FAQ for Current Students

Last updated: June 29, 2020

  • Updated information: The deadline for the Personal Leave of Absence process is now July 12 at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

First-Year Students | Academic | Personal Leave of Absence | International StudentsStudent Life | Athletics | Housing/Residential | CXD | Health and Wellness | Financial

First-Year Students

1. How will Orientation work?
Orientation will be delivered via a variety of modalities. Students will begin some programming over the summer virtually. Once students get to campus, there will be opportunities for small gatherings to discuss content and residential life gatherings, as well as additional online content to help first-year and transfer students understand Bowdoin, the resources available, and the variety of ways in which we are offering opportunities to get involved in our community.

2. How will I find out about clubs and activities that will be available digitally in the fall? How do I join them?
There will be a virtual student activities fair for students to sign up for the activities available. You will be getting information once the semester starts with details on the fair and how to sign up for clubs.

3. If I decide I don’t want to attend Bowdoin, can I get my deposit back?
The enrollment deposit is nonrefundable; if you choose to withdraw, you must write to Claudia Marroquin, director of admissions, at cmarrroqu@bowdoin.edu to withdraw from the class. Note: a withdrawal can only be processed at a student’s request, not by a parent or family member’s request.

4. Can I still defer my acceptance? If so, what is the deadline for making that decision? If I do, will I be guaranteed a place for Fall 2021?
If you are interested in deferring your enrollment, you will need to complete the deferral request form that is available in your application portal by July 2. After receiving your request, an admissions counselor will talk with you about it; depending on how many deferral requests we receive, you may be required to defer your enrollment to the fall of 2022.

5. How will THRIVE and Bowdoin Science Experience work?
These programs are working on the details for strong programming to meet the needs of students. If you have been selected for these programs, the directors will be in touch with you on the details.


1. What is Bowdoin doing to ensure an excellent academic experience this fall?
We have great confidence in the skill and dedication of our faculty and in their capability, supported in this mission by the commitment and expertise of staff, to deliver an excellent educational program this fall. While informed by the experience in the spring, the fall will be very different. The Continuity in Teaching and Learning Group has been at work since April to develop a digital learning and teaching model that will approach the challenge from a fresh perspective. Additionally, the College is partnering with an outside firm with deep expertise in digital instruction to work with our faculty to create outstanding digital learning experiences.

2. Will any classes be offered in person for students who are living on campus?
The one exception to the online learning model for the fall is that many, if not most, first-year seminars will be taught in person or have in-person components. We also anticipate that faculty will develop opportunities for in-person intellectual engagement for the first-year students.

3. Will students who are living on campus be able to use the library and other campus facilities?
Students on campus will have limited use of facilities, including the library and other on-campus buildings. These might include buildings with classrooms, faculty offices, and others that house resources like health, counseling, and other student affairs areas.

4. Will the fall semester be credit/no credit again?
The grading policy will return to normal. 

5. How can you ensure that all coursework and other learning experiences are accessible? The implementation of accessibility standards, including captioning, will be in place for all fall courses.

6. How can you make sure that “live” classes and other kinds of learning experiences are scheduled in ways that are fair for students in all time zones?
Building on what worked in this regard in the spring and the faculty development work ahead this summer, classes will be designed with both synchronous and asynchronous elements to accommodate students in different time zones.

7. What will the course schedule look like in Fall 2020?
The course schedule for Fall 2020 can be found here.

8. Certain classes are not easily done digitally, like studio and performing arts and labs. How are those being handled?
The Continuity of Teaching and Learning (CTL) group report will include recommendations for best practices for these types of classes and will recommend the necessary tools to make adoption of these practices possible for faculty teaching such courses. The College will invest in those tools, and the team providing faculty support and development will specifically address these types of classes.

9. Are any changes being implemented to the requirements for majors/minors as a result of this?
There are no changes being implemented to the requirements for majors/minors. If departments or programs determine to make any changes, they would go through the normal faculty channels of approval.

