The best thing about Bowdoin is most definetly the people. Everyone is unbelievably friendly and, for the most part optomistic and happy. People are active and upbeat about life and want to make the best of most situations. I suppose that is the kind of mentality needed to trudge through the difficult winter months. If I could change one thing about Bowdoin I think I would have more dances and organized date events. Dating life at Bowdoin is tough, and people tend to hook up instead of actively date. And when I say "date" I don't mean 3-year relationships leading to marriage. I simply mean taking someone to dinner in town or going out to a movie. Bowdoin kids tend to hang out mostly in groups, and since the school is smaller even if someone is attracted to another individual in their group of friends, people tend to avoid serious relationships for fear of throwing off group dynamics. Maybe if there were more organized dances and formals students would eventually come around, get excited about them and actually start attending, as opposed to falling into the groove of one drunken social house bump-n-grind after another. I would say Bowdoin's a bit too small. Everyone knows everyone else's business. I know what some kids did last weekend and I've never even spoken to them. If you go to school with someone at Bowdoin that you went to high school with, or that your cousin went to high school with, you know all of their high school business before they even get to school. Likewise, as in high school, people quickly become comfortable in one group of friends and oftentimes stay in that group with minimal changes for most of their Bowdoin career. However, the great think about the relative smallness of the school is that people are easy to find, and if a person is on campus they're no more than a five-minute walk away. this makes for easy lunch-dates with a friend you haven't seen in a while, and it also allows people to easily access new areas of campus and new groups of people. Likewise, it's easy to meet new people because classes are small, and people are approachable enough that if at any time a person is curious about another group of people they will most likely be welcome with open arms to party/hang out with that group. As long as a person avoids the gossip-trend and continues to pursue new and different relationships, the size of the school is not a problem. But if you're someone who socializes as though they are still in high school, your Bowdoin experience may start to resemble your high school one. It's a personal choice. Depending on the time of year I spend my time in different parts of campus. During the fall, for instance, I spent a lot of my time at Smith Union (known by students as "The Union,") doing work over a chai tea latte, talking with friends, checking mail or buying a drink from the C-Store. I also spent a lot of my time outside playing intramural soccer on Farley field or running to the Organic garden about 2 miles from campus. The weather in the fall is so beautiful that most students spend a lot of time outside. In the winter, however, I spend a lot of time in my room to avoid traveling to much outdoors. The roads get icy and it's often difficult to navigate the ominous "black ice" that has caused a couple injuries on campus this year.It's common for more students to stick to their dorms or apartments during winter months for this reason, though everything on campus is so close that traveling between buildings isn't too terrible. However, the places that everyone spends a lot of time in are definetly the two dining halls, Moulton and Thorne. This is due to the fact that Bowdoin has unbelievable food at EVERY meal, so students opt for dining hall food over the Kraft Mac-n-cheese and pop tarts in the dorm type meals prefered by students from some other colleges. Likewise, Bowdoin students are very friendly, fairly relaxed kids who appreciate a nice, long meal and conversation with friends, so many students will meet a friend for a meal three times a day and stay until other responsibilities can be put off no longer. The longest I personally have stayed in a dining hall is 1 1/2 hours. Brunswick is no New York City or Chicago, but it's a legitimate college town with a few bars, several nice restaurants, two killer ice-cream shops, two coffee shop, a major grocery store and a natural foods store, ethnic restaurants , clothing stores, banks, sweet shops and bakeries, unbelievable homemade donut shop to contrast a Dunkin' Donuts, discount stores, a tattoo parlor, a small record store, notorious retro movie-rental shop, a great single-theatre cinema that shows movies a few weeks after they've left the major cinema and even an adorable knitting shop, to name some. And what I just described is only off of Brunswick's Maine Street, which students can walk to. If a person has a car they can find lots of the major chains (Starbucks, Target, KFC, McDonald's), a high school, and a couple car dealerships five minutes away in Cook's Corner or in the more commercial side of Brunswick. In Brunswick you will NOT find up-scale shopping or super-chic boutiques, but the town meets most of an individuals basic needs. And for the kids craving more of a city environment, I recommend they take the 10-20 minute drives to Freeport or Portland. If 20 minutes by car sounds too far a distance to Neiman Marcus, I suggest you find another school. I would say Bowdoin's administration is very accessible, which is inherent at a smaller school. Most any teacher, coach or administrator is easily-accessible through email or phone, and they will happily meet with students to answer questions or even to share a meal or coffee. I will say that I expected there to be more student-teacher and student-administrator interaction than there is, but that isn't due to lack of access between the two, but unfortunately possibly due to lack of interest to pursue these interactions. When it comes to legislation and changes in college life, however, Bowdoin's administration seems to be quite open to student suggestion and opinion. Overall I believe the student body feels the administration is invested in making Bowdoin the best place possible for its students and faculty. The biggest recent controversy was the faculty's decision to eliminate Credit-D-Fail as an option for all students (starting with the class of 2012) trying to fulfill their distribution requirements with the Credit-D-Fail option. This decision was greatly opposed by many students, several of whom protested the motion before the faculty meeting during which the faculty would cast their votes. Many people were infuriated by the decision, saying that it will lead students to quit trying unique courses out of fear of doing poorly and hurting their GPA. Those who supported the decision claimed that Bowdoin students should not be exempted from working hard in classes they are challenged in and simply fall back on the Credit-D-Fail option. Supporters also believed the Credit-D-Fail option undercuts the distribution requirements instead of supporting them. There isn't a whole lot of school pride a
