Bowdoin College Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

Raya

not too diverse racially. They try but there is a still a very small contingent of african americans. A lot of new englanders. VERY LIBERAL.

Nick

white, preppy new-england prep school educated, from just outside of boston, athletic, cliquey—many of these stereotypes are true. There are more exceptions now more than ever—particularly as the admissions office makes an effort to "branch out"—but come on, they aren't fooling anyone—tons of kids here are still from New England. And fifty years from now, my guess is that won't change dramatically.

Terry

We have a very diverse student body. Every race, sexuality, religion and social class is represented here. I don't think that there is a specific type of student who would feel out of place here. Most students are from "right outside of Boston" or somewhere along the East coast.

Kendall

All things considered Bowdoin is relatively diverse (esp considering its location). Most kids are from the New England area but if you work hard to brunch out you can find people from all around the country and even globe. One problem at Bowdoin is that it can be a little cliquey...this is somethign that I hoped to leave behind in high school and while its not a huge part of campus it's big enough to be noticeable.

Bevan

Bowdoin students are happiest when they're busy. But that doesn't mean we hide in the libraries doing work. Students here like to explore and try new things, as dorky as that sounds. We pretty much make sure we fill up our schedules with as many extracurriculars as we can handle.

Andy

It is pretty diverse, a lot more than I thought it would be, at least. There are definitely groups still however. The middle-upper class family background is predominant on campus, however, students do not flaunt their financial background. It seems like 3 out of every 5 people you meet live in "boston".

Anna

Bowdoin has a reputation of being a rich, white kid school and this is not completely off. But you'll find the people you want to find here. There are rich white kids, but there are also kids from every other race and walk of life. Geographically it is mostly kids from the East Coast and California. Students tend to be opinionated and political but not overbearing. The school is pretty liberal and many kids really like to work on environmental issues.

katherine

Students are generally very open and accepting. Different types of students interact with each other and are mostly liberal. It is a small community though so people know each other's business.

Erica

Bowdoin has a great LGBT group and good pro-women organitions. The race-related student groups like the African American society sponser interesting events. I feel out of place because of coming from a poor, rural area. There are lots of religious organisations and they hold good events occasionally, but there are no atheist or free-thinker organizations. There are active political groups. Left is predominant, but the campus Republicans are also vocal. People don't really talk about what they'll earn.

Paul

While Bowdoin has a diverse student body that is comparable to the U.S.'s national racial makeup but within the school itself there is very little interracial group mixing.

Zac

Everyone is VERY accepting. It is considered very strange to not accept someone. Most students are very preppy. Everyone really interacts with everyone they want to. The only table in the dining hall which is really a "table" is the sports table, but that is really it. Most students are from right outside Boston. A majority of people are wealthy, considering the cost of Bowdoin, but to me it really isnt very apparent. I couldnt tell you how wealthy most of my friends are.

omar

The financial and racial background of bowdoin college is diverse relative to other schools in maine. the school is more suited for people looking for an involved experience where they can move at their own pace.

Jonathan

For the first few weeks of school, I couldn't get over how kind people were. I didn't meet my first asshole until a month or two had passed. Coming from a private school where athletes were generally written off as jerks, I was thrilled to find out that many of my friends were varsity high school athletes or even competing on the college's teams. That being said, there is definitely a rift in the student body between athletes and non-athletes. Since athletes can't drink on Fridays or Saturdays, they usually party on Sunday and Monday night, when everyone else is studying. Since a lot of the social life is centered around weekend events, which sport events prevent athletes from attending, athletes tend to do the majority of their socializing with each other. Generally, students are very engaged in what goes on around campus. If anything, there are too many student organizations for the size of the school, and people have trouble recruiting enough support for that reason, but that's hardly a criticism. Being relegated to Maine, political activism is fairly limited, but the Young Democrats have still managed to raise a lot of disucssion and awareness about the presidential campaign. Compared to my high school, which was perhaps suprisingly diverse for a private school, Bowdoin is not so diverse. Black students here definitely tend to themselves, but other minority groups seem better integrated. I haven't yet figured out why the black students aren't more connected, because it seems like relationships between black and non-black students are common. When the weekend comes around, however, people fall back into their respective groups.

Sophie

See the big pictue.