10. When will the fall course offering be available?
The fall course offering will be available on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

11. When will registration take place for sophomores, juniors, and seniors?
Classfinder goes live: Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Round 1 opens: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

More information can be found on the Registrar's Calendar

12. What is the Baldwin Center for Learning and Teaching doing to support students who depend on their on-campus programming? Students who managed well on campus may have difficulty now—how do they access these resources?
The Baldwin Center has a fully developed digital program called Keep Learning available to support students, including office hours, webinars, workshops, learning assistants, and peer mentors.

13. Will there be any change to the policy about transferring credit from courses taken elsewhere? If a college or university where I am for the fall semester is holding in-person classes, can I take classes there and have those credits count toward my Bowdoin degree?
If students choose to take a “leave of absence” for the fall semester, they are not permitted to transfer courses from another institution back to Bowdoin.

14. Some students may need to work to assist their families economically. Will reduced course loads be considered for them?
Students will need to be enrolled full-time at Bowdoin. If students need to make decisions about course load and other commitments, they are encouraged to talk to their academic advisor or dean to help make the choices that are best for them.

15. How will I meet with my advisor?
Meetings with faculty advisors will take place as usual, but they will happen virtually rather than in person.

16. Will there be study away opportunities in the spring semester? Will there be any changes to the study away policy?
There has been no decision about study away for the spring semester. One important note: traveling to study in a country with a Level 4 travel advisory has been prohibited in the past and will continue to be prohibited.

17. I was planning an honors project or independent study that required on-campus research. How will that work?
The majority of seniors will complete their independent studies/honors projects from off campus. A handful of seniors, approximately 25-30, who cannot pursue their preapproved projects remotely because they require access to physical spaces and resources on campus, and who can do so under health and safety protocols, may be allowed to live on campus, in accordance with the social contract for those students on campus this fall. In order to be considered for campus housing, a senior must submit a petition identifying the faculty advisor, explaining why an independent study for major credit or honors project cannot be completed remotely, and specifying the campus facilities or resources that are necessary for completion of the study or project.  Petitions will be considered by a committee composed of faculty and staff. Petitions must be submitted by July 2, 2020.

18. What happens if I am in a category of students who are allowed to be on campus but I am not able to do that?
All students will be permitted to enroll in classes online. First-year students who have been invited to be on campus in the fall but cannot be in residence and still wish to enroll in classes will be asked to complete a form that will be included in your orientation material. This decision will need to be made by July 10.

Personal Leave of Absence

Detailed information about personal leaves of absence (PLOA) and the readmission process can be found in the Student Handbook. You can also review the letter from Dean Lohmann dated May 21, 2020.

To address some frequently asked questions, you are encouraged to review the information below before initiating the PLOA process.

1. Can I take a personal leave of absence?
Any currently enrolled sophomore, junior, or senior student in good academic and social standing may request a personal leave of absence. Students on academic probation or social probation are not eligible for a PLOA.  

2. How do I take a PLOA?
Any leave of absence from the College, including a PLOA, must be approved by a dean and students must also consult with their academic advisor. To schedule an appointment with a dean about a PLOA, please contact either Kathleen King (Class of 2023) or Lynne Yanders  (Classes of 2022 and 2021).

Students should also consider who else they may need to consult with regarding a PLOA, such as athletic coaches, on-campus employers, student aid, and so on.

3. When do I have to decide whether to take a leave?
Students wishing to pursue a PLOA must complete the entire process by Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm EDT, or three weeks from the date of President Rose’s announcement about the fall 2020 semester.  Deans will be available to discuss a student's specific situation and answer questions until Friday, July 10 at 5:00 pm EDT.

4. When and how do I come back from a PLOA?
In order to resume their studies as a student at Bowdoin, students on any form of leave from Bowdoin must formally request to be readmitted to the College. This process requires a student to submit a formal letter to the Readmission Committee, which addresses what the student did during their time away from Bowdoin and how they plan to reintegrate into the campus community. It’s important to note that the readmission process is not the same the application process you completed before you arrived at Bowdoin.

Students on a PLOA continue to have access to their email address, Polaris, and other information.

Students who are eligible for readmission will be notified via email by the Office of the Dean of Students with ample time to prepare their materials. Additionally, this correspondence will provide detailed instructions on the readmission process and timeline. Typically, the Readmission Committee convenes twice a year (early December and early June) to consider student requests for the subsequent semester.

