What Does It Take to Get Into Boston College?

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Boston College’s acceptance rate is 34%. What does it take to get in?


Boston College is a private Jesuit university founded in 1863. It has grown rapidly over the past few decades to its current enrollment of over 9,000 undergrads and more than 5,000 graduate students. Boston College is known for its remarkable campus, with its main campus designated as an historic district that features some of the earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture in the United States.


Boston College is highly-regarded for its academic programs. It boasts a ranking of 38 for National Universities and 33 for Best Value Schools according to US News and World Report. Most impressively, it places 16 for Best Undergraduate Teaching. Programs in finance, management, business, and education are especially strong.


Of course, a school with such a strong reputation can’t accept every student who applies, so getting into Boston College is never a guarantee. To learn more about how to maximize your odds of acceptance, don’t miss this post.


Applying to Boston College: A Quick Overview


Applicants can choose from two options for applying. Early Action applications are due by November 1. Regular Decision applications are due January 1.


All applicants must submit:


  • The Common Application
  • $80 Application Fee or Fee Waiver Form
  • Boston College Writing Supplement
  • Official SAT or ACT Score Reports
  • High School Transcript
  • The School Report and Counselor Recommendation Form
  • 2 Teacher Evaluations
  • Mid-Year Report (Required for Regular Decision and Early Action deferred candidates)
  • Optional Visual or Performing Arts Supplement for students who plan to pursue a major in studio art or who plan to pursue their interests in music and/or theater at Boston College.


Boston College Acceptance Rate:  How Difficult Is It to Get In?


Boston College is a popular choice amongst college applicants. In 2018, BC received applications from over 31,000 hopeful students. Ultimately, it accepted just fewer than 9,000 of them, for an acceptance rate of 28%. This represents a decrease of 4% from 2017.  


Luckily, despite the odds, getting into Boston College doesn’t have to be a complete mystery. Keep reading to find out how you can maximize your odds.


So, How Does One Get Into Boston College?


Boston College considers many different elements of your application before deciding if you’ll be accepted. As the admissions website notes, your “grades, standardized test scores, what you do outside of school, teachers’ and others’ appraisals, and how you express yourself through writing,” are all a part of the consideration process.


If you want to get into BC, you’ll need to be able to prove your academic ability to complete challenging college-level courses. In fact, your GPA, the rigor of your high school course load, and your standardized test scores are the most important factors, according to the Boston College admissions committee.


This means taking challenging high school classes, preferably the most challenging track available at your school, and doing well in them. Although no exact high school course load is required, Boston College recommends four years of courses in each of the following subject areas: English, math, science, social studies, and a foreign language.


At the same time, you’ll need to also excel on standardized tests. The average SAT score for accepted students in 2018 was 1366, and the middle 50% scored between 1310-1450. ACT scores were equally as impressive, with accepted students scoring an average of 32 and the middle 50% achieving scores between 31-34.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Impress on Standardized Tests. For many applicants, improving your standardized test scores is the easiest and quickest way to improve your shot of getting into BC. Remember, BC is one of the schools that ranks standardized test scores as most important to the admissions process. By starting your prep early, taking practice tests to identify areas for improvement, and learning the best strategies, you can optimize your chance of a top score. For help polishing your test skills, consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s SAT Tutoring Program, where successful near-peer tutors guide students to an average score increase of 250 points.


Religious Affiliation Matters. As a Jesuit school, Boston College is not blind to religion. In fact, your religious affiliation and commitment are considered important by the admissions committee. This means that if you happen to be a practicing Catholic, you might receive priority over similar applicants with a different or no religious affiliation.


Consider Early Action. Although the overall acceptance rate at Boston College is 28%, this is actually a weighted calculation from two different acceptance rates. The regular decision acceptance rate is just 26%, while the early action acceptance rate is 34%. Boston College notes that its early action program is sometimes more competitive than regular admissions since the candidates tend to be more academically qualified. The admissions committee admits, however, to deferring all applicants who would be qualified under regular admissions, so applying early can’t hurt your odds. This means an earlier application deadline (Nov. 1). But since it is a non-binding option, you are still allowed to apply Early Decision elsewhere if BC is not your top choice.


What If You Get Rejected?


Getting rejected from college definitely stings, but the reality is that most applicants to Boston College are rejected. The admissions committee fully recognizes that it cannot accept every academically qualified candidate, so sometimes it is small things like extracurriculars, volunteer work, and even alumnus relations that make the difference.


While Boston College does accept transfer students, the transfer application process is even more involved than the regular application process, and it’s even more selective too. In 2017, BC accepted just 16% of transfer applicants. For this reason, it’s never a great idea to assume that you can attend another school and transfer to BC later.


Instead, we recommend that you assess your priorities and find other schools that will allow you to reach your long term goals. With thousands of options, there is a good fit out there for everyone. For help adjusting to a different dream school, read our post, Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


Other posts you may enjoy:

Does Applying Early Decision Increase My Chances?

How to Write the Boston College Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.