What Does it Take to Get Into Bowdoin College?

Strategies by School
May 21, 2020
This Picturesque Campus Offers A One-Of-A-Kind Experience Along With An Amazing Education...

Students who study at Bowdoin College come away with more than just your typical liberal arts education; they come away knowing more about themselves than many believe possible. Bowdoin is a place where students come to pursue their passions with like minded students, grow personally in a safe environment, and learn how they can leave their mark on the world. The average Bowdoin student has stopped to ask themselves “where do I fit in the story” on more than one occasion.

If this sounds like you, read on to see how to improve your chances of getting into this prestigious college.

What You’ll Find In This Article

Bowdoin College's Ideal Student

At Bowdoin College, students are given more than an education: they’re given the experience of learning and living beside peers just as passionate about learning and growing as they are. This extremely selective private liberal arts university strives to give students the knowledge and power needed to make a real impact on the world. As such, students who display high academic marks have the best chances of being admitted into Bowdoin.

The average incoming first-year student has academic scores in this range:

  • GPA: 3.9
  • ACT: 32
  • SAT: 1405

In the same vein that education at Bowdoin is more than just endless lectures and study halls, the students that fill the campus are no ordinary college kids. The diversity of the school ensures that each student brings their own unique take to the conversation. Yet, for all that makes each Bowdoin student unique, there are common values shared across campus. These values enable each student to take advantage of all that Bowdoin has to offer both inside and outside the classroom.


At Bowdoin College, students are encouraged to go beyond surface level and follow their natural curiosity. An inquisitive student will do more than just explore the Brunswick, Maine campus; you’ll get to explore yourself, your dreams, and your future as well.

  • Describe a time when you followed your curiosity and received a positive outcome.
  • What academic subjects are you most curious about? Why?
  • Do you prefer to explore your interests alone or with a group of like-minded friends?


More than the ability to be curious, the rigorous education at Bowdoin College requires that students have a passion for their own betterment and the betterment of the world around them. The ideal Bowdoin student wakes up every day with a drive to be better than they were the day before.

  • How do you motivate yourself to go above and beyond what’s expected of you?
  • Recall a moment in high school when your commitment was tested. How did it inspire you?


The third fundamental value all Bowdoin College students share is compassion. After all, Bowdoin College was founded with one fundamental mission: a commitment to the common good. From lending a hand during stressful finals weeks to creating campus-wide charity initiatives, students at Bowdoin do all they can to make their world a better place.

  • Where and how have you shown compassion during high school?
  • Why are you driven to help others? What draws you to altruism, volunteering, or charity work?
  • Describe a time where you made a personal sacrifice for the greater good. How did this change you for the better?


With 33 different departments at Bowdoin College, students have access to a vast array of majors and programs. Known for their academic rigor and intellectual challenge, these courses are designed to nurture the next generation of professionals. Some of the college’s most popular and acclaimed programs include:

  • Environmental Science (Ranked 11th nationally)
  • Political Science (Ranked 14th)
  • Physics (Ranked 14th)
  • History (Ranked 17th)
  • Biology (Ranked 26th)


Students at Bowdoin are taught to go beyond the classroom to expand their minds. Because of this, the ideal Bowdoin College student can’t be summarized by just their ACT scores or extracurricular activities. The ideal student is one who is already thinking beyond their own education, about how they can make their schools and community a better place.

What You Need To Get Accepted Into Bowdoin College


Bowdoin College accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Both of these flexible web programs allow you to apply to multiple colleges in half the time, and they’ll help you keep your Bowdoin College application up-to-date as you fulfill each requirement.

There are two important deadlines to remember when applying to Bowdoin College.The early decision deadline is November 15th and the regular decision deadline is January 1st.


Students are required to submit an official high school transcript as well as a school report that covers what subjects their high school offers. Students must also submit a mid-year report of their senior year grades.