5. Am I guaranteed to return to Bowdoin in the semester that I request?
Not necessarily. Our hope is, of course, to accommodate every student’s preferred timing for readmission, but at this time, Bowdoin cannot guarantee that a student on a PLOA will be readmitted to the College for the semester they request. If it becomes necessary for the College to assess limitations on readmission, this information will be communicated, however, it will not be known until well after the submission deadline (Sunday, July 12, by 12:00 p.m. EDT). The question is not whether a student will be readmitted, but instead when they will be readmitted.

According to Bowdoin’s readmission policy, students on leave may not participate in the housing lottery or course registration until after they have been readmitted.

6. Can I review courses that will be available this fall before I make a decision about taking a PLOA?
Yes. Students will have an opportunity to review class descriptions in Classfinder beginning July 8. Course Registration will begin on July 15. The Registrar’s Office will send detailed information about course registration the week of June 29.

7. When will I know about financial aid?
Student Aid is in the process of finalizing aid packages for the 2020-2021 academic year. That information will be provided to students on aid before the PLOA deadline of July 12.

8. Will taking a PLOA impact my financial aid status?
Maybe. Depending on the length of time and other factors, a leave may have financial implications related to tuition reimbursement, financial aid, and repayment status of any student loans. Students should contact the Office of Student Aid with questions.

9. Can I take classes for credit while on a PLOA?
No. Students on a PLOA are unable to take courses elsewhere for transfer credit during their semester(s) away. Additionally, since the deadlines for fall study away/abroad programs have already passed, students who have not already been approved for potential Off-Campus Study will not be permitted to study elsewhere for Bowdoin credit.  

10. I plan to take a PLOA — may I take summer courses over the next few months at another institution for transfer credit?
Yes. However, you must have your courses pre-approved for transfer credit.  You can find more information about this process here.

11. Am I eligible for Bowdoin-sponsored programs like funded internships or the McKeen Center—or for future leadership positions while on a PLOA?
Maybe. Before taking a PLOA, students should contact individual offices to inquire about eligibility. This includes:

Students should speak with individual offices to determine eligibility for College-sponsored opportunities.  

12. Can I compete in athletics, team meetings, or practices, while on a PLOA?
No. While on leave, you are considered an unenrolled student and therefore not eligible to participate or compete in Bowdoin College athletic programs until after the last day of exams prior to the semester in which they are scheduled to return.

Although Bowdoin will not be participating in fall and winter varsity sports during the fall semester, coaches will be working remotely with their student-athletes during the fall. If you are on leave, you will not be permitted to participate in these opportunities, even if it is remote. 

Student athletes with concerns about NCAA eligibility should contact Coach Liz Grote, NCAA Compliance Coordinator.

13. What happens if my leave plans fall through? Can I re-enroll before the start of the semester?
In general, decisions will typically be binding; however, extraordinary circumstances will be considered. Students who find their plans have changed should contact their dean as soon as possible.

14. My family member is ill and I am needed to help take care of my family. Can I take a medical leave of absence?
A medical leave of absence is only available for students who need to address their own physical or mental health. Students who need to attend to a family member’s illness must take a PLOA.

International Students

1. How does Bowdoin’s decision to move to digital learning impact my legal status in the U.S.?

  • U.S. immigration regulations usually limit F-1 and J-1 students to one online class per semester that counts towards their full-time course load. However, this spring, in response to COVID-19, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issued guidance that allowed schools to make temporary academic modifications to their programs, up to and including taking all classes online during the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters. SEVP has not yet issued guidance for the Fall 2020 semester.
  • In light of Bowdoin’s move to digital learning for the Fall 2020 semester, the College filed an exemption request with SEVP to allow international students the ability to fully participate in digital learning while remaining in the U.S.
  • Dean Khuong will keep international students updated as we hear news of the updated guidance. SEVP most recently updated its guidance on June 4, 2020.

2. Does the U.S. have any current travel restrictions?

  • By means of several Presidential Proclamations, the U.S. has suspended entry to the U.S. for all foreign nationals (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non U.S. citizens) arriving in the U.S. who were physically present in the People's Republic of China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), the Islamic Republic of Iran, the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, or Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. In addition, U.S. visa services remain suspended since March 20, 2020, with limited emergency exceptions. Students can visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news.html for visas news.
  • It is also worth noting that other countries, such as Canada, have put their own travel restrictions in place. Students are advised to check the travel advisements for any country they may travel through.

