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Difficulty of workload Bates, Bowdoin vs Colby

NVmom2021NVmom2021 1 replies2 threads New Member
I have read that the differences in these schools are subtle but that Bowdoin is harder/more selective to get into. Once you are in, is the workload more intense at Bowdoin or comparable to the other 2 Maine schools
16 replies
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Replies to: Difficulty of workload Bates, Bowdoin vs Colby

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6800 replies10 threads Senior Member
    edited September 15
    My sense is that kids work quite hard at all 3 of them. But few people are going to be able to directly compare these with any accuracy. Even at one school, kids in different majors might have different workloads/degree of difficulty.

    Your son might want to look at the course catalog for each as well as degree and major requirements just to get an idea of what ghe academic program might look like at each (including study abroad). Something might jump out as particularly appealing (or not).
    edited September 15
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 84563 replies750 threads Senior Member
    There may be specific courses or majors that may be greater or lesser workload at a particular college.

    If the general education requirements at a particular college include something particularly difficult for you, that may increase the workload for you at that college.
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  • merc81merc81 12047 replies205 threads Senior Member
    I have read that the differences in these schools are subtle but that Bowdoin is harder/more selective to get into.

    Bowdoin registers a fairly wide 25th–75th percentile SAT range (1340–1512 on its CDS), however, which indicates that students with varying levels of academic preparation attend.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5814 replies94 threads Senior Member
    merc81 wrote: »
    I have read that the differences in these schools are subtle but that Bowdoin is harder/more selective to get into.

    Bowdoin registers a fairly wide 25th–75th percentile SAT range (1340–1512 on its CDS), however, which indicates that students with varying levels of academic preparation attend.

    SAT scores are not necessarily accurate indicators of academic preparation.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11870 replies161 threads Senior Member
    edited September 16
    Bowdoin College is standardized test optional and has been for a significant period of time.

    None of these elite LACs has a reputation for an intense academic atmosphere although all are highly regarded academically.
    edited September 16
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  • merc81merc81 12047 replies205 threads Senior Member
    Publisher wrote: »
    Bowdoin College is standardized test optional and has been for a significant period of time.

    Bowdoin requires and reports (on its CDS) standardized scoring for all matriculating students, and therefore provides an SAT and ACT student profile that can be compared to that of other colleges.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 84563 replies750 threads Senior Member
    merc81 wrote: »
    Publisher wrote: »
    Bowdoin College is standardized test optional and has been for a significant period of time.

    Bowdoin requires and reports (on its CDS) standardized scoring for all matriculating students, and therefore provides an SAT and ACT student profile that can be compared to that of other colleges.

    If the student applies to Bowdoin with no SAT or ACT scores because the student never took either test, would the student not be able to matriculate because of lack of a score at matriculation?
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  • MWolfMWolf 2960 replies14 threads Senior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    merc81 wrote: »
    Publisher wrote: »
    Bowdoin College is standardized test optional and has been for a significant period of time.

    Bowdoin requires and reports (on its CDS) standardized scoring for all matriculating students, and therefore provides an SAT and ACT student profile that can be compared to that of other colleges.

    If the student applies to Bowdoin with no SAT or ACT scores because the student never took either test, would the student not be able to matriculate because of lack of a score at matriculation?

    According to their website: "Because standardized test results are used for academic counseling and placement as well as for the College's ongoing research into the relationship between standardized testing and success at Bowdoin, all entering first-year students must submit scores over the summer prior to matriculating at Bowdoin", so likely that would be the case. I;m sure that this year it will be different, but their test-optional policy only meant that it is optional for the sudents to have the test score submitted.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35630 replies400 threads Senior Member
    I think OP is asking for a little better than hearsay- or stats ranges. We should speak to our own and our kids' experiences.

    As for intensity, a running tag line is, "Where do you think the high performing/highly prepared kids go to college, when they don't get into HYPSM?" Yes, they'll work hard. But kids at all 3 can generally handle the challenges.

    I may later say more about our experience with Bates. But if a kid is qualified, they adapt. This is much more than grades.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 8852 replies120 threads Senior Member
    S19 is at Bowdoin. He would say the work load is intense. He came from a very rigorous high school so he was prepared but he was always studying. Now, as a freshmen, he did take math and physics and was placed high in both subjects. He was one of only two freshmen in his linear algebra class first semester. His art history class was also not intro and was filled with juniors and seniors in the major so his class choices weren’t the same as every freshman. He’s a three season athlete so has practice from 4:30-7:30 M-F and on Sat mornings. He used every available hour during the days when he wasn’t in class to do work and was up until 1:00 every night. Wasn’t able to find time to go out the outing club trips he would have liked to have done on the weekends because “who has time to take off all of Sunday?”

    He would say that he has friends who study as many hours as he does and friends who do not. The differences seem to depend on two things - major and push for high GPA. The premed and STEM majors seem to be working the most. And getting an A in a class takes a LOT more work than getting a B. Just like at any school, there are going to be the grinder students who want to do well. Those kids find they have to work hard. And you’ve got bright students who do the work and learn a lot but leave more time for activities.

    S19 does not see Bowdoin as competitive though. He finds comfort in studying with friends and, especially in math and science courses, students study in groups.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6800 replies10 threads Senior Member
    ^^ The kids I know at all 3 were hard-working in high school and remain so in college. In many classes, kids work really hard for a B (and sometimes less). And it's also my sense that kids work really collaboratively. In fact, that may be a necessity.

    I also think that there are very few kids who aren't engaged in some other non-academic activities. Some schools, but not these 3, may be better fits for kids who really JUST want to grind away at academics. There is an expectation at all 3 of these schools that kids will engage with the community - through sports, arts, volunteer work, campus activities, etc. It's part of the whole experience there.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11870 replies161 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    Again, none of those schools has a reputation for an intense academic atmosphere.

    This does not mean that the students are not intelligent or are not hard-working, just that there is a much different campus culture than that found at many other schools.
    edited September 17
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  • PublisherPublisher 11870 replies161 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    @MWolf: I ask that you reread my comment. Campus culture does not mean that students are not intelligent and hard-working, and it does not mean that a school cannot be held in high regard academically.

    If you think that Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby have "extremely intense academic atmospheres", then we will just have to agree to disagree.

    P.S. Examples of LACs with "extremely intense academic atmospheres" are Swarthmore & Harvey Mudd.
    edited September 17
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35630 replies400 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    I'm no pushover with low expectations. My kids understood the point of college. All of it, including the fun aspects, personal growth, contributing to the world around them, etc.

    I say Bates was intense, with depth, breadth, a goal of personal best, a lot of stretch. They graduated full of knowledge, learning skills, great curiosity and a strong world view.

    It's not a place where it's easy to get A grades. Or, IME, where kids worry about slackers.

    Let's quit the debate about whether Mudd or Swat may have some harder classes. Let's not assume grind is what makes for a better education.

    Any school will ebb and flow in this respect. It's a truth about college.
    edited September 17
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  • PublisherPublisher 11870 replies161 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    Is this thread about difficulty of individual classes or about academic campus culture ?

    @lookingforward: I may be mistaken, but I think that OP is concerned about "grind" & competition / competitive atmosphere as OP specifically asks about "workload" & "intensity".

    OP: With respect to workload & intensity, it is probably similar at these three (Bates, Bowdoin, & Colby) schools. FWIW In the past, Bates College had a reputation for producing academic scholars.

    And none of the three are as academically intense as Swarthmore or Harvey Mudd.

    Different schools have different campus cultures. Individuals vary in their approach to academics.
    edited September 17
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