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.
Personally, I think Bowdoin is a very welcoming campus and that all students feel comfortable and included. I can't say I'm the best person to make that sort of judgment though, as I am a pretty typical student from New England. I think what is interesting about the diversity is not the statistics about race, religion, geography, etc., but rather the diversity of the student as a person. A hockey player can be a neuroscience major or sinc in an a capella group. The same girls who love the art history library will be cheering on the basketball team later in the weekend. Big huge burly football players will found groups based around raising awareness of sexual violence on campus. It is not only where a student is from, or what ethnicity he is, but the different niches that he fills that makes him interesting. Everyone at Bowdoin interacts with each other, and that was one of the most pleasantly surprising things I found freshman year.
most of the campus is white. religion is not discussed that often. no student would feel out of place - it is a very friendly, open-minded, accommodating environment. most students wear jeans and sweaters to class. some girls like to dress up and wear skirts in the middle of winter but most people agree they are stupid since it is freezing because....we are in MAINE. sweatpants and sweatshirt are a pretty good opition too. basically, we don't try very hard to impress the other sex in class - that is what weekends are for. most bowdoin students are from "right outside of boston" or from new england in general. very preppy campus. and very wealthy. there is a big political scene on campus, most people are democrats. we don't talk about how much we will earn some day because it is depressing because most of us probably won't earn that much and we paid a shit load to come here.
The Bowdoin campus is diverse, though it wouldn't look it, because students tends to separate into groups. There is tolerance for all different groups on campus, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they intermix. The Asian American students tend to be friends, the African American students tend to be friends and the white students tend to be friends and thus the dining hall can often seem a little segregated (though not on purpose). Most students come from the New England area. A lot of the students are also very rich, which was sort of difficult for me, coming from a more middle class background. Often the students are either rich or on a lot of financial aid, but there aren't that many students in the middle. Students are very politically aware and tend to be predominantly left. Bowdoin students are very aware of their future and being planning when they're still in college.
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.
At Bowdoin your roots and history are important, but things like race, sexual orientation, and class rarely come into play. I have friends of all backgrounds and these things don't ever come up. Bowdoin students are who they are regardless. At Bowdoin the only people who would feel out of place are unmotivated people who aren't outgoing. There are people here like that, but I think that they just aren't as happy. The students here are incredibly smart and inspired. If you aren't willing to work hard and keep up, you might feel a little excluded from the majority of the student body. So many students here, myself included, find so much joy in constantly meeting new people. Not being socially outgoing or excited about meeting new people from all kinds of places might also leave someone excluded.
There's a lot of forced diversity, here. Admissions keeps bragging about how many more minorities they admit each year, but what they don't tell you is that black kids mostly hang out with black kids; Asians with Asians, etc. Most people are white, preppy, upper-middle class, New Englanders so if you're looking for an edgy experience, I'd look elsewhere. We're a liberal bunch, but I'm not sure if that's because people actually have convictions or because it's trendy to be a young liberal. As far as cliques go: Jocks, Stoners, Preppy sluts, Edgy (rich girls from NYC who think they're edgy because they're from NYC) sluts, Chem-free geeks, Hot Asians, Over-achieving Asians, Feminists who think they're feminists because they have sex like guys do (often and without emotion), Outdoorsy People.
Because of the size of the school, about half of the student body fills our varsity sports teams. A lot of times sports team people are stereotyped as not as smart and as hanging out only with each other. While there is a little bit of truth to both of these statements, some of my best friends are on sports teams and I am not and we still manage to hang out a lot. Also, for the most part, they got in here for academics before their skills. People are not that religious on campus...there's no anti-religious sentiment, but most who identify as christian do not make time to go to church etc. Most students wear jeans or sweatpants. Uggs and Llbean boots are big for girls in the winter, and most guys wear timberland boots--it's Maine!!
I have friends that are diverse racially, religiously, sexually and socio-economically. I don't think many students would feel out of place at Bowdoin, to be frank. Students are generally pretty laid-back. Some wear sweatpants to class and others wear a sun dress, but nobody really cares. Sometimes people find certain groups more attractive to their social needs whether it be the people in the play, the people who sing A Capella or athletes. In general though, people of all kinds interact with each other. Most people at Bowdoin are wealthy, but speaking as a less wealthy student at bowdoin, I feel comfortable here. Whereas at my high school I felt that I was made inferior to all of the other students who had more money then myself.
I am a Mexican girl from Hawaii and I feel very comfortable at Bowdoin. At times it is a bit difficult to see yourself as equal to your peers when you are constantly battling with the Bursar's Office (where the tuition gets settled). Students here definitely divide along racial lines. Maine is not a diverse state and so the diversity here at Bowdoin is generally imported which can make some students feel out of place. There's a lot discussion surrounding these issues and Bowdoin has made a lot of advances to ease this division. For example, Bowdoin just irradicated student loans which will bring a new wave of students to campus; the middle class and hopefully these students will help to break some of these economic class divisions.