Amherst vs Bowdoin

<p>So early decision time is rolling around soon, or at least I need to start thinking about where I would like to apply. I know I have a fairly good chance at either of these schools, I just want to decide where to apply. Each school has its advantages and disadvantages for me. Bowdoin is a very outdoorsy place, which is great for me, and there are several outing trips per week, where at Amherst, outdoor outing clubs aren’t very big. The location of Bowdoin is pretty cool, because Brunswick is a cool town, and Portland and Freeport are soooo close that visiting them is easy and convenient. After the train is built in Bowdoin, which should happen some time in November, it will be about a 90 minute train ride to Boston, which is the same amount of time it would take to drive to Boston from Amherst, meaning that Bowdoin isn’t any more isolated than Amherst. In addition, I love Maine, I don’t care about the cold. Bowdoin also has an awesome marine research center on its own island, which is something I’m very interested in. Amherst, on the other hand, is the best of the best for academics and is just a bit above Bowdoin, even though the gap isn’t terribly large. Amherst also has a slightly better party scene I feel, because there are no dorm RAs, and there’s UMass Amherst right down the street, which is where you’d go for parties. If any students of either of these schools would like to comment or help me out a bit, that’d be great. Thanks!</p>

<p>First of all, I think that you are focussing on all the wrong things: the most important thing about college is the education that you are going to get. And that means who your classmates are. Amherst students–and I would extend this to Williams (to which I am partial) and Swarthmore as well–are the equal of those at HYPS. As you correctly note, they are the best of the best. Bowdoin students are very smart, but it is just not the same. I think that grad schools and employers understand that as well. As for location, I think that you are just wrong: the Amherst and Northhampton area has to be one of the best college towns in the country. Its got concerts, hundreds of cheap restaurants, coffee houses, used book and clothing stores–anything a student could want. The music scene (if you are interested in that sort of thing) is incredible. I just wish they had that at Williams (which is probably my first choice). In contrast, how many times are you really going to go to LL Bean before that gets old?? And you are simply not going to travel into Portland or Boston very often. BTW, I think that you are also wrong about going to UMass for parties. As I understand from my friend at Amherst, the parties at Amherst can be awesome, and attract people from the four other colleges. Its the UMass people who try to crash the Amherst parties, not the other way around. But dont pick a college for the parties. Focus on what you are there for, the academics and your fellow students.</p>

<p>^^^Just wait until you get to college arnforce. At some point, with luck, you’ll realize how wrong you are. Bowdoin is every bit as good as Amherst and Williams, and in some departments, much better.</p>

<p>as a graduate at bowdoin with a very close friend in my class at a HYS grad school, and with many acquaintances and friends at both amherst and bowdoin, i can tell you that the academic differences - such as they exist - shouldn’t be material to your decision. they aren’t significant enough to warrant consideration. they’re both very good, and you’d be fortunate to go to either. it does sound like you have a lot of reasons to apply ED to bowdoin, though. i’d recommend applying there if you like the school a great deal. i would have also advocated you do that with amherst had you given as many reasons for doing so. </p>

<p>i will say - though i am loathe to get into any ****ing matches or comparative arguments about schools on this site - that the raw numerical differences between the students at amherst and the students at bowdoin are closer than those between students at HYPS and the students at amherst.</p>

<p><a href=“https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/386505/original/2011%20First-Time%2C%20First-Year%20(Freshman)%20Admission.pdf[/url]”>https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/386505/original/2011%20First-Time%2C%20First-Year%20(Freshman)%20Admission.pdf</a>
_______ [ CR ] [ M ] [ W ]
700-800 63.14% 61.22% 63.99%
600-699 31.41% 33.97% 30.22%
500-599 4.81% 4.49% 5.46%
400-499 0.64% 0.32% 0.32%</p>

<p><a href=“http://www.bowdoin.edu/ir/images/cds2011-12.pdf[/url]”>http://www.bowdoin.edu/ir/images/cds2011-12.pdf</a>
_______ [ CR ] [ M ] [ W ]
700-800 56% 54% 59%
600-699 38% 42% 34%
500-599 6% 4% 7%</p>

<p><a href=“http://www.provost.harvard.edu/institutional_research/CDS_2011-2012_Final.pdf[/url]”>http://www.provost.harvard.edu/institutional_research/CDS_2011-2012_Final.pdf</a>
_______ [ CR ] [ M ] [ W ]
700-800 73.48% 77.09% 74.82%
600-699 22.57% 21.10% 22.24%
500-599 3.82% 1.81% 2.68%
400-499 0.13% 0.00% 0.27%</p>

<p><a href=“https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/386506/original/2011%20Enrollment%20and%20Persistence.pdf[/url]”>https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/386506/original/2011%20Enrollment%20and%20Persistence.pdf</a>
<a href=“http://www.bowdoin.edu/ir/images/cds2011-12.pdf[/url]”>http://www.bowdoin.edu/ir/images/cds2011-12.pdf</a></p>

<p>Cultural Diversity (TOTAL-(Race and/or ethnicity unknown+White, non-Hispanic))/TOTAL</p>

<p>Amherst 50.33%
Bowdoin 34.99%</p>

<p>[Economic</a> Diversity Among the Top 25 Ranked Schools | Rankings | Top National Liberal Arts Colleges | US News](<a href=“http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-liberal-arts-colleges/economic-diversity-among-top-ranked-schools]Economic”>http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-liberal-arts-colleges/economic-diversity-among-top-ranked-schools)</p>

