The Admission Process
applying to boston college
A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Students applying to selective colleges understandably want to know, "What does it take to get in?" The answers they receive from admission professionals often sound evasive, disingenuous, even haughty.
But the truth is that there is no concrete formula for gaining admission to colleges that have so many superb candidates. Consider the following thoughts about selective college admission in general and Boston College in particular:
- Most candidates applying to top schools have the preparation, performance, and personal qualities to be successful in a highly competitive learning environment.
- Selective colleges attract far more qualified candidates than they could possibly accommodate in their freshman classes. The admission process at these schools is highly subjective and arbitrary.
- Applicants to highly selective colleges must confront the prospect that they will be placed on a waiting list or refused admission without good reasons. Such an outcome does not mean they are unqualified or unworthy. It reflects the quality of competition for admission.
- Nearly 33,000 candidates honored Boston College with applications for 2,250 openings in our freshman class. We admitted 28% of them.
- Candidates with rigorous academic programs (honors and Advanced Placement courses) and stellar classroom performance had a better chance of being admitted.
- Highly competitive SAT or ACT scores improved the chance of admission. The mean SAT score for the Class of 2016 was 2022, and the range of SAT performances for the "middle 50%" of enrolled students earned scores between 1930–2150 (Critical Reading 620–710, Math 640–740, Writing 640–730). The average ACT score for the Class of 2016 was 30 and the "middle 50%" range for enrolled students was 29–32.
- Involvement with activities, service, or work is carefully considered in the selection process. We look for serious commitment, leadership, and earned recognition from peers or adults. We want to enroll people who will enrich our community with their talents and personalities.
- The appraisals of teachers and guidance counselors influence our decisions. We value intellectual vigor, self-motivation, active participation, and the desire to pursue knowledge with creativity and independence.
- We hope candidates will use the required essay as a vehicle to reveal their ideas and opinions, their values and aspirations. We want to learn something about how they think.
As I mentioned, there is no formula for gaining admission to highly selective colleges. But I hope this has provided some insights into our evaluation of applications here at Boston College. Good luck with the process!
Director of Undergraduate Admission