Bowdoin students are usually pretty open-minded and willing to discuss issues. Regular dinner conversations can turn pretty heated, though people are usually respectful about it. Discrimination isn't tolerated, so any student who's not willing to be tolerant would probably feel out of place there. Different types of students do interact, though sometimes international students clump together a bit and speak their own languages. No financial background is prevalent, really- it's a total mixture. You can never tell who's rich and who's not, because talking about money too much is a little taboo. The only really defining characteristic of Bowdoin students is a tendency to be Democrats or leftists rather than Republicans or rightists.
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.
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.
People are pretty accepting here, especially the gay community (I would know being on the rugby team). Students who feel out of place are ones who aren't satisfied with the work hard, play hard mentality, where you work your ass off all week and then spend the entire weekend trashed. Most students are from the east coast, so there is that kind of cutthroat academic attitude here...even if students aren't competitive with each other, which I don't think they are, they hold themselves to incredibly high standards. Everybody's pretty liberal, and many students are on financial aid, which luckily isn't taboo at all.
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.
there are definately groups concerned with that stuff but it is not a judgemental place and none of that matters, people are very understanding. i can't think of any wide variety, some preps, some hippies, some slobs, nobody pays attention to it yes, i have a very wide variety of friends --- all over, but a good amount of kids from New England wide variety, some kids are loaded, others on full financial aid, but its not a factor in who your friends are some are very active, others dont pay attention probably more liberals, but more conservatives than youd expect not really
I would say that most students wear jeans and a t-shirt. There will always be those people that you never see wearing sweatpants, but I can say that I have zero problem wearing a sweat suit to class. I don't feel uncomfortable, under-dressed or out of place. I think there's a pretty good mix of politically aware and active students and ones that have no clue what's going on and don't care. Bowdoin definitely is predominantly left on the political spectrum, however, I have seen some fliers around campus recently about a Republican group on campus, so they're small but visible.
There is a really large variety of students on this campus. There is a population of students from private schools, Maine, and Massachusetts, but also some from other backgrounds who are really interesting to meet (sometimes students are even from foriegn countries). In terms of racial diversity, there could be more, but Bowdoin is trying to improve this element and has been more sucessful than in the past. What is great here is that you can wear anything you want to class: dresses, sweatpants, and even a suit if you wanted to. Therefore, there is not really any fashion pressure.
common complaints are that the campus is too white, too privileged, and too heterosexual. nevertheless, i have friends who are straight, gay, bisexual, all different races/ethnicities, and anywhere from on full financial aid to none. the student body is very left-leaning, but for the most part is not that politically active. because many students are athletes (50%?) a lot of students wear sweatpants/sweatshirts to class and to meals so they don't have to change before practice. some people really get dressed every day, but you wouldn't ever feel out of place if you did not.
I love the politically awareness that I have encountered at Bowdoin. Before I started college I had littel interest in politics. My parents didn't make a big deal out of it as I was growing up so I didn't have much background. being at Bowdoin has helped me to develop a political personality. I have watched all the recent democratic debates and have formed my own opinions about political issues. My friends and I will occasionally discuss political matters and debate them ourselves. It ha sbeen especially important this year because none of us have ever voted before.