Applications Top 16,000 for Fourth Straight Year

(2-26-98) -- For the fourth consecutive year, the number of undergraduate applications to Boston College has exceeded 16,000 and, administrators said, remains at the high level which has typified the mid-1990s.

Director of Undergraduate Admission John Mahoney Jr. said that the final figure for applications will be near last year's total of 16,455, and the 16,501 received the previous year. In 1995, the University received a record 16,680 applications.

"This is a very encouraging direction from a number of standpoints," Mahoney said. "Clearly, Boston College is seen on a par with the best institutions in the country, and our experience in applications indicates that we are mirroring other selective schools. It reflects many years of planning and hard work involving people from across the University."

Administrators also pointed to the continued rise among AHANA applicants - especially African American students - as well as substantial increases in applications from selected areas of the country, as other positive developments.

"One cannot help but consider these trends as a great overall achievement for Boston College," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ. "We have become a national university in every sense of the word, drawing top-quality students from all regions of the US. It also is significant, and heartening, to see our efforts to foster an ethnically diverse student population are paying off."

Mahoney said the level of applications from the University's primary market states - Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey - remained about even or decreased slightly. This reflects current demographic trends in the Northeast region, he said, which has seen a general decline in its high school and college-age population.

However, Mahoney added, Boston College has done very well in other key markets, with increases in applications from Colorado (38 percent over last year), Wisconsin (16 percent), Florida (14 percent) and Illinois (13 percent). Mahoney attributed the 25 percent rise in Minnesota to fruitful collaborations between the Admission Office and alumni volunteers in the state.

"They have been very active and have complemented our efforts most effectively," he said. "It's an example of the way alumni networks can play a key role in helping BC reach out to a wider range of prospective students."

AHANA applications rose 5 percent over last year, compared to a 3 percent increase between the 1995-96 and 1996-97 totals. Mahoney noted that for the first time in University history, the number of African-American applicants was over 700, marking the fourth consecutive year BC has had a record pool of African-Americans. Since 1990, he added, the number of African-American applicants has grown by 74 percent.

Mahoney credited the progress in AHANA applications - especially among African-American students - to initiatives and programs such as "Each One, Reach One" and last fall's "Discovery Weekend," which provide opportunities for prospective AHANA applicants to talk with current students, meet faculty and administrators, and attend presentations on the admissions and financial aid processes.

"We have said that attracting outstanding students of color is a major priority for the University and for our office," Mahoney said. "This is a most encouraging sign and we hope it points the way to more success."

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