Bowdoin College Acceptance Rate 2023 | Admissions, Requirements, & How to Apply

Admission to Bowdoin College is highly selective with an acceptance rate of 9%.  Half of the applicants admitted to Bowdoin College have an SAT score between 1330 and 1510 or an ACT score between 30 and 34.

However, one quarter of admitted applicants scored above these ranges and one quarter scored below these ranges.

The graduation rate is approximately 95%, and 93% of graduates are employable within 2 years of graduation, earning an average of $65,500 per year.


Why Choose Bowdoin College?

Beyond the classic qualities of traditional liberal arts colleges—intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, collaboration between students and faculty—Bowdoin stands out for a common good that can best be described as a commitment to think and act for the good of society. 

This does not necessarily mean that the ideal student must have a service-intensive program; it simply means that the student has a broader view of the world and an understanding that whatever field we work in, we can make them more accessible and ethical by creating space for empathy, understanding, context and history.

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Is It Hard To Get Into Bowdoin College?

Although Bowdoin’s acceptance rate is incredibly low, your personal chances of acceptance may be higher or lower depending on the strength of your profile.

This admissions data tells us that of those students who submit ACT scores to Bowdoin College, the majority fall into the top 5% nationally on the ACT.  An average of 50% of students admitted to Bowdoin received an ACT composite score between 31 and 34, while 25% scored above 34 and 25% scored below 31.

Bowdoin does not require ACT scores for admission.  For students who choose to submit scores, note that Bowdoin participates in the score choice program, meaning the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all ACT test dates.  Bowdoin does not require the writing section of the ACT.

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What Is Bowdoin College Acceptance Rate 2023?

Bowdoin College has an acceptance rate of 9%.  This gives the school the “most selective” admissions rating.  A profile of Bowdoin’s Class of 2024 shows that 9,402 students applied, while only 861 were accepted. 

Of those accepted, 463 were enrolled.  Bowdoin is ranked No. 6 in US News and World Report’s National Liberal Arts College Rankings, No. 11 for Undergraduates, and No. 12 for Best Colleges.

Admission to Bowdoin is test-optional, meaning students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores.  Among students admitted to Bowdoin who reported standardized test scores, half had SAT scores between 1330 and 1520 or ACT scores between 31 and 34.

Bowdoin notes that high school GPA was a major factor in determining acceptance, along with overall academic performance, counselor and teacher recommendations, writing samples, school and community involvement, and character and personality.

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What Is Bowdoin Transfer Acceptance Rate?

Admission to Bowdoin is extremely competitive; Bowdoin only accept a small percentage of students who wish to transfer. 

They typically receive between 150 and 200 transfer applications and accept between five and twenty candidates.  Bowdoin offers a fall transfer program and, on rare occasions, mid-year admission.  For the 2022-2023 academic years, Bowdoin will not be offering a mid-year transfer program.

Although Bowdoin does not set a cutoff, successful applicants typically submit honors college work: work at a “B” or higher, or a GPA of no less than 3.0.

Acceptance Rate by Major

Bowdoin Admissions looks at each applicant holistically as it seeks students who are bright and engaged in and out of the classroom, who demonstrate curiosity and a willingness to take intellectual risks. 

About 9% of applicants are offered a place in the entering class, with more than half choosing to enroll.  Standardizing the submission of test scores is optional for Bowdoin’s admissions process. 

While a student’s overall performance is the most important documentation, faculty recommendations, writing samples, academic potential, community involvement, and personal character are also evaluated.

  • Political science and government12.6%
  • Econometrics and quantitative economics9.5%
  • mathematics6.8%
  • Environmental studies5.6%
  • Neuroscience5.6%
  • History4.8%
  • Education4.5%
  • English language and literature4.5%
  • Biology/biological sciences4.4%
  • Computer science3.9%

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Bowdoin College Admission Requirements

  The application process for international students is the same as for domestic freshmen, but with a few exceptions:

  • Students whose first language is not English must submit official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS, or Duolingo Test of English (DET) by the application deadline.  Applicants must score a minimum of 100 on the TOEFL or a minimum of 7 on the IELTS or a minimum of 75 on the DET to be competitive for admission.
  • The TOEFL, IELTS, or DET requirement will be waived for applicants who have been taught exclusively in English for four years of middle or high school.
  • The TOEFL, IELTS, or DET requirement is not waived based on SAT Critical Reading scores, SAT Subject Test scores, or AP exam scores.
  • Bowdoin requires an official transcript of academic work in the language in which it was prepared and a certified translation of the transcript into English.
  • Students from countries with national university entrance examinations (such as WASSCE, EGSE, KCSE, CAPE, IGCSE, ISC, SLC) must provide official results.  A-Level applicants must submit their O-Level/IGCSE results and predicted A-Level results.  Students enrolled in the IB program are expected to deliver predicted IB exam results.
  • Bowdoin expects international students to apply for an F1 student visa.

