Bowdoin, like any school, can be what you make of it. It can seem like a small school dominated by New England prep school kids who like to get drunk, or you can seek out the many people who are not this way. Bowdoin has many material perks - the housing is much better than many comparable schools (especially for freshmen), the food is really great (even for vegetarians like me), and the location gives you both the advantages of cities within reasonable drives as well as being walking distance from cute shops and restaurants of a small town. And yes, the academics, for the most part, are very good, particularly once you get past entry-level classes. I would comment that school spirit and traditions don't seem to be very important here.
Bowdoin is amazing. The food, dorms, and academics are among the top in the country. The community as a whole is very close knit and friendly. Our school is small, but large enough that I see or meet someone new almost every day. Some people don't know how prestigious Bowdoin really is, while others rightfully acknowledge it as one of the best in the country. The college town is very close and convenient -- lots of good restaurants, a supermarket, pharmacy.. pretty much all of the essentials. Plus Freeport is very close by, which is a huge place for shopping. There is a lot of school pride. Everyone here knows how great our school is and takes pride in being associated with this institution. It's an overall great place to be.
Bowdoin is full of really nice, friendly people. Admittedly, there are a few people that don't fulfill this generalization, but that's true everywhere and often with far more exceptions. As it is, almost anyone you talk to will help you out if they can and are generally open and fun. Most everyone is intelligent and multi-talented: able to take hard classes, play a couple sports, and then go sing a concert for an extreme example. Sometimes the classes can get a little intense, but people are still able to cool off and make it through. It's rather ironic to me that despite all the skills and rankings that place Bowdoin so high (especially for the food!!), most people I know from home/elsewhere have never heard of the school.
The best thing is the professors and the breadht of the resources. I would change entirely the makeup of the student body; we need less apathy, less perfectionism, more exploration. The only exploration that happens seems to do so off campus, and that sucks. I spend most of my time in the library. Brunswick is really cute. I don't think there's too much school pride, although maybe that's because I don't go to sporting events. There is absolutely nothing unusual about this school, aside from the excellent housing. I'll always remember driving to Colby in the middle of the night for a rookie task with the rugby team. Generally speaking, I think people just feel stuck here. Breaking convention here is very difficult.
I'm from the Pacific Northwest. People don't know about Bowdoin way out there. The usual response is "Bow-what?" or "Boating College, that must be fun." If Bowdoin is so great, why isn't it well known outside of New England? Here's why: Bowdoin, and all the other small liberal arts colleges, are mostly talk. I've been disappointed from day one with the caliber of students at Bowdoin, which makes Bowdoin's strong school pride hard to understand. The athletic teams are dismal, the academics would be challenging were it not for the weak work ethic, and student discipline is nonexistent. Maybe Bowdoin is far above other colleges, but that's not saying a lot, because college culture is universal and disgusting.
Bowdoin's faculty is the most kind staff that I have ever met. From Patt, who swipes my card at the dining hall every morning, to Randy Nichols, the head of security with celebrity status, to the professors, everyone who works here is exceedingly generous. At the beginning of the year, I was very intimidated to meet with professors. I shouldn't have been. Besides being incredible people who have accomplished and are continuing to do amazing things and research, they are friendly and very willing to help a struggling student. Coming from a public school, I struggled with academics at the beginning. As soon as I sought help from the writing tutors and professors, though, my work improved drastically.
The campus is AMAZING - food, housing, facilites, college houses- it is really really catered nicely to students. Maine is BEAUTIFUL. We're kind of an obscure school- for being one of the top 10 colleges in the country, I wish that we were better known. I spend most of my time on campus, but the town of Brunswick is really great, and easy to walk to. People do tend to have a lot of pride for Bowdoin, although occassionaly I get the feeling that people see the student body as just a bunch of ivy-league rejects, which dissappoints me because Bowdoin was my top choice. There aren't too many complaints, and when there are it seems easy to get access to the appropriate people to voice them.
It's challenging, but I've learned a lot. The best things about Bowdoin are the classes and the food. Housing is pretty awesome, too- no cramped little rooms, and most of the buildings are newly renovated. If I could change anything, I would change the location- it gets very cold in the winter and there's not much to do then, either. As for size, it's just right- big enough for variety, but small enough that you're almost guaranteed to see a friend on your way to class. Bowdoin students generally have a lot of school pride and are pretty friendly, though the dating scene is a little bit tough (maybe no one has much time for a steady relationship...).
i like how bowdoin is small, but it is getting slightly bigger and it is not too small- its enough to know some people but there are always more people and groups to meet. i would change the amount of printers at the school because we all want more. some people think bowdoin is so great and so hard to get into, others, who compare it to ivies, think it is okay. i love our campus, it is small enough to get around but with enough places to change up the scenery. the town is cute, good restaurants but people dont even go out that much. the bar is fun on tuesdays. there is a lot of school pride- we love our hockey team and our polar bears.
Bowdoin is what you make it. It can be friendly, fun and interesting, or it can be dry and stale. Different years at Bowdoin were completely different for me because of the different lifestyles and types people you can surround yourself with here. Bowdoin is small, which means your classes are excellent, people are friendly, and you can become deeply involved in clubs any. The administration is wonderful, the town is warm and friendly (even if the weather isn't) and there are plenty of opportunities to become involved off campus and to spend time outdoors. If you've got dreams this is a place that wants to help them come true.