The Office of Admissions will debut a new program for admitted students next month,  merging  Bowdoin Experience with open houses for admitted students. Beginning Thursday, April 18,  prospective students will have the opportunity to stay overnight with a host and attend a variety of programs offered by student organizations.

Associate Dean of Admissions John Thurston said that admitted students previously had the option of attending one of three Open Houses. The Bowdoin Experience, which offered more opportunities for interaction with current students, was only open to multicultural students.
Many on the Admissions staff wanted the Bowdoin Experience to serve as a blueprint for all admitted student programming

“I think there were a lot of experiences people were having in that program that we wanted to make sure others had the chance to do,” said Claudia Marroquin, associate dean of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment.

“The Experience, we feel, does a much better job of really getting the students out to see what’s happening on campus, what student organizations do, how they contribute to the life on campus,” Thurston said.

Marroquin added that merging of admitted student open houses with the Bowdoin Experience was partially an attempt to address the criticism that the Experience left students with the impression that Bowdoin was more culturally diverse than it really is.

“There will be a lot of students visiting campus, from many different backgrounds, allowing prospective students to meet as many potential classmates,” as possible, she wrote in an email to the Orient.

“It’s always the individual student’s responsibility during any visitation program to have conversations with a broad range of students—not just the students they may have met at the airport,” Marroquin added

Sara Driscoll ’13 was largely responsible for enlisting various student organizations to hold programs during the Admitted Students Weekend. After 4 p.m., all events are open to admitted students only, rather than parents.

According to Marroquin, organizations including the Bowdoin Food Co-op and the Bowdoin Green Alliance will be hosting events, and an academic fair is also scheduled, which will allow admitted students to “really get a sense for academics beyond just sitting in on classes,” said Marroquin.

Both Thurston and Marroquin said that having so many students on campus at once will be their biggest challenge. Thurston mentioned that his main worry is making sure there were enough student hosts for all students who wanted to stay overnight.

“I think it’s something different for the campus as well to have that many admitted students all at the same time,” said Marroquin. “I think our primary thing is to make sure that students have a good experience at Bowdoin.”

Student responses to the new Admitted Students weekend were largely positive. Serena Taj ’16, who attended the Bowdoin Experience as a prospective student last spring, agreed that implementing similar programs for all admitted students would be beneficial.

“I applied to 20 small liberal arts colleges and didn’t seriously consider attending most of them because the open houses left me feeling like too much of a visitor to get distinct impressions,” she said. “Spending a full weekend here gave me an idea of what being a Bowdoin student was actually like.”