For me, the people are what make Bowdoin what it is. Everyone really wants to be here. Everyone really cares about life on campus. Students, professors, the dining service staff, our housekeeper, the president Barry Mills (affectionately know as B Mills), the head of security (he broadcasts a show on our local radio station) etc. We’re all a little nerdy, outdoorsy, preppy, high achieving, motivated, very social, and ready for some excitement and adventure. The dating scene is decent. I think the male population is pretty attractive even if they do have some maturing to do. Relationships tend to fall into one extreme or another. They are either casual hook-ups or serious long term things. I think that’s pretty standard for college. Sometimes the selection can feel limited, but let’s be honest, it’s like that anywhere. For the most part students are friendly and laid back. When I was visiting schools I did what I called the “smile test” on the campus tours. This sounds so silly but I would smile at students walking by the tour group. If the students smiled back, they passed the test. Bowdoin definitely passed. There’s a tradition called the “Bowdoin Hello”. Anytime you’re walking along a path and it’s just you and another person, you smile and say hello. Again, sounds silly, but it makes all the difference in creating the feeling like you belong. It’s the type of place where I can be waiting in line for coffee at the café and start having a conversation about anything and everything with the people waiting beside me, whether t’s a student or a professor. You can wear sweatpants and a polo to class. You can wear your running spandex. You can look like you're going to a business interview. It all works at Bowdoin.
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.
In terms of race/sexual orientation/socioeconomic class etc. everyone has a place at Bowdoin. Unfortunately it seems like, at least racially, minority students seem to group together. I wish that there was more mixing in this respect, but generally, everyone is accepted. The only kind of student that might not feel comfortable at Bowdoin would be someone who likest to be anonymous, especially in class. People here like to participate and speak up. Not that we don't have shy people here! It's just that Bowdoin is a great place to "come out of your shell" so to speak. Most people here are pretty liberal, but we do have a College Republicans club. There is definitely a huge private/prep school population here, but generally, people don't make a big deal about what background they're from. We certainly don't talk about money very much, at least not in a pretentious or hurtful way. And people definitely don't brag about wanting to be a millionaire after Bowdoin. Instead, we share our visions of a future filled with non-profit, environmentally friendly, world saving work.
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.
Bowdoin is a very liberal environment, where anyone is welcome. Bowdoin has one of the oldest African American Societies in America, the LGBT organizes an annual "Out Week" where all sexualities are recognized and respected. Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV aka "be massive") is a new and powerful organization. Students of all different kinds interact on campus almost every day. However, at dining halls you typically will see a table of white girls, a table of African Americans, and a table of athletes, but I can guarantee that people will often lean over and talk between the tables. There are a lot of Bowdoin students from Boston and the surrounding area. However, Mainers, Californians, and international students are also well represented. There are many students from wealthy backgrounds and many students on financial aid, but you wouldn't be able to tell jut by looking at people.
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.
I feel like Bowdoin is a very open campus. I friends who are athletes and friends who act, and although there may be groups of students on campus they never feel mutually exclusive. For example, there are athletes who participate in Bowdoin College Democrats or a capella singers who played on the JV soccer team with me. I feel like Bowdoin students are generally liberal and relatively politically aware, even if they aren't necessarily politically active.
Fairly diverse, but it could always be more so. Much more diverse than Maine. Walking through the union, you'd see sweatpants, funky earrings and haircuts, pearls, and ugg boots. You'd see carrharts, knitted sweaters, polo shirts, and hoodies. Most students are financially well-off, but a significant number are on some level of aid, with a good number on significant aid. It varies, but it doesn't matter. Everyone sees past that, I think.
Students are overwhelmingly friendly and eager to engage each other in interesting discussions outside of class, much more collaborative than competitive. Students routinely gather for informal study groups and view helping each other as a way to grow academically and personally. So much learning takes place outside of class as a result of this, and it really contributes to a wonderfully supportive community atmosphere.
All things considered Bowdoin is relatively diverse (esp considering its location). Most kids are from the New England area but if you work hard to brunch out you can find people from all around the country and even globe. One problem at Bowdoin is that it can be a little cliquey...this is somethign that I hoped to leave behind in high school and while its not a huge part of campus it's big enough to be noticeable.