Travel woes may affect Class of '06 acceptances
Bowdoin is not seeing the decline in applications from geographically
far-flung candidates that many American universities have noticed since
While many schools have reported lower interest levels from
students in distant parts of the country or overseas, Dean of Admissions
Jim Miller said that applications for the Class of 2006 were no different
from those of last year. "To be honest, we were expecting changes,
and we haven't seen them," he said. "The geography of the applicant
pool is almost identical to that of last year."
Miller also said that students from a wide range of locations,
both far and near, applied to Bowdoin last fall in the face of travel
uncertainty. "We're getting people from all over the place, from
places where we thought traveling might be a bit of an issue," he
said. "That was a bit of a surprise. We were worried about a sort
of regionalization of our applicant base, but it hasn't happened."
According to Miller, however, the initial similarity of
applicants does not nessecarily indicate a similar entering class. "I
still think that the September 11 fallout hasn't been felt yet,"
he said. "Parents are going to think very hard about this in April,
when students get admitted to colleges all over the country."
Parents may consider the implications of sending children
farther away to school-several long flights home each year for holidays
and breaks present new risks.
"I think that in April, when parents are looking at
admission offers, that's when the real caution will kick in," Miller
said. "That's what we're holding our breaths about."
Immediately after the attacks, there were some who were
openly concerned about traveling to school. "Right after September
11, I had two or three contacts from people wanting to talk about transferring,
one out of Washington and one out of New York," Miller said. "I
think they were looking for an area that was safer, or out of the major
'line of fire.'"
While Miller said that a trend seems likely to appear in
April decisions, he also acknowledged that the College has no evidence
of this from acceptances earlier this year. "Early Decision I and
II-we didn't see any change in geography," he said.
"We may see a pattern, but it depends on how unsafe
the world gets...it's a tough call."
Anxiety exists abroad as well and has dissuaded some students
from attending American colleges and universities. According to Miller,
this trend wasn't reflected in this fall's applicant pool.
"I have talked to colleges who have talked with counselors
from other schools abroad, and there is some concern about sending students
[to the United States]," he said. "We have seen a small dropoff
in international students, but a fair number of schools have seen some
pretty significant decline; it really didn't happen here.
"Generally, there is concern about studying abroad
in America, but that's not a Bowdoin-specific problem," he added.
The admissions office plans to continue its pursuit of foreign students in efforts to diversify, while taking safety concerns into consideration. "There's a great wealth of talent internationally," Miller said. "We do a lot of direct mailing to international students, we're planning a trip to Asia either this spring or next fall; it's something a lot of colleges are doing."