Bowdoin College

2014 Quick Stats
5700 College Station

Brunswick, ME 04011-8448

Phone: (207) 725-3000
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Jan. 1
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#4 Overall Score: 92 out of 100. National Liberal Arts Colleges

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Bowdoin College is a private institution that was founded in 1794. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,839, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 205 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Bowdoin College's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 4. Its tuition and fees are $45,446 (2013-14).

Bowdoin College is located in the coastal New England town of Brunswick, Maine. The Bowdoin Polar Bears compete in 31 varsity sports in the NCAA Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference. Bowdoin has nearly 100 student organizations. One of the largest and most active groups is the Outing Club, which offers 100 excursions each year. Peucinian Society, founded in 1805, is one of the oldest literary and intellectual societies in the country, with alumni including poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Bowdoin abolished fraternities in 1997 and replaced them with a system of college-owned social houses. Freshmen are required to live on campus and are assigned to a college house that provides residential social activities.

Bowdoin was a men’s college until 1971, when the school admitted its first female students. It was also one of the first selective schools to make the SAT and ACT optional on its application in 1969. More than half of Bowdoin students study abroad for a semester through more than 100 affiliated academic programs. Notable alumni include former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Melville Weston Fuller, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, former U.S. President Franklin Pierce, and human sexuality and gender researcher Alfred Kinsey—subject of the 2004 biographical film bearing his surname.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

A liberal arts education at Bowdoin is not about being small and safe; it is about having the support to take surprising risks. That means caring more about the questions than giving the right answers, discovering you are good at something you did not think was your strength and making connections where none appear to exist. Bowdoin's curriculum offers a bold blueprint for liberal education designed to inspire students to become world citizens with acute sensitivity to the social and natural world. Its interdisciplinary focus encourages students to make connections among subjects, discover disciplines that excite their imaginations and develop keen skills for addressing the challenges of a changing world. Bowdoin students achieve at the highest levels but also lead balanced lives. Campus visitors frequently comment on how friendly everyone at Bowdoin is to visitors and how happy everyone seems at Bowdoin. This impression is supported by high retention, graduation and alumni giving rates. The connection to place is vitally important to the educational, social, service and recreational opportunities at Bowdoin. Maine is much more than the College's address. A Bowdoin education is best summed up by "The Offer of the College": To be at home in all lands and all ages; To count Nature a familiar acquaintance, And Art an intimate friend; To gain a standard for the appreciation of others' work, And the criticism of your own; To carry the keys of the world's library in your pocket, And feel its resources behind you in whatever task you undertake; To make hosts of friends ... Who are to be leaders in all walks of life; To lose yourself in generous enthusiasms, And cooperate with others for common ends. This is the offer of the college for the best four years of your life. --Adapted from the original "Offer of the College" by William DeWitt Hyde, President of Bowdoin College, 1885-1917.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1794
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar semester
Setting suburban
2012 Endowment $902,364,000


When applying to Bowdoin College, it's important to note the application deadline is January 1, and the early decision deadline is November 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due January 1. The application fee at Bowdoin College is $60. It is most selective, with an acceptance rate of 15.8 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity most selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 15.8%
Application deadline January 1
SAT/ACT scores must be received by January 1

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Bowdoin College is 9:1, and the school has 71.6 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Bowdoin College include: Political Science and Government, General; Economics, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; History, General; and English Language and Literature, General. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 96 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 9:1
4-year graduation rate 91%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Political Science and Government, General 20%
Economics, General 14%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 10%
History, General 8%
English Language and Literature, General 7%

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Student Life

Bowdoin College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,839, with a gender distribution of 50.2 percent male students and 49.8 percent female students. At this school, 92 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 8 percent of students live off campus. Bowdoin College is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 1,839
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity N/A
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority N/A
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Bowdoin College offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, women's center, placement service, day care, health service, and health insurance. Bowdoin College also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Of the students at Bowdoin College, 40 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Bowdoin College.

Students who have cars on campus 40%
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Bowdoin College, 46.8 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $36,492.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $45,446 (2013-14)
Room and board $12,388 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

College Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges - Narrow your search with the U.S. News rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergrad liberal arts education.

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