Campus Spotlight: Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College has repeatedly been named one of the nation's best liberal arts colleges by ''U.S. News & World Report''. In 2010, it was listed in sixth place, just behind Middlebury College and Wellesley College. Bowdoin has earned its distinction by excelling in not just one area, but many.

Bowdoin College chapel

A History of Excellence

Bowdoin College has been labeled one of the 'Little Ivies,' an unofficial designation that highlights its status as a small but highly prestigious liberal arts college. Located in Brunswick, Maine, and founded in 1894, Bowdoin has a long history of producing leaders and thinkers. The college has established a legacy of exceptional academics and a thriving community that stretches back for hundreds of years.

This legacy includes the Peucinian Society, one of the nation's oldest literary and intellectual societies. The Peucinian Society counts poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow among its former members. Among Bowdoin's other notable alumni are pioneering human sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsey, The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne and U.S. President Franklin Pierce. In addition to Pierce, Bowdoin boasts alumni who have led both houses of Congress and Melville Weston Fuller, who served as Chief Justice of the United States. More recent alumni include the founders of Netflix and Subway.

A Tight-Knit Community

There are many small, liberal arts colleges in New England with strong community atmospheres. Yet Bowdoin excels by not copying this model, but exemplifying it. The college has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 and approximately 70% of its classes have 20 or fewer students. Also, the 205-acre campus is nestled into the small town of Brunswick so that students can feel contained on campus or stroll into town with ease.

Bowdoin College

Perhaps no statistic better conveys the sense of community and togetherness of a college than freshman retention. At Bowdoin, this rate has hovered between 95% and 97% for many years. Bowdoin is known as a school that fosters loyalty and affection from its students, leading the vast majority of them to continue their studies at the institution.

A Well-Regarded Campus

Students at Bowdoin are passionate about their school for reasons beyond its history and academics. The campus is a thriving center of student organizations, fun events and great food. The Outing Club is among the most notable organizations, with over 300 members and over 100 excursions each year. There are also a cappella groups, religious organizations, cultural groups and much more.

Finally, there's the food. Bowdoin has received numerous accolades for its food. The college has been noted for sustainable practices and it received the 2007 Ivy Award from Restaurants and Institutions Magazine. Perhaps more importantly for its students, the Princeton Review ranked Bowdoin's food as the best in the nation in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2011.

Bowdoin has a competitive but mostly playful rivalry with Maine's other prestigious liberal arts colleges, Bates College and Colby College.

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