College: Boston University – http://www.bu.edu/
Location: Boston, MA
Type of Institution: Private research university
Size: 16,500 undergraduates, over 30,000 including graduate students
Admissions Advice: Boston University has become increasingly competitive in recent years as the university pushes to move up in the rankings and due to the fact that the college has decreased the freshman class size. Nearly 20% of students are international, further inflating test score and GPA statistics. The university highly values demonstrated interest and there is a big difference in admission rates for Early Decision, so students with a true passion for the university have an advantage.
Most popular majors: Communication/Journalism, Business, Biology, Health Sciences
Words to describe students I met: Preppy, bros, outgoing, wealthy, confident, active
Unique academic aspects: BU has a range of programs for students with varying interests, from a 7-year accelerated medical school program to a popular two-year liberal arts program for undecided students. The combined med school program has an acceptance rate of 2.5% (!), so it truly is only for the most passionate and prepared undergraduates. The College of General Studies, on the other hand, is a great place for students who want to explore different disciplines while fulfilling general education / graduation requirements. It is a great way for the undecided student to stay on track, something which can often be challenging at larger universities.
Unique social/cultural aspects: Hockey is big at Boston U, and the Terriers have a rich history in the sport. The team has won multiple national championships over the years and tons of rowdy fans can be found at games throughout the season. Not only are sports big on campus, but in the nearby neighborhoods as well. BU is very close to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, so students have ample opportunities to enjoy the city’s sports culture just a few blocks away. A good portion of BU students can be described as “bros” or “jocks”, though Greek life is not as large as one might expect (only about 13% of the student body).
Colleges that seem similar: New York University, George Washington University, University of Southern California, American University, Fordham University
Concerns about this college: Boston University, like many universities in hip urban coastal cities, has tons of students just dying to get in, many of whom are willing to pay full tuition. Boston U has historically been stringy with financial aid and scholarship money, a concern the admission officer I spoke to agreed with fully. However, he said the college is trying to improve its financial aid and scholarship reputation to attract a more diverse range of students. I’m excited to see how this plays out in the coming months and years.
Overall impressions: Boston U’s campus is long and spread out, and very well-integrated with the surrounding city. A metro line runs right along the length of the campus with easy connections to other parts of Boston, and the nearby Allston neighborhood is a fun place to be a college student. I had visited the campus nearly fifteen years ago and was happy to revisit and see the changes in the neighborhood and campus improvements. The college has a lot to offer students interested in business, film and journalism who don’t want to be overwhelmed in NYC or LA, and is a good alternative for those who don’t want to attend a massive urban university (though 30,000 is still pretty large). Overall it was a good visit with a great and enthusiastic tour guide. And I’m very excited that at least one of my current seniors will be enrolling next fall.