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An Insight to Boston College

Recently I had the pleasure of attending an information session and campus tour at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. A private Jesuit university and tier 1 research institution, BC has approximately 9,300 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students.  About 1/3 of all undergrads are engaged in research with a professor on campus, and the university works hard to encourage students to stay passionate as they become involved global citizens through the core curriculum.


While approximately 6,000 students apply to the Morrissey College of Arts & Science, BC also offers three competitive pre-professional schools: The Carroll School of Management, the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, and the Connell School of Nursing. Every applicant applies to a specific school at BC, but choose wisely. While it’s relatively easy to transfer out of the preprofessional programs, it’s exceptionally difficult to transfer from Arts & Sciences into the Business, Education, and Nursing schools.  However, if you are unsure of your academic focus, don’t worry! You can change your major repeatedly as needed, and Undeclared remains one of the most popular choices among applicants.


The average class size at Boston College is 27, with the largest intro classes capping at around 300 students. That said, even the biggest sections will often break into much smaller groups, and a number of more specialized classes have a max of 10-15 students. In other words, any student can find the right class size to match his or her learning style.  The average BC student spends about 15-16 hours a week in the classroom, leaving time to explore the beautiful campus and surrounding areas as well. Students in Lynch have opportunities to teach during senior year, and Connell students can join Boston’s world-renowned medical community upon graduation. 


At BC, 60% of freshman live on upper campus, while the other 40% live on the satellite campus in Newton.  That campus is only a short 5-10 minute bus ride from the main campus, and has its own chapel, gym, library, and green fields to study, toss a frisbee, or hurl a snowball when the weather changes.


While there is no officially recognized Greek life at BC, Division 1 sports play a large role in the culture. The women’s lacrosse team recently competed in their third consecutive national championship game, and the men’s basketball program has sent over 25 players to the NBA. Just outside of Alumni Stadium stands a statue of Heisman trophy winner Doug Flutie as he launches his Hail Mary to beat Miami, still one of the most famous plays in the history of college football.  While D1 athletes are typically recruited to BC, the school also has club sports and intramural offerings for every level of athlete.


Some other highlights and fun facts about the university:

– Each student is assigned a personal librarian during their freshman year

– The popular Freshmen League allows student to learn the ropes of BC from mentors or “captains” and includes monthly outings in Boston.

– The center of Fulton Hall was modeled after The Wizard of Oz. A cone-shaped light fixture is the same silver color at the Tin Man, the floor design resembles the yellow brick road, and rumor has it that the writing on a bench (in Latin) translates to “There’s no place like home.”

– The Bapst Library is known in some circles as the Harry Potter library because of its strong resemblance to Hogwarts, and notable scenes from the movie franchise.

– Linden Lane, named because of its linden trees, is the sight of a torch ceremony at commencement and later upon graduation, when graduates are told to “Go set the world aflame!”

– BC is mile 21 of the world famous Boston Marathon, and students have a front row seat as runners complete the brutal Heartbreak Hill and inch closer to the finish line.


This fall, Boston College will be shifting from its traditional Early Action offering to binding opportunities for high school seniors to apply either Early Decision 1 (by November 1st) or Early Decision 2 (by January 1st).  While the goal is to accept no more than 40% of its incoming class from the early rounds, ED will nonetheless give a bump to students who choose to demonstrate that level of interest in BC.  Even if you are planning to apply Regular Decision, it’s still worth submitting by November 1st, because you will be automatically considered for BC’s only merit-based scholarship, the Presidential Scholars Program. 15 students are selected annually to receive a free ride, so don’t delay!


Beyond the magnificent campus and outstanding academics, one story has stayed with me. A rising BC senior told visitors about one of his most memorable classes. On the first day of class, his professor handed out the syllabus to students. It was a blank sheet of paper. The student wondered if she had made an error. Instead, this blank page would become the course syllabus, and she wanted everyone’s involvement. Each student was instructed to write one thing that he or she wanted to learn in the class. The paper was passed around, row by row. That night, the professor typed up their ideas, tied a syllabus together, added resources, including text reading and videos, and outlined the next few months of learning.  It was an eye-opening experience for the student, as he realized immediately that BC truly cares.


Go Eagles!




Did you enjoy this blog? Checkout some of our other Insight to College blog posts: 

An Insight to MIT

An Insight to UMass

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