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Bowdoin College

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What are the academics like at your school?

Professors always come to know your name and remember you even after the semester is over. One of my favorite classes was Behavioral Ecology, where we took field trips to numerous research stations, ran around fields catching dragonflies with nets and helped band birds. My least favorite class was Chemistry 109, which was very dull, but it lead me to do very interesting things. Students study and work VERY hard. The reading load is pretty heavy and class participation often amounts to about 10-15% of your grade. I once heard a group of football players discuss quantum physics while they ate dinner (no joke, only once). The academic environment is NOT competitive at all. Friends often take classes together and form large study groups where they can both learn and vent their frustrations about the course work or professor. The most unique class I've taken has to be "English 254: Renaissance Sexualities." It was very difficult and was taught by a professor that plays key-tar and sings in an '80's rock cover band. I am a biology major and the biology department at Bowdoin is amazing. They have large laboratories and numerous field stations, including one on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy and on an island literally 20 minutes from campus by car. I have done a lot of work at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory and worked with a professor over the summer. I have come to know him well and I been able to work very hard with him and drink beers with him at summer BBQs. Bowdoin has rigorous academic requirements, which really require you to study a little bit of something, and allow you to study a lot of what you're interested in. I have enjoyed every moment of it, even the late nights. I feel very prepared to enter the job world and I have Bowdoin to thank for that.

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My favorite class here was an art history seminar in which we curated a show at the newly renovated Museum of Art. We had the opportunity to work closely with some of the works on paper from the museum's collection: John Sloan prints, Winslow Homer wood engravings, and 20th century documentary photographs. This course presented some unique opportunities and was one of the best learning experiences that I have had here. I am a history major here - the department is really strong. I have yet to come across a professor or course that I dislike within the department. One of the things I like the best about the history department is that the courses are usually not big survey courses that just give timelines and facts. The department is more interested in the synthesis and analysis of ideas, trends, and problems in history. Although the liberal arts curriculum definitely creates an environment of learning for its own sake, students here are still pretty career-oriented. There's often a sense of guilt amongst students who aren't majoring in something "useful", whatever that may be. The one thing I have noticed is that a lot of students will double major and minor in a wide variety of departments, not necessarily becuase they are truly interested in all the topics, but more because they are interested in doing as much as they can academically. This emphasis on quantity, and not quality tends to highlight a trend on campus towards overachieving for the sake of overachieving, and I often find that there is a lack of actual academic passion here. People here are well-rounded, which is great, but this can also be a drawback because sometimes I feel like some students are a little boring.

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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.

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Academics at Bowdoin are absolutely the best. Professors make a huge effort to get to know students personally. People here work extremely hard, but we're not competitive. Students work together all the time, which is encouraged by professors. I don't know what I am majoring yet, but that's fine. Bowdoin encourages us to explore all sorts of subjects. We have some division and distribution requirements, but they're very general and easy to fulfill without really trying. Plus, they get students to step out of their comfort zone a little. I've taken two first-year seminars this year - one was 16 students (they're capped at 16) and the other is 8 students. My seminar right now is about personal ethics, which is so much fun. My other classes include Animal Life, which focused on animals in literature and Cryptography (basically code-making), among others. Learning here is purely for the sake and enjoyment of learning. We're encouraged to try new things, not prepare for a job from the moment we begin classes. Best of all, learning extends far beyond the classroom. In the dining halls you can always here people talking about their classes, in addition to their plans for the weekend.

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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.

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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.

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Overall I’ve had great classes and great professors. The material is interesting an the professors engaging. I like having small classes that limit the amount of lecture time (discussion is the norm in most of my classes). My professors know my name (sounds trivial, but it’s really helpful) and it’s easy to cultivate relationships with them. The workload varies by class, professor and how much effort you intend to put into it. It’s certainly not easy. I do spend a significant amount of time studying, researching, writing, and doing labs etc but not to the exclusion of other activities. It's all about learning; it's all about discussion; it's all about enriching your mind with students and professors alike, inside and outside of class. It's a lot of work, but for the most part we enjoy it.

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My professors have been wonderful. First semester all of them were international, which was really awesome. All of my professors have gotten to know my name within a few classes. My classes are generally between 15 and 35 students, which has been great. My favorite class was my freshman seminar because it really challenged me to think about the world in a different way and interact with people from totally different backgrounds than where I grew up.

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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.

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Most professors know students names and taken time to know them beyond the classroom. Bowdoin is academic challenging and it is often easy to get overwhelmed but most professors are approachable and are willing to help you out a little if possible. In courses above intro level particpation is highly valued and a crucial part of your grade especially for humanities majors. At Bowdoin clases are geared for learning sake.

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