Bowdoin vs Brown: Which Is the Better Choice?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a woman smiling at the camera.

Bowdoin vs Brown: Which Is the Better Choice?

If you are a high school student looking to pursue higher education, then you’re probably faced with the daunting task of choosing the right university for you. While there are numerous options out there, Bowdoin and Brown are two of the most renowned institutions in the academic world. Both institutions offer excellent programs, a vibrant student life, and numerous resources to their students, but which one should you choose? In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at Bowdoin vs Brown and compare them across various parameters to help you make an informed decision about which university is the better choice for you.

Academic Programs: A Detailed Look at Bowdoin vs Brown

When it comes to academics, both Bowdoin and Brown are renowned for their programs and faculties. Bowdoin has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Their curriculum spans across 40 different majors and a countless number of minors, designed to provide students with a well-rounded education in various domains. Brown University, on the other hand, offers a diverse range of programs with a focus on research and interdisciplinary studies. Their open curriculum allows students to explore a range of disciplines and customize their academic journey according to their interests.

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Both institutions attract some of the brightest minds from around the world, so you can expect to be pushed to your limits academically. While Bowdoin provides a more structured curriculum, Brown’s open curriculum offers greater flexibility, allowing students to explore a range of disciplines. Students also have access to world-class faculty and research opportunities at both of them.

Bowdoin University has a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with opportunities for students to engage in research, internships, and community service. The college has a well-established relationship with the local community, providing students with opportunities to engage in service projects and internships with local organizations. Brown University also offers a range of experiential learning opportunities, including research projects, internships, and study abroad programs. The university has a strong focus on interdisciplinary studies, encouraging students to explore the intersections between different fields of study.

Both have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a range of programs and initiatives aimed at creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. Bowdoin University has a range of programs aimed at supporting underrepresented students, including first-generation college students and students from low-income backgrounds. Brown University has a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives, including a diversity and inclusion action plan and a range of student-led organizations focused on promoting diversity and inclusion on campus.

Campus Life: How Bowdoin vs Brown Compare

When it comes to campus life, both offer a vibrant and diverse student community. Bowdoin has a small campus, with just over 1800 undergraduates, creating a tight-knit community where students can readily engage with their peers and professors. The campus is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, and students have access to a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, sailing, and skiing.

Brown, on the other hand, is a larger university with a more diverse student population. The campus buzzes with activity, and students have access to an array of clubs and organizations that cater to various interests. Students in Brown also live in a range of on-campus and off-campus housing options, providing greater independence and a wider range of living arrangements. Brown’s location in Providence, Rhode Island, also offers students access to a vibrant arts and culture scene.

One of the unique aspects of Bowdoin’s campus life is its commitment to sustainability. The college has implemented a range of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, such as using renewable energy sources and promoting sustainable transportation options. Students can get involved in sustainability efforts through clubs and organizations, and the college also offers courses and research opportunities in environmental studies.

At Brown, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of experiential learning programs, such as internships, research projects, and study abroad programs. These programs allow students to apply their classroom learning to real-world situations and gain valuable skills and experience. Brown also has a strong commitment to community service, and students can get involved in a range of service projects through the Swearer Center for Public Service.

Location Matters: Pros and Cons of Attending Bowdoin vs Brown

Location can play a large role in determining which university is the better choice for you. Bowdoin is located in Brunswick, Maine, a small town with a tight-knit community and easy access to outdoor activities. However, the town can feel isolated, with limited shopping and dining options. Brown, on the other hand, is located in Providence, Rhode Island, a mid-sized city with a bustling arts and culture scene, as well as easy access to Boston and New York City. However, the urban environment may not be ideal for those who prefer a quieter or more natural setting.

One of the gates in the Brown University

Both locations offer unique opportunities and come with their own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your personal preferences before making a choice.

Another factor to consider when choosing between Bowdoin and Brown is the climate. Brunswick, Maine experiences cold winters with heavy snowfall, while Providence, Rhode Island has milder winters with occasional snow. If you enjoy winter sports and activities, Bowdoin may be the better choice for you. However, if you prefer a milder climate, Brown may be more appealing. It’s important to consider all aspects of the location, including climate, when making your decision.

Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates: Which University Is More Competitive?

Both Bowdoin and Brown are highly competitive institutions, with rigorous academic requirements and a selective admissions process. Bowdoin has a lower acceptance rate of around 10%, while Brown’s acceptance rate is around 7%. Both look for well-rounded students who demonstrate academic excellence, extracurricular involvement, and personal character. It’s important to prepare well in advance and put forth your best effort when applying to either university.

Aside from academic excellence, extracurricular involvement, and personal character, Bowdoin University also values community service and leadership skills. They seek students who have made a positive impact in their communities and have taken on leadership roles in their extracurricular activities. Brown University, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on intellectual curiosity and creativity. They look for students who have a passion for learning and are willing to take risks and explore new ideas.

