What is Boston College Known For?
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- Overview of Boston College Admissions
- Unique Aspects of Boston College
- What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at Boston College?
Found in 1863, Boston College—or simply BC—is one of the oldest and most prestigious Jesuit universities in the United States. Over the years, Boston College has cemented its reputation for exceptional academics, excellent athletics, and extraordinary student outcomes. This is, in part, thanks to the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, or the care of the whole person—a commitment to not just mental growth, but physical, spiritual, and social growth as well.
Overview of Boston College Admissions
Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,900
Acceptance Rate: 26%
Middle 50% SAT: 1410-1520
Middle 50% ACT: 33-35
Admission to Boston College is competitive, with roughly just one in four applicants gaining admission. The college prioritizes the admission of bright, curious, passionate, and engaged students—evaluating everything from grades, extracurricular activities, recommendations, and writing ability when making admissions decisions. BC is test-optional for the 2021-22 admission cycle.
Whether submitting test scores or not, students will want to ace the college’s supplemental essays in order to demonstrate their writing ability and make a case for why they belong on BC’s campus. The Jesuit tradition places a large emphasis on graduating engaged leaders who act with integrity, and involvement in extracurricular activities. Dedication to community involvement can only bolster your application.
Unique Aspects of Boston College
Boston College is best known for its rigorous academics. It’s divided into eight schools offering BAs, BSs, graduate and doctorate degrees:
- Robert J. Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences
- Lynch School of Education
- Boston College Law School
- Carroll School of Management
- Connell School of Nursing
- School of Social Work
- School of Theology and Ministry
- Woods College of Advancing Studies
There are 58 majors available for BC undergraduates to pursue, ranging from African Diaspora Studies to Transformative Educational Studies. The best known and regarded of BC’s schools is Carroll School of Management—it ranks 14th on our list of the Top 15 Best Colleges for Business Majors.
Liberal arts and a grounding in the defining works of the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences is the foundation of a BC education. All students must complete BC’s Core Curriculum, a grouping of 15 classes exploring everything from the arts to philosophy to theology, designed to help students understand the forces that have shaped world history and culture as well as how they think about the world.
In 2021, Boston College launched an engineering program. BC’s human-centered engineering program is rooted in liberal arts but features a rigorous engineering curriculum. The program seeks to understand the intersection of technology and society—preparing students to find solutions that address critical human needs.
Boston College is also known for its low 11:1 student to faculty ratio and the willingness of the college’s staff and faculty to support and value students.
Sports play a critical role at Boston College: the Eagles compete in 31 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I sports. Despite underperforming in recent years, football remains popular on campus and memorable for one of the greatest plays in college football history—Doug Flutie’s “Miracle in Miami.” Consequently, Alumni Stadium—home of the Eagles—fills up quickly with past and present students on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
BC’s football team might reign supreme in terms of popularity, but what Boston College is known for athletically is its men’s hockey team, which is one of just a handful of programs to have won five NCAA championships—taking the honor in 1949, 2001, 2008, 2010, and 2012. In addition to varsity sports, BC has 44 intramural programs and offers courses in everything from yoga to spin.
The Boston College tradition of nurturing the entire student is demonstrated in its extracurricular activities—the college is as committed to the arts as it is to athletics. The Boston College Arts Council encourages advocacy, enhancement, and visibility for the arts on campus and hosts the annual Boston College Arts Festival.
Traditionally, Greek life isn’t allowed at Jesuit universities, and in accordance with that tradition, Boston College doesn’t recognize any Greek organizations on campus. What is part of the Jesuit tradition is homines pro aliis—meaning “men and women for others”— and service plays an important role in the lives of many BC students.
The Beanpot, an annual hockey tournament between Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, and Northeastern, dates back to the 1950s. Taking place on the first two Mondays of February, the tournament is a favorite event for students and serves as a bright spot in the cold, dark, and short days of New England winter. Boston College has won the second most Beanpot titles, trailing only rival Boston University.