<p>Amherst 21%
Bowdoin 14%</p>

<p><a href=“https://www.amherst.edu/aboutamherst/glance[/url]”>Fast Facts & FAQs | The Amherst Story | Amherst College</a>
[Bowdoin’s</a> Endowment Returns 22.3%, Tops $900 Million Bowdoin Daily Sun](<a href=“http://www.bowdoindailysun.com/2011/09/bowdoins-endowment-returns-22-3-tops-900-million/]Bowdoin’s”>Bowdoin’s Endowment Returns 22.3%, Tops $900 Million)</p>

<p>Amherst $1.642 billion
Bowdoin $904.2 million</p>

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<p>Considering that one dorm at UMass is approximately the size of the entire Amherst student body, I kind of find that preposterous. :rolleyes:</p>

<p>So basically the differences in SAT scores between Bowdoin and Amherst are minimal. If you look at the 25th and 75th percentiles in kwu’s links, you’ll see that Bowdoin is never more than 30 points off of Amherst’s 25/75 percentiles (and in nearly all cases, fewer than 10 points). What’s that–a few questions on the SAT? At Bowdoin, 83% of students were in the top 10% of their high school class. At Amherst, 84% were. Nearly identical.</p>

<p>Also–does anyone else find it interesting that, although Bowdoin is SAT optional and Amherst is not, Bowdoin still reports SAT scores for 72% of students in their CDS, while Amherst reports SAT scores for only 68% of students?</p>

<p>^ The SAT difference of 30 pts is “minimal”, but a 4 percent difference in SAT reporting is significant?
Who cares… (except you…) lol</p>

<p>^^I never said it was significant–you did. I merely pointed it out because I think it’s interesting that the SAT optional school reports SAT scores for a larger percentage of incoming students than the school that requires standardized test scores. Bowdoin regularly gets dumped on for not requiring SAT scores, yet they report them for more of their students than Amherst.</p>

<p>Compare those numbers to 86% at Williams and 76% at Middlebury.</p>

<p>^ You thought the numbers were significant enough to mention. <em>eye roll</em></p>

<p>I was just pointing out the hypocrisy of calling one set of numbers insignificant that don’t favor your perspective, then pointing out some other insignificant numbers that favor your perspective. </p>

<p>Personally, I don’t care about any of the numbers. Amherst and Bowdoin are seen differently by the general public, regardless of SAT ranges. If SAT ranges determined prestige, Harvey Mudd would be number one…</p>

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<p>I hate to burst your bubble, but the general public hasn’t heard of either school. But among those who know, there isn’t much of a difference at all. Except perhaps if your zip code is 01002.</p>

<p>Consider my bubble not burst… I didn’t say that either school was well-known… Now who’s putting words in others mouths? (<— That’s rhetorical).</p>

<p>You said the two schools are seen differently by the general public. Who exactly is the general public? People who wear Amherst sweatshirts? I’d take Bowdoin over Amherst every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Bowdoin has a nicer campus, better food, better dorms, a better location, and is every bit as academically challenging as Amherst. But that’s just my opinion. I make no assumption that everyone shares that opinion.</p>

<p>One other plus for Bowdoin–their students don’t seem to be as adamant about touting their own school’s superiority over others. Perhaps they’re just more secure?</p>

<p>^ Lol, I never stated any school was superior to any other, I think you read that into my statements because you’re a bit insecure. Haha.</p>

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<p>Not so preposterous. In four years at Amherst my daughter never once went to a party at UMass, but there were always students from UMass as well as the others in the consortium at parties at Amherst.</p>

<p>^^^I have no connection to either school. Do you?</p>

<p>I actually have connections with both institutions, along with most of their peers. (I have attended neither)
But again, I never said anything negative about either school. I have noticed that people are so quick to jump on others for saying some school > another school. I say, who cares, but people are sensitive about their alma maters.</p>

<ul>
<li>I’m guessing all this stems from your attending a peer LAC. You want to deride certain schools to make yourself feel better about your own. Just a guess though. </li>
</ul>

<p>And again, I don’t think any school is better than any other. I just am saying they’re different.</p>

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<p>The fact that one or two UMass students find their way to an Amherst party is not preposterous; the idea that Amherst is a major destination for UMass students is.</p>

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<p>Fair enough. But in the interest of full disclosure, you’ll be attending Amherst this fall as a transfer student. Correct? Congratulations.</p>

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<p>This is what you said:</p>

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<p>I’m sure you’ll back off now, but this statement seems to imply that the “general public” views one school as being more prestigious than the other. If that’s not what you meant, I apologize for reading into this too much.</p>

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<p>Like I said, I have no dog in this fight. I went to Middlebury (and won’t use semantics to make it seem otherwise). Why do I care which is the better school? Posters on this thread can be broken up into two camps–those who think that both Amherst and Bowdoin are excellent schools with little or no difference in quality, and those who think that Amherst is clearly the better college (see arnforce). I subscribe to the former opinion. It sounded like you were arguing the other position. Like I said–if I misread you and incorrectly inferred your position, I apologize.</p>

<p>I hope you enjoy Amherst. It’s an excellent school.</p>

<p>^ there may be the implication that I think there exists a difference in prestige according to public opinion, but I did not state which one would be considered more prestigious. As such, any inference is quite possibly derived from some sense of inferiority. </p>

<p>Again, I don’t care for prestige. If I did, I probably would have gone with an Ivy; we did already mention that LACs are not recognized by most people. I didn’t even know LACs existed until about October of last year. Up until that point I was planning on attending an Ivy. BTW, I did disclose that I have connections to both schools, and I have not attended either. It’s not really a technicality… My plans this fall are still in flux (Fin aid issues).</p>