About Boston College
Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
Undergraduate Population: 9,532
Most Popular Majors: Communication, Economics, Finance, Biology, Political Science
Motto: ‘αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν’ (“aièn aristeúein”)—“Ever to Excel”
Asian/ Asian American 11%
Black/African American 4.3%
Native American less than 1%
Boston College is a school that wears several hats: private Jesuit college, R1 research university, proponent of liberal arts curriculum and community service. The school was first envisioned in 1825 by Benedict Joseph Fenwick, then the second Catholic bishop of Boston, who taught classes to local youth in the basement of his church’s cathedral. Another Jesuit brother, John McElroy, continued Fenwick’s vision, purchasing land and two buildings in Boston’s South End and opening The Boston College in 1859. However, the outbreak of the Civil War–as well as the anti-Catholic Massachusetts legislature–caused the college to close down just two years later.
The school’s charter was approved by the state legislature in 1863, and Boston College welcomed its first class of 22 students in 1864. In 1907, BC president Thomas I. Gasson purchased a farm in Chestnut Hill, six miles west of downtown Boston, and began the construction of Boston College’s current campus. In the 1920s, Boston College expanded to include a number of colleges, including the Boston College Law School, the Woods College of Advancing Studies, the Carroll School of Management, and the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. The celebration for Boston College’s centennial in 1963 featured an address by President John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the US–who’d also received an honorary degree from BC in 1956. Today, Boston College boasts eight colleges and schools, and its athletic teams–the Eagles–compete in the NCAA Division I league.
Notable Boston College alumni include actress and comedian Amy Poehler, White House cabinet secretary Evan Ryan, nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, Green Bay Packers running back A.J. Dillon, and US Ambassador to China R. Nicholas Burns.
- Boston College Athletics “Superfans” wear gold t-shirts and cheer loudly at both home and away games, creating a sea of jubilant gold at each athletic event.
- Ice hockey is big at Boston College, and it’s perhaps never bigger than in the first two weeks of February, when the Beanpot Hockey Tournament takes place. A tradition going back to 1952, the tournament pits rival Boston area colleges Northeastern, Boston University, Harvard and BC against each other in a two-game series at Boston’s TD Garden.
- On the first Friday of the academic year, representatives from over 200 organizations and clubs gather on the lawn in front of Carney Hall and Stokes Hall for the Student Involvement Fair. There, incoming students have the opportunity to find out how and where to get involved on campus.
- Boston College’s PULSE program allows students to fulfill the college’s philosophy and theology course requirements through engagement with community service fieldwork at over 35 Boston-based organizations.
- Study abroad opportunities abound at BC: the school offers 60 academic programs in 30 countries, and about 44% of BC students study abroad during their college journey.
- The Robsham Theater Arts Center at Boston College produces eight student-directed productions each year, giving performing arts students a chance to practice their craft in a world-class facility.
Average GPA: Not reported
Test Scores (mid-50% range): 1430-1510 SAT/ 33-34 ACT
Admit Rate: 19.0%
Offers Early Admissions? Yes–Early Decision I and Early Decision II
Boston College’s Required Essay Prompts: We would like to get a better sense of you. Please respond to one of the following prompts (400 word limit). Applicants to the Human-Centered Engineering major will select the 6th prompt.
- Students at Boston College are encouraged to consider critical questions as they pursue lives of meaning and purpose. What is a question that matters to you and how do you hope Boston College will help you answer it?
- In 2020, we faced a national reckoning on racial injustice in America – a reckoning that continues today. Discuss how this has affected you, what you have learned, or how you have been inspired to be a change agent around this important issue.
- At Boston College, we hope to draw on the Jesuit tradition of finding conversation partners to discuss issues and problems facing society. Who is your favorite conversation partner? What do you discuss with that person?
- Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Discuss a time when reflection, prayer, or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.
- Each year at University Convocation, the incoming class engages in reflective dialogue around a common text. What book would you recommend for your class to read and explore together – and why?
- Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) Applicants: One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College integrates technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. What societal problems are important to you and how will you use your HCE education to solve them?
While these questions are all different from one another, they do share some common themes: service, community involvement, introspection, and willingness to take risks in the name of what’s right. At 400 words, they’re slightly longer than average supplemental essays, so you have some room to tell your story. When choosing which prompt to respond to, consider which prompt best resonates with your individual experience. What do you value? How do you see yourself doing the most good in the world? You should consider how the academics and campus community at Boston College will support you in furthering these values, and articulate that connection in your response. The first prompt is similar to the “why this college” essay question–for advice on how to respond to this prompt and other common essay questions, see our blog post here.