Location
Brunswick, ME
Undergrads
1,831
Tuition
$44,118
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 708 total reviews with an average rating of 4.0

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4 College Freshman

Nightlife: The school does a good job of bringing in musical acts and theater shows. Portland is a 30-minute ride away for those who have cars. Don't be fooled, though, the most common nightlife activity here is drinking.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Athletics: Good Sports Teams, Unenthused Fans – Bowdoin has very good sports teams for a D-III school, and it seems like every other kid here is a student-athlete on a varsity team. That said, few people other than athletes' friends come to the games. Most people do come to the Colby v. Bowdoin hockey game, though.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Bruswick Maine Is Full of Mediocre Restaurants – Options include Japanese, Mexican, Thai, and Indian. There is a good variety, but we are in Maine-this is not NYC. Student favorites include Frontier, a crunchy sandwich shop in a loft, and Gelato Fiasco, which serves gelato, even in the dead of winter.

4 High School Student

Overall Experience: Academics Are Great, Social Life Can Get a Bit Dull – Academics at Bowdoin College are everything a liberal arts education boasts of. Classes are small, professors are (for the most part) engaging and always willing to help, and the course selection is broad enough to delight everybody. Even as a freshman, I took a 200-level history class that had discussion sections with the professor, in which 10 of us would just sit around and talk about the readings. The work is challenging but rewarding. It can overwhelm you if you're not careful, though! Socially, life revolves around beer drinking. Freshmen and sophomores frequent social house parties, while upperclassmen generally have smaller gatherings in campus apartments. If you're not 21, there's not much to do off campus. But that's small-town Maine. The benefits of where we're located are plenty, however, as the Outing Club is a huge organization with plenty of funding. Hikes, white-water rafting, backpacking, sea kayaking-we have it all.

2 people found this useful Report
4 High School Student

Facilities: Great Health Center and Student Union – A new health center was just built that has a great gym and also houses athletic offices and the health center. The libraries are decent; they have plenty of carrels to study at, and they usually have the books you need. If they don't, Bowdoin can easily get the books from another NESCAC school, especially Bates or Colby. The exchange program is great, and books arrive within a few days. Smith Union is a great place to hang out or study, although sometimes it gets a little over-crowded.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Campus Strictness: Security Loves Us, We Love Them, and We All Hate BPD – If we can ignore the police for a little bit and focus on Bowdoin, we're an incredibly safe campus. Yes, the rules are stricter than at most campuses (no hard alcohol, no drinking games), but these are pretty uniformly not followed. That said, I think we drink safer because of them-you do have to be smarter to avoid getting in trouble. Security's focus is keeping us safe, though. We have the lowest hospitalization rate in the NESCAC because we trust security and will call them when somebody might need help. I have a shirt with the face of the director of security, who we all love, that says "What wouldn't Randy do?" However, BPD doesn't get the same love. They are actively out to get you, which is making partying less and less safe as people start to avoid calling security for fear of BPD and drink in their rooms rather than in public spaces.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Guys & Girls: Great Girls, Range of Guys – The girls at Bowdoin tend to be pretty, fit, and well-dressed (although not super fashion-forward). The guys range a bit more, and by senior year, many of the ones you'd want to date are in relationships. Still, there's lots of great eye-candy and hook-up material. We spend a lot of time complaining about the lack of a dating scene (everybody is either into hooking-up or in a married-type relationship, apparently), but anybody who shows initiative can have what they want.

2 people found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Athletics: Almost Everyone Plays a Sport – Nearly every student plays a varsity, JV, or IM sport, and the social scene is often dominated by athletes. There is a fair amount of school spirit, but the favorite team by far is the hockey team. Football and hockey bring out the most students for their games, but many support all the teams on campus. The lacrosse team has the most popular off-campus house. The facilities, including the brand new hockey arena and fitness center, are among the best in Division III schools.

