Thumb through Bowdoin’s course catalogue, and you’ll find hundreds of courses ranging from multivariable calculus to interpretive dance. For students who find this list insufficient, however, there is another option.
Bowdoin students can take courses at Colby, Bates or the Maine College of Art in Portland, though few students take advantage of the opportunity.
“The four colleges agreed that if one of their students was aware of a course at one of the other institutions that their home institution didn’t offer, they would allow the student to take that class,” said Bowdoin Registrar Jan Brackett.
Students who are interested in taking a course at one of the other schools register for an independent study. They then work with both a professor at Bowdoin and a professor at the other school to arrange auditing the course.
Despite this option, Brackett said that it is extremely rare for Bowdoin students to take advantage of this choice.
“Someone has to be highly motivated in order to take that course,” said Brackett, explaining that students have to arrange their own transportation to and from the other schools.
Mik Cooper ’14 considered taking a class at the Maine College of Art last year, but found it too difficult to schedule.
“It was tricky fitting in a class with a 40 minute commute either way, particularly when a fair share of their classes were in the afternoon,” she wrote in an email to the Orient.
Cooper looked to the Maine College of Art because the College does not offer the class in which she was interested.
“I felt that while Bowdoin had a fantastic array of traditional visual art classes, there was a lack of emerging contemporary art forms, namely graphic design and other digital media,” she wrote.
In an email to the Orient, Colby Registrar Beth Schiller said that only two Colby students have taken Bowdoin’s courses since she became registrar in July 2006, and that there have not been any Bowdoin students who have taken classes at Colby during that time.
Brackett said that the registrar’s office is not necessarily aware when a student takes a class at a different school.
“What we know in our office is that someone’s done an independent study,” she said, “We don’t know when that might have been done through an arrangement with another campus.”
Furthermore, the office does not keep official records of auditors, and therefore does not have records of students from other school who have taken classes at Bowdoin.
“We only hear about it if someone needs electronic services for the course,” said Brackett.