Bowdoin College

As one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the U.S., Bowdoin believes that it has an obligation to direct the education of its students toward a common good. This aim informs much of how the school approaches academics, extracurricular activities, and campus life.

One of the most impressive ways this commitment is demonstrated is via the college’s grant program. In 2008, aware that many students forgo pursuing lower-paying careers in fields like education and social work because of the prohibitive cost of repaying school loans, Bowdoin eliminated all loans for new and current students receiving financial aid. The college now covers 100% of demonstrated financial need with grants so that students can pursue careers that suit their interests and contribute to the common good.

Bowdoin is one of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the country; 14.5% of applicants were admitted in 2014. That said, the school is part of the SAT optional movement so even though a score is required for matriculation, you don’t have to include one with your application.

Academically, Bowdoin’s forte lies in its government and legal studies, the most popular major at the school, as well as in economics, the natural sciences, English, and Romance Languages. It’s pretty common for students to take classes with highly renowned scientists, scholars, artists, and writers. And with only 1,800 students, the school has an impressive student-faculty ratio of 9:1, ensuring you will get a lot of personal attention.

In pursuit of intellectually challenging its students, Bowdoin prides itself on numerous programs that give students hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom. Community-based learning allows students to explore careers in the public sector by matching them with local nonprofits. The Bowdoin Teacher Scholars program gives students the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience by placing juniors and seniors who have completed teaching minors in area public schools. Various field programs enable students to demonstrate their knowledge by partaking in research in their areas of study.

To create a more inclusive campus community, Bowdoin eliminated Greek fraternities in the late 1990s. Since then, students are assigned to one of eight “college house” affiliations, one of the school’s most unique features. College House leaders, house presidents, and affiliates work together to host events across campus, and all students are encouraged to get involved in school-wide initiatives through the Houses.

Student organizations flourish on this campus. There are more than 100 active groups, a large number for any school, but especially impressive for this small student body. Bowdoin’s Peucinian Society is one of the country’s most prestigious literary societies and holds debates concerning culture, statesmanship, and politics.

Lastly, attending Bowdoin means joining an institution that has a rich sense of American history. Notable alumni include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Franklin Pierce (don’t feel badly if you also had to look that last one up – he’s only, you know, a former U.S. president).

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