Applications Soar to New Heights

Applications Soar to New Heights

More than 21,000 vie for places in next year's freshman class

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

For the second time in the last three years, Boston College has received a record number of applications for its incoming freshman class, and administrators - who had braced for a post-Sept. 11 drop in applicants - predict enrollment of the brightest and most diverse class in the University's history.

Director of Undergraduate Admission John L. Mahoney Jr.: "People know they can get a superb education at Boston College."
Director of Undergraduate Admission John L. Mahoney Jr. said last week that more than 21,000 applications have been received for approximately 2,200 places in the Class of 2006. The exact number of applicants will be finalized in coming weeks, Mahoney said.

The previous record for freshman applications was 20,743 for the Class of 2004.

This year's application pool represents an 11 percent increase over the 19,059 applications for the current freshman class, according to Mahoney.

Dean of Enrollment Management Robert Lay said, "Boston College is expected this year to once again place among the top five private national universities ranked according to the sheer volume of applications. Such attention is both a distinct honor and an obligation to return that attention to every student who applies."

Administrators at Boston College and elsewhere were already fearing a general decline in college admission applications due to a sluggish economy even before last fall's terrorist attacks, Mahoney said. Following Sept. 11, many educators also figured that parents and students would focus on applying to local schools instead of those in more distant geographic locations, Mahoney said, "but that concern never panned out.

"In fact, most schools are at just about the same application numbers as a year ago, and some even have slight increases," he said.

"Today, families are beginning the college application process earlier," Mahoney said. "They are researching, visiting and applying to schools and not abandoning their plans, even in the face of a recession or national emergencies. They show great resiliency. Life has to go on."

Mahoney says Boston College's strong academic reputation continues to fuel the high application rate. "We are attracting better and better students," he said. "The number of our graduates going on to top medical schools, law schools and business schools is enhancing the reputation of the University.

"We've got some wonderful role models [for future students] here," Mahoney said. "People know they can get a superb education at Boston College."

Mahoney said that applications from AHANA students and Connell School of Nursing candidates have shown a particular increase this year.

BC received a record number of AHANA applications, Mahoney said - more than 4,700 so far, compared to the previous best of 4,400 in 2000.

CSON applications have soared by 42 percent, from 230 in 2001 to 327 this year. "Credit for this is due in part to the nursing profession in general," Mahoney said. "The message is getting out that there is a shortage of baccalaureate-trained nurses, and there are a great number of job opportunities and better salaries for nurses.

"But our hats are also off to the efforts of our own nursing faculty for constantly working to cultivate candidates," Mahoney added. "Our faculty and students have been doing such things as sponsoring open house programs and calling accepted students over the past few years, and it's really paying dividends."

Lay and Mahoney praised the Admission staff for their work, especially in dealing with the large volume of applications received during the Christmas and New Year's holidays and through most of January.

In spite of the additional numbers, Mahoney said that "every application is read from cover to cover by a qualified staff member. It's a tremendous volume and a tremendous challenge to choose the freshman class from so many qualified applicants."

Lay noted that more than 3,000 prospective students chose to submit Web-based applications to Boston College this year, although paper forms are still preferred by most applicants. As the University continues to fine-tune its Web presence, he said, it is expected that more applicants will opt for on-line communication.


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