3 Recent Alumnus

Off-Campus Housing: I have a few friends who live off campus but there are very limited places to live other than the few houses that are regularly rented to students. The farther location from campus and the prospect of dealing with Brunswick Police are turnoffs for a lot of students considering living off campus. That being said, there are a few solid places to live off campus for fairly reasonable prices.

1 person found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Housing: Great Freshman Dorms, Decent Upperclass Housing – Freshman dorms are incredible-great living spaces in recently renovated buildings in the center of campus. Upperclassman apartments and dorms are decent and everything is pretty close to campus. Brunswick apartments is a great spot during the spring when people are partying on the quad. Other than the social houses, which are most often occupied by sophomores, there aren't a whole lot of options for living in a house with a bunch of friends.

3 College Junior

Parking: Plenty of spaces – Tickets issued by the College are expensive ($25) versus the $10 fees from the town. The permit cost is really low, and you will definitely have somewhere to park, it just may be a five-minute walk from your dorm. You won't need to drive to classes, and if you did, there wouldn't be anywhere close to park.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Transportation: Mind you, sometimes you have to do some research looking into bus schedules, but it isn't that hard to find transportation. The bus comes every Friday, which I suppose can be annoying for individuals who are ready to leave Wednesday. Also, we have a train and plenty of taxis available. Plus, students are always willing to help you out and give you a ride if you are willing to pitch in with the gas money.

3 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Very Minimal Drug Scene, Except for Adderall – I don't hear word of barely anyone doing drugs on campus. The only exception is apparently during finals period, when more than 30 percent of Bowdoin students have admitted to illegally using Adderall to achieve a hyper-aware state.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Computers: Huge Mac Monitors and Personal Desks – Everyone has their own desk and a huge Macintosh computer, which has dual capability of Mac and Windows. They're fairly speedy, although they take some time to load, which can be annoying if you are in a hurry. Also, unless it is exams time, you often won't have much company, which is a good thing for me. And printing is free.

4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Strictness: Pretty Lax – The local police turn over most issues to campus security. Violating the hard alcohol policy usually just results in a meeting with the dean and possibly a letter home. The academic honor code is not a major part of campus, but if violated, can result in some pretty serious punishments (suspension or expulsion).

1 person found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Guys & Girls: Everyone is athletic – Girls here are decent-not the best looking, not the worst looking. Everyone here is pretty athletic, so that contributes to the overall attractiveness of students.

