After an all-time record 7,052 students applied to Bowdoin last year for the Class of 2017, a total of 6,902 have applied this year for the Class of 2018. Although the College received 150 fewer applications—2.2 percent fewer than last year—this total application pool is still the second largest in College history.
A total of 843 applications were received during the two Early Decision (ED) rounds—down from 865 from a year ago—while 6,059 prospective students applied Regular Decision. This year, 200 of the 598 ED I applicants were accepted to Bowdoin—33.4 percent of the group. The admissions decisions for the 245 ED II applicants will come out next month, and decisions for the 6,059 Regular Decision applicants will be released in late March.
This ED I acceptance rate is lower than that of a number of NESCAC peers, including Bates (45.2 percent), Williams (42.8 percent) and Middlebury (41.8 percent), but is slightly higher than Bowdoin’s ED I rate from last year, 31.2 percent.
According to Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn, the slight overall decrease in applications may have been caused by changes in the most recent version of the Common Application, such as the requirement that the application and its supplements be completed at the same time. Meiklejohn did not view the drop in applications as a problem, saying instead that if the more complicated Common App “weeds out less serious applicants, then it’s a good thing.”
Although the Common App also experienced some procedural glitches last fall that made it more difficult for students and schools to submit applications, Meiklejohn said he believes that this issue did not affect application numbers, as Bowdoin took technological trouble into account by accepting some late applications.
“There were a ton of issues for colleges, for applicants, and for high schools, but in the end, I think anyone who wanted to apply to Bowdoin has been able to apply,” he said.
The College also saw a 4 percent increase in the number of high schools from which students applied to Bowdoin. This year, 3,312 schools were represented in the total applicant pool, up from 3,186 last year.
Geographically, fewer students applied from within New England and more students applied from outside New England than last year. Application numbers went down 10 percent in Maine and 8 percent across the rest of New England. Meanwhile, they rose 8 percent in the South, 5 percent in the Mid-Atlantic and 3 percent internationally.
Meiklejohn speculated this could be caused by a greater nationwide movement away from the Northeast, pointing out that “the number of high school students is declining” in New England.