The best thing about Bowdoin is definitely the fact that you know everyone. Obviously, there are situations where that might be a pain, but in general, I love being able to walk around campus and know the names of half the people I pass. The size also helps the school really take care of its students -- the food and the housing wouldn't be so good if the facilities had to manage a population twice this size. The only reason that I would want Bowdoin to be bigger is so that we could get more prestigious speakers and music artists. Other than that, the size is perfect -- I really like that I wtill get to know most of my class by graduation. I spend most of my time on campus in my social house or in the Union. The rooms are so big that I really never want to leave, but I try to make use of a few really good study spots. Bowdoin has lots of random study rooms with amazing old furniture and huge windows that I never spend enough time in. Brunswick is by no means a college town, but it is really nice -- the town of Amherst might be the only NESCAC town that's bigger (but still worth visiting). There's a Hannaford's and a 7/11, a movie theater, a bunch of thrift stores, a ton of restaurants (the highlights are Shere Punjab, an Indian restaurant, and Frontier Cafe, which is overpriced but gives you an awesome view of the river). If you can get a car, there's also a bunch of bigger stores in another part of Brunswick called Cooks Corner, where there's a much bigger movie theater and a Starbucks, as well as even more shopping in Freeport ten minutes away, and more stuff in Portland twenty-five minutes away. There are a few bars in Brunswick that seniors do actually go to, but I've never been there because they're pretty strict about fakes. Town-gown relations are good, for the most part -- we've had some problems with high schoolers trying to get into our house parties, but I've never heard of any of them actually getting inside. The Bowdoin administration is pretty accessible; I've babysat for the Dean and they all meet with the student government every month to talk about whatever issues come up. I think one problem Bowdoin has is the tendency to let some problems remain unsolved in favor of one big sweeping solution -- for example, the Health Center and the gym both really should be renovated, but instead of doing it now, they're going to build a fancy schmancy "Wellness Center" for both in 2010. That's kind of a small complaint, though. There was a controversy on campus recently over some hazing, but it was unbelievably tame as far as hazing horror stories go. Some people on the sailing team posted their "initiation" photos on Webshots (not even Facebook) and there was an inquiry, but believe me, I am not shilling for Bowdoin when I say there are seriously no hazing problems here. It was one woman claiming to be a "hazing expert" trying to raise some publicity for herself and one team that gave their photo album the wrong name. There's definitely a lot of school pride at Bowdoin -- it can almost make you feel weird if you aren't 100% happy all the time because everyone else seems to be. There's also a big rivalry with the other two Maine colleges -- you can always hear us shouting "mules are sterile!" at the hockey game with Colby. One thing that's unusual at Bowdoin that I really would have liked to know is that there is technically a ban against hard liquor and drinking games on campus, even if you're 21. In practice, this doesn't really have any effect, and it basically sanctions beer drinking -- but if you have a party in your room with either of those things and Security happens to come, it can be a real pain to deal with. As long as you're responsible, though, you probably won't even attract their attention.
For me Bowdoin has become more than just a school, but a place that I will always consider home. In the first lines of the "Offer of the College" William DeWitt Hyde highlights the importance of Bowdoin being a home to its students. I was born and raised half a country away, so when I came out here I was worried about the distance from my hometown. I was surprised how easy it was to settle here. From the moment I arrived I felt like I was a part of the College and feel strongly about this place. At Bowdoin there are endless outlets of support and friendship from the first people you meet on your pre-orientation trip, roommates, and proctors to deans, professors, and dining hall staff. There is an almost invisible gap between the students even when they vary in age by four years or more and professors can become incredible influences in your life inside and outside of the classroom. The people at Bowdoin are really what make the experience and the College holds high standards for the students they admit and the staff they hire in order for this to continue. I constantly feel that the College community has my back and I have learned to give that kind of support to everyone I can here. When I tell people that I go to Bowdoin the response varies if they have heard of the school. A lot of people outside of New England haven't heard of it, and yes they usually mispronounce it, but you can't let that get to you. The whole name recognition thing really doesn't matter because if they haven't heard of it it's their loss. You have to know in your head that you're at a great school and it shouldn't matter if someone hasn't heard of it. Sometimes people whine about the food, but they should be punched in the kidneys. It's amazing for college food and the best you will find in the country...seriously.
