The following information is designed to provide incoming first-year, transfer, and exchange students with a quick reference source to answer the big questions about arriving on the Bowdoin College campus. You may also email for questions you may have.

For other questions and assistance, please contact Stephanie Rendall, Assistant Dean of First-Year Students at (207) 798-7026 or

Getting Here

When do I need to be on campus?

Arrival day for the Class of 2022 is August 21st, 2018.

More information about the arrival day schedule is to come.

For directions and general information, you'll find help Traveling to Campus here. It can also be found on the Orientation home page.

When does Orientation start?

Orientation Trips go out Wednesday, August 22nd and return Saturday, August 25th.
Bowdoin Orientation begins Saturday, August 25th.

Don't worry about the details; we have a great program planned for you! Orientation schedules will be provided to you when you arrive.

Is there an International Student Orientation?

Yes. International students are invited to an International Student Orientation that will take place on August 19th and 20th, 2018.

Details and invitations are sent personally to international students.

What if I get to campus before arrival day?/Where should my parents or guardians stay?

Students are not allowed in the dorms before Arrival Day (Tuesday, August 21st, 2018). If you arrive in Brunswick before Tuesday you can stay in one of the several accommodation options listed below.

There are multiple hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts in Brunswick and the mid-coast region. View some of the local accommodations.

How should I ship my belongings?

Three services—United Parcel Service, Federal Express, and the United States Postal Service—are available for shipping belongings to campus. The address you must use is:

Student Name
Bowdoin College
###Smith Union
Brunswick, ME 04011

The College Mail Center will hold your package and notify you when it has arrived. The Mail Center will accept packages no earlier than Wednesday August 15th, 2018. You can claim your package at the Mail Center window in Smith Union when you arrive. Your exact Smith Union address will be included in the July mailing.

Life at Bowdoin

What is weather like in Maine?

Weather in Brunswick varies greatly. It can be very warm at the beginning of the academic year, but nighttime temperatures may drop below zero by the end of the first semester. Expect some rain in the fall and spring and snow in the winter. You will also find plenty of very sunny and warm days. The best advice is to pack for any and all situations. Mud or rain boots and a good winter coat are strongly recommended! Warm wool socks, too!

What is there to do for fun?

On Campus

Most students do not feel the need to leave campus due to all of the entertainment Bowdoin provides! During the weekends, Bowdoin has a cappella concerts, movies, student plays, and a variety of sporting events. On Thursday nights there are often bands or performances at the pub. There are also many organizations on campus that host events during the year.

Off Campus

The Outing Club offers all kinds of outdoor trips throughout the year for students who want to get off campus and see the great state of Maine. There are great beaches within 30 minutes of Bowdoin as well as places to hike, sea kayak, surf, and swim.

Movies, bowling, bookstores, pool halls, arcades, video stores, and bars are all available in Brunswick. Portland, which is just 30 minutes away, has dance, theater, music, and movies, in addition to restaurants. Portland is also home to three professional sports teams: the Portland Seadogs (baseball), the Red Claws (basketball) and the Portland Pirates (hockey).

What is the food like at Bowdoin?

Students and staff rave about the food at Bowdoin College! Princeton Review has ranked Bowdoin #1 in the country.  In the Princeton Review "Best 361 Colleges" Bowdoin's Dining Service has consistently been ranked #1 or #2 in past years, garnering the top spot in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015! Bowdoin's chefs use local ingredients whenever possible and the college tends its own organic garden near campus. Bowdoin also scored an 'A' on our sustainability practices based on environmental choices.  

Students may eat in the Moulton Union and Thorne Dining Halls. First-Year students are required to have a full board plan, providing 19 meals per week. Students also may use "Polar Points" at Jack Magee's grill, which provides short-order food. Bowdoin's Cafe and on-campus Convenience Store are two other venues where food, beverages, and necessities can be purchased. In downtown Brunswick there are a variety of reasonably-priced, quality dining establishments, including Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Thai, seafood, pizza, and fast food. Some of the tastiest food establishments downtown Brunswick accept Bowdoin OneCard as well!

For other groceries, Hannafords, our local super-market, is a 5-minute walk from campus, and Morning Glory, a natural food market, is a 10 minute walk down Maine Street.

What if I have special dietary needs?

Should you have special dietary issues, you will find our staff concerned and accommodating.  If you have a food-related medical condition, please email Dining Director, Mary Lou Kennedy, M.A., R.D. or call (207) 725-3067 to make an appointment. Bowdoin Dining Service will work directly with you to assist you in making menu selections and making sure that we have any unusual products or ingredients available if necessary.