Emily

The student body is incredibly liberal and open. I have witness no homophobia or racism on campus- I think students pride themselves in this fact. Many students are preppy or well dressed, but they mostly wear patagonia fleeces and LLBean moccasins. There is little class awareness here, and financial backgrounds are not that prevalent. The sports teams tend to stick together, and a lot of students are jocks.

Brooke

Mixture of outdoorsy and preppy

yoni

no comment

Kelly

I feel like Bowdoin is a very open campus. I friends who are athletes and friends who act, and although there may be groups of students on campus they never feel mutually exclusive. For example, there are athletes who participate in Bowdoin College Democrats or a capella singers who played on the JV soccer team with me. I feel like Bowdoin students are generally liberal and relatively politically aware, even if they aren't necessarily politically active.

Susan

Diversity - in every sense of the word is the prime initiative at Bowdoin.

Will

Don't know that anyone would really feel out of place. It's easy to find a niche without ending up in a clique. Very intellectually soft, self-affirming leftist political atmosphere, but you won't be castigated for leaning another direction. Econ majors talk about how much they'll earn one day.

Bobby

I would say for the most part Bowdoin is a pretty non-judgemental place, albeit still very liberal and New England. A lot of students tend to adopt the Maine culture as far as dress is concerned. Dress as warmly as you can! Thankfully if you are from a warm place you can cruise down to the LL Bean outlet in Freeport, 20 min away. Although it takes some students longer than others, I would say just about everyone I know has a group of friends or place where they feel they fit in.

Hannah

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.

Alex

The student body is mostly composed of upper-middle class kids from the northeast, but with a growing population of kids from the south and west. There is significant diversity on the campus, and different groups mingle together and there is very little in the terms of cliques.

Tim

While Bowdoin is predominantly white and wealthy, I don't think anyone would feel out of place. Everyone is accepted for who they are, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive. While the LGBT and racial minority communities are quite small, there is not need to stick with those groups because you feel you don't belong anywhere else.

Alex

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.

Julia

There is a real mix of students here. From Vineyard Vines to flannel and Carhardt, we've got it all. I guess what I'm most impressed with is how well everyone meshes together. There are certainly groups of friends, but everyone is just so friendly. Upperclassmen are really welcoming to underclassmen - that's the nature of the social house system.

Jessie

As said before, most people are very friendly and may appear to be similar but are in fact not. It is true that a lot of people come from the same area/tax bracket, but that doesn't mean that they are not individuals. This year I have a much more diverse group of friends than last year, which has contributed to my feeling that the student body is not homogenous. People dress casually but not sloppily (in general) when going to class, which is nice. I'm glad everyone doesn't wear their pajamas because that would be disrespectful. At the same time I'm glad that people don't stress too much about what they wear/try to dress up too much. I think people are predominantly left of the center, politics-wise. But it is not a very politically active campus - which is fine with me.

Liza

Students at Bowdoin come from all sorts of backgrounds, be it race, religion, etc. I think most people could be happy at Bowdoin, but students with a love of the outdoors would be particularly well suited to Bowdoin. That said, I know plenty of people who would rather die than go on a day hike.

Kelly

Again, the people are great, and thus the nightlife is more than sufficient for those who get off on friends and community. That's important in the cold months of the Maine winter (though in all fairness the fall and the last month of school are beautiful), and is something that has more than anything made Bowdoin my home.

Emmerson

I've met people on campus from all over, and with a certain variety in religion and socio-economic background. Admittedly, while the overall trend is towards richer people either from the northeast or the west coast, there is still some definite variation. However, most students are fairly open, so there is almost always a place for anyone to fit in at Bowdoin. Students are aware of politics and often quite active, but don't seem to be especially to one side. There are students to both the right, left, center, and libertarian on campus.

Harper

Bowdoin is a very white-bread community but is making all efforts to diversify - there is absolutely more diversity than there was even a couple years ago. No student should feel out of place at Bowdoin if they make the effort - As long as you're willing to put yourself out there, and be active socially, you'll have a great time.

Bobby

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.

Theresa

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.

Blake

Fairly diverse, but it could always be more so. Much more diverse than Maine. Walking through the union, you'd see sweatpants, funky earrings and haircuts, pearls, and ugg boots. You'd see carrharts, knitted sweaters, polo shirts, and hoodies. Most students are financially well-off, but a significant number are on some level of aid, with a good number on significant aid. It varies, but it doesn't matter. Everyone sees past that, I think.