3. Can I apply for a U.S. visa right now?
Global travel conditions are highly impacted and the Department of State has suspended routine U.S. visa services in most countries worldwide.

4. Are consulates and embassies open for applications?
It depends. Visit your local U.S. embassy or consulate website to confirm operating status and find information about appointment rescheduling and/or emergency services. If your F-1 or J-1 visa is expired, be aware that applying for a visa for entry could be unpredictable and could cause you to face further delays.

5. If SEVP extends its temporary procedural adaptations from the spring and allow international students to take courses online, can international students currently staying on campus be allowed to remain on campus for the fall?
In light of the sudden closure of Bowdoin’s campus during spring break, the College offered housing to all international students. Housing was extended for free through mid-August 2020. Any student, including international students, wishing to stay on campus must apply. The process to request housing can be found here via Question 4.

6. My travel endorsement signature on my I-20 will expire soon. How can I request a new travel endorsement signature?
Please reach out to Dean Khuong at Khoa Khuong with your situation. Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has made allowances for issuance of electronic I-20 transmissions and has coordinated with both the Department of State and Customs and Border Protection to allow use of electronically signed or transmitted I-20s for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. 

7. Who should I contact if I have other questions about my F-1 status?
Current international students should email Khoa Khuong, associate dean of upperclass students and advisor to international students, and first-year students should email Stephanie Rendall, assistant dean of first-year students, about their specific circumstances.

Student Life

1. What is Bowdoin doing to ensure a meaningful student life experience this fall?
The Division of Student Affairs will be working all summer to create an exciting and engaging experience for students beyond their academic coursework. These will include activities and experiences and help students build virtual communities through residential life, student activities, the Office of Career Exploration and Development (CXD), athletics, and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity. In addition, residential life staff will continue to shape “virtual” communities throughout the fall.

2. What will happen with student-led clubs and their activities? If no student activities fee is charged, will there be resources for any of these clubs?
Students who are coming to campus will be charged a student activities fee, although all enrolled students will have access to all remote student activities events.

3. Will there be the kind of lectures and programming that would be available if we were on campus? How will that work?
Both academic affairs and student affairs are thinking about how we can best engage speakers and lectures for Bowdoin audiences.

4. How will student activities be scheduled in ways that are fair for students in all time zones?
Student activities will work to best accommodate time differences. We hope to have many of the large-scale programs recorded for students to view at times that work best for them.

5. Will there be any in-person student activities available to students living on campus?
Student activities is thinking through possible in-person activities that can occur in limited numbers outside, weather permitting. We will spend the summer thinking through options and planning for how we can best make this a viable option.

6. What is expected of students who are permitted to come to campus for the fall semester?
Students who are permitted to come to campus must agree to a social contract that states the expectations laid out to mitigate health and safety at Bowdoin. This contract will include standards of personal care—including hygiene, face coverings, and physical distancing, as well as testing and tracing standards. Students who choose to come to campus will not be permitted to leave Maine for the duration of the semester.

7. What happens if the social contract is violated?
Students who violate the social contract will likely be disciplined via our social conduct standards, which range from a reprimand to separation from the College.


1. What kind of housing options will be available to students who will be on campus for the fall semester?
All on-campus students will be housed in single rooms for the fall semester.

2. I already have off-campus housing for the fall in Brunswick. Can I come to campus to use the library or other facilities on campus or to visit friends who are there?
Students who are living off campus in Brunswick will not be permitted to be on campus and will not be permitted to use on-campus resources, including the athletic fields. Athletes who are living in Brunswick will not be able to participate in any on-campus athletic practices or competitions.

3. What dining options will be available to students who will be living on campus?
Thorne Dining Hall will be open for students. There will be strict guidelines on the number of students permitted at the dining hall and the expectation of physical distancing during meals.

4. I need some of my things that were stored on campus. What is happening with student belongings that are still on campus from the spring semester? Can I get them if I need them now?
Students whose belongings are still on campus in storage will be contacted to make arrangements about their belongings and about whether their belongings can be stored for the fall.