Living on Campus

How many roommates will I have?

All first-years will be randomly assigned to have either one, two, three or, rarely, four roommates. In doubles and triples, students will share a bedroom and common room. Quads and quints will have two bedrooms and one common room. Some of the most significant relationships you will develop during your first year at Bowdoin will be with your roommates. You will share a space in which you will study, sleep, and socialize. The success of this living experience will depend largely on each person's ability to compromise and share, and to be honest, open, and understanding. You will find your roommates' addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses on the Residence Hall Assignment Sheet included in your July mailing. We encourage you to email or call one another, introduce yourselves, and make plans for bringing items that we encourage to be shared (i.e., microwave, rug, refrigerator, TV, etc.).

Where can I go shopping?

Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Reny's, among other stores, are in the neighboring town of Topsham, which is a short drive or bike ride from campus. Topsham is a great place for all of your dorm needs. 

For more extensive shopping, Freeport is a 15 minute drive from Bowdoin. Freeport is home to the L.L. Bean Flagship Store and Outlet along with many other outlets such as J. Crew, North Face, Patagonia, and Banana Republic.

The Maine Mall is a 30 minute drive from Bowdoin, located in South Portland.

Also, Prime offers a student membership.

Are there co-ed bathrooms?

There are no co-ed bathrooms, although all dorms are co-ed. There are gender-neutral bathrooms in several locations on campus.

May I have guests in my room?

Guests are welcome in student residences for a period of up to three consecutive days. Any actions that infringe on the rights of other Bowdoin students, as those rights related to the expected and normal use of a residence, are unacceptable under any circumstances. Roommates or other residents shall not be deprived of accommodations. Guests and their student hosts will be subject to disciplinary action for failure to abide by this or any other college regulation. You are responsible for the behavior of your guests while they are on campus.

What should I pack?

It is better to pack a number of small boxes and suitcases rather than a few large ones. You may want to bring the following items or coordinate with your roommates to see what they are bringing. Below are some suggestions of what to pack:

•Informational mailings received from Bowdoin (brochures, paperwork, etc.)
•Bedding: Comforter, extra blankets, bed sheets, mattress cover, pillow
•Seasonal clothing (heavy coat, hat, boots, gloves, and rain gear)
•Laundry bag/basket and detergent
•Pictures, posters and other decorative items
•Stereo equipment
•Broom or 'Swiffer'
•Sports equipment
•Possibly a refrigerator (no larger than four cubic feet) and microwave oven

  • We strongly encourage roommates to share refrigerators and bring only Energy Star rated appliances.
  • For information about renting an Energy Star rated Micro Fridge to be delivered to your residence hall room visit
    Questions? Contact University Logistics Customer Service at (800)-525-7307 and ask for Sarah Mercuri 

•1-3 alarm clocks depending on how soundly you sleep!

Do NOT bring the following:

•Hot plate or other appliances with an open coil or burner
•Pets (yes, fish are pets)
•Incandescent light bulbs, candles or incense (Fluorescent light bulbs will be provided for FREE by Sustainable Bowdoin when you arrive on campus)
Trash can (every room comes with a trash can and recycle bin)
•Anything else that could be harmful to you or others

May I have a car on campus?

No. First-Year students are not permitted to have their own car on campus. There are, however, several environmentally friendly modes of transportation offered to Bowdoin students. 

Bowdoin has partnered with Zipcar, North America's largest car-sharing service, to offer a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to the challenges of having a car on campus. A special website allows members of the Bowdoin community and residents of the Town of Brunswick to join the Zipcar program.

Bowdoin also has a student run program called the Yellow Bike Club (YBC) which, for a small fee, provides a key to all "Yellow Bikes" on campus.

First-Year Car Exclusion/Transportation Letter

Where can I do laundry?

All first-year residence halls have laundry facilities. The cost is $3.40 to wash and dry one load of laundry. In the comfort of your room or at any computer, you can view when washer and drying machines are available through a website called LaundryView. You can leave your quarters at home, as you will use your Bowdoin OneCard to pay for laundry. Make sure you get a crash course before leaving home! The college has no contracted services with local laundry businesses.

What size sheets should I buy?

All the beds at Bowdoin are "dorm size, extra long" (36" x 80"), although twin sheets do fit the beds nicely.

Where do I get my mail?

