TO BE AT HOME in all lands and all ages;
To count Nature a familiar acquaintance,
And Art an intimate friend;
To gain a standard for the appreciation of others’ work
And the criticism of your own;
To carry the keys of the world’s library in your pocket,
And feel its resources behind you in whatever task you undertake;
To make hosts of friends...
Who are to be leaders in all walks of life;
To lose yourself in generous enthusiasms
And cooperate with others for common ends —
This is the offer of the college for the best four years of your life.
Adapted from the original “Offer of the College”
by William DeWitt Hyde
President of Bowdoin College 1885 - 1917
|Government and Legal Studies
Bowdoin received its charter on June 24, 1794, opened on September 2, 1802, and the first classes began in Massachusetts Hall the next day, with eight students in attendance. Notable early graduates include authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, President Franklin Pierce, Chief Justice Melville Fuller, House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed, abolitionist and editor John Brown Russwurm, and scholar and Civil War hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. More recent graduates include Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, American Express CEO Ken Chenault, Harlem Children’s Zone President Geoffrey Canada, Obama Middle East Envoy Senator George J. Mitchell, and Netflix founder Reed Hastings. Bowdoin became coeducational in 1971.
Bowdoin's academic program is second to none. As one guidebook put it, “The workload is one step shy of overwhelming.” Yet our students do not brag about how hard it is. Rather, they talk of close ties to their professors, the enthusiasm of their peers, and how exciting the Bowdoin classroom is.
Bowdoin students match the best anywhere. They are high-powered intellectually, but “competitive” is a word never used by Bowdoin students to describe their classmates. We may well be one of the most collaborative groups of truly smart people you will find on a college campus.
Bowdoin students are ambitious. They have high aspirations in a variety of fields including industry, finance, the arts, science, and technology. Still, they enjoy college in the present tense, for its own sake, and their broad notion of success is bolstered by two centuries of commitment to pursuing the common good.
Bowdoin students meet the whole world during their four years at Bowdoin. The community on campus is composed of students from 49 states and 26 different countries. Our generous financial aid program enables all admitted students to graduate without loans.
We provide this profile of the entering first-year class to give you a glimpse into the high school achievements of enrolling students at Bowdoin. Numbers alone can never provide a complete picture of Bowdoin students, and no individual student is described by an average or median figure. Similarly, the Admissions Committee avoids relying on numbers and statistics to guide our selection process. Rather, Bowdoin takes a thorough and holistic approach that gauges the academic and personal contributions each student has the potential to make to Bowdoin’s community. We hope that this profile will help students, parents, and counselors understand the overall profile of the applicant group; we encourage interest and applications from a wide variety of students including, but not limited to, those whose grades, scores, and other standard measurements fit neatly into the profile.
• 51% men, 49% women
• 47% receive financial aid
• Average grant (for all enrolled students for 2009–2010): $34,070
• 12% receive Federal Pell Grants
• 61% from outside of New England
• 31% students of color
• 6% are non-U.S. citizens and/or have a home address abroad
• 11% Maine residents
• 740 students applied Early Decision for the class of 2013; 219 enrolled.
• 33% growth in applications in last ten years ; (11% growth in last five years).
Testing for Class of 2013 (for the 83% of the class who submitted testing)
• 510 students representing 396 high schools
• Over 83% finished in the top 10% of their class
• 57% from public schools
• 43% from independent and parochial schools