Bowdoin is an amazing school. The people are kind and welcoming and truly make the Bowdoin experience. First year housing is unlike any other schools. All of the dorms were completely remodeled within the last two years. We have the top one or two dining services in the country, which becomes important when you're eating at the dining hall three times a day for months at a time. The size of the school is just right. At first I thought it would be too small, but now I love the fact that anywhere I go, I'm bound to see a familiar face. When I go into the dining halls, walk through Smith Union (the student center), or come out of the library I always see a friendly face and hear a nice hello. It really fosters a great sense of community among the students. People at Bowdoin tend to be really close with people from their freshmen dorms, which is great for most people, and not so great for others. The social house system also really fosters this because many parties at the beginning of the year center around affiliates of that particular house. Bowdoin's administration is extremely efficient, from the time you're a pre-frosh going through the admissions cycle, to course registration, to security on weekends. I have never run into any issues regarding the administration, which cannot be said of students at many other schools. One of my only complaints is the lack of school spirit exhibited by students at any time other than during a Bowdoin-Colby hockey game (which is one of the best nights of the whole year). The majority of even men's football, hockey, and basketball games are only sparsely attended, and when students do attend, they is lackluster spirit. All in all though, Bowdoin has been a great experience so far.
Bowdoin is awesome. The weather is horrible, and yea its small, but I love it. Size is a joke because no matter how many people you think you know, there are at least 100 people you don't for every one you do. Weather - it's maine, don't choose it if you want warm weather, but you definitely get used to it no matter how much you complain. Not many people know what Bowdoin is when you name drop, but those who matter (for jobs etc.) do, so that really isn't a big deal. Just because you can't impress your neighbors doesn't mean you wont get a good job - we are a top ten liberal arts school, some people don't even know what Williams is if you can imagine that. We have a town and it's awesome - SO MANY RESTAURANTS! The only thing lacking is sushi (which is available at the Bowdoin cafe two days/nights a week), but that is 15 minutes away in Freeport which is a lot of fun. Freeport has a LOT of shopping (it's an outlet strip) so if you ever need clothes you can go there (they have an awesome and HUGE llbean and north face too if it ever gets too cold). Portland is amazing as well, and boasts two ridiculously good (and well rated) restaurants, Fore Street and Street & Co. which might have the best food i've ever eaten. The night life is sometimes lacking, although 21 year olds can always go to portland for the bars, but you make your own fun. If you have friends, you will be fine. My favorite event of all is the lobster bake at the beginning of the year - it is so quintessential maine, and it's a lot of fun. They set up long tables outside and serve lobster, and other things for the less seafood inclined, and everyone has a great time chatting and seeing people after the summer.
Bowdoin is known for its food. For a few years we had the best food in the nation according to the Princeton Review. Right now we're number two. There are two different dining halls with very different atmospheres so that one is sure to suit you. The dining service makes a really great effort to provide vegetarian and vegan options at every meal and introduce the students to different "ethnic foods." I'll admit that for me, a somewhat non-adventurous eater, this can get annoying, but I always find something to eat that I'll enjoy. The student body is the perfect size at around 1700 students. You recognize people and are sure to see a friend while you're walking to class, but its still big enough that halfway through the year you realize that a girl in one of your classes actually lives on the floor beneath you. Classes are very small- as a first year mine have ranged from six to thirty students. Some intro level sciences have around seventy students I believe. Bowdoin is known as a "new-Ivy," which essentially just means that it's a very prestigious small liberal arts college on the top-tier. There's a rumor that resurfaces every now and then about how Bowdoin was invited to join the Ivies years ago but refused, but no one's really sure how true that is. The town of Brunswick is very small, maybe 20,000 people. Right off the edge of campus is "downtown," which consists of one street's worth of cute little shops and some pretty diverse eating options. There's also a Target, Walmart, and movie theatre only a short drive away from campus. Students joke about the "Bowdoin Bubble" because we hardly ever leave campus.
