BRUNSWICK, Maine — While community colleges and schools such as the University of Maine at Augusta have long courted nontraditional students, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, one of the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts schools, doesn’t really have that reputation.
“Yeah, I don’t think that’s an incorrect assumption,” says Director of Admissions, Claudia Marroquin. “Over the years we have had a handful of students who have been nontraditional, but it’s been sporadic.”
That’s changing this year with an inaugural push to bring military veterans into its campus community.
Associate Dean of Admissions, Ryan Ricciardi, says it’s about enriching the campus: “We talk a lot about diversity in all forms, and veterans are a big segment of the population not represented on campus.”
By including those who have served overseas or domestically, administrators say they’re not only hoping that veterans will benefit from a liberal arts education, but that traditional students, most of whom come straight from high school, will get a broader perspective on the world.
“Our 18- and 19-year-olds may have traveled, but in very different circumstances,” says Marroquin, “and I think that ability to really understand issues from different angles, and having had interaction with populations different from themselves, is certainly something our more traditional-age students can learn from our veterans.”
There are special considerations as well, says Marroquin. Many veterans will already have families, and face issues such as child care. Financial issues, health care, credits and credit transfers, housing, and time away for reservists are also factors Bowdoin is addressing.
Last year, nationally, almost 95,000 veterans used federal educational aid, popularly known as the G.I. Bill, to pay for college, with more than 3,000 veterans attending Maine schools.
To get started, Bowdoin is collaborating with organizations, such as Service to School, which assists veterans in finding and applying to colleges and universities.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.