Is Bowdoin worth it?

<p>"Talk to a student coming out of a top LAC with middle-of-the pack grades and see what his or her options are."</p>

<p>Not a top program, that's for sure. No chance, for example, to get into a top law school.</p>

<p>The difference between Bowdoin and the next highest, Tufts, is $42,000 over 4 years. Bowdoin's need calculations are very different from the rest. What he likes about Bowdoin is the student body (smart and well rounded), the size, the dorms, the town, the sports and the academics. Oddly, the other school most similar is Whitman in Walla Walla, WA.(minus the hockey). The point made about having enough money to be able to things other than work every summer is a really good one!</p>

<p>bopambo - to gain some perspective on what a school can and cannot do vs. what the student must do to build a desireable future - check out "what I've learned from my year of unemployment"</p>

<p>Your son has many good options. I would pick a more fiscally conservative one. Assuming that he is a hard worker and will do the necessary work to rise to the top at whatever school he attends, it will be much easier to do that if he's not budgeted down to his last ten cents every day of his college existance.</p>

<p>I have known a number of students who go/have gone to Whitman and they've all loved the experience. It is v similar to Bowdoin and definitely worth taking a 2nd look at.</p>

<p>Bowdoin is really a very special place. It is an ancient (founded in the 1700s) New England school with graduates like Longfellow and Thoreau. I have many friends, colleagues and a wife who went there -- and they are all to a person extremely enthusiastic about the experience. Faculty and administration really get to know students there; relationships are very close. Bowdoin folks are uniformly intelligent, friendly and upbeat people. My wife STILL is in touch on a close basis with the Bowdoin English professor who served as her advisor on her senior paper 20 years after the fact! I honestly believe my wife got a better education at Bowdoin than I did at Yale!</p>

<p>Though small, the Bowdoin alumni base is quite accomplished and powerful: my first boss was a Bowdoin alum who ran all of Citigroups operations in Europe in the 70s and 80s and nearly became chairman of the company.</p>

<p>Interesting story: my wife, who spent a few years in journalism after Bowdoin, decided to go to business school. She was accepted to Harvard, Wharton, Tuck, Columbia and MIT. She decided to go to Harvard Biz School partly because she got a letter form the financial aid department saying her tuition would be fully covered: a Bowdoin alum had set up a scholarship fund to fund graduate study at Harvard for Bowdoin alumni! She never imagined she would get a free ride through business school -- and she did because of the generosity of a Bowdoin alumnus! How many schools can offer that?</p>

<p>Bowdoin is a school worth struggling a little for, in my opinion.</p>

<p>To the OP:
Debt is serious. Not all forms of graduate study can be easily funded through loans and TA-ships; it all depends on the field.</p>

<p>As a fellow Californian, here's my reaction to the other schools on your son's list:
Tufts, Colby, BC honors, Macalester, Whitman, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis.</p>

<p>You son seems to want the LAC experience, so I'd scratch Berkeley, Davis, and Tufts.
This leaves BC honors, Macalester, and Whitman.</p>

<p>Whitman was my son's first choice, but I don't recall seeing a hockey rink there. Maybe there's one in Walla Walla? Another drawback about lovely Whitman, if you go back and read through the student newspaper issues online (Pioneer), is that students there don't feel particularly well prepared for employment in the real world.</p>

<p>If your 6'2" son is serious about hockey, then it seems to me that Macalester is the clear choice. Minnesota is one of those states that owns hockey, isn't it? Macalester's location in the city also offers many internship opportunities, which is a clear advantage in today's job market. BC is urban, but Boston is so loaded with college students that I imagine the competition for such opportunities would be tougher.</p>

<p>Personally, I agree with all the wonderful things folks are saying about Bowdoin, but I wouldn't rank it much higher than Macalester in terms of what it can offer a student who likes the ice.</p>

<p>CalAlum, is your son going to Whitman? I'm really curious, what does he think? Do you feel he's getting an inferior education, or is it that LACs in general don't really specialize? We've always assumed that an LAC meant grad school.</p>

<p>I also think Whitman bears another look as it's student body shares many of the same characteristics with Bowdoin, adjusted for the West Coast.</p>

<p>What's wrong with Colby? If he wants to go to Maine and Colby hit your affordability?? I thought there was virtually no difference between Colby/Bates/Bowdoin outside of the campus feel. The kids didn't even "look" any different?</p>

<p>This is such a tough decision, and there are so many intangibles, nobody can give a definitive answer as to whether or not Bowdoin is "worth it". I am personally of the opinion that for many kids a SLAC will give them a better social and academic education, compared to the flagship (or similar) State U. The real question though is, will that better education prove to be worth the extra cost? </p>

