The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Boston College
Nestled in Boston’s suburb Chestnut Hill sits Boston College—lovingly referred to as “BC” by its students—the oldest institute of higher education that operates out of the Boston area. Founded with Jesuit values, the college offers its students more than just a place to learn and study. On its website, in its literature, and through its faculty and staff, the school encourages its students to pursue what they love, reflecting inward to identify their passions while focusing outward on the ways that their actions impact others.
A co-educational, liberal arts school, BC enrolls about 14,000 students total, and roughly 2,300 students per undergraduate class. It is comprised of eight separate schools within the college as a whole, trains 31 different NCAA Division I athletics teams, and promises a low teacher to student ratio in order to give its students small classes and optimal attention and mentoring. If you are looking to enter a community that is spirited, based on Jesuit values, and encouraging of exploration—academic and otherwise—you should consider applying to BC. And if you’ve already decided that you will apply, here’s a thorough how-to guide.
Let’s Talk About Boston College
Founded in 1863, BC has moved from its original location in Boston’s South End to quieter Chestnut Hill, but still boasts supreme proximity to America’s lively college city. While students of the college are encouraged to explore the nearby city, their campus offers more than enough entertainment by way of sports events, a flourishing arts culture, community service opportunities, and almost 300 student-run clubs and organizations.
BC offers its students specialized training in a wide range of fields thanks to the four schools that make up the undergraduate College. These schools are the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, the Carroll School of Management, the Lynch School of Education, and the Connell School of Nursing. Common undergrad majors include economics, political science, psychology, English, marketing, history, and nursing. However, students are encouraged to explore their interests for the first two years of their time at BC and do not declare a major until the end of sophomore year. BC also provides its students with a wide range of resources at its Career Center, which offers guidance and help to students with everything from procuring post-college employment to deciding what major to declare as a freshman.
When you apply to BC, you will need to decide which of its four schools you want to attend and apply specifically to that one. If you are unsure of what your interests are, and you think that they may fall anywhere within the arts, humanities, or sciences, the college advises that you apply to the Morissey College of Arts and Sciences. Meanwhile, students who are applying to Carroll, Lynch, or Connell should know that they would be allowed to pursue secondary majors in Morissey were they to accept and pursue their offers at the pre-professional school. The opposite is not possible (i.e. students in Morissey may not pursue a secondary major in one of the pre-professional schools).
Paying for a BC Education: Tuition, Financial Aid, Deadlines, and Other Facts
BC’s undergraduate tuition currently costs $62,820, including housing and dining fees. The school states that it is committed to providing aid to all students who demonstrate need, and 67% of all students at the College today receive financial aid.
If you are unable to pay out of pocket, BC offers need-based financial aid to prospective students. For reference, you should become well acquainted with BC’s Financial Aid Website. The deadlines for applying for financial aid will differ based on the deadline you have chosen for your application to the college (Early Decision or Regular Decision).
If you plan to apply for need-based financial aid, you will need to fill out a few forms: the Free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a CSS/PROFILE, and an Electronic Noncustodial Parent’s Statement. (if applicable). In addition, you’ll need to provide copies of official 2015 federal income tax returns (including W-2 forms and schedules) for your parents or non-custodial guardians and yourself separately as needed. Finally, if your family happens to own interest in a farm, consult this page—there are two additional forms you’ll have to provide the College’s Financial Aid office. BC is one of a few colleges that pledge to meet 100% of demonstrated need, so if you think that you might be eligible for need-based aid according to the school’s policies (outlined here), you should certainly plan to submit these forms.
If you plan to apply for need-based aid, be sure to submit your forms by the appropriate deadlines. Early Decision applicants must complete the FAFSA by February 1, 2017, submit their need-based aid requests by November 16, 2016, and submit the Noncustodial Parent’s statement by January 1. If offered admission, these students can expect to hear back from the financial aid office by late January. Regular Decision applicants need to submit all forms by February 1; if awarded admission, these students will hear back from BC’s Financial Aid office with an offer by late March.
