Bowdoin College Admissions Statistics

Learn About Bowdoin College and the GPA and SAT/ACT Scores You'll Need to Get In

Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College. Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr

With an acceptance rate of 15%, Bowdoin College is a highly selective school. To be accepted, students will need GPAs that are well above average, and they will also need depth in their extracurricular activities, strong writing skills, and evidence of taking challenging courses. Most applicants do not have to submit scores from the ACT or SAT. Applicants can choose between the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge Application.

Why You Might Choose Bowdoin College

Located in Brunswick, Maine, a town of 20,000 on the Maine coast, Bowdoin takes pride in both its beautiful location and its academic excellence.  Eight miles away from the main campus is Bowdoin's 118-acre Coastal Studies Center on Orr's Island. Bowdoin was one of the first colleges in the country to move to a financial aid process that allows students to graduate without loan debt. 

For its strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences, Bowdoin was awarded a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society. With its 9 to 1 student / faculty ratio and wide-ranging strengths, Bowdoin made our lists of top Maine collegestop New England colleges, and top liberal arts colleges

Bowdoin GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph

Bowdoin College GPA, SAT Scores, and ACT Scores for Admission
Bowdoin College GPA, SAT Scores, and ACT Scores for Admission. See the real-time graph and calculate your chances of getting in at Cappex. Data courtesy of Cappex.

Discussion of Bowdoin College's Admissions Standards

In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. Most had a high school GPA in the "A" (typically a 3.7 to 4.0). Combined SAT scores (RW+M) are mostly above 1300, but lower scores won't affect your chance of getting in: the college has test-optional admissions. Realize, however, that home-schooled applicants and applicants from high schools that don't assign grades will need to submit test scores. High grades in challenging courses are the most important part of the application, so those AP, IB, Honors, and dual enrollment classes can play a significant role.

Note that there are a lot of red dots (rejected students) and yellow dots (waitlisted students) mixed in with the green and blue of the graph. Many students with grades that were on target for Bowdoin did not get accepted. Note also that a few students got in with grades down in the "B" range. This is because Bowdoin has a holistic admissions policy. Along with the rigor of your high school courses, Bowdoin wants to see an engaging and interesting application essay, meaningful extracurricular activities, and glowing letters of recommendation.

More Bowdoin College Information

Bowdoin College clearly has a relatively well-to-do student body, for only half of matriculated students qualify to receive any form of grant aid from the institution. The college's retention and graduation rates are high as is true for most extremely selective colleges.

Enrollment (2016):

  • Total Enrollment: 1,806
  • Gender Breakdown: 50% Male / 50% Female
  • 100% Full-time

Costs (2016 - 17):

  • Tuition and Fees: $49,900
  • Books: $840 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $13,600
  • Other Expenses: $1,250
  • Total Cost: $65,590

Bowdoin Financial Aid (2015 - 16):

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 49%
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 49%
    • Loans: 19%
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $38,552
    • Loans: $8,062

Academic Programs:

Graduation and Retention Rates:

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 94%
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 89%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 94%

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs:

  • Men's Sports: Soccer, Lacrosse, Skiing, Tennis, Ice Hockey, Football, Basketball, Track and Field, Golf, Baseball
  • Women's Sports: Field Hockey, Basketball, Swimming, Squash, Softball, Volleyball, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Track and Field

Like Bowdoin College? Then Check Out These Other Colleges

Applicants to Bowdoin are likely to apply to Maine's other highly rated liberal arts colleges: Colby College in Waterville and Bates College in Lewiston. 

Outside of the state, Bowdoin applicants often apply to Hamilton College, Connecticut College, Dartmouth College, and Oberlin College. All are highly selective, so be sure to add at least one or two safety schools to your college wish list.