Bowdoin College is an elite liberal arts college that counts among its alumni influencers like Netflix founder Reed Hastings and Harlem Children’s Zone founder Geoffrey Canada. Although it is highly selective, rejecting 85% of applicants, Bowdoin is test optional, meaning applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores. As part of the school’s classic liberal arts approach, students must do course work in all of the major disciplines, including math, science, the arts, and the social sciences.
Bowdoin promises to provide grants to meet the entire demonstrated need of students who can’t afford the full sticker price. As a result, most Bowdoin graduates leave school without any student debt. Also keeping costs down: 90% of freshmen graduate within four years, one of the highest rates in the country. The Polar Bears field 31 Division III sports teams. To encourage students to take full advantage of opportunities to kayak, hike, and ski in bucolic Maine, Bowdoin lends outdoor gear for free. One social highlight of the year is the annual Lobster Bake, at which students chow down on steamed local lobsters.