<p>We too are a middle class family, and we managed to put together a substantial college fund over a 15-year period. Unfortunately, tuition rose faster than we imagined, and we took a bad hit during the current recession. Bottom line: our son is graduating from a SLAC this Spring, and our daughter is in her first year at a SLAC. We project that when she graduates, we will have about $45K of debt between the two kids. If they had gone to state schools, there would be a surplus in the college fund when our daughter graduates. </p>

<p>Will it be worth it, when they could have gone to somewhat similar in-state colleges? I think so. Our son has had a wonderful transformative experience, and is emerging a vastly more accomplished and competent individual. Our daughter, after less than one year, has had a series of life-changing events that have caused her to be already far more mature and confident. Of course, who can say that something similar might have happened at elsewhere.</p>

<p>I don't think that Bowdoin will be worth it, merely in terms of prestige. Only people, 'in the know' about SLACs will be impressed by Bowdoin graduates.</p>

<p>Bopambo, My daughter is graduating this year from Whitman and also considered Bowdoin (but applied to Whitman early decision). She has had an amazing education at Whitman. She was consistently challenged in all of her classes, a lot of 1:1 attention from professors and two years of research including funded summers. She will be attending grad school next year in the sciences, but many of her non science friends are actively interviewing for jobs right now. Feel free to PM me if you want more details.</p>

<p>This is a head-scratcher.</p>

<p>Your son has some phenomenal choices. To me, Tufts, Macalester and Berkeley are the three top "academic" choices on his plate. BC and Whitman a cut below that, but not so much that if there were compelling financial or lifestyle reasons to go there, I wouldn't blink if it were my child.</p>

<p>We were full pay for our kids, and I made it clear to them early on in the process that although there were schools we would go into debt for or take on second jobs for, there were other schools which to us were just not worth it.</p>

<p>Bowdoin over Tufts? This I would have trouble with. I think you need to hear some reasoning beyond "it feels right" to get comfortable with that decision.</p>

<p>Tufts > Bowdoin was a clear winner at our house. Of course, he was waitlisted at Bowdoin, but by the time we got the waitlist letter, S2 had pretty much decided he was down to Chicago and Tufts. (and so he remains...)</p>

<p>Is there a particular major or program he is considering? Bowdoin and Berkeley are radically different places! S2 liked the gov't major at Bowdoin, but realized that Tufts had a lot more that was more closely tied to what he wants to do in his life. Agree with others that your S has some great choices and if they are more financially workable, I'd want to hear what was so compelling about Bowdoin.</p>

<p>Did your Bowdoin appeal include information about the offers from the other schools....especially the LAC's?</p>

<p>If no....you might want to try one more time.</p>

<p>To me Bowdoin was expensive to fly in and out of. Have you run some phantom flight itineraries to gauge how much more the flights would ad to the annual cost?</p>

<p>To spend $10k more a year is your decision but what the heck is wrong with Tufts? Around Boston, where people are aware of both schools, Tufts is considered an excellent school. It is also a university, but on the smaller side, so it has the resources of a university.</p>

<p>Bowdoin Is worth it - Go Polar BEARS!</p>

<p>I agree with the posts above about Tufts - as I read the list of schools, I had the same thought.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I thought there was virtually no difference between Colby/Bates/Bowdoin outside of the campus feel. The kids didn't even "look" any different?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Academically, at least by local rep and judging by who gets in, Bowdoin is stronger academically than Bates, which is slightly stronger than Colby. Bowdoin is also in a much nicer little college town not far from Portland, which Bates is in scruffy Lewiston/Auburn and Colby is in truly remote Waterville.</p>

<p>That said, assuming that the really big schools are off the table, I have a hard time with $42K and Tufts. (I know nothing about hockey at Tufts, though...) Whether Bowdoin is "worth it" in comparison depends totally on your finances and how large $10K per year looms to you.</p>

<p>If your son likes Bowdoin, I would think he would like Colby. It's definitely the one that has the most in common with Bowdoin. </p>

<p>Tufts is similar but larger, more urban and a bit more preprofessional. </p>

<p>"I thought there was virtually no difference between Colby/Bates/Bowdoin outside of the campus feel. The kids didn't even "look" any different?"</p>

<p>Oh yes you can! Bates is more granola and located in a rundown city. Colby is farther north and also in a rundown, though smaller city. Bowdoin is in a cute little town, 15 mins from Freeport (lots of shopping) and a few miles from the beach (for what it's worth considering it's Maine). </p>

<p>When we looked a few years back, I would have said Bowdoin was the strongest, Colby came in second and Bates came in third.</p>