Marathon Monday, or Patriot’s day, is another can’t-miss day on BC’s campus. The Boston Marathon runs right past campus and students crowd the street to support runners—including those from the BC Running Club—and take advantage of the day off from classes. Over the years, the section of the marathon that runs past BC has earned a reputation for its festive atmosphere.
The bright yellow “SuperFan” shirt—along with the sports-crazed students wearing them— has long been synonymous with Boston College and receiving your “SuperFan” shirt at orientation is both a rite of passage and entry into the community. In recent years, the popularity of SuperFan tees has waned, something the college hopes to have rectified with the release of a new maroon shirt design.
As freshman, Boston College students gather on Linden Lane where they are challenged to “set the world aflame” before heading to Conte Forum to hear from a guest speaker—past speakers include Bruce Spingstein, John McCain, and Barack Obama. Before graduating, students once again gather on Linden Lane, this time cap-and-gown clad and heading to Alumni Stadium for commencement.
Most undergraduates at Boston College are guaranteed three years of housing on campus, though most choose to live off-campus their junior year. Freshmen live in traditional dorms while sophomores live in either dorms or apartment-style housing.
More than 90% of seniors at Boston College live on campus and they’re given priority in choosing their accommodations—particularly popular with seniors is the “mods,” townhome-like homes. There is only room for about a fifth of the senior class though, so living there is not a guarantee.
Freshman living accommodations are split between BC’s Newton Campus and its Upper Campus. The Newton Campus is about a mile and half from the main campus while Upper Campus is adjacent to it. About 40% of first-year students live in the four residence halls on the Newton Campus, while roughly 60% live in the 10 residence halls on Upper Campus.
Boston College practices need-blind admissions, which means they do not consider an applicant’s ability to pay for college when making admissions decisions and are dedicated to helping students meet 100% of their demonstrated need.
It’s worth noting that Boston College is one of the most expensive institutions in the country (CBS placed it 27th on its list of the 50 Most Expensive Colleges in America). Prospective students shouldn’t let the price tag scare them off, however. Boston College is known to provide an excellent return on investment—the website Payscale ranks them 115th out of 2006 colleges in terms of value.
Boston College is classified as an R1 institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education—making them one of just 115 doctoral universities with the highest research activity classification. To qualify as an R1 institution, a college must award at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees and have at least $5 million in total research expenditures.
The Edmund H. Shea Center for Entrepreneurship is a great resource for business-minded BC students. The center is focused on integrating entrepreneurial thinking into traditional BC education, supporting students with plans to join a start-up or small business after graduation, and assisting students in launching new businesses.
Boston College also has a large and active alumni network—188,122 members and growing—which holds a variety of events annually and can provide the tools, resources, and sometimes the “in” needed to land a dream job.
Despite its name, Boston College is actually located a few miles outside of the city proper in the village of Chestnut Hill. Boston College is notable for its beautiful campus featuring three buildings in the “Collegiate Gothic” style:
- Bapst Library
- Gasson Hall
- St. Mary’s Hall
In addition to the incredible architecture, Boston College overlooks the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and features beautifully landscaped grounds, filled with green lawns, groves of trees, and well-kept gardens.
This location allows for easy access to everything Boston has to offer, it’s just a short T ride (what local Bostonians refer to the train as) away from the city’s art, entertainment, and dining. Despite BC’s proximity to the city, the school provides a collegiate feel that’s not always found at city schools.
In addition to being a world-class city, Boston is also a great college town, with 70 colleges calling the greater Boston area home—including world-class institutions like Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Wellesley College, Northeastern, and Babson.
What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at Boston College?
Boston College is extremely selective and practices holistic admissions—taking into consideration a variety of factors that include grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, class rank, academic rigor, and recommendations. To stand out, a candidate will need to have a robust college profile.
If you’re curious about how you stack up to the other Boston College applicants and want to learn your chances of admissions, CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing calculator uses a variety of metrics to help you better understand your odds of admissions at Boston College, as well as over 600 other schools. It also provides valuable insight into areas where you can improve your profile.