Bowdoin received a record-high 9,300 applications for the class of 2023, exceeding the previous high of 9,081 applicants from last year. The College also experienced a slight decrease in high school representation, which dropped from 4,383 schools to approximately 4,200.
“It’s always exciting to read applications even though there is a mountain of them,” said Whitney Soule, dean of admissions and financial aid. “It is an absolute privilege to read what is sent in. This group of 9,300 is spectacular, and if we had more room we would admit more people … [Our applicants] give me hope about what this generation is and what it has to offer.”
While it is difficult for the Office of Admissions to know exactly what causes more students to apply in any given year, Soule attributes this year’s growth to recruiting on the part of Bowdoin’s staff.
“We want to make sure we establish ourselves in areas where the population is growing,” Soule said. “The applicant pool increased geographically in the South, Southwest and West, which are areas that have been shifting demographically.”
The College received applications from 49 U.S. states (missing North Dakota), Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands and Guam. Applications also arrived from 143 different countries.
“It’s just making sure we’re mindful about promoting Bowdoin and explaining Bowdoin just about everywhere,” said Soule.
For the binding early decision rounds (EDI and EDII), the College tallied nearly 1,000 combined applicants. In the past, Bowdoin has taken slightly less than half of its incoming class in the early decision rounds. EDI applicants were notified of their admissions decisions in December, and EDII applicants and regular decision applicants will receive their decisions in the first week of February and mid to late March, respectively.
Other NESCAC schools, such as Middlebury, also experienced an uptick in applications. Middlebury received a total of 9,750 applications for the class of 2023, an increase of 5.6 percent over its record of 9,230 for the class of 2022.
“I think that as a collection of schools [the NESCACs], we’ve been really mindful [that] the population is changing and the idea of a small liberal arts college is less familiar to some students,” said Soule. “We have been good about getting out there and explaining the meaning of a liberal arts education and that it is affordable.”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the previous high of applicants as 9,047.