Bowie State University Online Undergraduate Application Essays


Bowie State University is the oldest historically black university (HBCU) in Maryland. The present-day public university, located in suburban Bowie, Maryland, was founded by the Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of Colored People in 1865. Then known as the Baltimore Normal School, the institution’s goal was to train African Americans to become teachers.

The Board of Education provided funding and assumed control of the school in 1908. The school relocated to Prince George’s County and received the name Maryland Normal School in 1914. The first four-year programs began in 1935 and the institution became a state college in 1963. The first graduate degree was in 1970 but Bowie State did not receive university status until 1988, when it became one of the first members of the just-established University System of Maryland. The school’s first doctoral program graduates earned their degrees in May 2005.

Bowie State is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The school’s mission statement includes the desire to “provide high-quality and affordable educational opportunities at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels for a diverse student population of Maryland citizens and the global community.”

The university emphasizes the education of minority students as well as students who struggle with socioeconomic issues. It is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute.


Bowie State offers 20 undergraduate majors, 20 master’s programs and two doctoral programs, as well as numerous graduate certificates and certificates of advanced study.

With graduate enrollment nearly equivalent to undergraduate enrollment, the university is both a rounded undergraduate institution and a leading graduate institution. It consistently ranks in the top schools granting graduate degrees to African Americans in various disciplines, and is ranked highly among HBCUs for granting graduate degrees to African Americans in all disciplines.

The university is comprised of five colleges:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Professional Studies

Combined, the colleges offer 18 departments, 23 undergraduate majors, 19 master’s degree programs, two doctoral programs, and numerous advanced certificate programs.

Bachelor’s degrees can be received in many majors, including communications, computer science, English, fine and performing arts, history and government, mathematics, biology, sociology, criminal justice, business administration, nursing, social work, and education.

Graduate programs allow qualified students to pursue advanced levels of study that can lead to a Master of Education, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Nursing. Doctoral programs offered by the Graduate School include the Doctor of Education and the Doctor of Applied Science in computer science.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

Bowie State is a participant in the National Science Foundation and NASA partnership program, Model Institutions for Excellence. This partnership implements specific improvements to ensure a high percentage of students are retained and graduate from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. The program includes teaching and research laboratories, and specific tutorial facilities to assist students. The Satellite Operations & Control Center is a training facility and mission control center for NASA spacecraft on the Bowie State campus, where students participate in satellite operations and earn mission controller certification.

The university offers continuing education and extended education in various forms: partnerships with public high schools, distance learning, non-credit workshops, and through several institutes, including the Institute for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the Institute for Development and Entrepreneurship Advancement.


Bowie State is known for granting admission to nearly all applicants who meet minimum admission standards. Factors that determine acceptance for high school seniors who will be entering college for the first time (as well as first-time college students who have earned a GED) include GPA, standardized test scores, and recommendations from counselors and teachers.

Prospective undergraduates must submit a completed application form along with the required non-refundable application fee. Official high school transcripts and official SAT or ACT test score reports must be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions. Application essays and letters of recommendation are optional but suggested. International students, students who are transferring from other colleges or universities, and students who are applying for re-admission to Bowie State may be asked to meet additional requirements.

Students applying to graduate programs should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying. General requirements include undergraduate transcripts and other materials or supporting documentation as required by the program. Applications and supplemental materials must be accompanied by the non-refundable application fee.

Students should submit all required application documents and fees by the specified deadline, which is posted on the Bowie State website. Priority consideration is given to all applications submitted prior to the deadline.

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid office at Bowie State provides counseling services to students and their families regarding the cost of higher education and where they can find assistance to accommodate that cost. The majority of financial aid that is awarded is based on financial need, but merit-based aid programs are also available. The university supports and provides programs such as the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans and Maryland State Scholarships. There are also a variety of private donor-supported scholarship funds for general support and for support of students with particular interests, talents, and majors. Students are also encouraged to inquire with individual departments about particular aid opportunities for student who study specific disciplines.

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. Federal Work-Study jobs are also available for qualified students. Students who seek financial aid will need to fill out the FAFSA as early as possible each year. Aid is available from federal and state agencies and from institutional funds.

Student Financial Aid Details


Student life at Bowie State University includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. Students can participate in a wide variety of clubs and organizations, including academic and honor societies, fraternities and sororities, the Student Government, and various clubs organized around specific interests, cultures, and religions.

Popular groups include an Art Guild, the Baptist Student Ministry, clubs organized for students in various academic majors, the Bowie State Chapter of the Greater Washington Urban League, a Jazz Ensemble, and WBSU Radio. Many of the university’s activities and organizations are unique to the school or unique to HBCUs.

Campus is home to several residence halls and a student apartment complex as well as the Thurgood Marshall Library, which provides access to all the volumes in the University of Maryland system as well as its own collection.

Student services include career advising, health services, and assistance locating off-campus housing.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Bowie State Bulldogs compete in the NCAA’s Division II and in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Bulldogs participate in football, basketball, bowling, tennis, volleyball, softball, and cross country, along with both indoor and outdoor track and field.

Student athletes train and compete on campus in Bulldog Stadium, the A.C. Jordan Arena, and the Leonidas James complex.


The university proudly maintains its historical emphasis on educating African American students for positions of leadership and success in the professional and academic worlds. Dating back to Baltimore’s first normal school, which held classes in the African Baptist Church, Bowie State has always combined the thrill of inquiry with the respect and reverence for African American history.

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at Bowie State University is 57%. For every 100 applicants, 57 are admitted.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at Bowie State University is 2.53.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 2.53, Bowie State University accepts students with below-average GPAs. You might have a mix of B's and C's in your high school record. It's best to avoid D's and F's, since application readers might question your commitment to studying and ability to succeed in college.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 2.53, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Bowie State University. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

Bowie State University SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1050 (Old: 1430)

The average SAT score composite at Bowie State University is a 1050 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1430.

This score makes Bowie State University Competitive for SAT test scores.

Bowie State University SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 890, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1050. In other words, a 890 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1050 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

Bowie State University SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1200, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1430. In other words, a 1200 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1430 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

Bowie State University has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Test 17003001000
Test 23007001000
Test 3300300600

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, Bowie State University will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Bowie State University forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1050, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.

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Bowie State University ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, Bowie State University likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 20

The average ACT score at Bowie State University is 20. This score makes Bowie State University Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 15, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 20.

Even though Bowie State University likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 15 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 20 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Bowie State University, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 20.

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Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

Bowie State University hasn't reported their stance on SAT/ACT Writing, but most likely they consider it to be optional. Thus you don't need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you're applying to may require it.

SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that Bowie State University requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.


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