Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Bowdoin community has been working to directly address racism and injustice—in our policies, our curriculum, and our history. This is work that takes place in the classroom, in residential and athletic programming, in our libraries and student support services, in alumni events and fundraising, and in extended conversations between students, faculty, staff, and speakers.

While we strive to make all our students feel welcome, respected, and encouraged once they arrive here on campus, we also understand that the very act of applying to college can highlight systemic biases and inequitable access to resources.

Equity and Access

Below you'll find a few ways in which Bowdoin is working to ensure that our application process can lower these barriers. We want to give every applicant the opportunity to tell us what they're passionate about, what makes them proud, and what they're excited to do next. 

Test Optional

Bowdoin was the first college in the nation to eliminate the need for standardized test scores, and we did that over fifty years ago. Roughly 44 percent of the most recent incoming class did not submit test scores. You won't be penalized—really—for not submitting scores, whether that's because you couldn't schedule a test, or because you feel that your scores don't best represent your skills and potential. More about our test optional policy »

Need-Blind Admission

Your family's ability to pay for college is never a factor in determining your admission to Bowdoin. Generations of Bowdoin alumni have given generously to make sure that we stay need blind, and that we're able to meet a family's full demonstrated need. In 2008, the College voted to replace our packaged student loans with grants, helping students and families have more options after graduation. More about costs and aid » And we’ve made adjustments to our aid policies over the past few years to continue to meet the need that students have in an economic landscape that disproportionately impacts those historically underrepresented on college campuses.

Holistic Application Review

When we read an application, we see a unique individual. We don't compare applicants head-to-head, because everyone brings their own set of circumstances and abilities to the table. Some schools offer a broad range of course options; others cannot. Some students can do hours of extracurricular activities; others may need to care for family members or neighbors or work a part-time job. We look at each student in the unique context of their school and surroundings lived experiences.

Application Fee Waivers

If you are applying for financial aid, or are a first-generation-to-college student, your $65 application fee will be automatically waived. If you don't fall into either of those categories, but the fee will be a significant financial hardship or barrier to applying, you can apply to have the fee waived. Read more about fee waivers »

Our admissions staff is committed to the work of antiracism training, dialogue, and action. We also have many current Bowdoin students, from a wide variety of identities and backgrounds, who are available to answer any of your questions about life here on campus.

Much like our commitment to the common good, the work of true inclusion is never “finished”—it is ongoing, interdisciplinary, and critical. If you are passionate about these difficult conversations, and the changes they can inspire, we can’t wait to meet you.

—Bowdoin College Admissions