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By the numbers: breaking down the Class of 2023

The Orient’s second annual First-Year Survey

September 13, 2019

After only three weeks at Bowdoin, the Class of 2023 has already decided on their favorite dining hall—67 percent chose Thorne Hall over Moulton Hall. And on average, the first years are more excited than they are nervous for their next four years at the College.

These statistics on Bowdoin’s newest class come from the Orient’s second annual survey of the first-year class, which gathered information ranging from students’ political preferences, to their financial aid status, to their career aspirations. The 54-question survey was emailed to the first-year class on September 5 and closed on September 10. It received 210 complete responses, representing roughly 42 percent of the 501-person class. Results were not adjusted for selection bias.

Class Makeup

Sixteen percent of respondents identified as first-generation college students, meaning neither of their parents graduated from a four-year college, which is consistent with last year’s data. The College has expanded programming and resources to better meet the needs of first-generation students in recent years with initiatives like the THRIVE program and the Geoffrey Canada Scholars Program.

Among first-generation students, 94 percent plan to work on campus, as compared with 73 percent of students who did not identify as first-generation.

Roughly 49 percent of students attended private high school, including private day schools, boarding schools and parochial schools.

Type of High School

Twenty percent of students reported having one or more family members who had attended or are currently attending Bowdoin. Seven percent of first years had one parent who attended Bowdoin, four percent had two parents who attended Bowdoin and seven percent had a sibling who has attended or is currently attending Bowdoin. An additional seven percent reported having a relative attend Bowdoin, such as a cousin, aunt, uncle or grandparent.

For 70 percent of respondents, Bowdoin was their top choice school.

Community Type

Do you intend to seek mental health treatment at Bowdoin?

Have you or your family taken out loans in order for you to attend Bowdoin?

Income vs Legacy

Income vs Chem-Free

Income vs Athlete Status

Introvertedness/Extrovertedness vs Expected Income

Gender vs Expected income

Academics, Extracurriculars and Careers

When asked to rank their priorities for their time at Bowdoin, respondents overwhelmingly indicated that academics were their first priority, followed by social life as the most common second priority and extracurriculars and career prospects as third and fourth, respectively.

In line with current trends at Bowdoin, the most common departments first-year students think they might major in are Government and Legal Studies, Economics, Biology, Environmental Studies and Psychology.

Cheated on exam or assignment prior to Bowdoin

Beliefs and Lifestyle

Substance Use, Class of 2022 vs Class of 2023

Nearly 74 percent of the class had consumed alcohol before coming to Bowdoin, and 43 percent had used marijuana before starting college. Both statistics represent a slight increase from last year, when those numbers were 72 percent for alcohol and 39 percent for marijuana. The percentage of students who had smoked cigarettes before coming to Bowdoin fell by more than half—from 27 percent of the Class of 2022 to 10 percent of the Class of 2023. Vaping before attending Bowdoin, however, increased from 25 percent of the Class of 2022 to 29 percent of the Class of 2023.

Political Leaning

Around 67 percent of respondents identified as leaning liberal, while only around seven percent of respondents identified as conservative. The remaining 26 percent of first-year respondents said they fall somewhere in the middle.

Data and graphs compiled by Gwen Davidson, George Grimbilas, Drew MacDonald, Nimra Siddiqui and Steven Xu.




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