This year Bowdoin again reported its lowest acceptance rate in history, 14.5 percent. With a record 7,052 applicants, it is clear that the College’s reach continues to grow. The application pool consisted of students from over 3,184 high schools across the country, continuing an encouraging trend of increased geographic diversity among the student body. As Bowdoin became even more selective this year, more qualified students were rejected from the College than ever before.
Though the story of admitted students is the one most often told, those who are rejected, wait-listed, or who do not even apply to the College also deserve attention. As The New York Times recently reported, many highly-qualified, low-income students do not even apply to top schools like Bowdoin, instead opting for bigger-name institutions that may be closer to home, or that come with a cheaper price tag. Only by looking at the admissions process from all perspectives—taking into account the experiences of all applicants—can we get the complete picture.
This is what the Orient intended to do last week, when a reporter retweeted applicants’ reactions to Bowdoin’s admissions decisions, both positive and negative. What was meant as an attempt to tell both sides of the story came off as a cruel mockery of those who were not accepted to the College, and reflected poor journalistic judgment.
The mistake was a result of the Orient’s permissive Twitter policy, which we maintain in the interest of having a robust online presence. The retweets certainly did not aim to disparage individuals who had been rejected from the College, and we regret the error. However, we stand by our original intention of covering the admissions process from different perspectives—going forward, we will make better choices about how we do so.
With the new changes to programs for admitted students, the College is doing a better job of presenting a complete image of the student experience.
This April, the Bowdoin Experience—a weekend-long program designed specifically to encourage minority students to matriculate at the College—will coincide with open house events for all admitted students. In past years, Admissions has hosted several open houses separate from the annual Bowdoin Experience. In an editorial last April, this board wrote that bringing prospective minority students to campus separately from all other accepted students creates a false image of campus life, and the revised program should provide the Class of 2017 with a more representative idea of what life is like at Bowdoin. Some of the those who will attend the weekend’s events may not end up matriculating, but they will at least leave with a more authentic understanding of this place.
We are heartened to see that the College is taking steps to more accurately portray student life to admitted students. In our print and online reporting, we will continue to try to do the same.
The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is composed of Nora Biette-Timmons, Garrett Casey, Linda Kinstler, Sam Miller, Sam Weyrauch and Kate Witteman.