Rachel

In terms of race/sexual orientation/socioeconomic class etc. everyone has a place at Bowdoin. Unfortunately it seems like, at least racially, minority students seem to group together. I wish that there was more mixing in this respect, but generally, everyone is accepted. The only kind of student that might not feel comfortable at Bowdoin would be someone who likest to be anonymous, especially in class. People here like to participate and speak up. Not that we don't have shy people here! It's just that Bowdoin is a great place to "come out of your shell" so to speak. Most people here are pretty liberal, but we do have a College Republicans club. There is definitely a huge private/prep school population here, but generally, people don't make a big deal about what background they're from. We certainly don't talk about money very much, at least not in a pretentious or hurtful way. And people definitely don't brag about wanting to be a millionaire after Bowdoin. Instead, we share our visions of a future filled with non-profit, environmentally friendly, world saving work.

Rachel

Bowdoin is a preppy school. About half of the student body went to private school and many of them are from prep schools. Most students are from the New England area. There is not a whole lot of diversity up in small town Maine, so coming to Bowdoin as a minority may be difficult.

Billy

Not much w. relations...Wear to class: LL Bean boots, sweatshirt jeans. Diff't students interact. Black kids, and then a bunch of tables of sports bowdoin sports teams.. Financial:well off. Students from: Maine or Mass. Some political awareness, not a ton, predominantly left. NOt much talk of future jobs. Most kids expect to do well, but right now they're focused on learning and having a good time.

Leah

Everyone and anyone can find a niche, but there is a prevalence of well-off preppy kids.

Alex

I think that the Bowdoin student body is very diverse. Bowdoin was among the first of colleges to admit African-Americans, and they maintain a consistent commitment to all different types of diversity.

Billy

For the most part, the varying groups have their own bounds, but the lines dividing are open enough to allow the welcoming of others in. Like any social situation, the students do hang out with the people they have the most in common with, but there are no barriers to these groups. People are welcome to enter and exit as they please. Clothes? Ranges on the student. Most very warm. Financial background is very prevalent, standard broke college students. Political leanings are relatively equalled out and not too highly charged on campus. And no, they don't.

Betsy

Most Bowdoin students are upper middle class kids from the suburbs. There is a common school wardrobe of Patagonia fleeces, designer jeans, cable knit sweaters, and LL Bean boots.

Morgan

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

Blake

Bowdoin doesn't have a lot of racial diversity. People wear sweatpants and uggs to class. I suppose different types of students interact but people stick to their main groups mostly. upper middle class. yes, people are politically aware and mostly liberal. Not that I've heard.

Jessica

The realiy is that the majority of Bowdoin students are white, upper middle or upper-class, and from New England. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule, but it does describe the majority. However, 99% of Bowdoin students are really down to earth. Most students wear sweat pants or jeans and a t-shirt to class. People are not really into brand names here. The majority of the students would describe themselves as liberal. I would describe the majority of students as apathetic. People do not really care about politics, and they are rarely discussed.

Blake

There is limited awareness about LGBT issues, although there are many organizations working to promote conversations about it. Mostly, people are tolerant.

Hannah

As a conservative, I've definitely felt the huge liberal presence on campus. There is some talk about breaking down racial stereotypes on campus, but I haven't come across any racist tendencies. Bowdoin is a very racially diverse campus considering that it's in the far Northeast and very expensive. There are very few religious students and the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship in particular is quite small. The LGBT group on campus is pretty prevelant, so caution is definitely advised if your views on the issue lean towards the conservative. There is a really large emphasis on community service and almost everyone has some level of commitment to a community service program at some point during the year. Interestingly for such an academically prestigious school, almost all students were involved in some sort of athletics during high school and many continue this in college. 70% of students participate in IM sports during the four years they're here and many are on the varsity and club teams. As an aside, the Field Hockey team actually won Bowdoin's first National Championship this year. It was a pretty big deal. Unfortunately football isn't very big here; instead hockey is the dominant sport and has a pretty large fan following consisting of both alumni and students.

Kim

I can't really imagine a student who might feel out of place at Bowdoin - the lack of racial diversity at Bowdoin is made up for by the many different interests of Bowdoin students. I'm a Republican at Bowdoin, and even though the campus is definitely left-leaning, I've never felt awkwardly out of place.

Caroline

Republicans might feel a little lost here.

anastasia

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.

Brittany

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!!

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