How to Write the Bowdoin Supplement 2018-2019

Bowdoin College is a private liberal arts school in Brunswick, Maine. In 2018, the acceptance rate was a mere 10.3 percent.

How did you first learn about Bowdoin? (Limit 140 characters.)

You might notice that this question is basically asking for a Tweet. Don’t panic. The goal here is not for you to be cute or savvy. Believe it or not, this is a pretty straightforward question. There is an old adage in marketing: “50 percent of your marketing budget is wasted without you knowing why.”

Consider that Bowdoin is just trying to get better at marketing. In other words, they really just want to know how applicants are finding out about them. This is not a trick question. It’s a way for the marketing team to make it mandatory for applicants to give them their data.

Again, don’t try to be funny, or stupid, or cute. Answer the question.

Generations of students have found connection and meaning in Bowdoin's “The Offer of the College,” written in 1906 by Bowdoin President William DeWitt Hyde.

To be at home in all lands and all ages;
to count Nature a familiar acquaintance,
and Art an intimate friend;
to gain a standard for the appreciation of others' work
and the criticism of your own;
to carry the keys of the world's library in your pocket,
and feel its resources behind you in whatever task you undertake;
to make hosts of friends...who are to be leaders in all walks of life;
to lose yourself in generous enthusiasms and cooperate with others for common ends –
this is the offer of the college for the best four years of your life.

Which line from the Offer resonates most with you?

There is no right or wrong answer here, but you should pick one you can write about in 250 words below.

Optional: The Offer represents Bowdoin’s values. Please reflect on the line you selected and how it has meaning to you. (Limit 250 words)

The only trick in this application is making students think this question is optional. It’s not.

As we have recommended in past blog posts, begin by thinking about your Thanksgiving table. There are a number of offerings in the spread. While everyone’s family tradition is different, typically, everything on the table fits within a consistent framework. In other words, you’re probably not going to have a spread that features turkey, yams, green beans, and gefilte fish.  

Think of your skills and offerings as being part of one collective Thanksgiving dinner. Write them all out, from the areas in which you excel academically, to your extracurriculars, to your beliefs, character traits, interests, and familial relationships.  

In this answer, you need to emphasize one of those Thanksgiving items that hasn’t been represented elsewhere in your application.

Be intentional with what you choose because you’re going to be writing about it below. Emphasize a part of yourself that hasn’t been emphasized before. If you’re from NH and you started a hiking club, don’t choose “to count Nature a familiar acquaintance” line. Instead, choose something like the “and Art an intimate friend” line and talk about your admiration for Hank Willis Thomas.

If there is additional information you feel will support your application, you are welcome to include it here.

This question lets you upload a document of your choice. If you’re working with us, you’re obviously taking advantage of this one. We recommend uploading anything creative. Here are some ideas:

1.     A top 100 list of movies

2.     Family recipes told through a funny story

3.     Your bedtime routine

4.     A story about your favorite word

5.     A satirical video you wrote and produced with your friends

6.     A story about what’s in your desk

7.     A scene from your first day of second grade

8.     An essay about someone you know who has had an impact on you

9.     The curriculum for a class you would offer if you were a professor

10.  Your political platform

The goal here is three-fold: make the admissions committee laugh, add information that’s not already present in your application, and show them that you’re interesting   

Need help with your Common App? Reach out to us here. We are experts in helping kids produce standout essays.