Bowdoin has an ideal student body population. It's just less than 2000 which at times may seem too small, but I am constantly meeting new people. It's nice to walk to class on any given day and say hello to a bunch of people along the way. Bowdoin's size is also its downfall at times when personal information gets around rapidly. Its degree of separation probably lies within two people. The best thing at Bowdoin is probably the student life in general, such as dining services, the dorms, and the amount of activity on the weekends. When I mention Bowdoin's name, people generally are hearing it for the first time, which is unfortunate because its a great school. The great thing is that those who do know Bowdoin love it. School pride at Bowdoin is dead; I blame it on the lack of a good football team. We're a D3 school so our athletics department, which generally is at the center of fostering school pride, isn't the greatest. One of the most recent controversies on campus involved the school's Credit/D/Fail option. Great schools such as Brown University provide this option for its students to venture into unknown realms of academia, unfortunately at Bowdoin we can neither use this option in pursuit of our major or in our distribution requirements. This new policy renders the Credit/D/Fail option useless. Brunswick is a quite town full of senior citizens... not the most exciting place. However, it is a pleasant atmosphere, full of cafes and ethnic cuisines. The school has a decent amount of options every weekend so the surrounding town isn't too much of a concern.
The Bowdoin community is pretty small and tight-knit. With a small campus and small class enrollment, it is easy to get to know a lot of people here on campus, whether it is through class, sports, clubs, parties, or living quarters. The local town, Brunswick, is very nice. Coming from a small town, it is nice to walk downtown through Maine St. and stop in at the local music, coffee, or sandwich shop. It is never too much of a problem to grab food or bathroom supplies from the supermarket or pharmacy, and Bowdoin Security's 'Safe Ride' service will give anyone a ride within 2 miles of campus. We have a high level of school pride and we are very supportive of our sports teams. Sports games tend to have fairly high attendances, especially in games against our Maine state NESCAC rivals, Bates and Colby. A recent controversy with our administration was the recent vote by the faculty to eliminate the possibility of receiving distribution requirement credit for taking a course Pass/Fail (or Credit/D/F as it is known here). Students were upset because this motion infringes on what it means to attend a liberal arts school. Unable to receive credit for a distribution requirement while taking pass/fail, Bowdoin students of the future will be less likely to explore new classes or general areas of study without feeling the pressure of receiving a good grade. It also makes studying abroad for pre-med students much less feasible, as it is difficult to complete all the distribution requirements and other medical school requisites.
The best thing about Bowdoin is the small, encouraging environment. The professors are easy to get ahold of and easy to talk to. I think the size of Bowdoin is just right, it is a very small campus, but you don't feel like you are limited to meeting the people in your class, it's a very open environment. The only drawback is that most people still haven't heard of Bowdoin College, let alone know where it stands in the ranks. But the people who do know about Bowdoin are the ones you want to impress. Anyone who has looked at any of the NESCAC schools or the Ivy Leagues know that Bowdoin is one of the top liberal arts schools in the country. I spend most of my time on campus in the student union, the dorms, and the dining halls. Brunswick is a small, but very friendly college town... there's a great gelato place down Main St. and a bunch of restaurants within walking distance from Bowdoin. Our administration is great, very helpful and sympathetic. They are there to help you and if you come to them with a problem, they'll try to find a way to fix it. School pride centers around sports and a few sports generate more school pride than others. Hockey, Basketball and this year, field hockey stirred up the most school spirit. I'll always remember my first day of freshman year... when the social house members (Bowdoin doesn't have fraternities or sororities) carried all my stuff up to the dorm room. The most frequent complaint is that it gets pretty cold here sometimes.
Bets thing about Bowdoin would be its flexibility. You can live the life of a small small school yet its still alrge enough to run into new people at parties or across campus. Meanwhile its not so huge that you can't make a name for yourself. At the same time, there can be a lot of intermixing of genres of students. It may seem small, but there is a complete lack of accessible public computers on campus to check email throughout the day and even worse is the printer situation where there are only a select few available. And the process involved in getting them to print what you want is a major hassle. For the most part people react with indifference. They know that it is a very good and still up and coming school, but so are so many others. The majority of my time is spent among the dorms. When it is cold out (which it usually is) there are very few hang outs on campus that aren't either inconvienently located or overpopulated. Very much a college town, surrounded by the quaint town of brunswick which houses a variety of stellar restaurants and pubs as well as very many private little shops that service any and all needs. In addition there is a nearby Walmart. Administration is very much removed from campus, which is understandable, but i feel there are a lot of decisions we never hear about until they are implemented. School pride is a bit of an issue. Its there but attendance to games is either rediculous or non-existant.