Bowdoin College Transfer Requirements

  • College Report – A document completed and submitted by a school representative at the applicant’s current educational institution.
  • College transcript – An official transcript that includes all completed college work.  To be considered official, a transcript must be sent by a school representative.
  • Final High School Transcript – A transcript from grades 9-12, including graduation date, sent by a school representative.
  • College academic grades (2) – Letters of recommendation from a professor, instructor, teacher, or teaching assistant at the applicant’s current institution.  Letters must be sent directly by the recommender.
  • English language proficiency test results (for international applicants only)
  • International applicants who are not enrolled in an English-language college or university must submit English proficiency test results (TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or Cambridge English Assessment).  We accept copies of score reports sent by a school official or applicant.

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What GPA Do I Need To Get Into Bowdoin College?

With a 3.93 GPA, Bowdoin requires you to be at the top of your class.  You’ll need near A’s in all your classes to compete with other applicants.  Plus, you have to take tough classes — AP or IB courses — to show that college-level academics are a breeze.

If you’re a current junior or senior, it’s difficult to change your GPA in time for college.  If your GPA is at or below the high school GPA of 3.93, you will need a higher SAT or ACT score to make up for it.  This will help you compete effectively with other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

What Are The Bowdoin College Deadlines?

  Early Decision (ED) applicants to Bowdoin may apply to one of two programs:

  • Early Decision I (application deadline: November 15)
  • Early Decision II (application deadline: January 5)

The only difference between EDI and EDII is the deadline.  Both programs use the same selection criteria, both are mandatory, and both expect the applicant to be enrolled if accepted.

What Are The Decision Dates?

Bowdoin College offers early decision, but not early action.  Early Decision is mandatory, meaning you must attend if you are admitted, while Early Action allows you to apply early without committing.  Early Decision 2 applications are due by 1/5.

Bowdoin College’s early decision rate is 22%, compared to an overall acceptance rate of 9%.  Last year, Bowdoin College accepted 242 of the 1,123 students who applied for Early Decision.

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How To Apply To Bowdoin College

Bowdoin offers most of its applicants two different application options: the Common Application and the Coalition Application.  These two application formats require almost the same basic information, but ask for this information in different ways and have different standard essay options. 

Application or the Coalition Application: Early Decision I (ED I), Early Decision II (ED II), and Regular Decision (RD).  Both ED schedules allow students to commit to Bowdoin and receive an admissions decision earlier than applicants using the more popular RD schedule.

If you’re absolutely certain that Bowdoin is your first choice and you’d be happy to attend if accepted, one of the ED rounds might be a good choice for you—as we’ve mentioned, the college fills a significant percentage of its entering class through ED.  rounds

ED I applicants submit their applications by November 15 and receive notification of their admission decision by mid-December.  ED II applicants submit their applications by January 1st to receive notification by mid-February.  RD applicants also submit their applications by January 1st, but will not receive an admissions decision until early April.

Bowdoin College Majors

Bowdoin College offers a wide variety of courses.  The school has a wide variety of courses that students can study, making it an almost comprehensive institution.  They even offer the chance to get a scholarship for graduate school.  A student may major or minor in the areas listed below, as well as eight interdisciplinary majors:

  • African Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Biochemistry
  • History of art
  • Asian Studies
  • Earth Science and Oceanography
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Classics
  • German
  • Computer science
  • Economy
  • English
  • French studies
  • Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
  • Government and legal studies
  • Latin studies
  • History
  • Italian studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Performing arts
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Russian
  • Religion
  • Romance languages ​​and literature
  • Sociology
  • Art


Bowdoin College’s acceptance rate is less than one-tenth of applicants, making the liberal arts college highly selective.  However, Bowdoin also has a holistic admissions process and is test-optional, and admissions decisions are not based solely on numbers. 

A strong application essay and strong letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities and a rigorous course schedule that includes AP, IB, Honors, and dual enrollment classes. 

Although not required, Bowdoin strongly encourages interviews for interested candidates.  Students with particularly compelling stories or accomplishments may receive serious consideration, even if their grades and scores fall outside Bowdoin’s average range.

Bowdoin College Acceptance Rate 2023 FAQs

What Is Bowdoin College ACT Score Requirement?

Bowdoin’s average ACT score is 32. This score makes Bowdoin strongly competitive on the ACT score.  ACT 25th percentile is 30 and ACT 75th percentile is 34.  Even though Bowdoin probably says they don’t have a minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 30 or below, it will be very difficult for you to get in unless you have something else very impressive on your application.  There are so many applicants who scored 32 and above that 30 will look academically weak.

What Is Bowdoin College SAT Score Requirement?

To have the best chance of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile with a 1510 SAT or 34 ACT.  You must also have a 3.93 GPA or higher.  If your GPA is lower, you need to make up for it with a higher SAT/ACT score.
For a selective school like Bowdoin, you’ll also need to impress them with another part of your application.   But if you applied with a score lower than a 1510 SAT or a 34 ACT, you’re unfortunately starting out at an unbeatable, slim chance of getting in.  There are too many students with high SAT/ACT scores and strong applications, and you have to compete with them.

Is Bowdoin College Ivy League School?

No, Bowdoin will not be found on the list of Ivy League schools.  These are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, Brown, Pennsylvania and Columbia universities.  As a defining term, “Ivy League” refers to a sports conference.  Many people now use “Ivy League” as a blanket term for excellence because it conjures up a certain image in an educational context.

References – Bowdoin College 2022: Acceptance Rate, Admission, Tuition

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