1. How are you going to offer opportunities to meet with employers remotely?
CXD will be working with students remotely in all those services that are usually provided.

2. Knowing that recruiters will be able to meet with students in person at schools that are not going to be digital in the fall, I am worried that we are going to be disadvantaged in terms of job opportunities. How can we make up for this?
Employers will be meeting with students digitally. This is likely happening at most other campuses due to travel restrictions by both colleges and universities and employees.

3. Will you be offering mock interviews, treks, Connections events, Sophomore Boot Camp, and other skills workshops and programs remotely?
CXD will be working to provide all the opportunities it would normally provide to students via a digital platform.

4. Seniors are going to be particularly stressed about additional obstacles due to this pandemic. What should they do to connect with CXD? What is CXD planning for them?
CXD recognizes that seniors may feel particularly concerned. They will be reaching out to the senior class to outline all the services specifically for seniors.

Health and Wellness

1. How can students whose wellness may depend on College programs—counseling, the Health Center, SWAG, and more—access these support services?
All offices will be providing services. You should reach out to the specific offices to discuss your needs. Students who are new to Bowdoin will be introduced to these services in their first semester on campus.

2. Will students still be covered under the College’s health insurance policies?
Bowdoin health insurance will be offered to all students.

3. Will there be online health and wellness classes available?
We hope to continue to provide classes on health and wellness to students.

4. Will there be digital opportunities to practice our faith and faith-related events with other Bowdoin students?
Students groups, including those of faith-related practices, will continue to operate.


1. What will tuition be for the fall 2020 semester?
As an acknowledgment of the challenging economic times faced by nearly all families, there will be no increase in the comprehensive fee or tuition for the Fall 2020 semester over what was charged in 2019–2020. We will reduce the room and board charge pro rata for the period at the end of the semester when on-campus students will no longer be in residence. The fall semester fee for on-campus students will total $33,935. Those who will be off campus will be charged only the tuition component of this comprehensive fee for the semester, which is $27,911.

2. If I am fully digital for the fall semester, how will that affect my student aid package?
For every family of a first-year student that has received a student aid package from Bowdoin, and for every returning-student family that submitted an aid application for the 2020–2021 year, the student aid office is redoing the aid package relative to the new cost. We remain committed to meeting the full demonstrated need for a student to attend Bowdoin. This year, because our digital approach is specifically for the fall term, we are preparing a one-term aid analysis rather than for a full year award. We will update students/families regarding winter term awards later this fall, when we have firm plan for our approach and cost for the winter term.

3. If I am not allowed to be on campus for the fall semester, will I be eligible for any of the aid I would normally receive to help offset my unexpected living expenses? How can my family be compensated for expenses of housing me that they did not expect?
While we are not including a typical room and board charge in your student aid budget, we are including an allowance that recognizes costs a family will incur with a student living at home during the fall term. We have also included an allowance in the student budget for books and personal expenses.

4. Will there be remote student jobs available for the fall?
It is unlikely that there will be opportunities for students to work remotely for Bowdoin, with only a few exceptions. The fall semester work expectation has been replaced with Bowdoin grant for all aided students.

5. Will there be on-campus student jobs available for the fall?
Students should not expect to be able to work on campus for the fall semester. The fall semester work expectation has been replaced with Bowdoin grant for all aided students.

6. Will I receive a stipend for the amount of money that I would have earned from student jobs if I had been on campus as we did in the spring?
This year, Bowdoin has removed the expectation that aided students will earn money during the summer and for the fall term and will increase your Bowdoin grant to meet your newly established need. Therefore, Bowdoin will not be paying students a stipend for jobs this fall.

7. The financial circumstances for many families have changed dramatically due to the pandemic—and remain in flux. What do families do if their circumstances change after their aid packages have been offered?
If a family feels that Bowdoin remains unaffordable after receiving our student aid analysis, the family should connect directly with the student aid office for a one-on-one conversation.

8. When will I receive my student aid award?
We released financial aid notices for fall 2020 to students in their student aid portal (MyAid) on June 23. All aided students can review their financial aid in their MyAid portal at their convenience. Spring semester aid notices will go out in late fall when the format and cost have been determined.