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First-year survey results: breaking down the class of 2022

September 14, 2018

Last year, when the Class of 2022 first began talking about which colleges they were applying to, 33 percent of them were not sure whether they should be saying “Bo-do-in,” “Bow-do-in” or “Bow-din.” Since then, they have learned how to pronounce the College’s name and developed dining hall allegiances—Thorne Hall comes out on top with 61 percent of the vote. Thirty-five percent of them have already acquired a pair of the iconic L.L. Bean Boots, while 33 percent of first years plan to never buy a pair. For 66 percent of first years, Bowdoin was their top choice school.

All of these statistics come from the Orient’s inaugural first-year survey, which gathered information about everything from students’ preferred dining hall to their family’s income bracket to their intended career field. The 29-question survey was emailed to the first-year class on September 3 and closed eight days later. It received 294 full responses, representing roughly 57 percent of the approximately 510-person class.

WAGE GAP?: Male students expect to have a higher post-graduate income than their female counterparts. Men are nearly three times as likely to anticipate having an income of more than $90,000. There was not a statistically significant number of non-binary respondents.

Overall, 16 percent of respondents are first-generation college students by Bowdoin’s standards, meaning neither of their parents graduated with a four-year degree. This percentage is higher than previous classes. In the Class of 2018, for example, 12 percent of students matched the College’s definition of first-generation. First-generation students are more likely to choose chem-free housing, with 50 percent of first-gen first years living on chem-free floors. In contrast, only about 17 percent of first years who are not first-generation opted for chem-free living.

Seventy-three percent of respondents either already work or plan to work an on-campus job. Ninety-six percent of first-generation students work or plan to work, compared to 69 percent of students who are not first-generation.

Nineteen percent of respondents reported having one or more relatives who had attended or currently attend the College. Seven percent of first years have one parent who attended Bowdoin, while for two percent of respondents, both parents are alums. Four percent of first years have a sibling who has attended or is currently attending Bowdoin. Other relatives, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, make up the remaining six percent. 

MONEY MATTERS: The percentage of recruited athletes from the bottom income bracket is 14 percentage points lower than the next highest income bracket. Students from families in the bottom income bracket are nearly 15 times more likely to live on a chem-free floor than students from the highest income bracket. Students from families in the top income bracket are 20 percent more likely to apply Early Decision.


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  1. Jessica Harris ('89) says:

    Of the 60% who do not plan to use loans to pay for school, is that because their financial need has been met or is it that they have no need? My husband and I are both alums, but I doubt we could afford to send our kids to Bowdoin.

  2. ‘17 alumn says:

    It would be nice to see the income brackets of students who end up taking out loans/anticipate needing to. I’ve always been curious whether there is a particular group that is more often needs to supplement with loans.

  3. Sam Lewis ‘19 says:

    Now that you’ve broken down the Class of 2022, are there plans to build them back up?

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