Bowdoin College Early Decision for Fall 2023 Admission

This year, the Early Decision (ED) deadline for the Bowdoin College is November 15.

List your unweighted GPA, any SAT /ACT scores, and ECs. What majors are you going into?
Ask your questions, the CC community is here to help!


Got a mail for Bowdoin saying decision will be tomorrow?

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Quiet thread. I know two kids who were deferred. Does anyone know the number deferred?

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S also deferred. Anyone on here who’s familiar with Bowdoin deferrals? Trying to assess risk of foregoing an EDII submission to a second choice with the hope of getting accepted to Bowdoin during the RD round. S has no interest in going elsewhere.

S: all A’s highest level classes, 10APs, 3rd in class of 550+, natl merit semi finalist, published, athlete (promised spot but not recruited), other ECs, great refs. His stats are a bit problematic as most of the other schools to which he plans to apply will assume he has no intention of attending. The risk is all rejections.

Anyone been through this in prior years?

My son was admitted RD to Bowdoin last year with similar high stats. He had a similar challenge - got WL at some schools with slightly lower admin requirements that assumed he wouldn’t come. But they were right. His stats got him into his high reaches - not all of them of course. But he did get into Bowdoin RD and couldn’t be any happier there this year. But I feel for you - the next three months will be stressful waiting to see how it plays out.

LACs show higher ED admit rates than RD, but most of those slots go to athletes, URM, legacy, etc. Very few unhooked students are admitted ED at NESCAC LACs. So don’t take deferral as rejection. They just aren’t ready to select unhooked students at this point. If they really thought him unqualified they would have rejected him. I know many students this time last year who were rejected during the ED round.

Hang in there. My suggestion would be to get him excited about other schools. He will end up at a great school and the one that is right for him. My son never got off the WL at his ED1 school. But by the time he got the WL letter in the RD round, he had already fallen in love with other reaches like Bowdoin. He now says he wouldn’t have been as happy at the LAC he was deferred and then waitlisted at. Perhaps the school could see that too and that’s why they never offered him a spot, since he was clearly more than qualified by stats? Who knows? But it all has a way of working out at the end.

Good luck


I so appreciate this helpful, positive, realistic reply, Cascadiaparent. A little community support, whether delivered anonymously or not, is sometimes all that’s needed to lessen the sting. Thanks. Best to your son. Happy to hear he found his perfect fit in the end.


My daughter was deferred. Bowdoin is a reach for her but a reasonable reach. One of the reasons she’s especially interested in Bowdoin is that there is a professor in the psych/neuroscience department who studies a topic that is of high personal interest to my daughter. She’d love be involved in this prof’s research. I’ve told her she should reach out to this professor and explain her interest. Could establishing a connection like this help with her acceptance??

The vast majority of qualified applicants at almost all schools, Bowdoin included, who are not admitted are deferred.

The outcomes in RD for the deferred group will be mixed as well. From what I have seen, those who are accepted are able to add something to their app between ED submission and the RD deadline. Maybe it’s an award or publication, an uptick in grades, etc. While there are undeniably kids who are deferred then admitted because they are, after review of the RD pool, the best in the “buckets” they fill, it can help if your app is a better one in the RD round than it was in the ED one.

As for reaching out to a prof, I am a bit of a cynic on that as I suspect they will see it for what it is - a ploy to improve admissions odds. With that said, if she has a legitimate question about his research or about the program, it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Having had a kid who was deferred at both his ED1 and ED2 schools, I can sympathize with this being in this limbo state. It’s really hard to know whether to assess whether the glass is half full or half empty.

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Schools like Bowdoin with a less than 10% admit rate are reaches for everyone. That’s the challenge. You can qualify based on grades/scores - but it will come down to more intangible characteristics that help them craft the class they are trying to create. It is hard to predict and it is not a reflection of the student and whether they would succeed there. Unfortunately, these highly rejective schools are turning away thousands of candidates who would succeed if given the chance. The secret is to apply to many schools and try not to get attached to any one school.

Best of luck to your daughter.


My son applied ED1 last year and was deferred. He did not apply ED2 anywhere else so that he could tell Bowdoin that he would enroll if accepted during RD. He also included a statement from his guidance counselor and parents saying he would enroll if accepted. He was accepted RD. The reality is 50%+ of applicants are fully qualified but only 10% accepted. If you make the “50% qualified pile” – then the biggest factor is whether anyone else from your same high school or town has been accepted. Bowdoin averages 1.1 students accepted/enrolled per high school. So if another student at your high school is already accepted (for whatever reason), then your odds of acceptance are low (this doesn’t mean you are not qualified and deserving). All of the small liberal arts schools play this same game. Suggest trying to find out if any other students from son’s high school has applied to Bowdoin ED1 or ED2 (and their stats). The private high schools do a very good job of making sure only 1-2 students are applying to each of these small schools. Better odds to have 11 students from same high school apply to 11 different NESCAC schools than all apply to just the same one.

Thanks for your insightful reply.

Kudos to your son, both for his commitment and patience, which obviously paid off. My son is also leaning in this direction, and thankfully there are only a few people from his school applying, all less academically gifted, none with a preference. In any event, were it not so, my son, like most applicants, I suspect, would disregard strategy and follow his heart. Once they find that one school, that’s it.

