What else would you expect from the alma mater of great American poets Longfellow and Hawthorne than a rich, passionate educational experience rooted in nature, art and friendship? Welcome to Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine), one of the most selective small liberal arts colleges in the nation. With a total enrollment of 1,777, Bowdoin provides freshmen with the resources to explore all of their passions.
Bowdoin College holds an elite status among collegiate women's rugby programs. The Polar Bears are one of 12 programs in the nation to claim "varsity" status and have continued their rich tradition of success since making the move from "club" designation in 2003. Coach Marybeth Mathews, also an Assistant Dean of Freshman Students, emphasizes strong sportsmanship, conditioning and teamwork in creating a safe and supportive team environment for the sport. Mathews shared her coaching philosophy as one that “involves a holistic, athlete-centered approach. I believe in treating students with respect and seeing them as people, not simply student-athletes. If they are happy, well supported and respected, they will reciprocate by giving me and their team their full commitment and will benefit greatly by their efforts.”
The Polar Bears have made several appearances in the New England Rugby Football Union playoffs, winning back-to-back championships in ’95 and ’96 and qualifying for post-season play in 15 consecutive years at the Division II level. The most diverse varsity team on campus, the program supports over 40 students on A and B sides, while maintaining a competitive level of play. As a no-cut sport, the women’s rugby team attracts first-time players, crossover varsity athletes and some with high school rugby experience. During fall league play, Bowdoin plays six-eight regular season games and has a limited spring slate of matches, tournaments and now, 7-a-side rugby. In April 2013, Bowdoin will compete in the first all-NCAA varsity 7s tournament, with West Chester, Quinnipiac, Norwich and Eastern Illinois University. The team most recently completed a 10-day tour to Spain and France in 2013, something the team does at least once every four years.
“Bowdoin College has so much to offer to the right student looking for a top-notch liberal arts education with a very diverse, friendly and well supported varsity rugby program,” Mathews said. “While there are many excellent schools and rugby programs in the US, we are particularly proud of the feedback we get from students and alumni about their academic, athletic and extracurricular experiences.”
As a varsity sport on campus, Mathews works directly with an admissions liaison in order to give prospective students access to information and advice on the challenging admissions process. Because of Bowdoin’s highly selective admissions process, Mathews explained that while she is able to work with admissions to provide a student an “early read” and advise a student on their application, she is not able to “push through” an applicant if their merits do not already warrant admission to the college.
Bowdoin College also features a competitive men’s club team. Men’s head coach, Rick Scala, has been the foundation of the club's success for the past 20 years with an overall career winning percentage of more than 70%.
According to the Fiske Guide to Colleges, “for more than two centuries, Bowdoin … sought to make nature, art, and friendship as integral to the student experience as the world of books.” The strongest programs include the natural sciences, classics, economics and English. The majors with the highest enrollment are government and economics. Students thrive in close relationships with professors, and since there are no graduate students here, there are no TAs teaching classes.
Mathews added: After personal health and well being, academics are the top priority at Bowdoin for any student. The successful student-athlete will have challenged [himself or] herself academically in high school, have good grades and understand the value of hard work. [He or] she will be open to learning from new and different people and circumstances. There is no set type of student that attends Bowdoin College – instead it is a collaborative, friendly campus that embraces students from all walks of life, and where we all learn from each other.
Acceptance rate is extremely selective at Bowdoin; enrolling less than 500 students with each incoming class. In 2012, about 16% of applicants gained admission, 86% of which were in the top 10% of their graduating class. Bowdoin was the first U.S. institution to make SAT scores optional, shifting the emphasis to the student’s whole body of work. (However, for those who do submit scores, the middle 50% of students score between 30-33 on the ACT or 660-750 in critical reading, and 660-750 in the math section of the SAT). Prospective students can apply via the Common Application.
As an NCAA Division III school, Bowdoin does not offer athletic scholarships; however, Bowdoin is a Need Blind institution, which means the family’s ability to pay is not calculated into their decision for admissions. Bowdoin seeks “excellence of all types” and “believes in equal opportunity. Our policy is to meet the full-calculated need of any student applying for financial aid.”
For more information about Bowdoin’s Need Blind policy, click here.
The total expected full pay cost is $58,200/year including tuition, fees, housing and books. Note: Bowdoin has eliminated loans from its financial aid packages and replaced them with grants. More details about tuition and fees can be found here.
Most students are generally described as “hard-working, fun-loving, athletic types.” So, if you are a high achieving student athlete looking for an outdoorsy, inviting college community in the northeast, Bowdoin College may be the right choice for you!
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*Data and Facts pulled from Bowdoin College Website and Fiske Guide to Colleges 2012.
I know College Admissions. I know Rugby. I’d like to get to know You. Call today for a consultation and let me help you get into your top choice college. Karen Fong Donoghue,
, 310-497-0619 (cell).