It’s important to note that while acceptance rates and admission requirements are important factors to consider when choosing a university, they are not the only factors. It’s also important to consider the location, campus culture, available resources, and overall fit with your personal and academic goals. Both Bowdoin and Brown offer unique opportunities and experiences, and it’s up to each individual student to determine which university is the best fit for them.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Comparing Bowdoin and Brown 

While both are known to be pricey, they are also committed to ensuring that all students have access to financial aid and scholarships. Bowdoin and Brown both offer need-blind admissions, meaning that students are accepted based on their academic merit and personal character rather than their financial background. Both institutions also offer a range of scholarships and financial aid packages to help make education affordable for all students.

At Bowdoin, students can apply for financial aid through the Office of Student Aid. The university offers a variety of need-based grants and loans, as well as work-study programs to help students cover the cost of tuition and living expenses. Additionally, Bowdoin has a scholarship program specifically for students who are the first in their family to attend college.

Similarly, Brown University offers a range of financial aid options to help students afford their education. The university’s Office of Financial Aid provides need-based grants and loans, as well as work-study programs and merit-based scholarships. Brown also has a program called the Brown Promise, which guarantees that all undergraduate students from families with incomes below $100,000 will receive scholarship funding to cover the cost of tuition, room, and board.

Faculty and Resources: What Sets Bowdoin vs Brown Apart?

Bowdoin and Brown both have highly accomplished and dedicated faculty who are committed to providing students with a world-class education. One key difference between the two is their focus on undergraduate versus graduate studies. Bowdoin is a primarily undergraduate institution, while Brown offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. This means that Bowdoin’s faculty is dedicated entirely to undergraduate teaching, while Brown’s faculty has a mix of undergraduate and graduate-level instruction. Both have state-of-the-art facilities, resources, and research opportunities for students.

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Another difference between Bowdoin and Brown is their location. Bowdoin is located in Brunswick, Maine, a small town with a population of around 20,000. This provides a close-knit community feel and allows for easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. Brown, on the other hand, is located in Providence, Rhode Island, a larger city with a population of around 180,000. This provides students with access to a wider range of cultural and social opportunities.

Additionally, Bowdoin and Brown have different approaches to their core curriculum requirements. Bowdoin has a strict set of distribution requirements that all students must fulfill, while Brown has a more flexible approach that allows students to design their own course of study. This means that Bowdoin students have a more structured academic experience, while Brown students have more freedom to explore their interests and passions.

Student Body Diversity: A Comparative Analysis of Bowdoin and Brown 

Diversity is an important consideration when choosing a university, and both Bowdoin and Brown have made strides in ensuring that their student body represents a diverse range of perspectives. Bowdoin is known for its commitment to equity and inclusion, and has made significant efforts to increase diversity on campus. Brown, similarly, has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries represented. Students at both institutions have access to a range of cultural and diversity clubs and organizations, providing support and resources for students from various backgrounds.

One notable aspect of Bowdoin’s commitment to diversity is its partnership with the Posse Foundation, a non-profit organization that identifies and recruits talented students from diverse backgrounds and provides them with full-tuition scholarships. Bowdoin has been a partner with the Posse Foundation since 2003, and has welcomed over 200 Posse Scholars to its campus. This program has not only increased the diversity of Bowdoin’s student body, but has also provided a supportive community for these students.

Brown University has also taken steps to promote diversity and inclusion through its admissions process. In 2018, Brown announced that it would no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, citing concerns about the tests’ potential to perpetuate inequality. This move was praised by many as a step towards a more equitable admissions process, as it allows students from underrepresented backgrounds who may not have had access to test preparation resources to be evaluated on other factors, such as their academic record and extracurricular activities.

Graduate Outcomes: Which University Provides Better Career Opportunities?

After graduation, students want to know that they have the skills and qualifications to succeed in their careers. Both Bowdoin and Brown are renowned for their programs and are highly regarded by employers. Bowdoin has a strong alumni network, with graduates in various fields, including politics, law, and finance. Brown, similarly, has numerous successful graduates and is known for its research and innovation. Both offer career services and job placement opportunities for students, ensuring that they are well-prepared for life after graduation.

However, there are some differences between the two institutions when it comes to career opportunities. Bowdoin has a smaller student body, which means that students have more personalized attention from career advisors and professors. This can lead to more tailored job opportunities and connections in specific industries. On the other hand, Brown’s larger student body and diverse range of programs can provide students with a wider range of career options and networking opportunities. Ultimately, the choice between Bowdoin and Brown will depend on the individual student’s career goals and preferences.

