Boston College—Chesnut Hill, MA
Spirit, service, salmon shorts
Most students break out the collared shirts and Sperrys, or can often be seen strolling around campus in J. Crew and Vineyard Vines attire. But don’t let this preppy look fool you. BC Eagles are smart and driven, super service-oriented and can blabber all day about how much they love their school.
What it Feels Like to Go Here
In terms of appearances, Boston College looks straight out of a Harry Potter movie. With its gothic architecture and impeccable groundskeeping, the campus stays beautiful and pristine, right down to every last tulip and fresh grass that’s rolled out in time for commencement each year. And BC students are even better looking than BC’s campus. Most are pretty and preppy, and stay in tiptop shape by making regular trips to the plex or climbing up the Million Dollar Stairs. But BC students have so much more to offer than that pleasant exterior. BC is a competitive school, so students spend hours at the library, join a variety of student organizations and go on great service trips (like Appa) during their breaks. But students like to have fun too, and never say no to going out to bars or to packed Mod parties on the weekends to de-stress from their busy weeks.
BC boasts an impressive list of famous alumni, which only seems to be growing each year. Probably the most famous is SNL and Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler, who graduated in 1993 with a degree in media and communications. Over in Hollywood is Tom McCarthy, the talented screenwriter who just won an Academy Award for Spotlight. Clinton Kelly, a TV personality and fashion consultant most known for co-hosting What Not to Wear, also received his degree in communications from BC. Stars in the entertainment world don’t fill the entire famous BC alumni list. Co-owner, CEO and president of the New York Giants John Mara builds BC’s sports cred. And Philip W. Schiller, the senior VP of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., proves that BC prepares you for the business world and the knowledge to promote the latest technology.
Where We Hang
In a way, BC is like Hannah Montana: it has the best of both worlds. Far enough from Boston to get away, but close enough for a few quick hours downtown. BC students venture into the city on the weekends to visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) to get cultured, stroll down Newbury Street or stop by the Prudential Center for shopping and put their free aquarium tickets to good use at the New England Aquarium. At night, students 21 and older head over to bars by Fenway, like Lansdowne or Jillian’s (which has a bowling alley!), or bars in Allston, like White Horse or Tavern in the Square. If students want to avoid splurging for an Uber or sitting on the T, Cityside and MA’s in Cleveland Circle are great alternatives because they’re a quick and free BC bus ride away (or a nice walk in warm weather). During the day students walk or sit around the reservoir, spread out on Stokes lawn or curl up in Starbucks or Fuel America with a coffee to chill out.
1. How much are students partying?
With no Greek life and strong academics, it seems like BC students won’t be partying until morning, but this is far from the truth. While the party scene isn’t straight out of a college movie, BC students (particularly seniors) can be caught partying their worries away every weekend night. Academics remain important too, and students break out the books for the rest of the week. Except on senior night, of course. “Seniors party way more than any other grade, freshman party the hardest, and sophomores and juniors fall somewhere in between,” junior Ellie Mancini said. “It also depends on friend group. I know some friends who party every single day of [the] weekend, but I know more groups of friends who spend some nights watching movies and baking.”
2. What will you get in trouble for at BC?
“If on-campus, one will get in trouble for underage drinking, being in the possession of alcohol and enabling underage drinking,” junior Joseph Arquillo said. Unless the situation gets really bad, nothing much happens other then a step toward housing probation. But if it occurs regularly, then students start losing dorm privileges and maybe even (gasp!) their ability to get a Mod senior year. But other than the obvious drinking write-ups, students also get candles and string lights (except during Christmas time) taken away.
3. How much sex are students having?
Though relationships spring up here and there, BC students largely participate in the hookup culture. “I think 75% are engaging in some form of sexual activity,” senior Aaron Potts said. Still, it’s not like everyone at BC is having sex, so there’s not as much as some might think. While not all of the students are religious, BC does have a pretty big religious population, so some don’t participate because of their convictions.
4. What would you tell incoming freshmen about BC?
Freshman year comes with nerves and struggles no matter what, but keep in mind that everything gets smoother over the years. Sophomore Samuela Nematchoua said, “I would tell freshmen that BC is everything [you’d] expect and not expect. If you’re a city kid, international student or person of color used to being by people of color, it will be a total culture shock. The first semester is rocky because of that, but it gets better by spring.”
