numbers and is closely associated with a new Men's group Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Assault and V-Day which puts on Vagina Monologues every year. Athletic events are huge on campus for such a small student body. Guest speakers are every month at Common Hour where famous world leaders/influential people are invited to speak on friday. Students in dorms do not fear for safety or theft. Dating scene: once you date, you tend to never break up. Very hard to break up in such a small campus. Tradition: IVIES every last weekend of May, Bowdoin students celebrate rejecting the Ivy League when receiving an invitation to join by excessive merry-making, debauchery on campus. Also always a huge concert that week by bands such as OK GO, Talib Kwelli, GirlTalk etc. Closest friends met freshman year in freshmen dorms but also sophomore year in social houses and then through other friends. 2AM tuesday either studying or at Joshuas Bar in Brunswick if you are an upperclassman People love to party [period] No frats or sororities, students very proud of that.
Bowdoin is a tight knit community with nurturing teachers. The physical lay out of the campus facilitates the unified, commun...
Bowdoin is a tight knit community with nurturing teachers. The physical lay out of the campus facilitates the unified, community feeling of the student and faculty. The academics are challenging and the professors are supportive and champion their students; it is not easy to "fall through the cracks" here. College town is great--doesn't feel like the middle of nowhere. Portland is near by and so is Boston. The best thing about Bowdoin to me is how tight the students get; everyone knows everyone, and while that can seem annoying sometimes, at the end of the day it's awesome. As a junior, I can really see how my class has come together. While there are different groups of best friends, it is not exclusive and "cliquey." We all have fun together and come together to have fun.
As someone who falls into the "preppy kid" stereotype I will say that I feel like I do fit in at Bowdoin. However, that does nto mean that I only interact with other prep school kids! On the contrary, I think that all different kinds of students interact here--and that's why it's so fun--you get to do things other people are interested in and learn so much from others. Students are definitely politically aware and we do have "intellectual" discussions outside of class. Most kids are probably middle class to upper middle class and on some kind of financial aid. Most students are from the east coast. There are definitely a ton of athletes here, but what is great about Bowdoin is that the "jocks" and non-athletes totally interact and are friends. It's not like there is a "cool, popular" group of jocks versus the other kids. That's what I really appreciate--people here are so willing to make friends. The students here are all about real fun--it's not just about getting hammered all the time or doing drugs for fun. People here are spontaneous--truly fun. We go sledding, skiing, do silly things all the time. It's about laughing and having fun even in the most daily, seemingly boring times. Maybe we are just dorks, I don't know, but everyone even seems to find something to laugh really hard about in the library. Kids here really have a great sense of humor and are active, proactive, go getters.
yes, but there are so many different kinds of people here. These stereotypes fit some students but not all. Also, just because there are stereotypes doesn't mean that "preppy" kids are only friends with other preppy kids. Everyone branches out.
Bowdoin is hard and you have to work hard. For the most part I have been extremely happy with the quality of the professors. Bowdoin students are not overtly competetive with each other--it is more like one is competetive with oneself. Everyone is extremely self-motivated and hard working. The professors in my major (Art History) are incredible. My advisor within the major is truly my champion and she inspires and challenges me, all the while being kind and supportive. Professors are always willing to see you outside of class. Education is geared for learning for its own sake, but having a Bowdoin education does open many doors in terms of getting a good job.
preppy, affluent, hippy, patagonia, boarding school kids, outdoorsy, smart, white, athletic, east coast
Dorm life is great, very open, and fun. People leave their doors open and make friends with their neighbors. Athletic events are very popular and there is a lot of school spirit, especially against other Maine colleges. Guest speakers are awesome--often times very revered in their fields. Dating scene kind of sucks--it's so small that it's hard to just casually date because you are probably already friends with the person. Also it makes break ups awkward and difficult because everyone is friends and knows everyone. On a 2am on Tuesday, if I was awake, I would either be working in the library for an exam the next day, sleeping, or chilling and having late night silly fun with my roommates and friends. There are no frats or sororities and this definitely makes the student body more inclusive. Bowdoin is really fun and there are really fun parties here. But it is also ok if you don't want to drink a lot. The people I am friends with all love to party and have fun drinking but also can have fun sober--that's what it's all about here--being able to have fun anytime.
Bowdoin is a great school. The relationships between student and teacher is like nothing I have thought. They want you to d...
