Last November, the College announced a policy to increase the number of veterans that apply and are admitted to each graduating class. Ten veterans in total submitted applications this year, and two were accepted as transfer students. They have until May 15 to decide whether to accept a spot at Bowdoin.
Before the initiative was announced, it was not uncommon for Bowdoin to receive a few veteran applications each year, yet few chose to attend. Without a cohort of veteran students on campus, admissions officers found it difficult to address prospective students’ questions and concerns about campus life. The College thus launched a program to market itself to veterans or assist in the transition from combat to classroom.
The initiative to welcome veterans to campus began well over a year before the start of this year’s cycle of transfer applications. The first step was taken last year when Bowdoin partnered with the Service to School program, which provides veterans free application counseling and mentoring.
Ryan Ricciardi ’00, associate dean of admissions, managed the project from the start, which involved creating a working group with staff from the Office of Student Aid and the Office of the Registrar to address concerns veterans might face on campus. Ricciardi also attended college fairs at the Pentagon and in Miramar to directly connect with veteran students.
Moving forward, the College hopes news of the initiative and positive campus experiences will encourage more veterans to apply. As with any new program, it will take some time to build a large coalition. However, if the veterans who were accepted choose to attend in the fall, Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Whitney Soule is certain they will have an important impact on the campus community.
“It’s both powerful and humbling to read their applications,” said Soule. “[They’re] remarkable people doing remarkable things, and I’m excited that we’re in a place where we can be thinking about building a cohort.”