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On choosing Bowdoin: words of wisdom for the Class of 2024

April 24, 2020

Ann Basu
Clear skies ahead: Students take break to enjoy the view on their first year Orientation trip.

From near and far, Polar Bears choose Bowdoin for many different reasons. Here are some current students’ reflections on academics, community and why they chose Bowdoin.


“One thing I wish I knew before coming to Bowdoin is that you have to give 110% effort every minute of every day. Being a Bowdoin student is hard! Bowdoin students are active academically in the classroom, athletically on the field and socially on campus. They are fierce when it comes to completing a task—whether it is a homework assignment, competing against our rivals, or advocating for an idea they believe in, no task is bigger than a Bowdoin student.” – Prithvi Gunturu ’22

“Professors really want you to succeed and do your best. There are so many resources at your disposal for help. The college environment is rigorous, but the faculty is extremely aware of it and is ready to help in any way. Sometimes I went into a professor’s office hours without a specific question and let them know that I just needed help and they have never let me down.” – Evan Bay ’23


Ann Basu
Winter wonderland: Every year, students make the best of cold days by heading out to the ice rink on the quad.

“Sometimes what’s really cool is our community does challenge each other … there are opposite perspectives or there are similar perspectives for different reasons. So [with] those things it’s really cool and important that you learn from and grow from as well.” – Jeremiah Brown ’23

“I wish I knew how insular it can get. As much fun as it is being on campus, it’s always important to take a day and explore Brunswick or Portland or just take a day trip off campus to remember there is another life outside school.” – Sophie Bell ’23

“I also wanted [a school] where the town was incorporated into the college, and I thought Bowdoin did a really great job of doing that. Everybody at Bowdoin is extremely friendly, and I come from a small town so I just felt more at home.” – Kate Kiser ’21

“I would say that for me personally when I was looking at colleges, I really wasn’t thinking about the other type of students that were attracted to the college, but now that I’m at Bowdoin I see that they are looking at how a class will come together and how they will work together. They’re looking at creating something that reflects the student body and something that is bigger than just Bowdoin but is indicative of our society as a whole.”  – Jeremiah Brown ’23


Ann Basu
Falling into step: Students walk past Hubbard Hall and fallen leaves in early fall.

“[Hawthorne-Longfellow Library] is a very very collaborative space. The way that it was—not just the way that students use the space but the way the spaces are actually set up—it was intended for people to come together and converse and talk. There [aren’t] really single desks. Everything was very communal, and I’m a very social person; it was exactly how I like to study.” – Jeremiah Brown ’23

“I wish I would have known that it could have ended at any moment. Just so in the fall when I was there, even the first two years I was there, I could have been more present in the moment and not have taken it for granted. It may seem like such a small thing, but just sitting on the quad with your friends or even just grabbing a meal with people in the dining hall—just really being more present in the moment. I wish I would have known how valuable those times were.” – Kate Kiser ’21

“What I wish I knew beforehand was that it’s okay to get the help that you need and it’s okay to need help, because Bowdoin’s going to provide that help and they really want to. I think that would have made my first semester a lot easier if I would have reached out when I needed it.”-Jeremiah Brown ’23

“I  also wish I knew how cold 10 degrees actually is. I wanted a school with cold weather, but it was definitely a surprise to feel what it was like being that cold.” -Sophie Bell ’23


“I would definitely do whatever virtual tours the college is offering. Visiting the college was a large factor in me deciding to move to a small town after living in a big city. Also, reach out to a diverse group of students to get a wide range of perspectives! Hearing what it was like for different students was really helpful in deciding, especially if you’ve narrowed it down to two or three schools.” – Sophie Bell ’23

“Check out the media pages that colleges offer. Bowdoin has so many interesting pages that you can find right off their website. I would say look at the YouTube channel first because it’s the most interactive and you can see examples and experiences that students have at Bowdoin. I used it when I was making my decision to come to Bowdoin and I highly recommend any prospective student do the same!” – Evan Bay ’23

“The most important things I was looking for in college [were] one, obviously money. And then two, it was more about the kinds of opportunities that I would have socially, emotionally and academically while I was there.” – Jeremiah Brown ’23

“I would recommend reaching out to someone they know that goes to Bowdoin, or if [you] don’t know anyone try to find people in the Facebook groups, because what sold Bowdoin for me was definitely the connections that people had with each other. Just getting in touch and maybe asking like a question or two.” – Emily Jacobs ’23


Ann Basu
GO U BEARS: Students cheer on fellow Polar Bears at the annual Bowdoin-Colby hockey game.

“I think the mission statement of the common good was one of the things that drew me the most to Bowdoin. I’m super involved in community service and engagement, and it was a big part of my high school career, so when I saw that Bowdoin was into community service and the common good, I thought that was pretty cool.” – Kenya Mathieu ’23

“I got to come visit Bowdoin overnight and stay with one of the freshman girls [on the swim team]. And what was so amazing about it was, they really worked academic and social life into their routines, they didn’t have to sacrifice anything for swimming—that sold it for me. And I got to meet the coach and he was very clear that academics came first.” – Emily Jacobs ’23

“Bowdoin was around the size of my high school, and I knew that I wanted smaller class sizes because I want to be able to have a relationship with my professors. I also wanted something where academics were prioritized over sports.” -Kate Kiser ’21

“I think for a person of color to say they feel a sense of belonging in a place like Maine, I think that goes a long way to say just because there’s a lack of diversity, and people of color tend to gravitate towards other people that have similar experiences to them. And at Bowdoin I just didn’t see that. … There’s this like sense of community, a sense of welcoming and this sense of openness.” – Arturo Linan-Martinez ’23


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