What You Need to Know About Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College is a prestigious liberal arts college located in Brunswick, Maine, United States. Founded in 1794, Bowdoin is known for its academic excellence, intellectual rigor, and vibrant campus community. With a commitment to the liberal arts tradition, Bowdoin offers a comprehensive undergraduate education that emphasizes critical thinking, interdisciplinary exploration, and personal growth. Bowdoin’s close-knit community fosters a supportive and inclusive environment, where students, faculty, and staff engage in meaningful interactions both inside and outside the classroom.

Bowdoin is renowned for its exceptional faculty, who are distinguished scholars and dedicated mentors. The college offers a wide range of academic programs across various disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts. With its rich history, academic rigor, and vibrant community, Bowdoin College provides students with the tools and experiences to thrive academically, personally, and professionally.


Bowdoin’s campus is located on a beautiful 215-acre campus in Brunswick, Maine. The college’s picturesque campus is characterized by its historic architecture, tree-lined pathways, and scenic beauty. The campus is home to a variety of historic buildings, including Massachusetts Hall, which was built in 1794 and is the oldest building on campus. The campus also has several natural features, including the College Woods, which are a popular spot for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. The college is also home to the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the Arctic.

Student Cohort Size

Bowdoin College has an undergraduate population of 1,915. The accepted students represent 48 states; the District of Columbia; two U.S. territories; and 53 countries. The student population includes 6.6% of international students.

Four-Year Completion Rate

The graduation rate is among the most important factors when selecting a college.  Bowdoin College’s first-year retention rate is 96%. This means that 96% of first-year students continue their education for their sophomore year and beyond. The 6-year graduation rate is 94%. This implies that 94% of students were able to graduate after 6 years.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The student-faculty ratio at Bowdoin College is 9:1. 63.6% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.


Acceptance Rate

Bowdoin College received 10,966 applicants across all three admission rounds for the Class of 2027. The college accepted 850 students with an acceptance rate of 7.7%. The acceptance rate for the Class of 2026 was 9.1%. The Class of 2027 had the lowest acceptance rate in the college’s history. The admitted class of 850 students represents all 50 states, four U.S. districts and territories, and 43 countries.

Acceptance GPA

Bowdoin College is very competitive and the average GPA of accepted students is more than 3.93.

Types of Admission

The students can apply through the Early Decision and Regular Decision programs. Early Decision I and Early Decision II are opportunities for students to show that Bowdoin College is their number one choice. Early Decision is a binding process and it implies that the students should attend Bowdoin College if accepted. The students also have the option to apply through the Regular Decision process. Regular Decision may be right for you if you need more time to get your application ready. Many more students apply for Regular Decision than Early Decision.

Application Components

  • Application: Application and personal essay, application fee (nonrefundable), or a fee waiver. Applicants to Bowdoin may use the Common Application, Coalition on Scoir, or QuestBridge Application.

  • Counselor Recommendation: Advisor’s estimate of candidate’s character and accomplishments.

  • Teacher Recommendation: An evaluation completed by a teacher who has taught the applicant either junior or senior year in an academic core subject (English, math, lab sciences, social sciences, and foreign languages) that appears on their official high school transcript.

  • Other Recommendation: This may be a second teacher evaluation (who has taught the student in any subject area) or a recommendation from a clergy, coach, community-based organization counselor, employer, peer, or community member who can speak to the applicant’s contributions to the wider community or share insights not otherwise captured in the application.

  • Secondary School Report: Information concerning the candidate’s school offerings and environment.

  • Secondary School Record or Transcript: A high school diploma or its recognized equivalent is required before enrolling at Bowdoin College. If a student matriculates at Bowdoin, the application and transcript become part of his or her permanent record.

  • Early Decision Candidate Transcripts: Early Decision I applicants must submit first-quarter or first-trimester grades from their final year of secondary school as soon as they are available.

  • Mid-Year Report OR Official School Transcript at Mid-Year: Report of mid-year grades and performance.

  • Optional SAT and ACT scores: Bowdoin College is test-optional and SAT or ACT scores are not required for admission. The average SAT score for admitted students is 1470, and the average ACT score is 33.