To apply to Bowdoin, you’ll need to ask two teachers for letters of evaluation. These teachers must have taught you in a core subject during your last two years of high school. In addition to this, students also need a letter of recommendation from their high school counselor.


Within either the Common or Coalition Application, students will find a section marked “Questions.” While some of these questions or supplemental essays may be marked optional, it is always in your best interest to answer every question you can. Take the time to carefully think about each question and give a response unique to what Bowdoin College has to offer.

Bowdoin College's Campus Life


Bowdoin College seeks to offer its students experience as well as education, and their scenic campus in Brunswick, Maine offers just that. The campus’ location allows students to experience the richness of Maine during all four seasons. No matter where you live on campus, you’ll feel connected to the students and school around you. The campus is designed to feel close-knit and easy to access, with almost everything a student needs within minutes of the Main Quad.


Housing options for Bowdoin students vary, yet you’ll feel at home whether you’re in a dorm room or an apartment. Students are associated with one of eight college houses during their first year, setting up a home headquarters away from home.

When you get hungry, there are plenty of options right on campus too, from the traditional Moulton Dining Hall to Jack McGee's Pub & Grill. Transportation on campus makes it easy to walk or bring your car, but one perk many students love is Brunswick’s Amtrak station that can take you all the way to Boston!


Bowdoin designs all of its student organizations and activities to not just keep students involved, but to help them grow into the leaders of tomorrow. Students are directly encouraged to participate in the Bowdoin Student Government to guide the future of the school’s student organizations and many other important functions. Beyond student government, there’s a club for everything from the arts to politics.

Athletic students can choose to represent the Bowdoin Polar Bears in a wide variety of sports. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and Nordic skiing, among others, while women can play sports such as golf, sailing, and volleyball.


At the beginning of every school year, students are invited back to Bowdoin (or welcomed for the first time) with a large Maine-style lobster bake. This time-honored tradition is also used to celebrate the graduating class every year before Commencement.

From Application To Career: What You'll Experience At Bowdoin College


Your application to Bowdoin College should be as unique as you are and should showcase all your strengths, academic or otherwise. Make sure you tailor your application just for Bowdoin. Answer every supplemental question and submit optional materials where applicable. Above all, make sure your application answers the critical question: why Bowdoin?


When writing your supplemental essay, make sure you clearly answer the question asked. It can be difficult to keep yourself from talking about how excited you would be to study at Bowdoin or to mention the school’s rich history, but that isn’t what admissions officials necessarily want to hear. Keep your essay on the topic, and keep it simple and honest.


Your years at Bowdoin will be punctuated by the school’s traditional “Bowdoin Hello” on a daily basis, and before long you’ll be calling the campus home. Your education at this elite school won’t end when you leave the classroom either. Across campus, students are encouraged and given the support they need to become professional, talented, and intelligent young adults.


An education at Bowdoin does more than set you up for a comfortable career; it puts you among a list of alumni including President Franklin Pierce, Senator George Mitchell, and writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Outcomes of recent Bowdoin graduates look bright, with graduates landing jobs at the following companies among many others:

  • Amazon
  • Google
  • HBO
  • LEGO
  • Merrill Lynch
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Uber

Your Future At Bowdoin College

Your years at Bowdoin will be filled with self-growth. As you learn surrounded by the beauty of nature and the humble people of Maine, you’ll discover more about yourself and the world around you than you ever thought possible.

The education you earn at Bowdoin will help build the foundation for a life of growth and opportunity.

Because Bowdoin College offers such a fully-fledged experience, it is one of the most competitive colleges in the nation. Therefore, students will need to work hard on their applications to increase their chances of being admitted.

Our WeAdmit counselors know that it can be difficult to know when you’ve truly “perfected” your application, and we’d love to help ease your fears and make your application the best it can be. We’ve been in your shoes before, and now it’s our turn to help you attend the college of your dreams!

Let’s Get Ready To Give A Big Bowdoin Hello!



Need more Information?

Gain all the information you need by getting in touch with our admissions team or booking a free 30-minute counseling session.