Bowdoin is a great school. The relationships between student and teacher is like nothing I have thought. They want you to do well and are willing to help you achieve that goal. It is a small school, which means everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows everything about everybody. The curriculum is difficult and it leaves little time to do everything else, expecially if you have commitments to sports and clubs. The town Bowdoin is in, Brunswick, is a little homey town with local shops, delicious gelato, and a 24 hour walmart (so underrated). The administration here are very helpful when needed. The deans and headmaster encourage friendly visits just to catch up on life. The biggest controversy on campus was freshmen hazing on one of the sports teams. Bowdoin takes this issue very seriously. All the students here have unbelievable pride for Bowdoin that we are all ready to shove down Colby's throats. One thing that I will always remember is my teammates. We have formed unbreakable bonds that make us family. We keep in touch with all the alumni who graduated from our team, and we have many memories that will last a life time.
The student body is not greatly diversed, but it's becoming more so evey year. The genuine Bowdoin student has a polo and jeans on, with really nice j-crew bags (basically the preppy look). While everybody knows everybody, the minorities tend to hang out with each other. There are the Asians, the African Americans, the Intellectuals, and then there's the athletes. Students come from all over the world, but mostly from the New England region. Most students here are financially made and can afford the new fancy coach wallets and the new LL Bean bags. Most students here are liberals.
Academics at Bowdoin are difficult, but the professors do everything they can to make it easier on us. The bonds formed between professors and students are something I've never would have expected. All classes don't call for participation, but teachers do encourage asking questions. Outside of the classes there are "intellectual conversations", and there are also some non-intellectua converstations. The students here are very competitive and take bad grades harsly. I'm a major in the Geology department, and the professors are awesome. I can talk to anyone of them and receive help any time I need it. The great thing about living in Maine is the beautiful landscape. As a geology major, I often make fieldtrips that bring me closer to the beautiful area.
It would be easier to say the least popular groups instead of the most. It is a small school and different clubs and teams spend most of their time together. The sports teams support other teams whenever we can by attending each other's games and cheering them on. The most popular athletic events are field hockey, men's ice hockey, and football. There are new guest speakers every week, but I never go and am not sure who does go. There is no dating scene here. There are many one night stands, but not many couples. The couples that do exsist last for a long time, a lot of them ending with marriage. The big nights to go out are Thursdays and Saturdays. If you're awake late on any other day, you're doing homework. We have a lobster fest at the beginning of every year, where we all get to see everyone we missed over summer and eat very delicous lobsters! Bowdoin doesn't have any sororities, but we do have affilate houses that every freshman dorm is assigned to. There's not too much you can do on a Saturday night, besides drinking, because we aren't located in a large town with lots of options.
preppy, rich, intelligent, high achievers
Great atmosphere, everyone is incredible motivated and works really hard and is passionate about all that they do, but at the...
Great atmosphere, everyone is incredible motivated and works really hard and is passionate about all that they do, but at the same time people are all about hanging out with friends. It is not a cut-throat competitive atmosphere. It's more people work hard and get there stuff done because they care about it, not because they want to show everyone up. Everyone is so supportive of each other and genuinely loves the school and what they do.
not a lot of racial diversity, though that is improving. Not a lot of class diversity either. Athletes definetely have it made here, it is an automatic social in.
Small classes. You develop great relationships with professors. They have you to their house for dinner, they ask you about your sports games. They love Bowdoin as much as the students.
The night scene starts early, people are usually pregaming by 9pm, then out by 11 and things wind down around 1 or 2 am.
Bowdoin's faculty is the most kind staff that I have ever met. From Patt, who swipes my card at the dining hall every morning...
Bowdoin's faculty is the most kind staff that I have ever met. From Patt, who swipes my card at the dining hall every morning, to Randy Nichols, the head of security with celebrity status, to the professors, everyone who works here is exceedingly generous. At the beginning of the year, I was very intimidated to meet with professors. I shouldn't have been. Besides being incredible people who have accomplished and are continuing to do amazing things and research, they are friendly and very willing to help a struggling student. Coming from a public school, I struggled with academics at the beginning. As soon as I sought help from the writing tutors and professors, though, my work improved drastically.
I can see how Bowdoin would appear that way- I'd heard the same stereotypes about Williams and Middlebury. The more you get to know the students, though, the more you realize the deep diversity that Bowdoin contains. There are students from all backgrounds, areas of the globe, types of schools, and with all interests and passions. At first, I was kind of overwhelmed by how amazing everyone was.
There are so many interesting classes and great professors at Bowdoin that I wish that I could take classes for my whole life.
Preppy, outdoorsy kids. Prefrosh have asked me if it's true that Bowdoin's really homogeneous.
Great (really great) food, dedicated professors, small classes, involved students
Great (really great) food, dedicated professors, small classes, involved students
getting more racial diversity all the time; administration seems committed to increasing racial diversity. a high percentage of wealthy suburban kids, but also a large amount of students on high amounts of financial aid. Everyone is from "20 min outside of Boston."