  • Bowdoin Supplemental Essay: The Offer of the College represents Bowdoin’s values. You have the option to reflect on the line you selected and how it has meaning to you. (Optional, with a max of 250 words.)

  • Video Response: The optional video response will become available in late October once applicants are provided access to their Application Portal.

  • Navigating through Differences: Bowdoin believes that only through building a more diverse and inclusive campus community will the College best prepare graduates to be contributing and useful citizens of the world. Every graduate of this institution should be confident in their preparation to be able to navigate through differences and in all sorts of situations. A Bowdoin education does not guarantee these skills, but it does impart a set of tools necessary to bravely enter unfamiliar conditions with the confidence to deal effectively with ambiguity. If you wish, you may share anything about your personal background not otherwise captured in your application or your experience navigating through differences. (Optional, with a max of 250 words.)


Bowdoin College offers a liberal arts education that nurtures both the intellect and imagination. Bowdoin offers over 50 majors, and students can also participate in a variety of interdisciplinary programs. The academic programs at Bowdoin embolden students to take intellectual risks, explore the unknown, test novel concepts, and engage in constructive debates. The philosophy of Bowdoin College encourages the free exchange of ideas, thriving within classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, studios, dining halls, playing fields, and dormitory rooms. Students develop critical thinking skills and embrace independent thought through questioning and vibrant conversations. A liberal arts education teaches students about social responsibility. Students learn about the importance of giving back to their communities and making the world a better place. This kind of commitment to social justice is essential for a healthy and sustainable society.

Most Popular Majors

Political Science and Government
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
European and Russian Studies
Neuroscience and Neurobiology
Computer Science

Special Academic Programs

3-2 Programs: Columbia, Caltech, and UMaine 3-2 Programs require that a student complete certain courses at Bowdoin during the first three years of the undergraduate career; students may then apply to transfer to Columbia, Caltech, or UMaine for two years of that institution’s engineering program.

Dartmouth Twelve College Exchange Program: The engineering program with Dartmouth differs from the programs at Columbia, Caltech, and Umaine in that the student completes his/her junior year at Dartmouth as part of the Twelve College Exchange Program. Upon successful completion of the senior year, the student receives the Bowdoin Bachelor of Arts degree in physics.

 4-2 Program: Columbia University also offers a 4-2 option. Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Bowdoin can continue at Columbia for 2 years and graduate with a Master of Science degree in engineering from Columbia.

Cost of Attendance

2023-2024 Cost of Attendance

Direct Costs
Tuition $64,304
Fees $606
Housing $8,488
Food $9,202
Direct Costs Total $82,600


Indirect Costs
Books, Course Materials, Supplies, & Equipment $840
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses $1,660
Transportation** varies
Indirect Costs Total $2,500+
Total Cost of Attendance $85,100+

Student Life

Bowdoin’s student life is vibrant and diverse. The students at Bowdoin College can get involved in more than  100 student organizations, club sports, and student government activities. At Bowdoin, the students also get the opportunity to better understand their own identities and the perspectives of those around them by being a part of comprehensive student-facing centers, like Multicultural Life, Sexuality, Women, and Gender, and Religious and Spiritual Life. Bowdoin is also home to several cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and art exhibits.

Fun Fact

Ivies/Ivy Day

In 1865, the junior class at Bowdoin College planted an ivy plant near the Chapel and celebrated with poetry and speeches. This event, known as “Ivy Day,” has evolved over the years to include other classes, rituals, and prizes. In the early days, Ivy Day also featured a gathering at the Thorndike Oak before a final chapel service for graduating seniors.

In modern times, Ivy Day celebrates the arrival of spring with a campus-wide party and other activities aimed at bringing the campus community together. These activities are a chance for students to build and cement friendships, and to unwind in preparation for finals and the end of the semester.

To conclude, Bowdoin is known for its strong academics, beautiful campus, and vibrant student life. Bowdoin is a diverse college, with students from all over the country and the world. The college is committed to creating a well-rounded college experience for all students.

We can help you with your college application process. Working with study abroad consultants, overseas education consultants, or, as more commonly known, college counselors, can help you plan ahead and make those high school years count. Ivy Central offers exceptional focus to help you prepare for college admissions throughout the high school years. Start today!

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