Bowdoin College Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

Madison

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.

Lauren

Students are very political aware and active. Most students wear jeans and a t-shirt to class. Students are predominantly democratic.

Taylor

i have a wide religious and socio-economic groups of friends. most racial groups hang out with each other and i feel that the LGBT scene is opening up rapidly at bowdoin. i think there is a group for any kind of student here- whether preppy and white, athletic and asian, black and nerdy. you can wear a dress and boots to a sweatsuit to class- your day, your choice. different types of students always interact, but are not necessarily part of the same friend circle. one table is the hockey table- all fun guys who play hockey and hang out at dinner for a long time while more hockey players come and go. one table is the freshman group of girls and guys who all live in the same dorm and are shooting the shit. one table is a group of res life students- a mix of asian, black and whites. one table- is a just a bunch of friends, girls and guys probably white, same year. Kids are from all over but the majority is the northeast. there is a range of rich to middle class to poor at bowdoin. there are people who are completely politically active and people who dont know/care. it is concern about making a comfortable living later in life but no one is that worried the exact money they will make or say it.

Quinn

Bowdoin is not the most racially diverse school, don't let them tell you that it is. The thing about Bowdoin's idealogy is that they TRY. They are doing everything in their power to make the school and more diverse place. Take the elmination of all loans starting in 2008. How amazing is that? Students will graduate almost debt free...it's amazing.

Alicia

Friendly and laid back. Everyone's concerned about their studies, but very few are over stressed about it. It makes for an overall unique atmosphere.

Jordan

For all the talk of diversity, half the student body is from New England, mostly Massachussetts. I have always felt like an outsider, being from Washington state. Geography plays a larger role in individual identities than I could have anticipated. I am also an individualist, and that has remained true throughout my four years at Bowdoin. As a result of Bowdoin's collective culture (nobody does anything alone here; they're too scared), I have placed great distance between myself and other students. As a warning to other individualists, Bowdoin does not embrace individuality. It enforces community and shoves it down one's throat. Maybe that's great for people looking for empathy or friendship, but it's a constant struggle for individuals to fight through the communal fog. Unless you love college culture, you'll be angered by bowdoin's student culture, and find yourself constantly saying, "These are good people, they mean well, but they need to get the hell out of my way!"

Alex

Bowdoin is very diverse for a NESCAC school, but that's pretty faint praise. A Bowdoin professor actually wrote a book called "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?", although she wasn't referring to Bowdoin specifically. There are some social groups along ethnic lines, but there are also plenty of people who are friends with people inside those groups and there's never been any tension between them. The LGBT community is small, with a lot more L's than G's. Whether you think Bowdoin is accepting depends in large part with who you hang out with -- the women's rugby teams and the theater program would probably say their friends are extremely accepting, the football team maybe a little less so. No one who's out gets harassed or made to feel uncomfortable if they're out, but I think that at such a small school, coming out is a big enough deal that a lot of people wait until after graduation to do it. All these different types of students definitely do interact, though -- the more you get involved with extracurriculars at Bowdoin, the more diverse you realize it is. Most Bowdoin students are from New England; 25% are from Massachusetts alone. A friend of mine at another school told me they had a "Rep Your State" party and I told her Bowdoin could have "Rep Your Town in Boston Metrowest" with the same number of people. That said, there are a ton of people from the tri-state area, a lot from Pennsylvania, a lot from Chicago, and a decent amount from the West Coast. There are very few people from the Midwest or the South. Politically, Bowdoin is no Vassar or Hampshire, but we are still very active. A number of Bowdoin students have gone on to work for College Democrats of America and the founder of Students for Barack Obama is a senior; she now sits on his national campaign's board of directors. There are like, ten conservatives on campus -- I think the rest are in hiding out of shame. As a public school student, I think it's incredibly easy to tell who went to private school and who didn't, but the class divide is definitely not that simple. There are a lot of international students, a lot of people from wealthy towns with excellent public schools, and a lot of students who are on financial aid. Many of the people I know who are on financial aid are not embarrassed to talk about it at all -- during my freshman year, I was not on financial aid, and I actually was more uncomfortable about admitting that than admitting I'm on it now. Girls actively compare their bargain shopping, which I always think is a good sign that we're too rich and entitled. People definitely would not talk about how much they'll earn one day -- even the ones who will earn millions would never be that crass. There are people who will namedrop or talk a little too much about their vacation house(s), but I've been surprised multiple times to find out that someone completely down-to-earth is one of the wealthier people I know. There's only pressure to dress up for class if you don't like being in the minority wearing sweats, but no one is going to stare at you if do -- especially in the morning. I will say this, though -- I didn't know much about designer jeans before I came to college, and now I can recognize almost all the major brands; I think they osmosised into my brain. There are a few girls who will wear heels to class, but I think everyone kind of agrees that they look like idiots.

Owen

What do most students wear to class?...jeans, Bowdoin sweatshirts, tank-tops, BOOTS, sweatpants, t-shirts...or if its their preference...high heels, ties, dresses, slacks...or...cowboy hats...We wear what makes us comfortable.

Ian

Bowdoin is a very liberal environment, where anyone is welcome. Bowdoin has one of the oldest African American Societies in America, the LGBT organizes an annual "Out Week" where all sexualities are recognized and respected. Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV aka "be massive") is a new and powerful organization. Students of all different kinds interact on campus almost every day. However, at dining halls you typically will see a table of white girls, a table of African Americans, and a table of athletes, but I can guarantee that people will often lean over and talk between the tables. There are a lot of Bowdoin students from Boston and the surrounding area. However, Mainers, Californians, and international students are also well represented. There are many students from wealthy backgrounds and many students on financial aid, but you wouldn't be able to tell jut by looking at people.

Kathryn

There's a lot of forced diversity, here. Admissions keeps bragging about how many more minorities they admit each year, but what they don't tell you is that black kids mostly hang out with black kids; Asians with Asians, etc. Most people are white, preppy, upper-middle class, New Englanders so if you're looking for an edgy experience, I'd look elsewhere. We're a liberal bunch, but I'm not sure if that's because people actually have convictions or because it's trendy to be a young liberal. As far as cliques go: Jocks, Stoners, Preppy sluts, Edgy (rich girls from NYC who think they're edgy because they're from NYC) sluts, Chem-free geeks, Hot Asians, Over-achieving Asians, Feminists who think they're feminists because they have sex like guys do (often and without emotion), Outdoorsy People.

Kyle

Students wear whatever they feel like. Most of the time, I see students in sweat pants and t-shirts. LGBT are well supported on campus and there are plenty of ways to get involved in educating other students and community members. Students come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.

Perry

Personally, I think Bowdoin is a very welcoming campus and that all students feel comfortable and included. I can't say I'm the best person to make that sort of judgment though, as I am a pretty typical student from New England. I think what is interesting about the diversity is not the statistics about race, religion, geography, etc., but rather the diversity of the student as a person. A hockey player can be a neuroscience major or sinc in an a capella group. The same girls who love the art history library will be cheering on the basketball team later in the weekend. Big huge burly football players will found groups based around raising awareness of sexual violence on campus. It is not only where a student is from, or what ethnicity he is, but the different niches that he fills that makes him interesting. Everyone at Bowdoin interacts with each other, and that was one of the most pleasantly surprising things I found freshman year.

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