Parents, however, care very much about strategy! I do wish applicants from the public school system would be more transparent re where they’re applying. It’s impossible to make a strategic decision not having this info. Also, many of the gifted applicants apply to an insane number of colleges (over 20) so the 1 or 2 acceptances at each of the top schools are often the same top 10 applicants. Private schools know better, have the resources to track the decisions, and limit the number of apps going out. Maybe that’s one of the reasons the NESCAC schools are independent school heavy?:woman_shrugging:t3:

My impression from my son’s experience with Bowdoin is that character matters alot. If your son hasn’t interviewed or done the supplemental video interview, he should do so. The more of his authentic self they see, the more likely he is to get admitted. I shared this story elsewhere but when my son visited campus for admitted student days, the AO who reviewed his file recognized his face and ran up to him and told him she really enjoyed his video interview response. I have no idea what the question was or what he said. But I suspect he was candid and they “saw” him. My son was certainly a very competitive candidate on paper, but it seemed like this video interview also made a difference. So…let him follow his heart and let them see that.


my DS was also deferred. Legacy and top 10% at a competitive independent school. on the fence, but leaning towards an ED 2 application elsewhere. tough decision.


interesting our independent school does not do that. We have no idea where anybody is applying and they do not limit the number of applications for any one.


Nor ours. And in spite of rumors to the contrary, there don’t seem to be caps and there have been years when 6 kids all get into the same selective school. It’s true that no college wants a slew of kids from a single area, but if all the ones they want from Chicago are at the same school, they’ll take them. Remember that those kids may be filling different needs for them.

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Yes. There are two kids from my son’s HS in the class of 2026 this year. They are very different candidates.

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This is not the case AFAIK, at least not to the extent these statements would be accurate…if you can cite a source please do share.

There are currently five students in one of Bowdoin’s current classes from ONE private school, and multiple students from other private and public schools in each of the four classes, I expect the same is true at other LACs.

It is none of anyone’s business where one’s classmates apply, people should encourage their kids/students to not discuss their list or ‘strategy’ with their peers.

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I was accepted ED1 to Bowdoin last Friday. I am a low-income, first-generation, and immigrant student from California. My public high school class is nearly 900 students.

The school was a big reach for me just based on stats. I have only taken 7 AP courses and 4 honors courses (all not weighted). My GPA at the time of applying was a 4.2 weighted and a 3.95 unweighted. My rank was top 9% and I also didn’t submit any test scores. I also applied to Bowdoin’s fly-in program and was waitlisted

I can’t really tell you why I was accepted, but if I had to guess, I think that my extracurricular activities/awards/personal character made me a competitive applicant. I hold leadership positions in many club/programs, which have allowed me to provide resources and support to my underrepresented community. These things were the basis of my supplemental essay and personal statement (along with my immigration story). I think that both of my writing pieces were really powerful because I received a lot of help with them. I am also involved in many college-readiness programs/scholarship programs for underrepresented students.

Here is a list of my awards/ec’s
-National Hispanic Scholar
-AP Scholar
-Financial Education Essay contest (national)
-California State Seal of Billiteray
-Horatio Alger California State Scholar (program/award/scholarship)
-Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar (summer program at UChicago/award)
-Simon Scholar (program/award/scholarship)
-1st Gen Scholars (program/award)
-Summer internship with Ernst & Young
-Current employment with a national non-profit
-AVID program vice-president
-Hispanic Resource Center President
-Mentor Tutoring club founder/tutor
there’s a few more things, but these are the most important

I also interviewed with Bowdoin, which I think went extremely well. I also completed the video supplemental.

I don’t mean to brag with any these things, I really don’t believe I did that much that is worth bragging about. I hope this info helps any other prospective students. Let me know if more insight is needed!


Congratulations :tada: and good luck at Bowdoin (and the rest of your senior year)!

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If you look at the last few years Bowdoin has approx. 500 students accepted and enrolled each year. Approx. 40 are international (many really live in USA but parents have dual citizenship). That leaves 460 students from USA. On average these students came from 430 different high schools (source is Bowdoin admissions office including their press releases). That means just 1.07 students per high school represented (460 / 430 = 1.07). In reality the number is higher than 1.07 b/c I am just counting students accepted AND enrolled. If you just counted accepted students the number is ~833 with ~60% yield gets you a class of 500. So take 833 remove 66 international (40/.60 = 66) and you get 766 students accepted from 430 high schools, so 1.78 students per high school. My guess is that the number for public high schools is lower than 1.78 but higher for more selective independent high schools. But the reality is that a student’s biggest competition (and perhaps obstacle) is any other students applying to Bowdoin from their own high school. The real problem with this “shaping of the class” is if one or more students from your high school with lower “credentials” gets in b/c they are a recruited athlete or have some other non-academic advantage. I work as an “informal college advisor” (for free) and my biggest advice I give is to have the student figure out which classmates plan on applying ED1 or ED2 to their first choice college (especially if its a small highly selective college). Most students seem to keep this information a secret assuming it will work against them – they would be better sharing/trading this information and not wasting an ED1/ED2 application when there are already 2+ more fellow students ahead of them (often for non academic reasons). Unfortunately selective colleges have made this a game which requires a strategy to beat them at their own rules. One other piece of advice: Since Covid, ~60% of applicants are submitting ACT/SAT scores at selective colleges with an acceptance rate twice as high as those that don’t submit scores. But when you remove athletes and other “supported” applicants (not submitting scores) – the odds of a non-supported applicant getting in without test scores is very low. Colleges are not really test optional. This new process lets them have a higher average ACT/SAT and not worry about lower scores from their supported applicants. Good luck to all.