Early Decision

Early Decision (ED) is an application program designed for students who believe Bowdoin is their top choice for college. ED is a "binding" option; that is, if admitted, a student is required to enroll at Bowdoin, and to withdraw applications from other schools.

Early Decision Options

ED applicants to Bowdoin may apply under one of two programs:

  • Early Decision I (application deadline: November 15)
  • Early Decision II (application deadline: January 1) 

The only difference between EDI and EDII is the deadline. The same selection criteria are used for both programs, both are binding, and both expect that an applicant will enroll if admitted.

Early Decision Agreement

Candidates for either ED program agree that they will enroll at Bowdoin if admitted. ED candidates may file Regular Decision applications at other colleges, but only with the understanding that (if they are admitted to Bowdoin under Early Decision) these will be withdrawn and that no new applications will be initiated.

It is a violation of the ED Agreement to file an Early Decision application at two separate institutions simultaneously.

Responsibility for understanding and complying with the rules of Early Decision rests with the candidate. Should an ED candidate violate the provisions of the program, the College may withdraw its offer of admission and financial aid.

How does Financial Aid work if I am applying ED?

Students admitted to Bowdoin through Early Decision are expected to enroll, assuming that the financial aid package is appropriate.

ED admitted students who have demonstrated financial need will receive a financial aid package. The same need-based aid formula is used for all applicants, regardless of whether they are applying under Early or Regular Decision. Students are notified of the amount of their awards when they are accepted.

All ED candidates applying for aid should submit the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and all documents requested on their Financial Aid Checklist no later than November 15 for EDI and January 1 for EDII.

For further instructions on filing for financial aid, please visit the Student Aid website.

If I apply ED, what decisions might I expect?

The Admissions Committee will make one of three decisions on each Early Decision application:

  1. Admit
  2. Defer
  3. Deny

Students admitted under an ED program are expected to enroll at Bowdoin and to withdraw their applications to other institutions.

If the decision on an application has been deferred, that application will be reviewed during the Regular Decision round. If an ED deffered student is ultimately admitted to Bowdoin Regular Decision, he or she is not obligated to enroll.

Students denied Early Decision may not apply again under Regular Decision.

What percentage of the first-year class does Bowdoin enroll through ED?

In recent years, Bowdoin has enrolled between 41 and 43 percent of its entering class through ED.