5. What are some popular things to do at BC?
With a huge athletic program, sports games are a popular ritual, and most BC students buy a Gold Pass to attend the football, hockey and basketball games. In the fall when the weather is warm, students don their Superfan shirts and head out to the Mods, parking lots or anywhere else they can grill burgers and drink beer before the game. But sports aren’t the only activities on campus. “People like Plexapalooza, Modstock and other music events and competitions like showdown,” junior Amy Stevens said. In the spring, people also love watching and cheering on the runners on Marathon Monday.
“I definitely think the most rewarding aspect of my time at BC has been the lifelong friendships I have made. If I could go back, I would make myself get out of my comfort zone: I would go out more and put in effort to make new friends.” – Kaye Slamp, class of 2016
“I was totally pathetic my freshman year and didn’t join any clubs or do anything. My sophomore year I started to do a few more things and get myself involved, and this year I have been much more active in the groups I am a part of. It feels really nice to have things to do, but also feel good while you are doing them…Being involved has been really fun, but it has also given me a lot that will help me with my future.” – Sara Valentine, class of 2017
“My academic experience has been most rewarding. I didn’t enjoy school until I came to BC, but once I got here, I discovered how much I loved it. I’ve developed rewarding relationships with professors and other students, and I’m planning on attending graduate school next year. I don’t believe that I would have developed that kind of love for academia had I not met some of the people I’ve met at BC.” – Jennifer Heine, class of 2016
“I wish that I had gotten more involved first semester and joined more clubs than I did. I signed up for over twenty but didn’t stick with any of them. Next year I definitely plan on joining more clubs that I’m interested in.” – Annie Mahoney, class of 2019
“My greatest challenge at BC has been remembering to have ‘me time.’ Everyone here always has so much to do, but it is very important to still remember to make time for yourself so you can step back and take a breath.” – Christine Qin, class of 2017
Top 3 Majors
Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations
1. The Undergraduate Government of Boston College works with the Boston College administration to represent the voice of the undergraduate student body, and attempts to make changes to improve the experience of BC students. “I think that a lot of people don’t know exactly what UGBC does because it’s not always well publicized. But from the small things of getting avocados in dining halls to UCS [University Counseling Service] adding two new counselors, UGBC is instrumental in a lot of change that happens on campus,” said sophomore Molly Newcomb, a senator and the Director of Mental Health Policy at UGBC.
2. True to BC’s mission, 4Boston spends its time and funds on service work. Students in 4Boston dedicate four hours each week to service work at a particular placement. Then, after that, students join together in a large group and reflect on their experience and the larger issues of social justice, community and spirituality. “I wholeheartedly believe that this type of high-level, long-term contact both with fellow BC students in the small group, and with those at placement goes beyond the scope of run-of-the-mill volunteer work, becoming something truly transformative for the volunteer and the Boston communities we serve,” said junior Robert Harding, next year’s co-chair of 4Boston.
3. Winner of the OSI Student Organization of the Year for 2015-2016, the Korean Students Association scores high in popularity and quality. KSA dedicates itself to promoting Korean culture on campus through small events and community-building activities to their fast-selling Culture Show in Robsham that they put on in collaboration with the Chinese Students Association (CSA). Co-President Austin Hong said, “For me, the greatest aspect of KSA has been the opportunity to utilize the influence that we hold, as the largest intercultural organization on campus, to discuss topics and promote good in fields that directly relate to our community in a larger context.”
Receiving a Boston College acceptance letter (well, an email—let’s be real) gets increasingly difficult each year, with an acceptance rate down to 29 percent. Academics remain the most important part of the application process, so taking a rigorous course load in high school is essential. There’s no minimum GPA or class rank, but BC looks for students who take challenging classes from freshman to senior year and still manage to ace them. But just scoring an awesome GPA isn’t enough to get that “Congratulations!” email. Recommendation letters, extracurriculars you’re passionate about and a beautiful writing sample are also vital. If you’ve had a parent go to BC, kudos to you, because legacy factors into the admissions process.
Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
Tuition & Fees: $49,324
Total Cost on Campus: $62,820
Undergrads Enrolled: 9,100
Grads Enrolled: 4,400
Total Enrolled: 14,100
Acceptance percentage: 29%
Percent Admitted who Enroll: 26%
Percentage of Male Students: 47%
Percentage of Female Students: 53%
Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 67%
Percentage Receiving Federal Grants: 15%
Percentage Receiving Federal Loans: 44%