These groups do exist, but they by no means define the student body. Pretty much every social niche is represented.
professors are amazingly dedicated and accessible. classes are challenging. everyone works really hard. lots of studying. small classes and lots of discussion, especially in higher-level courses. students willing to help one another, not competitive with one another. professors have lunch with students, invite classes over for dinner. liberal arts education focuses on learning how to think creatively and present one's thoughts intelligently.
tons of student athletes; options for varsity, club, and intramural sports. as for dating, its primarily hookups or huge serious relationships with no middle ground, although there is a movement to "bring dating back to Bowdoin"
a) preppy lax-playing "bros" b) tree-hugging, mountain-climbing, granola eating hippies
The school is very, very small; after the first few months, you know of know of the majority of people here. This is a comfor...
The school is very, very small; after the first few months, you know of know of the majority of people here. This is a comforting thing in that generally when you walk around campus you'll know the people you see. On the flip side, avoiding people can get extremely tricky - not that people actually change their lifestyles because of it. Bowdoin (and any small college) students just deal with awkwardness a whole lot more often. It's seeing and saying hi to your professor who's also getting lunch at the Cafe, but running into that bad hookup from Saturday night at breakfast on Monday isn't always the greatest way to start your week. If you want any kind of anonymity whatsoever (social or academic), Bowdoin is not the place for you. Another thing they don't tell you is the effect the weather has on the social scene, and not just the weekend parties. People certainly still drink and party during the winter, perhaps more so in order to keep from feeling the cold. What I mean is that by the time November comes around, people run inside to their respective niches and generally don't come out again until spring. If you haven't found your group of friends by then, you might have to sit tight until spring.
People are nice in passing and most are nice for an evening or two of hanging out (obviously friendliness becomes heightened during the weekends, when most of campus is inebriated), but after the pleasantries are exchanged most people tend not to want to make real connections. Obviously there are exceptions, and these exceptions are what you should follow up on, but when the cool kid you meet and have a nice conversation with and who's in your Chem class and who you see at breakfast three times a week doesn't smile at you when you pass, it can feel a little bit weird. The Freshman Chem Free Dorm is a cult but they're all really friendly - they definitely follow the "don't need alcohol to have fun" lifestyle and are a refreshing (but unfortunately decidedly exhausting) subculture on campus. The Chem-Free group tends to become less cohesive as the years pass.
Bowdoin can be very bureaucratic and almost stony when its academic programs or policies are criticized. It is not a diverse place, and thus minorities tend to stick together. It can be a wonderful place for a certain type of person, but if you're not that kind of person you're going to have to try really hard to make the place work for you. They also don't tell you just how much the weather affects you - be prepared for it to get dark at 4 pm and be prepared to feel it psychologically.
Unfortunately, for the most part I have found these stereotypes entirely accurate.
Most professors know your name and do take note of whether or not you come to class, even in classes of 35 or more and even if they don't take attendance. I've found that intellectual discussions outside of class and the library aren't very common; mostly it revolves around talking about your life, how much work you have, or other people. The minimal academic requirements are a definite plus about Bowdoin. As a freshman, make sure you get your 101 classes out of the way but DON'T only take 101's freshman year, especially during your first semester, because you will most likely become very disillusioned with the academic scene, and you don't want that to happen your first semester.
The main stereotypes are the athletes/jocks, the preppies, and the BOC (Bowdoin Outing Club) types. Although there is certainly a lot of overlap between preppies and athletes in terms of style, socioeconomic status, and general disposition, these groups are distinct on the basis of intellectual and daily routine (at least in-season) differences. BOC members are of the more laid-back, casual mentality that some would characterize as "hippie" or "neo-hippie," although in truth the Hampshire or Reed College overlaps are few and far between.
Social life revolves around the in-season teams' game schedules. When teams are off campus for games, it's very noticeable. Weekends are Thursday through Saturday, with a sprinkling of random evenings when you and your friends don't have too much work (although rare is the evening when your no-work evenings overlap with your friends'). Fridays are surprisingly quiet, mostly because athletes are resting up for their Saturday games. For freshman, particulary during the first months when not all of them have 21-year old friends yet, weekends mean college house parties and long keg lines, which get old fast. Most upper classmen steer clear of these parties, unless they're other college house members or it's a particular themed party. The dating scene is a hookup scene. Campus Activities Board and other organizations do a very good job of bringing acts to campus - recent performers have been Talib Kweli, Ben Kweller, and Girl Talk. Multicultural groups are surprisingly quiet and border on nonexistent, while sexual health and awareness is a big thing on campus. A Cappella and comedy groups are strong as well.
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