Campus Infrastructure: A Comprehensive Comparison of Bowdoin vs Brown

When it comes to campus infrastructure, both Bowdoin and Brown offer modern facilities and resources for students. Bowdoin’s campus is small but charming, with buildings that reflect the university’s history and traditions. The campus is also designed with sustainability in mind, with numerous green initiatives and LEED-certified buildings. Brown’s campus is larger, with a mix of colonial and modern-style buildings. The university has made significant investments in upgrading its infrastructure, with state-of-the-art academic buildings and research facilities.

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Despite their similarities, there are some notable differences in the campus infrastructure of Bowdoin and Brown. Bowdoin’s campus is located in a small town, which means that students have easy access to local amenities such as shops and restaurants. In contrast, Brown’s campus is situated in the heart of Providence, a bustling city with a vibrant arts and culture scene. This location provides students with a wealth of opportunities to explore the city and engage with the wider community.

Another key difference between the two is their approach to campus housing. Bowdoin has a strong residential life program, with most students living on campus for all four years. The university offers a range of housing options, from traditional dormitories to apartment-style living. Brown, on the other hand, has a more flexible housing policy, with many students choosing to live off-campus after their first year. The university does offer a variety of on-campus housing options, but students are also encouraged to explore the wider community and find housing that suits their needs.

Athletics Programs: A Look at the Sports Culture at Bowdoin and Brown 

Athletics are an important part of campus life and culture. Bowdoin and Brown both have strong athletic programs and a dedicated student-athlete community. Bowdoin competes in the NCAA Division III and has numerous varsity and club teams, with a strong focus on teamwork and sportsmanship. Brown competes in the NCAA Division I and has a strong athletics culture, with a dedicated fan base and numerous athletic facilities. Both also have wellness and fitness programs for students, providing resources for a healthy and active lifestyle.

At Bowdoin, the athletic department emphasizes the importance of balancing academics and athletics. Student-athletes are encouraged to prioritize their studies and are provided with academic support to help them succeed in the classroom. Additionally, Bowdoin has a strong intramural sports program, allowing students of all skill levels to participate in a variety of sports and activities.

Brown University has a long history of athletic success, with numerous national championships and Olympic medalists among its alumni. The university also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in athletics, with programs and initiatives aimed at promoting equity and access for all students. Brown’s athletic facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, multiple fields and courts, and a newly renovated aquatics center.

Alumni Networks: How They Benefit Students of Bowdoin vs Brown

Alumni networks can be important resources for graduates, providing networking opportunities and support for the transition into the workforce. Both Bowdoin and Brown have strong alumni networks, with graduates in various industries and fields. Bowdoin’s alumni network is focused on maintaining a tight-knit community, with numerous events and programs that bring together alumni and students. Brown’s alumni network is more diverse and far-reaching, with over 90,000 graduates worldwide. Both provide ample opportunities for students to engage with alumni and build lasting connections.

Group of people huddled together.

However, the benefits of alumni networks extend beyond just networking and job opportunities. Alumni can also provide valuable mentorship and guidance to current students. Many alumni are willing to share their experiences and offer advice on navigating the challenges of college and post-graduation life. Additionally, alumni networks often provide funding for scholarships, internships, and other educational opportunities for current students. By staying connected with their alma mater, alumni can make a significant impact on the lives of current and future students.

Student Support Services: Which University Offers Better Resources for Students?

When it comes to student support services, both Bowdoin and Brown offer a range of resources to ensure that students have a positive and fulfilling university experience. Bowdoin has a small but dedicated support staff, with resources such as academic advising, counseling, and career services. Brown, being a larger university, has a more extensive support system, with academic advisors, career services, health and wellness resources, and a range of other services for students. Both prioritize student well-being and provide ample resources to ensure that students receive the support they need to be successful.

Campus Safety Measures: A Comparison between Bowdoin vs Brown

Campus safety is a top concern for students and parents when choosing a university. Both Bowdoin and Brown have robust safety measures in place to ensure the well-being of their students. Bowdoin has a dedicated campus security team, providing 24/7 coverage and emergency response services. The campus is also designed with safety in mind, with well-lit pathways and security cameras throughout the campus. Brown, similarly, has a dedicated campus safety team and numerous safety initiatives to ensure the well-being of students. Both prioritize campus safety and have implemented numerous measures to keep students safe.

Research Opportunities: Which University Has a Stronger Research Culture?

Research is an important aspect of university life, and both Bowdoin and Brown have strong research cultures. Brown is known for its research excellence, with numerous well-funded research projects and partnerships with industry leaders. Bowdoin, while smaller in scale, also has excellent research opportunities, with numerous faculty-led research projects and partnerships with local organizations. Both offer ample opportunities for students to engage in research and participate in scientific discoveries, providing valuable experience for future academic and professional pursuits.

Choosing between Bowdoin and Brown can be a difficult decision, as both offer excellent academic programs, vibrant campus life, and a range of resources for students. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preferences, priorities, and goals. However, with the information presented in this article, you can make an informed decision about which university is the better choice for you.



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