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Acceptance rate reaches a record low as College prepares for virtual admitted students’ events

March 27, 2020

Courtesy of Janie Porche
UNBOXING DAY: "Bowdoin boxes" containing information about the College will be sent to all admitted students in lieu of a campus visit.

Bowdoin’s regular decision admittance rate hit an all-time low of 8.3 percent for the Class of 2024, down from 8.9 percent last year (9.05 percent after students were accepted off the waitlist). The College received 9,402 applications, the greatest number ever received.  Decisions were released on Friday, March 13.

Like many of its peer institutions, the College decided to cancel its admitted students’ open house and Bowdoin Experience programs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, some accepted students will have to make their enrollment decisions without ever visiting campus.

To mitigate the loss of admitted students’ weekend, the Office of Admissions has scheduled livestreams and compiled extensive online resources with the hope of providing information for prospective students.

“To prepare, our admissions staff covered the campus for days, talking with students, staff, and faculty to get a bank of terrific video[s]—Bowdoin faces and voices that we can use through next month with our admitted students,” Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Whitney Soule wrote in an email to the Orient. “Since admitted students everywhere are having to choose schools without spring visiting available, we fully invested in the challenge of capturing the attention of our admitted students in the crowded space of ‘virtual content’ right now.”

Three Zoom livestreams, aimed at tackling diverse areas of student life, have been scheduled for prospective students. The first livestream was held on March 18 with Soule, President Clayton Rose and other members of the administration and admissions team present. Admitted students and parents could submit questions beforehand, and over 350 people tuned in to the livestream. The next livestreams are scheduled for April 2 and April 23 and will feature different offices including Residential Life, Counseling and Career Exploration and Development.

Besides livestreams and online material, the Office of Admissions hopes to connect prospective students directly with the Bowdoin community.

“We are setting up some opportunities for current students and some Bowdoin alumni to chat with admitted students,” Soule wrote.

This year, the admissions office sent all admitted students a “Bowdoin box” containing a range of gifts.

“[The Bowdoin box] includes a collection of gifts that not only represent key aspects of Bowdoin, but also reference something that students mentioned in their applications,” Soule said. “We’re pretty excited about it! We expect the boxes to land at students’ homes by the weekend.”

Editor’s Note, 3/27/20, 3:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect last year’s acceptance rate after students were accepted off the waitlist.

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