In the July mailer from the Dean's Office you will receive a letter from the Mail Center on campus with information about your mailing address. You will share your mailbox, located in David Saul Smith Union, with one other Bowdoin student. The Bowdoin Mail Center will be open for extended hours on both arrival days to allow you to receive any packages. Mail coming to you should be addressed as follows:

Student Name
Bowdoin College
### Smith Union
Brunswick, ME 04011

Does the College provide health services?

Yes. The Health Center, centrally located on campus in the Peter S. Buck Center is open throughout the week, and their hours can be found on their website. If you need help during vacation or after hours, the Midcoast Walk-in Clinic is a 5 minute walk from campus. In addition, the Midcoast and Parkview Hospitals are both minutes drive from campus. In case of emergencies, College Security will drive students to an emergency room. Students are not expected to transport themselves in emergency situations.

Does the College provide network services and e-mail?

Yes, the college provides a high speed network that is accessible in dorms, public areas and libraries. Wireless access points are available across almost all locations on campus. Each student is assigned an email account. This email account will be provided in your May informational packet. First-Year students are encouraged to access their email accounts early in the summer prior to their arrival and check them frequently for valuable and timely information.

Computer labs are located in Searles Hall, Coles Tower, Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and Kanbar Hall. If you have information technology questions before Orientation, you can consult Bowdoin's IT website.

What about telephone calls?

Each student has their own individual, private telephone number that they will keep during their time at the College. Each residence room has a telephone. The College provides local phone service. Direct-dial long distance service (through STC) and voice-mail services are available through the College. Information will be provided by the Telecommunications Office, at (207)725-3966, and during Orientation.

What about insurance?

Questions about student Health insurance can be directed to Cathy Hayes, the Student Health Insurance Coordinator, at (207) 798-4284. Bowdoin requires all students to be enrolled in a health insurance plan while attending the College. You may either choose to purchase Bowdoin's Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan or rely on your own coverage, if comparable. All students will be automatically enrolled in Bowdoin's plan and charged the plan's premium unless you go online to waive coverage. Details of the plan and instructions for waiving will be mailed to students. The deadline for waiving coverage in Bowdoin's Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan is TBD.

An optional 'Accident Only' Insurance Policy is also available to varsity athletes who have family health insurance. Please refer to the mailings you receive this summer for this option. 

The College is not responsible for the loss of, theft of, or damage to personal property by fire or other causes.  Students and families who wish to insure student belongings should consider insurance offered by Gallagher Koster.  For more information regarding personal property coverage please visit

Where can I bank?

You can find a listing of all local banks here. The ATMs on campus are provided by Bank of America and Midcoast Credit Union. Branch offices of Androscoggin Bank and Bank of America are a short walk downtown. A TDBank is located inside the local Hannaford Supermarket, also a short walk, and has extended hours.

Where can I get my hair done and buy hair products?

There are several hair salons in Brunswick, including Pura Vida, Starz and The Looking Glass on Maine Street. Mainely Hair is in Freeport, just south of Brunswick. A few students on campus do hair as well. If you need your hair done, ask around.

For products, there are local shops on Maine Street in Brunswick, Sally's Beauty Supply in the Topsham Fair Mall, not too far from the school, and several outlet stores in Freeport. Some students purchase beauty supplies online. Some good websites include, an inexpensive site to order Shea butter, oils and natural bath & body products; , a site for ordering hair supplies and hair extensions; and has hair and body products.

Academic and Campus Resources

What about class registration and placement exams?

You will register for classes during Orientation. You will meet with your academic advisor in a small group setting and again in two separate one-on-one sessions. During the first one-on-one meeting, you will select a First-Year Seminar; during the second meeting, you will discuss and choose three other classes for the Fall 2018 semester.

Prior to selecting classes, you will attend a Faculty Panel and Academic Fair where you'll have the chance to talk with faculty members in various departments. Information will be provided to you by your Proctor and will be in your Orientation Schedule. If you want to place out of intro-level classes in some sciences and foreign languages or music theory, you will have to take placement examinations during the summer with in-person consultations during Orientation. All placement exams will be available online on our Blackboard website. Information about taking placement exams will be sent in your June mailing and is available on the Orientation website.

When do I need to buy books for fall classes?

You do not need to purchase books until after class registration! Bowdoin partners with online textbook vendor eCampus which offers the books that Bowdoin students need. A customized Bowdoin website allows you to search for your textbooks by course. eCampus lists new, used, rental, ebook, and marketplace options. Please refer to the “Ordering Textbooks” document in your June and July Orientation Mail Portal for additional details.