Letter from the Dean

Whitney Soule, Dean of Admissions and Student Aid

Greetings from Bowdoin Admissions,

It’s been nearly seven months since I last wrote to provide reassurance that Bowdoin is aware of the seriousness of the disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on every aspect of our lives. Since March, we are also very aware that your environment has been disrupted, not only by COVID-19 but also natural disasters and the ongoing pain of systemic injustice. You may have more questions than there are available answers. We understand, and in the midst of so much uncertainty, we are here for you.

We are questioning, problem-solving, and adapting at a rapid pace. We know that not every solution will be perfect, but we are committed to progress and to supporting our community.

Here is what you can expect from Bowdoin admissions and student aid:

Get to know us: Our environment not only functions on, but thrives on, relationships. We love meeting admitted students, prospective students, families, and school and organization counselors in person. And since we can’t meet you in person right now, we’re committed to meeting you virtually! In addition to the online tours we already have on our admissions site, we are hosting virtual livestreamed info sessions that are on general topics as well as specific ones, like student aid or the arts or athletics. You can also sign up for an interview or live chats with admissions officers, Instagram, and content that we can send to you in the mail if your access to the internet is limited.  And, we are collaborating with other colleges to provide more information on Campus Life, Faculty Research, and more.

Please be sure to join the mailing list so that you receive the content we are building—virtually or in the mail! 

Affordability: If you are a prospective student and just trying to get a handle on whether Bowdoin might be affordable, we have two price calculators available on our student aid site for you.  Also, we have regularly scheduled virtual  student aid information sessions, and our student aid counselors are standing by to answer your questions too! You can email sao@bowdoin.edu.

Applying: Your application to Bowdoin is a chance for you to tell us about yourself, to tell your story. Our Early Decision 1 deadline is November 15, and our Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision deadline is January 5th.   

As part of your application, we provide options for you to represent yourself in a way that suits you, especially when so much around you may be changing. We carefully evaluate applications to ensure we understand your circumstances, your strengths, and your potential. Below are a couple of highlights we’d like you to consider.

Testing: We were the first school to become test optional  (in 1969!). We have had more than 50 years of practice in selecting amazing students for Bowdoin who did not include test scores with their application. This year, more than ever, we know that students are worried about tests. Trust us. You do not need to submit test scores with your application to Bowdoin.

Recommendations: New this year, we’re offering you the opportunity to submit an “other” recommendation in lieu of a second teacher evaluation. The person you choose for this recommendation should be someone with whom you have had extended interaction and can speak to your personality in areas such as persistence, curiosity, problem solving, or working with others. (While you might think a family member would be perfect for this, we suggest you ask someone outside of your family.) Consider asking a friend, a coach, an employer, a community member—or it could be another teacher from any subject area. We hope this option provides you greater flexibility and opportunity to share insights beyond your classroom experience that may not otherwise be captured in the application.

Video: Try out our optional video response! This can be a fun way to insert a bit of your genuine energy into your application. You’ll receive a random question and have 30 seconds to think about your answer. Then you’ll have up to two minutes to record your response—with an opportunity for second try with a new question if you want it. You can even watch a few videos about the video response to learn more.

We’re really excited to show you who we are. And we’re really excited to learn more about you along the way.


Whitney Soule
Senior Vice President
Dean of Admissions and Student Aid