News Archive 2009-2018

Bowdoin Profile: First-Generation College Student Dylan Bess ’21 Archives


A few days after his high school guidance counselor recommended to Dylan Bess that he consider applying to Bowdoin, an admissions representative from Bowdoin visited his school in St. Louis, Mo. And she spoke his language.

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“I fell in love with it — just the way she presented the school. She was so passionate about it, and was talking about it in a way that made it seem quality-of-life focused rather than a hard, competitive environment,” Bess said.

Bowdoin offered what Bess wanted: a rigorous academic experience in a supportive, close community — something similar to what he had experienced in his high school, Metro Academic/Classical High School. “When I was choosing Bowdoin, I wanted to be in a community that is helpful and caring,” he said.

Though neither of his parents has a four-year college degree, Bess’s mother and father stressed to him the importance of obtaining a college degree. And as a QuestBridge Scholar and part of the International Baccalaureate program in his high school, Bess embraced these ambitions. His mother runs a daycare center in their home.

After his first semester at Bowdoin, Bess said he is considering majoring in a science like chemistry or biochemistry, but that he also wants to take more classes in philosophy. Eventually he would like to go to medical school.

Bess praised the personal attention he has received from many advisors at Bowdoin. “I met with deans a lot this year, just because they would email me, saying, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Just wanted to check in with you.’ The deans here are just so supportive.”

He’s also enjoying the camaraderie of classmates, especially with other first-generation college students. “Not really knowing how college works, and not being able to go to your family to get help about how to guide yourself through college, it’s nice being in a community and having friends who are going through those same struggles,” he said.