2 people found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: Brunswick isn't for those looking for the big city, but it offers more than adequate options for college students when it comes to shopping and eating. We have tons of restaurants near campus. Freeport is a short 10-minute drive and has great bargain outlet stores, and Portland is about half an hour away. Boston is a little more than two hours, so if you would like to drive, you can still get the benefits of a large city.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Diversity: In recent years, Bowdoin has made a concerted effort to increase diversity on campus. Students of various racial and ethnic backgrounds are a common sight on campus, and there is a strong LGBTQ community. The College frequently sponsors lectures and discussions on issues of diversity. The administration has made an effort to make a Bowdoin education accessible to people of all economic backgrounds, but the majority of students are still solidly middle or upper-middle class. Politically, liberals definitely have a large majority on campus, but there is a small and vocal conservative minority.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Bowdoin puts a lot of effort into keeping its facilities up-to-date and in good repair. Last year saw the opening of a beautiful new ice arena, and this year a new three-story health and fitness center, including enough cardio machines to meet demand during even peak hours, lots of weight machines and free weights, and a two-story climbing wall for enthusiasts or those interested in learning. There are four libraries, each with a different focus. One focuses on humanities, another on the sciences, a third on art, and the last on music. The student center is quite nice, featuring a grill/pub, cafe, and convenience store. Since the opening of the new fitness center, one room of the old fitness center has been converted into a game room and the other has been converted into a study space. General campus aesthetics are fairly typical New England college, with a few notable exceptions.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: In General, Campus Is Very Safe – I have never felt unsafe on Bowdoin's campus, even when walking around late at night. Pathways are well-lit and blue-light phones are plentiful, not that I or anyone I know has ever needed one. The staff does a pretty good job of keeping the pathways clear of snow and ice in the winter, though at times you still have to be careful. With drinking, campus security is more concerned with making sure students are safe than punishing violators of the alcohol policy. Bike theft can be a problem sometimes-definitely do not leave your bike unlocked for any length of time.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Surprisingly Diverse – In "nowhere" Maine, you still get Indian, Thai, Mexican, Italian, the best gelato on the planet, and much more within walking distance of Brunswick. Prices range a lot, but the cheap food is still great. Local eateries do a lot of stuff with the school for special discounts and such. Bombay Mahal and Gelato Fiasco are musts.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Academics: The Gov. Department – Bowdoin is ranked No. 1 in the world by the London School of Economics for its Gov. program. There are brilliant professors, great classes, and a lot of connections abound. Be prepared to work hard for a genuinely rewarding experience.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Transportation: Cars Are Useful but Not Necessary – I do not really need a car. However, when I do want to go shopping for fun, I need a car to get to a mall or outlet. The Zipcar is helpful when you want to drive but don't want the hassle of having a car with you-especially for freshmen who can't have cars on campus.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Nightlife: There are one or two parties on Friday and Saturday nights. It's laid-back here, and unlike some bigger schools, there are not 10 parties going on at a time. However, there are options, whether to go to a party, hang out at the pub, or just chill in your bedroom. I personally like this because it allows me to have a few options if I do want to go out, but it is not so overwhelming that I feel forced to go to a party every weekend. Not everyone here goes to parties. The drinking scene does not really affect me. If you choose to drink, that's possible, but if not, it's a not a social pressure. I personally do not drink at the parties, but I do drink in small gatherings with friends. Security is great about taking care of us, and since the parties take place on campus, there is no need for transportation. However, we do have Safe Ride shuttles that transport us to any point on campus if we do feel the need. And it's FREE.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Transportation: Safe Ride is great for getting around campus. Though it can be in high demand on a big party night, the Bowdoin Shuttle is relatively convenient. Transportation back home over break is great if you can get on the bus that stops right on campus (Concord Trailways).

1 person found this useful Report
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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Danica Loucks
Hometown
Hamilton, Mont.
Major
Probably Sociology and German
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College is a place where people from many different backgrounds come together, so it would be impossible to meet every desire of every student, and it's doubtful that any university or college could achieve a perfect environment with no area for improvement. However, at Bowdoin, a strong majority of the students say they are glad they made the decision to come here. Even those who initially didn't feel comfortable at Bowdoin admit to eventually developing a strong fondness for the school. And even when certain administrative procedures or requirements don't seem to make sense, the discourse that develops from these issues only adds to the vibrancy of Bowdoin's ongoing intellectual conversations. Bowdoin represents a place for students to experience a new way of seeing and interpreting life—students here come to realize that attending college is not just about going to classes, participating in sports, and partying on weekends, but it’s about doing everything with passion, determination, and the ability to give back.

Many select Bowdoin as their first-choice school because of the intimacy between the administrators, faculty, coaches, alumni, and students. Plus, the resources available are remarkable. The picture Admissions presents to high school students is not accurate in all aspects because there is so much more to Bowdoin that cannot be portrayed in brochures and on websites, but when most first-year students finally experience Bowdoin up close and personal, their love for the school grows. Students here are subject to constant busyness and often stress, yet the rewards of applying themselves passionately to life at college make that stress a beneficial one. Being a Polar Bear is more than hating the Panthers or Mules—it’s about honoring the faculty and coaches, as well as the entire experience, the past, the future, and interactions you are sharing with your peers. The best things about going to college here is the confidence you will gain in yourself to do anything you dream and the knowledge and skills you need to achieve those dreams.

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