Bowdoin Requirements for Admission

What are Bowdoin's admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

  • GPA requirements
  • Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
  • Application requirements

In this guide we'll cover what you need to get into Bowdoin and build a strong application.

School location: Brunswick, ME

This school is also known as: Bowdoin College


Admissions Rate: 15%

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at Bowdoin is 15%. For every 100 applicants, only 15 are admitted.

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This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don't meet their expectations, your chance of getting is nearly zero.

After crossing this hurdle, you'll need to impress Bowdoin application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation. We'll cover more below.


Bowdoin GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 3.8

The average GPA at Bowdoin is 3.8.

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(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.8, Bowdoin requires you to be near the top of your class, and well above average. Your transcript should show mostly A's. Ideally, you will also have taken several AP or IB classes to show that you can handle academics at a college level.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.8, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.


SAT and ACT Requirements

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

Bowdoin hasn't explicitly named a policy on SAT/ACT requirements, but because it's published average SAT or ACT scores (we'll cover this next), it's likely test flexible. Typically, these schools say, "if you feel your SAT or ACT score represents you well as a student, submit them. Otherwise, don't."

Despite this policy, the truth is that most students still take the SAT or ACT, and most applicants to Bowdoin will submit their scores. If you don't submit scores, you'll have one fewer dimension to show that you're worthy of being admitted, compared to other students. We therefore recommend that you consider taking the SAT or ACT, and doing well.

Bowdoin SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 2178 (New: 1500)

The average SAT score composite at Bowdoin is a 2178 on the old 2400 SAT scale.

On the new 1600 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1500.

This score makes Bowdoin Strongly Competitive for SAT test scores.

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Bowdoin SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1440, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1560. In other words, a 1440 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1560 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math750710780
Reading383739
Writing373639
Composite150014401560

Bowdoin SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 2065, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 2305. In other words, a 2065 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 2305 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math720685770
Reading729690765
Writing729690770
Composite217820652305

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

Bowdoin has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Section Reading Math Writing Composite
Test 1 700 300 300 1300
Test 2 300 700 300 1300
Test 3 300 300 700 1300
Superscore 700 700 700 2100

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1300, Bowdoin will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1300 to 2100 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Bowdoin forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 2305, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.


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Bowdoin ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, Bowdoin likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 32

The average ACT score at Bowdoin is 32. This score makes Bowdoin Strongly Competitive for ACT scores.

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The 25th percentile ACT score is 31, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 34.

Even though Bowdoin likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 31 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 32 and above that a 31 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 34 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

However, in our research, we found that Bowdoin does in fact offer an ACT superscore policy. To quote their Admissions Office:

Test Option Policy. If you do submit: Regarding the ACT, Bowdoin does not superscore; instead, the admissions committee will consider the highest submitted Composite score. We will not recalculate a new Composite score from subsection scores earned on different test dates.

Source

Superscoring is powerful to your testing strategy, and you need to make sure you plan your testing accordingly. Of all the scores that Bowdoin receives, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all ACT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 4 test scores:

English Math Reading Science Composite
Test 1 32 16 16 16 20
Test 2 16 32 16 16 20
Test 3 16 16 32 16 20
Test 4 16 16 16 32 20
Superscore 32 32 32 32 32

Even though the highest ACT composite you scored on any one test date was 20, Bowdoin will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 20 to 32 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Bowdoin forms your Superscore, you can take the ACT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your ACT score is currently below a 34, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the ACT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the ACT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.


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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

Bowdoin considers the SAT/ACT Writing section optional and may not include it as part of their admissions consideration. You don't need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you're applying to may require it.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that Bowdoin requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.



Final Admissions Verdict

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Because this school is extremely selective, getting a high SAT/ACT score and GPA is vital to having a chance at getting in. If you don't pass their SAT/ACT and GPA requirements, they'll likely reject you without much consideration.

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 2305 SAT or a 34 ACT. You should also have a 3.8 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score.

For a school as selective as Bowdoin, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.

But if you apply with a score below a 2305 SAT or a 34 ACT, you unfortunately start out with the odds against you and have a tiny chance of getting in. There are just too many students with high SAT/ACT scores and strong applications, and you need to compete against them.



Admissions Calculator

What are your chances of admission at Bowdoin College?
Chances of admission with these scores:

Here's our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are.

Pick your test: Old SAT New SAT ACT

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Note: This is only an estimate for the average student, based on data collected from thousands of students. Other factors in your application may come into play, such as extracurriculars and recommendation letters.

How would your chances improve with a better score?

Try to take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?

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Application Requirements

Every school requires an application with the bare essentials - high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We'll cover the exact requirements of Bowdoin here.

Application Requirements Overview

  • Common Application Accepted
  • Universal Application Not accepted
  • Electronic Application Available
  • Essay or Personal Statement Required for all freshmen
  • Letters of Recommendation 3
  • Interview Not required
  • Application Fee $60
  • Fee Waiver Available? Available
  • Other Notes

Testing Requirements

  • SAT or ACT Considered if submitted
  • SAT or ACT Writing Optional
  • SAT Subject Tests
  • Scores Due in Office January 1

Coursework Requirements

  • Subject Required Years
  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • Foreign Language
  • Social Studies
  • History
  • Electives

Deadlines and Early Admissions

  •  
    • Offered? Deadline Notification
  • Regular Admission
    • Yes January 1 April 5
  • Early Action
    • No
  • Early Decision
    • Yes November 15, January 1 December 15, February 15

Admissions Office Information


Other Schools For You

If you're interested in Bowdoin, you'll probably be interested in these schools as well. We've divided them into 3 categories depending on how hard they are to get into, relative to Bowdoin.


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Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are more selective and have higher scores than Bowdoin. If you improve your SAT score, you'll be competitive for these schools.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
Yale University New Haven, CT 1540 2265 33
Harvard College Cambridge, MA 1540 2250 34
Duke University Durham, NC 1540 2250 34
Columbia University New York, NY 1530 2240 34
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 1520 2221 34
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 1520 2220 33
Stanford University Stanford, CA 1520 2220 33

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Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

If you're competitive for Bowdoin, these schools will offer you a similar chance of admission.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
Rice University Houston, TX 1510 2200 33
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 1510 2181 32
Brown University Providence, RI 1500 2178 32
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 1500 2160 32
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 1490 2150 32
Tufts University Medford, MA 1490 2149 32
Northeastern University Boston, MA 1470 2110 33

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Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

If you're currently competitive for Bowdoin, you should have no problem getting into these schools. If Bowdoin is currently out of your reach, you might already be competitive for these schools.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 1450 2080 31
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 1420 1376 30
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA 1440 2060 32
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 1440 2050 32
Emory University Atlanta, GA 1430 2046 31
New York University New York, NY 1410 2016 30
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 1370 1947 29

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