Dean of Admissions William Shain must have done something right with his first admitted class at Bowdoin. The Class of 2011 is both the most selective and the most ethnically diverse in the College's history.

According to Shain, out of 5,961 applicants for the class, Bowdoin accepted 1,131 students through the early and regular decision application processes. The first-year class is composed of 476 men and women who, according to Shain, were admitted under the College's most selective admissions cycle to date: 19 percent of applicants were admitted, nearly two and a half percentage points lower than the Class of 2010.

The number of first-year minority students stands at 30.3 percent for the Class of 2011, a large jump from the Class of 2010 which is composed of 22.6 percent minorities. The number of first-year students coming from public high schools increased as well, up to 57 percent from 51.4 last year.

After dozens of meals with floormates, two full weeks of classes, and hours of grueling sports practices, the first-year students have begun to gain their footing on campus.

For first year Christina Argueta '11, acclimating to college life has been relatively easy. "It feels like we've been here for a lot longer than we already have?which is a good thing," Argueta said.

"[Bowdoin] has lived up to my expectations in that visiting here, I'd gotten a sense of how friendly people are," said Julia Littlefield '11, "and coming here that has proved to be true."

Last year was Shain's first admissions cycle at Bowdoin, having served as dean of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt University since 1998. He had also previously filled leadership roles at Macalester College and Princeton University.

"This was the lowest admission rate I've ever worked at," Shain said. "But it's exciting to see a school so highly regarded, because Bowdoin deserves it."

Still, Shain admitted, "It is painful to turn away people you like and respect personally."

Shain said that with such an aggressive admittance rate, the College was able to accept as many as 30 people off the wait list. In the end, he said, it was satisfying to deliver good news to so many patient people.

With 226 men composing 47.5 percent of the first-year student body, and 250 women, the Class of 2011's male-to-female ratio is slightly more balanced than that of the Class of 2010 which, according to the College's Web site, is 46.6 percent to 53.3 percent, respectively.

Thirty-nine of the 50 states are represented in the first-year class, which also has students from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 13 foreign countries. There was a slight decrease in students hailing from New England, dropping from 40.7 percent to 39.5 percent. Texas, Shain noted, saw an impressive increase in representation, with 17 members of the Class of 2011 coming from that state, up from six in the Class of 2010.

When asked of his initial impressions of the Class of 2011, Shain said, "This is my first class, so meeting people is really fun."

Shain added that he will probably see larger trends within the class as the year goes on. "[Right now] I see the trees better than the forest," he noted.

In addition to Pre-Orientation Trips and Orientation activities, Facebook provided many first years with a sense of what to expect at Bowdoin. Many interacted with classmates on the site before they met in person. Currently, out of the 476 first years, 471 have profiles on the social networking site. Many of these students joined the common interest group "Bowdoin College Class of 2011" in the spring after earning admission.

Chester Eng '11 commented on how the pervasive use of Facebook has made his transition smoother. "It put me at ease," he said. "It was comforting knowing some sense of what these people were going to be like."

Other students preferred to keep a lower profile. "I joined the Bowdoin Facebook group," said Rohit Sangal '11, "but not the [Bowdoin] network. I participated in some of the discussion posts, but I largely kept out of the whole scene."

Argueta added that "There are always those 'Oh! We're Facebook friends' moments, [but] actually, in a way it's helpful because it helps you put faces to names and names to faces."