Applying to Boston College
BC accepts the Common Application, so the application process is fairly simple in this regard. Simply add BC to your Colleges tab, and proceed as you would regularly with the Common App. There are a few extra pieces of information to note here, though. For one, as we mentioned above, BC splits its undergraduate education system into 4 separate schools. When you complete the supplement, you must select which of these schools to which you are applying and, if you are accepted, you are required to spend your entire freshman year studying in that school before deciding to transfer to another one. If, after your first full year at BC, you find yourself wanting to transfer, you can do so by contacting the Dean of the school at which you seek enrollment. That said, admission would not be guaranteed, as each school has limited enrollment and cannot always accommodate internal transfer students.
Regardless of which school to which you choose to apply, BC does require its students to submit a supplemental essay in addition to their personal statement. The prompt for the supplement is as follows:
We would like to get a better sense of you. Please select one of the questions below and write an essay of 400 words or less providing your response.
1. Human beings have a creative side that tends to shine most when we are truly invested in the world around us. Describe a situation when you responded effectively to a particular need and found yourself at your creative best.
2. Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same?
3. BC strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?
4. Jesuit education stresses the importance of the liberal arts and sciences, character formation, commitment to the common good, and living a meaningful life. How do you think your personal goals and academic interests will help you grow both intellectually and personally during college?
For an in-depth analysis on how to respond to these questions, follow this link to our dedicated guide to writing supplemental essays for BC.
BC requires its prospective students to submit test scores as part of their application. You may submit scores from either the re-designed or previous versions of the SAT or the ACT. If you choose to submit the newer version of the SAT, you will not be required to submit the essay portion. Similarly, you will not be required to submit the written portion of the ACT. While you are still allowed to superscore your test grades, you may not combine scores from the old SAT with scores from the re-designed SAT. According to the school’s website, the middle 50% of students score between 1910 and 2150 on the SAT.
BC does not require scores from the SAT II (SAT Subject Test), so you may choose whether or not to submit them.
If you are applying as an international student and your primary language is not English, you will also be required to submit TOEFL or IELTS, even if you attend an English-speaking secondary school.
Interviewing and Visiting: Do They Matter?
BC does not offer interviews as part of its admissions process, and while its adcom encourages students to visit the school, you should only do so to better educate yourself on its vibe, mission, and grounds—in other words, to see firsthand if it is a good fit for you. If it is possible for you economically and logistically, you should certainly consider visiting. If not, you shouldn’t worry, as whether or not you choose to visit BC’s campus will not affect your admission decision.
Odds and Ends: Things to Note When Applying
BC requires a few additional documents aside from your Common Application.
First, you should be sure that your guidance counselor or another school official submits your official transcript along with a recommendation form. Likewise, you should confirm that your college counselor will submit to BC a mid-year report with updated senior-year grades when it is available.
Second, you must submit two teacher evaluations with your application. BC encourages you to submit recommendations from teachers who have taught you in one of the five core academic subjects—English, social studies, science, math, or a foreign language—and we at CollegeVine recommend that you choose someone who has taught you at some point in the latter half of high school.
Third, if you choose to pursue a major in studio art, performing art, or some other major related to your artistic interests, you should submit an appropriate art, music, or theater supplement to BC through the Slide Room function of the Common App. Early Action students should be sure to submit this supplemental information by November 1; Regular Decision candidates should submit their art supplement by January 1.
A final note on applying: If you and your family cannot afford to cover the $75 application fee, you may apply for a fee waiver through the Common App.
BC offers two different application cycles in which its students may apply: Early Decision and Regular Decision. The relevant deadlines for each cycle are below.
Application Due: November 1
Application Decisions Released: Applicants will be notified by December 24.
Application Due: January 1
Application Decisions Released: Applicants will be notified by April 1. You will be either accepted, offered a spot on the wait list, or denied admission.
Need help applying to BC and any other colleges on your list? Contact us to learn more about our College Application Guidance Program today!