Student and Parent Information

The Mail Center strives to provide a full service offering for students and their parents.  Below is information you may find useful.  If you still have unanswered questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Mail Center via phone (207) 725-3302 or email

Student Addresses

From off-campus - use the following format:

Name of student
Bowdoin College
### Smith Union
Brunswick, ME 04011

From on-campus - use the following format:

Name of student
### Smith Union

Note: ### is the student’s assigned box number that may be obtained via the campus on-line directory or directly from the student.

How do I get mail?

A mailbox is assigned to each student and is shared with another Bowdoin Student.  The Mail Center provides students with the combination to their mailbox.  Mailboxes are located on the lower level of the David Saul Smith Union in the Bogart Court.

Mailboxes are provided for the personal use of students and are not intended to be for business purposes.

Forget your combination?

Not a problem.  Just come to the mail center with your ID and we will provide it to you.

Incoming Mail (originating from off campus)

  • Mail and parcels are received from all service carriers Monday - Saturday. 
  • Letters, magazines and newspapers are put into your mailbox usually by 3:00 p.m. each weekday and by 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Package Notification and Pickup

All items too large to fit into your mailbox, and all special items such as express, certified or registered mail, are logged into our recording system.

Once all packages are logged in, package notice cards are printed and placed in your mailbox at approximately 2:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

An email is also sent notifying you that a package has arrived and that you should check your mailbox for a Package Notice card.

Bring the Package Notice card to the Mail Center service counter to pick-up your item(s).

Campus Mail (originating from on campus)

  • Mail dropped off at the mail center by 10:00 a.m. will be processed and placed in student boxes that day. 
  • Mail picked up at departments around the campus will be placed in student mailboxes by the end of the same business day.

Mail Forwarding

Mail is forwarded for up to twelve months after a student has graduated or left the college.   We also forward mail for students during the winter and summer breaks and for longer periods when away (i.e. student is away but still enrolled).

  • Unless an alternate address is provided, mail is forwarded to the official ‘home of record’ address on record with the Office of the Registrar.
  • Forms to notify the mail center of your alternate address are placed in student mailboxes prior to the winter and summer breaks.  At times other than these, please speak with a member of the Mail Center staff.
  • If you are not returning to Bowdoin, please be sure to update your permanent address with service providers (banks, credit card companies, magazines, etc.), notify your family members and fill out an on-line change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service.
  • After twelve months of forwarding, received mail will be returned to the sender.

Can I change my forwarding address by email?

Yes, except for the winter and summer breaks.  For these two you will need to fill out the mail forwarding card that is placed in all student mailboxes prior to these breaks. 

If you want to change your forwarding address, please send an email to and include your name, Bowdoin ID#, current address, new address, and effective date. 

How can I reduce the amount of unwanted mail I receive?

The following suggestions may be utilized if you would like to reduce the amount of unwanted mail.  This does not affect mail or stuffings originating from within the college.

  • Contact specific companies you no longer do business with and ask that you be removed from their mailing list.  Many have a link for this option on the customer service section of their website.
  • The Direct Marketing Association provides a website called DMAChoice allowing you to register as someone not wanting to receive random mailings or email solicitations.
  • Visit the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse for additional suggestions.

Fax Services

The Mail Center provides FAX services for students.  The following guidelines apply:

  • Students may send faxes – both domestic and international – during normal business hours.  There is a small charge per page for sending faxes.
  • Students may receive faxes at the Mail Center.  The FAX number to use is (207) 725-3123 and be sure to ask the sender to include your name and SU box number on the cover page.

Helpful Tips and Cost-saving Ideas

  • To ensure timely receipt of your mail and packages, always use the correct address format. 
  • Use the most cost-effective shipping method - USPS Priority mail instead of express, First-class instead of Priority mail, and Media mail instead of First-class.
  • Use the smallest package or envelope that is practical for your mail piece.  Whenever possible, fold your outgoing mail and use a #10 business envelope rather than a larger, flat style.
  • The Mail Center has a variety of free recycled boxes for your shipping needs as well as a standard selection of new shipping envelopes and boxes available for purchase.  USPS Priority Mail and Federal Express envelopes and boxes are available at no charge if they are being used for those services.
  • Use post-cards for short messages or announcements.  The cost is about 1/3 less than using an envelope.
  • To avoid potential damage to the envelopes and contents, use only ‘peel-n-seal’ or self-stick flap large envelopes, rather than the clasp type.
  • If express is needed, use the lowest level of service available to accomplish your delivery objective (two-day instead of overnight, afternoon delivery instead of morning).
  • Only request a signature on express when absolutely necessary.  There are extra charges for signatures at residential addresses and requesting one may delay delivery.
  • Fax the information when time is critical rather than use express.

Guidelines for Addressed and Non-addressed Mailings to Students

It is important that you contact the Mail Center as part of the planning for your mailing.

Basic Information

  • Minimum size - 3.5” x 5”
  • Thickness – no single sheets unfolded (must be at least a half-fold).
  • For mailings to more than 25 students, please submit the entire mailing in box order.
  • For special occasions where candy or food might be distributed, please discuss in advance with the Mail Center staff.


  • Addressed to individuals with name and box number on item being mailed.
  • For mailings of more than 25 students, please submit entire mailing in box number order.  If more than 50 students in mailing, please stop by the Mail Center and we can provide letter trays to assist with your preparation.
  • These can be dropped off at the Mail Center and will be processed along with the daily mail.


  • Non-addressed items containing identical information going to an entire class or to all students.
  • A 24-hour notice is required if you are planning a student stuffing.
  • Stuffings are handled on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • There is a $5 chargeback per class (ex. An all-student stuffing would cost $20).
  • Meeting announcements and special event notices should be placed on the Bowdoin Calendar rather than placed in student mailboxes.
  • The Mail Center only handles student stuffings or mailings that are directly related to the business of the College.

Need a hand to move a large box? (Hand truck availability)

The Mail Center has three hand trucks available for use by students and departments.   

Hand truck use guidelines:

  • Hand trucks may be checked out on weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for half an hour at a time. If you need more time, please speak to the Mail Center supervisor in advance.
  • Residence hall and contact information is required as part of the lending process.

Packing Tips

  • Use packing or shipping tape.  Duct, masking, cellophane, and medical tapes are not meant for shipping. Packing tape is available at the Mail Center.
  • Fill the box to the top or use packing materials to fill the void.  Pack it tight and full to prevent damage to the package.
  • Place packing peanuts, bubble wrap, bubble pillows or other soft packing material on all sides to protect delicate equipment (e.g., computers, stereos, TVs).
  • For international shipments, keep a list of the contents and their value.
  • Put adequate insurance on each box to cover the value of the contents (you will need to demonstrate that value if you have to place a claim, so be realistic).  UPS shipping includes the first $100 of insurance.  There is a small charge for additional insurance.
  • You need to bring your shipping items to the Mail Center.
  • We will help you label the box when you get here, so be sure you come with the full address and phone number of the recipient.  Place this same information inside the box as well. 
  • Make sure the box is adequately taped.  You may also bring it to the Mail Center where we have tape for your use. 
  • If you have a lot of books to ship, we can help determine the best value for your shipping needs between ground UPS and U.S. Postal Service Media Mail.