Bowdoin College

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#T-104, overall score 49/100

Fun Fact:

Bowdoin has topped the Princeton Review’s “Best Campus Food” list seven times since 2004.

Why should Jewish students attend Bowdoin? Although our Jewish community is small, it is vibrant, intimate, and tight-knit. We hold weekly candle lightings, celebrate holidays throughout the year, and put on a range of programming from Jewish meditation sessions to discussions on Judaism and feminism. We also have a wonderful (woman!) rabbi who works closely with Hillel and holds office hours for students. I have often been told that my peers feel comfortable exploring, and are excited to engage with Jewish life with new ways at Bowdoin. We welcome Jews of all backgrounds to join our community. - Carly Berlin, co-president, Bowdoin College Hillel


  • Location: Brunswick, Maine
  • Region: New England
  • Campus type: Rural
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Liberal Arts: Yes
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,806
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 170
  • Jewish population share: 9%
  • Student origin: 11% in-state / 79% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Bowdoin Orient
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Polar Bears
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Clown / Chaos Theory

COST & AID Score: 9.17/15

  • Score: 9.17/15
  • Tuition: $51,848
  • Room & board costs: $14,132
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $46,331
  • Average loan debt: $23,120
  • Starting median salary: $55,500

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 14%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 9:1
  • Median SAT range: 1290-1510
  • Jewish Studies program: No
  • Jewish Studies major: No
  • Hebrew major: No

ISRAEL Score: 9.33/20

  • Score: 9.33/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 15
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel Studies center: No
  • Israel-related clubs: J Street U
  • Jewish Agency for Israel fellow: No
  • BDS vote in last four years: Proposed, didn’t pass

SAFETY Score: 4/11

  • Score: 4/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 3
  • Campus crime rate: 10.52/1,000 students (high)
  • City crime rate: 18.16/1,000 people (low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 6.5/34

  • Score: 6.5/34
  • Hillel: Bowdoin College Hillel
  • Chabad: No
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Jewish fraternities: None
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? No
  • Chicken soup hotline: No
  • Hillel Friday night services: 1
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 15
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 1 (Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alum: William Cohen
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: Dining halls do not offer a kosher option. There is a kosher kitchen in the multi-cultural house that Hillel keeps locked; a student looking to use it could easily gain access.

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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